"The women and water are in short supply - there's not enough dope for us all to get high, but I hear it gets better, at least that's what they say, as soon as we sail into Cane Garden Bay."

The words of immortal Jimmy Buffett, from the tune Manana.

Those words have never felt more true than yesterday, as Suzy and I steered the "Chablis" into the harbor at Cane Garden Bay on the north side of Tortola.

For those of you who've traveled with me, you know that I enjoy an element of adventure in my vacations and pastimes.  Exploring new spots, braving the elements, and even taking some risk in relation to reward is mandatory for my pastimes.

If a destination can be reached on a major commercial airliner with jet engines, it is not likely a place I'd prefer to go.  A walk across an open air tarmac with a small propeller-driven plane sitting on a short runway behind me stimulates the senses like nothing else.  Pre-processed fun is not for me.  The thought of sitting in a Hawaiian Hotel, with a poolside waitress handing me Pina-Coladas with 10,000 other tourists turns my stomach.  I need a bit more interaction with nature and the elements.

When Suzy and I got married 10 years ago I suggested a honeymoon on a chartered yacht in the Virgin Islands of the mystic Caribbean.  It turned out to be the perfect mix of fun and adventure.  The tradewinds were light, the seas were calm-to-moderate, and the weather was beautiful with the occasional tropical rainshower to cool us and wash away the salt.  It was the honeymoon of dreams.  Perfect in every way.

So, when our 10th anniversary came up, we said "Why not do it all over again?"

We found a reasonably priced charter yacht and had it provisioned for a week of sailing in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, hoping to recreate the state of bliss that was attained 10 years ago.

It is now the morning of day 4 of the trip, and we're waiting for the bliss to surface. Or simply peek out from behind the clouds, tropical squalls, or the lengendary howling of the Christmas Winds.

I'm blogging from a deserted beach bar at 5 AM, with torrential rains falling so heavily I've had to relocate to avoid the airborn mist bourne by the 40 knot winds.  Thunder is clapping around me and all the local beach dogs are huddled at my feet for warmth and shelter.  One of the anniversary gifts I gave to Suzy was a light waterproof jacket to keep her dry on the short dinghy rides from the boat to the beaches.

That foul weather gear has been the most worn piece of clothing on the trip.

The weather-proof smock has protected Suzy from not only the regular rains, but also the spray from the massive ocean waves we've braved in our crossings from island to island.  The waves have been driven by the constant 30+ knot winds (10-15 knots is ideal for sailing).  Each day the ocean has become a more harrowing place, and yesterday's downwind crossing from Monkey Point to Cane Garden Bay in incessant rain was the end of our braving the elements.

We've abandoned ship for the comforts of a beach hotel for a day or two.  As the winds whipped to over 40 knots last night, the rain pounded our roof in sheets, and the lighting flashed and thunder roared the prudence of our decision was evident.

Thus far, our 10 year trip has had only minor resemblance to our honeymoon.  There have been magical moments when in the secluded bays and ports where we celebrated our nuptials so many (but at the same time it seems so few) years ago we've found the paradise we sought.  Suzy has been a trooper, braving the rough seas and inclement conditions with a smile on her face and love in her heart.  Below are some photos taken when we weren't hiding from the squalls or holding the wheel of the boat with white-knuckles.

We'll post more later!  Today we're going to make a crossing to Jost Van Dyke and sip firewater-rum with Foxy!  Or we may just paddle our kayak here at Cane Garden, snorkeling and sitting on the beach.  Who knows - maybe I'll even have a Pina Colada and sit in a beach chair!  IF the weather lets up....

Here is our boat, the "Chablis" as we left the dock.  Jimmy Buffett was on the stereo, but somehow the tune in my head was the opening theme to "Gilligan's Island".

 

Here's Suzy at The Baths - a group of granite boulders arranged miraculously forming caves, pools, and crevices.  This crack opens out to a pool between more boulders.

Us enjoying a moment of sunshine at The Baths

The rocks at The Baths - absolutely fascinating - a must see if you come here.  You can spend hours hiking through these & snorkeling in the pools.

A rainbow over the reef at our anchorage - we hope to see a few less of these.

Monkey Point - great snorkeling!  First time I've ever snorkeled with huge Tarpon - nearly as big as us!