MY TRAVEL,  Uncategorized

Exploring The Islands

Once we explored the ship thoroughly and settled in after the long day of travel, we enjoyed our glass of wine on the pool deck, watching St Maarten fade into the distance. We were on our way to sea. The next item on our agenda, exploring the Caribbean islands.

Click HERE to see part 1.

Antigua

When we awoke the next morning we rushed to the main deck to get a glimpse of our first stop.

There were only a handful of guest awake. It was quiet and we could see the sun popping up behind the hills of Antigua. We breathed in the fresh sea air and stood in wonder at the island before us. I love how the shadows on the hills change as the sun gets higher in the sky. It’s mesmerizing!

Antigua from the deck of the ship.
Antigua

We sat at our open aired table in The Veranda restaurant on the ship and ate a peaceful breakfast while the crew prepared the tenders below and the decks became alive with fellow travelers.

Breakfast area at The Veranda before we departed the ship

Exploring the Islands

We chose to only do one planned excursion because we love to be explorers and discover hidden gems on our own, away from the crowds. This morning was one of those times to just explore.

We boarded the tender and roamed the small town of Falmouth Harbor, Antigua.

Antigua

The Scars of Our Own Journeys

Being an artist, I love it when I come across a potential ‘painting’ or idea for a work of art. This fishing boat tied to the dock as we passed was one of those subjects.

I loved the rugged weathered look of it. I imagined what stories it could tell me and what adventures it had encountered. It made me think of our own journeys in life and the scars we have added to our own stories.

Antigua Fishing Boat
Sailing out to sea after a day on Antigua

Road Town, Tortola

The next stop – after a day and night at sea, was Tortola and Norman Island. This is where we actually joined our only ship excursion of the week.

Welcome to Tortola
Outdoor bar on the dock, waiting for our Snorkel excursion to begin

This was a very fun little port town. We enjoyed sitting on a bench watching the people while we waited for our excursion group to gather.

We passed our ship as we headed out for our snorkel adventure.

Our snorkel adventure took us to Norman Island for two separate snorkel sites. The first was The Indians.

First Stop…. The Indians
Gorgeous, turquoise water!

And then on to The Caves to explore some more.

Next stop, The Caves

Snorkeling in The Caves, Norman Island, BVI –

Yes, we actually entered the caves for some amazing snorkeling.

Back on Deck

After our great day of snorkeling we arrived back at the ship for the famous Windstar Deck BBQ under the stars. The atmosphere and food were perfect and we were entertained by the crew line dancing as we finished our meal.

The evening ended with a glass of wine on the back deck, watching the stars while music drifted down from the lounge above us. Before going to our suite we stopped at The Compass Rose lounge for a game of Music Trivia.

Jost Van Dyke

Early morning I felt the ship start moving again, with it’s gentle rocking motion, almost rocking me back into a deep slumber, but I knew that we were heading toward a new island so I enjoyed the rocking for a brief time and then got up to experience the sun rising above our new destination.

Waking up to Jost Van Dyke
Sunrise over Jost Van Dyke

Jost Van Dyke is one of the prettiest islands we visited in the BVI. We didn’t want to leave it. One Day we WILL BE BACK!

Roger and I ate breakfast and then took the tender into port, catching an Island taxi to our destination. I must explain that taxis on these islands are NOT like the ones we know in the states.

Taxis on the Islands

On this particular island we stepped off the tender and were greeted by two island natives, sitting under a tent selling their wares. When we asked about a way to get to our beach, they yelled up the road at a man sitting in front of his house. The man jumped into his very rough looking open aired van and drove down the hill to pick a group of us up. $5-10 per person each way on all of these islands.

Photo courtesy of Johnsantic.com/cruising/bvi

Arriving at White Bay

White Bay

Driving on this island is not for the faint of heart. Our taxi driver raced up some very steep windy roads before finally reaching our destination.

The sight took my breath away. I had seen photos online but was not prepared for such beauty in person. I always think the photos are enhanced somehow. Not so with this bay. Crystal clear bright blue turquoise water and blue sky as far as we could see greeted us.

We were there early enough to enjoy the beach and all it’s beauty before the crowds arrived.

White Bay from the walking path

We explored the famous local spots such as Hendo’s Hideout and the famous Soggy Dollar and One Love beach bars.

Hendo’s Hideout, BVI
Soggy Dollar Bar with it’s amazing Pain Killers

The Beach Bars

Soggy Dollar was exactly as we had read. Very friendly staff and their famous Pain Killers. Dark Rum, tropical juices… amazing!

Soggy Dollar
One Love Bar & Grill, BVI

What’s amazing about this beach is that in the afternoon, the sailboats and yachts pull up to the beach and anchor right in the shallow water. It was interesting but I am glad we got there early so we had the chance to walk the beach and enjoy the water before the boats arrived.

My walk on the beach

Right about the time that the beach became consumed with yachts, sailboats and partying, we were ready to head back to our ship.

View of the beach from inside the Soggy Dollar as the afternoon went on

The sunset we saw that evening before dinner felt like something out of a book. It was gorgeous seeing it set behind the islands in the distance.

Jost Van Dyke sunset
Doesn’t even look real!

Virgin Gorda

Next stop, Virgin Gorda for our Beach BBQ lunch. Because of Hurricane Irma, the BVI’s are still renovating and recovering. This island was no exception. But despite construction and destruction, the beauty was still surrounding us.

Area set up just for us that morning

Our Beach BBQ site

We grabbed an island taxi to The Baths which was down the road from our picnic site. Words cannot even describe how amazing it was. I can only show you in photos.

Our walk up to The Baths

The hike up to The Baths is not strenuous. We walked past cactus and foliage and we followed the signs to our destination.

Looking at Devil’s Bay from the rocks

Devil’s Bay
Devil’s Bay at The Baths

The Baths

After soaking in the crystal clear water of Devil’s Bay we walked around the corner to The Baths. The baths is considered one of the most famous sites in all of the British Virgin Islands. It is a collection of huge volcanic boulders submerged in the crystal water.

Hiking through the boulders and into caves is a little bit strenuous and we definitely got our work out for the day!

Heading into the caves of The Baths

Back on the Ship

Back on board the ship after a fabulous time on Virgin Gorda we rested and prepared for our Rum Punch Sail Away. We were departing this little piece of paradise for our final destination.

That evening while at sea we visited the Lounge on the Main Deck for champagne and messages from the Cruise Director before dinner. And then we were back on the pool deck, listening to the gentle rolling of the waves as we sailed through the open sea.

ST BART’S – Our Final Destination

St Barts was nothing like any of the other Caribbean islands. Walking into Gustavia, St. Barthelemy was like stepping into a Mediterranean town. We were told that it is the destination for the rich, famous and beautiful. The architecture and the language is French.

Walking through the town of Gustavia, one could easily forget that they are in the Caribbean.

St Bart’s Anglican Church, 1855

But as we walked through the town we reached the views of the coast and we were reminded that this is indeed sitting in the midst of the amazing Caribbean waters!

View from the top of Gustavia

Our amazing cruise was finished. Back on board we packed and prepared to wake up back in St Maarten to head home. It was bitter-sweet. We were going to miss the beauty of the Caribbean as well as the staff and crew from our Wind Surf ship.

Saying our final farewell as we walked to find our taxi to the airport

This was a wonderful trip with some of the friendliest people I have ever met. Those that lived on these island paradises were ready to help us at every turn. And they loved speaking of their lives and their homes.

We will be back!

Click here for part 1

Views: 6593

17 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *