The British Virgin Islands: Third Time's a Charm

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February 21st, 2017 at 4:56:59 PM permalink
Face
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Quote: Ayecarumba
It makes me wonder where all the tourist money spent on overpriced drinks and food is going. Are there a few "owners" getting rich, while the vast majority of the population has to pick through the garbage? Is there a middle class?

Did you bring your GoPro?


I suspect it's a mix. Some places certainly have a "corporate" feel. I don't mean to say it's like WMT down there, but the store is a little too "put together" if you take my meaning, and the wares reek of being generic items with an island theme stuck to it.

But many of the joints are obviously local. Aragorn's Studio in Trellis Bay (Beef Island)... I can't call it a shanty because it's not really a building. It's more a tent made of the trees already there. And he carves super elaborate designs into driftwood. I'm sure he works for himself. Ditto for the singing restaurateur in Anegada. We spent a good deal of time with him, and he's a super cool guy. Definitely his joint, he harvests and cleans your food right on the dock right at the foot of the place. No SYSCO trucks hitting his spot.

No telling on classes. The larger, more populous islands like Tortola or St Thomas could be any random small city in Florida. Things seem "typical" there. Smaller islands like Jost are harder to gauge. And Anegada is unlike anywhere I've ever known. Like, one class, and that class is "Just chill, mon!"

I did bring my GP but I did almost no media whatsoever. I took only 3 pics and ran the GP but twice, one time of which got a totally uneventful failed fishing attempt. You can thank the crew for the photos in this thread =)
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
February 21st, 2017 at 5:12:15 PM permalink
Face
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Day 4.

The days seemed to be ripping by and I hadn't felt like I was "there" yet. Some perhaps had to do with lingering depression, but the rest I think amounted to no more than wanting to be a good host. I do love the work there, so a lot of my time was doing just that. Continuously fetching (almost forcing) ice water on our group, tending the lines, swabbing the decks. And I did get pretty badly burned the first day, when we were waiting for the crew for the familiarization run. I keep forgetting their sun isn't like NY sun, and that put me half out with sun sickness the first day or two. But today was gonna be the Baths, and as it was an active thing and likely a wowzer for the newbs, I was really looking forward to it.

We got under way quickly with no lingering hangover and immediately set sail again. 4 days in and we'd only run the motors to put us on and take us off the ball. And just like days before, we were right rippin', getting over 9knts this time. We flew into Virgin Gorda and the mad scrum of boats at the Baths to find at least two balls still open, so we nabbed one the closest to shore and set up for a storming party. This is always a struggle for me, as despite my athletic talents, I am an absolute s#$% swimmer. I walked to the front, gave my gear-filled waterproof bag a good toss, and then rocketed off the bow, hoping those extra 50' of boat and jump would make a difference. Nope. By far the first in the water, and a full minute behind the last swimmer in. I am just s#$% in the water lol. But all made it ashore without getting pounded by the stout waves, all the gear was dry, and so we headed immediately to the beachside bar.



The Baths were just as beautiful as before and everyone loved it. I think this is where I took a real shine to Frank and everyone sort of let that first level wall down with the group. People started to be less concerned with grabbing onto one another for support, or whacking another party who made a smartass comment; it was the first real "growth day" and things were going great. A nice add-on was that our early arrival meant the rocks weren't so crowded like they sometimes can get, and the waiting or scrunching over for passersby happened less than a handful of times.













The one close call, and perhaps the only close call the entire trip, was in the last pic. Mrs Fed had been standing up on the severely tilted rock I'm on when she lost her footing, coming down hard on her ass. This is exactly how I broke my wrist in hockey, saving an ass-sit fall, and we were all pretty concerned. She just laughed it off and stood back up on level ground. She grew a light bruise on her palm a few days later, and thankfully, that's all that came of it.

Baths over, a look to The Fed finally cued me in on something; he had no itinerary whatsoever. The strong and ever-present winds, while not preventing us from anything whatsoever, certainly made moderate to intense suggestions as to where we should go. And the failure of Frank's VC meant trying to find or be in a place the toy rental place could reach us for a replacement. So though it's a haul that usually doesn't happen until day 6 after piecemeal progress, we shot all the way up and around Virgin Gorda to Leverick Bay for the night.

Holy s#$%.

