B.V.I. Ship Log // Day 1

5:33:00 PM

Well, today was indeed an adventure but the Welsh family has arrived in the British Virgin Islands.  A day that began with a turn for the worst ended with a series of lucky strokes and a very content family of five.

Rising before the sun, the five of us groggily brushed our teeth, slid into our travel attire, packed our bags, and braved the horrendously congested city roads and paths of the JFK airport.  After the eon we spent travelling to our terminal, checking bags, and making our way through TSA, we arrived just in time to board the plane—magazines in hand, luggage on shoulders, and dreams of the awaiting blue ocean in our heads.  The fact that we had to “deplane” our current aircraft due to mechanical issues was the second strike of poor luck that officially set the dominoes in motion.

We must count our lucky stars—however few—that a new flight was found and was only a two-hour delay (not to mention we received a couple breakfast vouchers for the inconvenience).  We were officially in the air as of 11:15pm and we could not have been more excited to get our plane back on the ground a few thousand miles south in island time. 

Upon arrival in the airport, our first thoughts were: “We made it! We are actually here.”  A trip that has been on the agenda for most of 2014 was finally becoming a reality as of 4:00pm AST.  It was not long before the next domino fell, however.

Our ever-so courteous taxi driver sped us to the ferry dock where we planned on taking the 5:00pm ferry to Road Town to move aboard our new home.  Our arrival to the boarding dock might have been our official orientation to the depths of hell.  The line for ferry boarding passes wrapped around the small building and left us standing in line for over an hour.  The stress that should not be prevalent during island time was sinking in.  Our luggage was thrown on a ferry that we were assured would not leave without us—it did.  Employees assured us that we would indeed get on the next ferry—we didn’t.  Next thing we knew, we were standing in line, still without tickets, watching the ferry take off, our precious cargo inside.  Losing your luggage may officially win the award for the most stressful, heartbreaking, and frustrating inconvenience during travel.

At 8:00pm, we made it on a ferry.  Trying to be positive and admire the beauty that is the Virgin Islands (although pitch black outside by this point), the thought that hindered our expected smiles was our wishes that our luggage would still be at customs and that all of their contents would be accounted for.  It was.

9:00pm and we are on the island of Tortola, luggage in hand, and our hearts practically out of our chests.  Our impeccably loyal driver picked up our luggage, our spirits, and our fatigued bodies and took us to our new home: Mardi Gras. 

Stepping aboard the boat, we immediately soaked in our surroundings; living fully in the present, we dismissed our frustration and anxiety previously provoked by our misfortunate travels.  We could breathe.

The 49ft catamaran is absolutely lovely.  Four cabins, two baths, and a lofty kitchen/dining/family area make for the perfect vessel to sail around, relax, and enjoy the break.   Completely pleased with its interior, we are anxious and excited to see how she does on the open waters with her sails hoisted high and the Welsh family crew bustling down below.

As we began to unpack suitcases and food, we could not help but realize our hefty appetite and dire need for drinks!  We made our way to what was most likely the only eatery open on the island at 10:00pm: The Pub.  I would not be surprised if we beat the record for the fastest time to finish a meal on Tortola.  We were famished.  I’m not sure if it was our mighty appetite, desperate thirst, or total exhaustion, but the food was simply delicious.

Returning to our home for the next week or so, we inspected in greater detail its contents and admired the storage, sound system, and towel displays.  We were completely rejuvenated and absolutely stoked to get her out among the islands!

We finished off our physically, mentally, and psychologically taxing day with some stargazing from the bow of the boat and some peanut M&M’s (a Welsh family must-have) as well as some admiration towards the houses upon the cliff faces.

Our day tomorrow looks quite enthralling yet quite busy.  The girls will finish grocery shopping while the boys inspect the boat and ensure that our journey will be safe and fun.  And so, it is off to bed for the crew…for we have our first day of sailing and adventure as soon as is possible under tomorrow’s sun.  Wish us luck!

(originally written on December 21, 2014)

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