Saturday, March 7
As the name suggests, owning an adventure travel company is never dull. Two weeks ago, our beloved Promenade, the trimaran sailing yacht we use for our British VIrgin Islands trips, hit the Island of Tortola and was severely damaged. Since then, we’ve been running, working with Kerry, the owner of the yacht, to keep our two March trips alive.
Tonight I’m sitting on one of the two Sunsail 444 catamarans Kerry has chartered for us to fill in for Promenade. These are brand new boats, they smell like a new car. They are technically bareboat charters, so we’ve spent the day turning them into full service charter boats. This means loading them up with crew, food, toys, swimming gear, and adult beverages. I hung our SwimVacation banners from the boom. I stood back and yelled “It’s Alive!!!!”. Promenade’s brass dinner bell has been transferred to one of the boats for posterity.
Heather and I arrived in the Islands a few days early for this trip to make sure everything goes smoothly and to help set up the boats. We flew to St. Thomas two days ago and met up with Captain Laila (who is being flown in for this trip because two boats need two Captains). We caught a ferry to Tortola on Friday morning, and marveled at the big seas and how the massive ferry was tacking into the wind Huh. Hmmm. Zoinks.
We were supposed to bring these catamarans from Tortola to St. Thomas to pick up our guests on Sunday, then sail back to the BVIs. We’ve been doing this lately because it’s been difficult for some of our guests to fly to Tortola in March due to limited and expensive flights. But now, looking out the window at a 7 foot breaking wave and listening to a group of schoolkids scream as the ferry crested yet another massive wave, I’m having second thoughts about bringing these comparatively tiny catamarans into the teeth of this wind that’s supposed to be around for a few days. So I decide at that moment that we’ll be putting all of our guests on a ferry. Tomorrow, Heather and I will head back to St. Thomas to do just that.
Back to these boats, and today’s provisioning. We spent much of our day bombing around Tortola looking for obscure objects like bungee cords and power strips. This is a crowded little island, without much flat space to build on. Lots of little shops that sell a little bit of everything. We must have hit 5 different places before finding almost everything we needed in a mom n pop office supply store in a back alley. Oh the adventure.
Lots of people have put in some serious effort over the past couple of days to make sure this trip lives up to the Swim Relax Repeat ideal we’ve created here. Kerry working the phones and web (and a lot more) from California, Laila and Mo hauling and stashing a ton of supplies, Captain Chad, Michele, and Kieran transferring gear from their last charter, guides Maury and Simon pulling long travel days (16 hours for Maury), Connor’s dinghy driving lesson, Bazza putting Promenade back together, Heather who hasn’t stopped running and keeping our guests informed of lots of changes, and our families back home, still buried under 4 feet of snow, who lost us for a couple of extra days this month.
I can’t wait to get our guests in the water tomorrow. They’re going to love it.