We made bangin' progress the whole way. Frank and Cody's capabilities, combined with our new found ease and camaraderie, meant every jibe and tack went flawlessly. The type of actions that makes the men cheer as if making a good play in sports. Sailing has always been "neat" to me, and this trip to Leverick, though beautiful always, is a little arduous in its length, but this time it was an event unto itself. I mean, we weren't even slapping the sheet anymore, something we've never not done, not even with the sailing B-i-L. But now, The Fed would call "Ready?!.....", turn the boat into the wind, and "....Go!" Frank or Cody would loose one side, I'd be on the other hauling line as fast as possible, and before the sheet even inflated again we were locking down lines and stowing the extra. I dunno how to explain it, it was just a beautiful dance =)



And then we arrived, and sport turned into war.

We got there quite late, the Bath swim-and-hike plus the huge sail taking up a good portion of the day. As such it looked jam packed, and The Fed all but refuses to throw the hook (anchor). We arrive to find just one ball, way out on the edge and in the dead of winds that have come uncontested from the shores of Norway. The Fed, already expecting and already with a plan, shouts above the gusts "If it ain't got a painter, we're still taking it!" Sure enough, we motor up to find no painter. You know, the 6' or so of rope off the buoy you can snag and attach to your boat. This one didn't have one.

It's funny and nice, looking back, and seeing that The Fed and I have that thing, that weird sort of telepathy that good friends share. To know someone well enough to anticipate their actions. We had it here, and with little time or talk he had a line in hand and I was crawling into the controls, ready to drop him off in the dinghy to create a painter while I held hover in wait. By the time I got seated, the small department store that is our boat was 90* to the wind, no control, and in a stout drift backwards. I leaned into her a little, then a little more, looking to see I was damn near drifted into another boat and my little nudges and bumps weren't doing f#$% all. Trying to be cool I slowly powered on hard to starboard at a decent tromp, and even then I only half pivoted toward true and ceased the backwards slide. I had to just about tromp both engines in opposition just to get her dead into the wind, forget actually moving or correcting along the way. It was at this point I realized the world was going gray and I hadn't been breathing lol. I started the deliberate deep inhale and focused exhale to calm myself, as now, barely in control, I had to inch 40 tons to The Fed and Frank, and hold it without moving while they tied it, lest I squeeze a digit or limb off their bodies. No "Jesus wept" this time, this was all "F#$%ing Christ!"

With Frank laid out on the dinghy clinging the ball and Fed with rope in hand, I had Cody on the bow giving hand signals as nothing could be heard over the wind. They'd keep calling forward, I'd creep, and the wind would overpower us. More power had the thing churning at a rate that just seemed wrong, like you couldn't possibly chug that hard with family in front of you. It was a bit of a faff that seemed to have taken 10 full minutes, and to be honest, I couldn't possibly guess. I just know that was about as far out of my element as I think I could have gotten, and it went off without a hitch. Boat secured with our own line, no close calls, no casualties. This, with the Baths and the killer sail and the harbor save, this was a cool day =)



Having arrived to the home of the singing pirate and the Jumbies, we immediately headed in for a drink. We arrived to a packed beach as the pirate was already performing, and for some reason, we walked right through and to the store. We got our typical restock, mostly potable water, some meats, and a bunch of peanut M&M's for The Fed's upcoming birthday. Lana had arms full of myriad bags of cookies and candy, I had about a gallon of Aloe, we all came stocked with our own need-to-haves, and it looked a bit comical. But our main worry was "What now?". Leverick tonight means Anegada tomorrow, and the painter f#$%arow meant we hadn't yet made our stop for fresh water. We didn't really want to wait, but really didn't have a choice. After a bit of shopping, we went straight back to Outta Space, not stopping for even a drink.

I was nonetheless pleased. I wasn't much for drinking this trip, and still had a perpetually short fuse. Plus we were having the first of our red meat nights, and I was looking forward to a killer dinner and a calm evening. Most dove into homemade concoctions, and I joined for a few, conversation and laughing dominating the night. As we had returned well in front of Tarpon Time, I finally set one out, using the dead squirrel fish I stashed away the night before. Same tactic - 100lb mono on their trolling rigs, a 3/0 or so hook, a wire leader, and a hunk of fish, this time the whole thing. I dropped it into the water and let out maybe 6', real close where I could see it. And with the arrow straight wind, the was no waggle. It sat, straight down, at about 6'.

