I am a not a sailor, but occasionally I like to try and fake it. I have a decent grasp of the basics, from a childhood of being around boats, followed up by a brief stint of racing with my Dad, back when we were both living in the same city.* However, about a year ago, my parents decided that sailing vacations were their new “thing”, and chartered a boat to sail around the British Virgin Islands (or BVI for short).
This year, when my parents were planning to make a return trip to BVI, they asked me and my boyfriend if we wanted to tag along. In the back of my mind, I was worried it might end up a bit like Survivor, with members of my family one-by-one being thrown overboard. Fortunately, everyone survived. Except my Mom’s hat.
Day 1: Travel day to Tortolla
Our week-long trip started off with an interesting day of travelling. Our ultimate destination was Road Harbour, Tortolla; however, we had layovers in Charlotte, NC, and San Juan, Puerto Rico on our way south from Montreal. The customs line-up to cross the border into the United States is so long that the airport has a live band playing music to try and soothe frustrated travelers. For us, they played jazzed up versions of Christmas carols in mid-January, which came across as bit surreal.
My parents ended up delaying their flight to Tortolla an hour because of their luggage. They were carrying lifejackets that inflated via a gas canister that weren’t allowed to go on the plane, and the only option was to unload the luggage so that my Dad could find the canisters and take them out. This is also when they discovered that had lost my mother’s luggage, and it was already on another flight, gas cylinder and all.
We were supposed to be on the same flight to Tortola with my parents; however, we got bumped to a later flight due to a booking-snafu. When we finally did manage to get on a flight, there were so few passengers that we had a “weight distribution problem”. The solution was that they asked the passengers seated at the front of the plane to move to the back, before we could take-off.
When we finally made it to Tortolla, we hopped into a convenient van that was sent by the marina to take us to our boat. We were chartering with Sunsail; it was the third time my parents have used this charter company. My boyfriend and I inhaled some pizza my parents had picked up for us, and then collapsed into our bunk for the night.
*A bit of a story unto itself. I was crewing for my Dad on Thursday nights for a while. There was a bit of a disparity in that I was trying to remember how to sail… and my father was trying to win. Against retired Olympians. It didn’t go so well.