Tortola, BVINovember 24, 2016 in British Virgin Islands
We made it to the Caribbean!
Forgetting that St Thomas, USVI is US soil, we were initially surprised to not be greeted by customs. Rather, we were hit with a giant heat bat followed swiftly by breath of air so humid it was bordering on drinkable. Then came the sweat. Heavy, relentless, beading sweat. Mmmmm.
By the time we reached the ferry, I was in need of an outfit change. A brief look at the passports and we were on the boat to the BVIs. Not even an 18kt head wind could stop us. Or cool us down.
After a few customs hiccups in Road Town, a long walk in the wrong direction with all our bags, and a twice-as-long walk in the other direction, we arrived at the hotel. (I should note that most of that walking was on the road...footpaths here are few and far between.) We quickly discovered that the hotel had AC and that's all that mattered. However, cue boat panic moment. For those of you who haven't been on boats, they get hot. The suns attacks them from the sky and the engine, stove, oven and lights heat them from the inside out. The only source of cool is the breeze which, at a low of 27 degrees, doesn't quite balance the system. I am genuinely fearing a non-metaphorical meltdown.
We definitely hit island life square on. It seems very familiar to Pacific culture, the only difference is the locals aren't shouting 'Bula' from a distant paddock. Our greetings at the airport, ferry and hotel were somewhat inhospitable, which was a little disappointing, but experiences since have been better, now that we know that locals respond well to a smile and a joke. Now we just have to get over the feeling of being ripped off on every purchase (its bloody expensive here!!) and we'll be away laughing.
Day two on Tortola was equally as hot, but I had come to terms with my early demise and got on with the day. Scoping out the supermarket situation was our number one priority. Where and how to feed three hungry boys, on an island of 2,500 people....for 2 months. The most highly rated supermarket was Bobby's who also offer delivery to you boat, if you order 7 to 10 days in advance. Our mistake. Upon inspection, Bobbys was under construction and was currently clearing stock. Something they failed to mention on their website. Not a refridgerated good in sight, nor a fruit or vegetable, nor a pricetag. Not a good start. Supermarkets two and three offered little more and we began to panic. Rushing back to pick up a windsurfer, and receive our boat briefing, left us anxious about this situation.
Reinforcing the earlier mention of island time, our man David was late to the boat. But we'd helped ourselves to an introduction of home for the next two months. 50 feet of well used fibreglass with four cabins and a crews quarters - more than enough for three!
After he arrived, his briefing was short and sweet (the way it should be) but the number of items that were casually skipped over for 'not working' was cause for concern. After insisting on several of them being fixed, we set out for a wee sail. All went swimmingly except for the fact the marina is too shallow to get out of without grounding the boat, and Dave had a personal emergency which cut the trip short.
Fortunately for Dave we had already planned on spending the night in the marina, and took advantage of the afternoon to do our grocery shop. We finally found our mark on our forth supermarket and unleashed a Pauline Ellis special - two full shopping trolleys. Interestingly, we caught a cab each way which cost $12 out and $25 back. Riddle me that. It was however, a drop in the ocean for what was spent on the shop.
The next day after a bit of faffing we finally set off, pushed out over the sandbar and hoisted the sails, let the dream begin!Read more