Nothing happened. It soaked all afternoon and into the evening with nary a niggle. The dinner was amazing and we broke out the cards, content to drink casually around a few hands of Skat. This is where I learned Cody is quite the gambler, and though not as versed at the old timers of WoV, has gleaned all the right things to put him on a good path. We had plenty to talk about that night, and we did. I think it was then, in mid conversation, when it happened...

ReeeeEEEEENT

The sound of drag coming out the reel. Those trolling reels have a loud click, and peeling drag... it's just one of those noises that you can't not take notice of. I'm out of my chair in a flash, flip the drag, yank, and FISH ON!

It's late for tarpon time, but this fish has some mass...and then it never rockets. No tarpon. But if not, then what is it? It feels like it's there, then I'm sure I've lost it. Then it's there again. So it's no horse eyed jack, those thing go like trains. So did that big bermuda chub I caught last time. This... almost feels like a catfish back home. Sort of a dull pull then explode, dull pull, explode. I see a flash below me...it's not exactly flashy. And not quite white. Wtf is....

...dorsal fin.



Shark! Just once. And it's odd how that reverberates. Once heard, everyone who heard likewise had to exclaim. "Shark!" lol. I got it in close enough and it looked manageable, though I had no idea what to do next. Gaff was out of the question, I wasn't gonna gaff it. And somewhere amidst my instant examination, the thought of missing a pic flew through my mind and I just yanked it onboard.



I recalled seeing them held by tail. I also recalled said tail hold being done too close to one's body, and one flick allowed it to latch onto a guys thigh. Wondering how I was gonna do what I thought I might do, it made one flip and came off the hook. Just sitting there, edge of the water, not moving. I think I paused, sure felt like I did, and when it made another freak out wriggle for freedom, I just grabbed it.



I held it for a sec to see what it would do, and all it did was what any other fish would do - wriggle side to side. It seemed stiff, like it only had about 15* of freedom, so I put my other hand on it's tail and slid up until I reached its pectoral fins. I had him good, safe, and could finally feel what I was holding. It was unlike anything I'd felt before. The fins were stiff; hard, even. The body had not a hint of slip, no slime, no algae, nothing. And rough! The only thing I can really compare it to is a cat's tongue, the way it sort of "catches" your skin like weak velcro. And stiff!. It wasn't mushy like a pike or anything resembling "soft". Just a hard, rough, missile of muscle, a really cool experience. We identified it as a black tipped reef shark, and once back in the water, swam away as easy as could be.

I didn't find my tarpon, but I did find one happy boy =)

Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
February 21st, 2017 at 6:19:39 PM permalink
Ayecarumba
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 81
Posts: 1317
Very cool! It looks like a scale model. If it were 10 feet long, the proportions would be the same.

Was it cold enough in the evening to require a jacket, or was that just to stay dry in the rain?
February 21st, 2017 at 7:08:04 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 106
Posts: 10936
I always forget, it looks like a summer
vacay, but it's Feb, it will be totally dark
by 6pm. Not 10pm if it was July. That
alone would drive me nuts, that much
night to deal with and so little day.

Face, you don't look like a crazy person
in your pics, how do you pull that off.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
February 22nd, 2017 at 11:12:33 AM permalink
Face
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Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 61
Posts: 3112
Quote: Ayecarumba
Very cool! It looks like a scale model. If it were 10 feet long, the proportions would be the same.


Don't get ahead of me! ;)

Quote: Aye
Was it cold enough in the evening to require a jacket, or was that just to stay dry in the rain?


Hard to tell. My comfort zone is quite small. It's 60* here today and I was still in thermal shirt, hoody, and the same winter coat I've been wearing since Nov. I'll be fine in thermal and hoody even when it pops into the 70's. Add to it that I had a pretty decent sunburn, plus the constant stiff wind, and yeah, I needed something. It wasn't "cold"; that's not but a non-insulated, one layer rain coat about as thin as Saran wrap. I just prefer to be cozier than most =)

Quote: Evenbob
I always forget, it looks like a summer
vacay, but it's Feb, it will be totally dark
by 6pm. Not 10pm if it was July. That
alone would drive me nuts, that much
night to deal with and so little day.


It's a complete non issue.

