After a rough patch in Puerto Rico, arriving in the Virgin Islands was a welcome relief. The waters are calm, the sails are short, the beaches are beautiful, the services are abundant, the flights are affordable, and the cruisers are friendly.
With the numerous daily direct flights into St. Thomas from the United States, and robust ferry services between the various islands, we scheduled a number of crew for our time in the Virgin Islands, including my sister, brother-in-law, mother and a good friend of mine from Austin, David Eagan. Unfortunately, we also had to say goodbye to an old hand, Logan Herr. He decided to return to being contributing member of society back in the United States.
With these prime cruising grounds, numerous buddy boats of ours were all arriving in the Virgin Islands around the same time as us. For a few, the Virgin Islands were the end destination. For others, like ourselves, it was just a temporary stop on the migration south to escape the hurricane window. The slow pace and close proximity allowed us to catch up with drinks, food, stories, plans and good times.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Within a couple of days of our arrival into St. Thomas, my sister and brother-in-law landed, followed by my mother two days later. I was excited to show my family my life aboard the boat, and introduce them into the cruising world. The Virgin Islands were the sailing grounds where I first jumped aboard a sailboat three years earlier. They are easy waters to sail and offer great sites and exploration.
The week with the family included a night at Christmas Cove just off of St. Thomas and two nights moored in the National Park in St. Johns, before heading over to the British side for the rest of the week. In the BVIs, we explored the caves off of Norman Island, over consumed rum punches at Willy Ts, snorkeled the wreck of the Rhone, and played darts while relaxing at Cooper Island Resort.
It was a great week getting to share part of this adventure with my family, and even better as I could tell they thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t think they are looking at purchasing a sailboat yet, but I think I could coax them back for another week in the BVIs at a later date.
Logan joined Bueller back in early February when we first Landed in Georgetown. It was with his comedic relief that Lars, Logan and I became affectionately known to many of buddy boats as the Bueller Boys. He helped us navigate Bueller from the Exumas, Bahamas to the British Virgin Islands over the three months he was aboard. His quick wit, ability to always look at the lighter side in situations, constant learning, and general care and concern for others make him a great individual to be around, a great friend, and great crew. As with all good things at some point it must come to an end. With a commitment back in the states, Logan departed us to head back to the real world.
More Austin Texas, with some swag
The day after my family left, Señor David Eagan arrived. David is another Austinite. When he heard about our trip, he immediately was ready to book tickets to come join us. He brought with him a couple of gifts for Lars & I, No Land In Sight Tanks, both day & night editions!!! We explored the majority of the British Virgin Islands with David, including Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda and the Baths National Park. The days were filled with drinks, swimming, exploring, and good conversation ranging from updates of old friends to startup ideas to Vampire novels.
Good Time with Cruising Friends
After our visitors departed, we made our way back to the USVIs to regroup with a couple of buddy boats we spent quite a bit of time with in our journeys. We also met some new friends we knew from emails but had yet to meet in person. Its amazing the excitement you feel when you pull into a bay filled with boating friends. While your history may be brief, the shared experiences and adventure drive a deep connection. Your filled with jubilation to catch up hear there stories, share yours, discuss plans that you both known will change, and partake in some shenanigans, before you inevitably depart, hoping that another bay down the chain will provide another chance to regroup once again.
Vacation from the Vacation
With an airport close by, and cheap last minute flights, I decided to leave Bueller in the capable hands Lars and Jackie for two weeks and take a short trip back to the United States. It’s was a fantastic break, or vacation from my vacation as I like to put it. Despite how amazing any experience is, when it becomes routine it's amazing what a short break from it can do to put it all back in perspective and ensure you realize the opportunity you have.
While I was away, Jackie and Lars continued to play, exploring new island and finding more adventure.