You know those feelings when you’re in the last few days of an epic holiday? The feeling of impending doom as your holiday nears its end and you have to get back to the ‘real world’? As your vacation countdown clock ticks away and you feel a tremendous pressure to fully enjoy every last moment? Well, these are what I am feeling now, in our penultimate destination of our three and a half year voyage: the British Virgin Islands, or the ‘BVIs’.
I wouldn’t exactly compare our voyage to a ‘holiday’. It’s an adventure with its own unique challenges and rewards that are vastly different from your average holiday. The BVIs, however, have a completely different feel about them in comparison to every other destination we’ve visited. It’s as though Poseidon has magically morphed every floating vessel within BVI waters into a factory-standard 40-foot charter catamaran. It appears we have arrived in a theme park for seafaring holidaymakers with everything a tourist could possibly want being catered for. The result is that very familiar feeling of being on a package holiday in a sunny, tropical ‘home away from home’ destination.
Bob finds herself surrounded by modern, shiny charter cats whose occupants have very different priorities to those of the live-aboard cruisers we are so used to. The coastal waters here are filled with suncream-lathered tourists sipping on cocktails, listening to loud music while floating on giant inflatable unicorns. Meanwhile, Alex and I (as the only live-aboard cruisers here) spend our time in the shade doing boat maintenance work, provisioning for our upcoming ocean passage and eking out our precious alcohol supplies to save money. Sounds fun, right?
It didn’t take too long for me to realise that these holidaymakers might be on to something! They’re making the most of their precious time away and we, too, should make the most of the precious time we have left before we set sail to our final destination. Inspired by our neighbours we decide to join the fun in our own way: by sightseeing as much of the BVIs as possible; enjoying leisurely swims in the sea while forcing ourselves not to feel guilty about rinsing off using our cherished fresh water; taking pleasure in an extra cold beer or two… or three; setting up a rope swing off the boom; and buying an oversized and completely unnecessary speaker worthy of its own berth. With Cup Match so near in the future, we might as well get the party started early. I even have my giant inflatable unicorn on preorder. 😉
There’s also some spectacular snorkelling and diving around here. Wonderful coral reefs with more soft corals, sea fans and sea pens than I’ve ever seen. There are also some very interesting ship wrecks, including one that was sunk with a giant kraken made of chicken wire (courtesy of Richard Branson) and has plenty of underwater curiosities to explore.
Tomorrow we set sail for Bermuda. We are fully provisioned, our water tanks are full, the rigging has been checked and various items have been stowed. So I’m off to enjoy my final day in our penultimate destination.