Woke up at 10 and got outside for the last half-hour of sun before it became overcast. We took our time at lunch and then spent the afternoon reading and playing games in the library. After our afternoon of leisure we got ready for dinner and then met for sushi and drinks on the promenade. Dinner was mango cream soup, chicken in cream sauce, pork chops, and lots of wine and Asti. After dinner we spent a good deal of time in the rooms and then smoked cigars in the lounge to celebrate our return to America.


Woke up around 9. Had breakfast and headed into shore. Nich, Sean, Suz, Nikki, Amy, Rachel and I hired Victor to give us a tour of the city and take us to the Mayan ruins. Victor was very knowledgeable and gave us a lot of interesting information about the island and daily life in a tourist town. The ruins were interesting but not very expansive. However, it was nice to walk around outside the city for a while and we got a chance to play with some iguanas. After the ruins Victor dropped us off at the restaurant where he and the other cab drivers take lunch breaks. Lunch was good- enchiladas and tacos for the most part- and came with some pretty big margaritas (although I stuck with the dark ale). After a long relaxed lunch we walked the shops for a few minutes and then caught a taxi back to the pier. We met up with the Phi Mu crew at the beach overlooking the boat, and then spent the rest of the afternoon reading and enjoying the hammocks. Dinner was steak with baked Alaska (layers of cake and ice-cream). After dinner we hung out in the rooms for a while and then spent some time playing cards. At one point some 17-year-old orchestra player tried to join in the fun, but we all awkwardly ignored him until he went away. Eventually we had to leave because camp carnival was hosting karaoke for teens and we couldn’t have alcohol. The group went dancing, but Suz, Darragh and I explored the boat for a while and ended up chilling on deck and falling asleep in the lawn chairs.


Someone on the ship is sick so the captain increased our speed and we arrived in port around 5am. We woke up at 6:45 and got breakfast before heading in for the day. I think we ended up making it to shore around 9:30. The group split and Rachel, Amy, Nich, Sean and I ended up taking a taxicab to the Tortuga Rum Cake Factory. The ‘factory tour’ was really a window that we could look through, but they had free samples of their cakes and a variety of rums, which we very much enjoyed. After a few samples and some purchases we called Barry (the taxi driver) and had him come pick us up. He agreed to take us on a tour of the island and we started by heading to Hell. We took a few pictures and enjoyed the limestone rock formations. All the while, Barry explained to us the history of the Island and the city of Hell. Apparently Hell was named after a British sailor had a difficult time shooting a bird on a rock. After Hell we headed to the turtle farm. They had tanks with hundreds of sea turtles and we were able to pick them up and take pictures. In the end we all pitched in to adopt a turtle (his name is George P.) for release. After the turtle farm we stopped by Seven Mile beach for some pictures before heading back to Georgetown. We stopped by a bank to try and open an account, but it required a $1000 minimum deposit. Then we headed to the tobacconist to pick up some Cuban cigars and then stopped by a small restaurant for some jerk chicken sandwiches. After our snack we picked up a couple of souvenirs for friends and family and then headed back to the ship.


Sat by the pool for most of the morning. Worked out a little. Had Indian food for lunch. Tried to watch the Tech game, but it wasn’t on CBS. Dressed up in our ‘formal wear’ and headed to captains cocktails. We had free champagne and toasted everything imaginable. Headed to dinner for pumpkin soup, lobster tail and prime rib. After dinner we saw the “Vegas style” show, Nuevo Carib. It ended up looking more like a dirty dancing/return the 80’s mock rock performance. After the show we hung out for a while before retiring for the evening.


Woke up around 10:30 and explored the hotel. Ran into John Stein in the lobby. He was in town for the college administrators conference. We went to Margarita Mamas for lunch (I had a jerk chicken wrap) and met up with the rest of the group. After lunch we hung out in front of the loading zone while Paul and Catherine went to stow the extra cars at Chris Hall’s house. Boarded the ship and found our bunks. We saw the welcome show, but left because the comedian was nowhere near funny. Then we went to dinner and met our hosts, Rana and Carmen. Appetizers were chicken tenderloins, dinner was tilapia, desert was chocolate something or other.


We (Paul, Catherine, Suz, Rachel, and I) left Tech around 6:30 and immediately got stuck in speedway traffic. Fought our way through that until 7:30 and then cruised to Tampa with a couple rest stops along the way. Suz, Rachel and I watched The Girl Next Door, but had to share 1 set of headphones. Broken elevator, hotel looked nice, but ended up being pretty ghetto.


Started the day by finishing off Harry Potter II. Great book. Then had apple pancakes that tasted a little like funnel cakes because they were sweet and cooked in oil. After breakfast I climbed up the mast, with a little help from Arno and Dad, to take some pictures of the boat.
 
