Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sailing away...

On December 25, I flew into San Juan in Puerto Rico. It wasn’t really a destination I had planned on, but rather a stopover on my way from Costa Rica to the British Virgin Islands. In fact, from what I had heard of Puerto Rico, it was a destination that one should skip. But after arriving in San Juan, I was actually surprised to find that I really liked it. I was staying in the old city and I found it to be really quaint and beautiful. The architecture was colonial and in the tradition of many Caribbean islands, very colorful.

I had arranged to meet up with another person who was going to be on the same trip as me in the British Virgin Islands (to be referred to as “BVI” from here on). Hayley had been in San Juan for a few days and we had planned to meet for a “Christmas” dinner. We went to a restaurant called Marmalade and had a really nice time there – great food, highly recommended! Hayley worked for a Boeing in LA and was an aeronautical engineer – you don’t meet too many females in that field!

The next morning we left our hotels early to join a short flight to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Now, I was still trying to get over my cold that I had contracted in Costa Rica, and the two flights I had taken to get to Puerto Rico had had a not-so-nice effect on my ears, which hadn’t yet popped, to the point where my ears felt like they were on the inside of my head.

Much to the chagrin of my mother (after the fact of course) my flight to Tortola was in a tiny little Cesna. I must admit, it didn’t give me a huge amount of confidence either. But it was actually an ok flight, with some very picturesque views of the islands, the only problem was that the flight wasn’t pressurized and I was in mind-numbing pain for most of it because of my ears!

Ok, so now onto the reason for my trip to BVI. I would be in the BVI for 9 days in total, including New Year’s Eve. I was actually originally planning on spending this time in Punta del Este in Uruguay, the St.Tropez of South America, and THE place to be the week over NYE. But organizing accommodation was starting to get difficult and it actually put my South American itinerary out of whack. So I decided to nix Punta and instead I had found this cool looking sailing trip in the BVI with a group called Adventurati.

I found it on facebook. There were 40 other people on the trip – 6 sailboats and a mixture of people for the US and Europe. And after my time on the cruise ship with the oldies, it would be really nice to hang with people my age.

When Hayley and I arrived at the meeting point in Tortola, we were amongst the first to arrive. There were about 15 others who had also arrived, most of them from Europe. What I was to learn was that most of them were Swedish and that Adventurati had partnered with a group called The Yacht Week, which is run by 4 Swedish guys. I had actually seen them before and considered joining their trip; they run a wicked sailing trip in July and August around Croatia, the Greek Islands and Ibiza. But their trips have up to 50 sailboats!!

Anyway, so there was Hayley and I and about 14 other guys all six feet tall or more. We certainly weren’t complaining and it was definitely a far cry from the short guys of NYC!

As more people arrived, I met all the people on my boat. As I didn’t know anyone on the trip, all the people on the boat were new to me. There were 10 of us in total. Two Swedish guys (one of them was the skipper), the girl I was sharing my room with was from NYC, and the remainder were from Washington D.C., a mixture of guys and girls.

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