For starters, they don't subscribe to time changes. It's not like back home where it gets dark at f#$%ing half past 1700. The shark pics all were taken just before 2200, so it would've been dark no matter what. I didn't check specifically, but I'd say dusk hit just before 1900. That means light for dinner prep, but soothing twilight for the meal itself. And thinking about it, I think it's just about perfect. More light means more activities, which would push dinner and drinking even later. As it happened, our non-party days saw us bedding near abouts 2100, which allowed for a full night's and waking at 0600 for the sunrise. If night time aka drinking hours didn't hit until 2200, I think we'd be amassing some serious sleep debts which would take away from the experience.

As much as I f#$%ing loathe the lack of winter light up here, I had no notice of it down there.

Quote: EB
Face, you don't look like a crazy person
in your pics, how do you pull that off.


21 years of daily practice. Plus I get to choose what pics I show =p

I did lose it a couple times down there, and I mean outwardly. It's a new thing I'm trying, which is I suppose no more than me giving up the responsibility of keeping myself in line and forcing others to deal with me as I am. I got the "You alright?" more than once. Like at the Baths. Our group spread just a bit due to pic taking and such, so I came to one of those tight paths to find a group waiting for Cody, who was just a few steps from the end. I called to Snack Shack "Double time!" and hopped in the cut, making an obvious attempt to hustle my freight through the pass. You know, polite like. But the fat motherf#$%er waiting simply stopped waiting. Before Cody even cleared he began to haul his massive ass into the crack, this while I'm double timing it through the thing, to the point I nearly had to jump over him when I reached the end. I started to apologize as lifelong training dies hard, and he just quipped some smartassed, impatient comment like "You saw me waiting", and piled through, forcing Snack Shack to back out. That's all it took. Insta-rage. I called to Snack Shack to watch herself and couldn't help myself from notifying her that the big man blocking her path seemed game to try the no-teeth diet. I don't know what else I said, I just sort of blanked. I had thought it was an internal monologue that I perhaps let slip in a mutter, but Cody, who I had no idea was even close, asked when we finally caught up "What's got you in the red?"

I dunno, man. I f#$%ing hate people, and I guess I'm just getting tired of faking it. I don't understand people who are outwardly rude for no reason. It's not like I came from nowhere and jumped in a cut he was already navigating. My presence, had he waited for me to clear, would have literally cost him 1.8 seconds. If you can't handle that, be miserable to yourself. I'm not tolerating it anymore.

Whatever, I'm insane. And we're not even to the screaming-at-children part of the trip yet =p
Be bold and risk defeat, or be cautious and encourage it.
February 22nd, 2017 at 11:17:53 AM permalink
petroglyph
Member since: Aug 3, 2014
Threads: 12
Posts: 1860
Quote: Evenbob
Face, you don't look like a crazy person
in your pics, how do you pull that off.
Look at the eyes
Everyone gets thrown from the plane to maintain altitude
February 22nd, 2017 at 3:23:17 PM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 106
Posts: 10936
Quote: Face

I dunno, man. I f#$%ing hate people, and I guess I'm just getting tired of faking it.


I don't hate them, I just want to them
to not talk to me. I don't do small talk.
I totally understand how the unibomber
lived alone in a shack. I go weeks at times
without talking to a live person. That's why
we have dogs.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
February 23rd, 2017 at 5:41:24 AM permalink
stinkingliberal
Member since: Nov 9, 2016
Threads: 17
Posts: 731
Quote: Evenbob
I don't hate them, I just want to them
to not talk to me. I don't do small talk.
I totally understand how the unibomber
lived alone in a shack. I go weeks at times
without talking to a live person. That's why
we have dogs.


And yet, you seek out multiple message boards on which to talk to people...
February 23rd, 2017 at 11:42:10 AM permalink
Evenbob
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 106
Posts: 10936
Quote: stinkingliberal
And yet, you seek out multiple message boards on which to talk to people...


What other board am I on besides this one,
and a rare appearance on WoV, which is
basically the same people as here. If you
think posting here is the same as interacting
in person, you don't get out much either.
If you take a risk, you may lose. If you never take a risk, you will always lose.
February 23rd, 2017 at 11:45:51 AM permalink
buzzardknot
Member since: Mar 16, 2015
Threads: 7
Posts: 497
Quote: petroglyph
Look at the eyes



Definitely the type of dude who might make me decide the sidewalk on the other side of the street somehow looked more inviting !
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