Shortly after, Arno, Dad, and I set off to scuba dive at the aquarium. I had slept with all my windows open, taken a Sudafed, blown my nose about a thousand times, and inhaled the steam off of my coffee to make sure my sinuses were clear. I’m not sure what did it, but the dive went off without a hitch. It really was a beautiful scene. There were boulders, schools upon schools of fish from every color of the rainbow, and more coral than I imagined was possible. The dive lasted 35 minutes and then we headed back to the boat in the drizzle that had started while we were pretending to be Jacques Cousteau. Then it was off to Sandy Spit, which turned out to be a tiny little island owned by Rockefeller so it would remain uninhabited. Mom, Dad, and I went snorkeling while Jen relaxed on the boat. Oh yeah, somewhere on the way we had Cornish Hens for lunch while we waited for a rain cloud to pass over where we were planning to go. So after lunch and snorkeling we motored to Jost Van Dyke for some more relaxing and then dinner. Dinner was quite the event tonight. There was Rackfellete (sp?) cheese that we put in little pans and then melted underneath a special griddle. Once the cheese had melted we poured it over either potatoes or one of the assorted meats that were cooking on top of the special griddle. There were sausages, tomatoes, onions, shrimp, bacon, and sundry other fatty foods. The meal moved at the same pace as fondue, which was nice. We all enjoyed relaxing our way through our last dinner on board Belline II. After dinner we busted out the cigars and rum on the rocks. Apparently I don’t like straight rum yet, but I have been enjoying the wine. We had planned on going into Foxy’s bar, but it closed before we got a chance to go in (around 8:45). Tomorrow we’ll run into the bar for some t-shirts and then make our way to St. John to re-enter the US. After that, we’ll go to St. Thomas to catch our flight back home. All in all this has been a great vacation. Arno and Petra are wonderful and the scenery is fantastic.


Day 6: Tuesday

05Aug03

I’m retarded. Woke up like normal (to Dad knocking on the hatch above my bed) and then readied the scuba gear for our dive. The only problem was that sleeping with the air conditioning on makes your sinuses swell, which means you can’t equalize, which means you return to Belline II not having scuba dived. Once again, information that would have been useful yesterday! So after a busy morning of not scuba diving Petra packed us a lunch and we caught a taxi to the Baths. We hiked the 350 yards down to the beach and it turned out to be both busy and beautiful. The Baths at Virgin GordaAfter lunch (chicken sandwiches) and some lounging we went snorkeling for a bit. The Baths contained some ginormous boulders and some really gorgeous coral formations. After snorkeling we trekked through the boulder trail and popped out at another, even more beautiful beach. Instead of tourists, this beach was filled with locals. With good reason too: the water was clear, the sand was fine, and the view was incredible. Look at the pictures. 
 
After the beach, we hauled back through the boulders and then dried off for a bit before hiking back to the parking lot to meet our taxi. We got back to Belline II in the later afternoon, cleaned up, and relaxed in the marina until dinner. I’ve read a couple hundred pages of Harry Potter II today if that gives you any idea of how much relaxing we’ve been doing. It’s great. So after our bit of relaxing and an ice cream break at the marina grocery store we came back to Belline II for dinner. Tonight’s dinner has been my favorite so far- marinated pork tenderloin, bowtie pasta, carrots, and ice cream and cake for dessert. Tomorrow we’re going to try the diving thing again and then we’ll head to Jost van Dyke for our last night.


Day 5: Monday

04Aug03

I’m freezing. It’s awesome. We are in the marina at Virgin Gorda so the air conditioning will run all night long. But back to the beginning, we woke up still at Anagada and headed into shore for some more exploring. We cut through the middle of the island and then looped back around. On the way we saw a couple of beaches, tormented a crab, saw a huge barracuda, and relaxed a good bit at Cow Wreck Bay. Jen touched a nasty bone that had been buried in the sand. She’s scarred for life. We returned the car to Dennis and he gave us a lift back to the dock. I bought Lindsey some pottery that was handmade by Dennis’s wife. Back at the dock we phoned Arno to pick us up and then had burgers for lunch. The ride back was a little slower than it had been yesterday as the wind had died down. We also learned that the storm we had been expecting had dissipated so no worries about that. We arrived at Virgin Gorda and hung out for a bit before taking a walk to Little Dix Bay Hotel. The grounds were fairly interesting and there was a hug fig tree. Back at the boat, dinner was shrimp and ravioli. The shrimp was prepared in a very complicated manner that Petra explained to us on a previous night. After dinner, Petra’s friend Monica drove us into The Rock bar for some live music that turned out to suck, but we all had drinks so no one minded. Tomorrow we’ll finally get our dive in (hopefully) and then head to the Baths for some snorkeling.


Day 4: Sunday

03Aug03

It’s hard to remember where we were when I woke up this morning. I’m pretty sure it was Peter Island. Anyway, after breakfast-muesli, bagels, mangos, etc.-Dad and I hoisted the sail and we set a course for Anagada. We had to postpone the dive again, because there is a weather front coming through in 40 hours so if we were to go to Anagada it had to be today. It took a couple of hours to get here and half the trip was on open water. Dad did most of the steering and he was pretty good at it. I was very excited to finally be sailing on the open ocean and heading for a deserted island. Anagada turned out to be much different then the rest of the BVIs. It is very flat and almost completely deserted (150 inhabitants). The highest point on the island is 30 feet above see level. So after lunch- toasted ham and cheese sandwiches- we rented a car and toured the island. Look at the pictures to see how flat and barren it is. The car was an old Suzuki Samurai, but it was perfect for what we wanted. We drove to Loblolly Bay and swam/relaxed for a while before exploring the rest of the island. The roads looked tame enough, but turned out to be ridiculously bumpy. Back to the trip, we drove through The Settlement (Anagada’s town), saw a lot of cows and goats, and stopped at the bakery that is apparently closed until December (busy season). We met Arno and Petra back at the bar for a drink before going back to Belline II for a shower and supper. The showers were awesome because well be heading to a marina tomorrow and can therefore use as much water as we want. Dinner was also very good: spaghetti bolognese and potato soup. Vanilla mouse made up desert while we tried to explain the American University Greek system to Arno. Today was a good day. Tomorrow we’ll continue exploring Anagada and then head to Virgin Gorda and The Baths.