Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dispatch from the Tropics Part VII--End of Journey

In the past I have failed to bring "closure" to these travelogues, and then heard about it from readers.  In an effort to give the people what they want, I round out the trip to the Caribbean.

Of interest, I dropped my phone into the turquoise waters off Salt Island, and so my love affair with the Blackberry has come to an end, as I am now the proud user of an HTC ONE M8.  Quite a piece of gear, I gotta say, though I miss my keyboard.  So in answer to the Hammer, the pics I took went to the bottom with the Blackberry, though the Kittens may have a few I could kadge.

We headed to Pirate's Bight, Norman Island for our last night, and I had a beautiful lobster dinner.  My eating on this trip was truly over the top, and aside from two hikes, I was largely sedentary.  Brother Tom is rooting for me to tip the scales at over 2 bills, but I don't think that's going to happen.  We all ate pretty poorly, so I got back on the right foot today back in Easton.

Yesterday was our travel day.  We got underway at 0800 from Norman Island and sailed to Road Town, Tortola, to turn our boat over.  It was a great ride, but the more I looked around, the more I realized that the days of monohull pleasure yachts are behind us...we were surrounded everywhere we went by catamarans, both sailing and motor yachts.  Catherine is a purist, and would not be a part of renting a Cat....though I am inclined to do so if any of my cash goes into the next deal.

We docked at Road Town and lugged our stuff off the boat, leaving a team of locals to descend upon the boat to make it ready for the next group to take it out.  We hopped into a cab for our trip to the airport late morning...and after seven days of sailing without even a hint of woosiness, I gotta tell you, the cabbies in the BVI can get you motion sick in a heartbeat.  I can't begin to describe how fast they drive on these hilly, narrow roads, twisty and windy.  By the time we got the airport, I felt like hurling.  But I was strong.

The rest of the day was spent negotiating airplanes, customs, know, that kind of stuff.  I was able to gain a new appreciation for just how much crappy candy two 100 pound girls can eat...there wasn't a moment in our layovers where it didn't appear that some bit of chocolate or sugar was being consumed.  We landed at 2240 hrs and then drove home to Easton.

I was up early today in order to discharge my two labs from doggie jail.  Seriously, we had a great kennel for them and I was confident in their care...but man, did I miss those dogs.  And they missed me!  The scene at pickup was awesome, with the little girl ZuZu making noises I'd never heard before.  They are very much back to normal here at the farm today, and it is great to be back with them.

Some closing thoughts:

--Air conditioning is not a luxury.  It is essential.
--The Caribbean in summer is superb.  I kept hearing how much more crowded all of the moorings were in the winter time, and it caused me to think I'd prefer not to be there under those circumstances.
--The travel together, separately, plan worked for the Kitten and me.  Although our flights were the same on the way home, I cleared security/immigration in BVI solo and then sat apart from the girls for the San Juan/DC leg.  No one cramped anyone's style and we arrived happy and content.
--One must be very dedicated to fitness if one intends not to take a step back physically on a cruising trip.  The two hikes we went on were great, but there was very little else in the way of moving my mass around.
--A 15 percent service charge is added to all meals bills in the BVI, with the proviso on the bottom of the bill that if a customer felt it was excessive, they should bring it up with management.  I wonder how that works out for the waitstaff....something tells me that they aren't working under the same hourly structure that waitstaff do here, so the predictability of the tips (and the reportability) probably works against them.  But I do not know.  I do know that I generally and a 20% of the pre-tax total tipper, and was too lazy to figure out the difference when the 15 percent was already figured for me.

That's all for now.

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