In less than a month, Rich and I will be setting off on another adventure, this time in the Puget Sound, Haro Straits and parts of Canada. This means, I better finish up writing about our British Virgin Island (BVI) adventure!
When I last wrote, we were reminiscing about your trip, remembering the high- and low-lights as the sun set over Privateer Bay. We spent the rest of the evening, packing and reviewing what we needed to do when we got back to Road Town and Conch Charters.
The next morning, Friday, was very windy. We’d showered the night before and we’re happy to put on clean, non-salty clothes the next morning. All we had to do was sail two hours, unload our bags, clean out the ice chest/refrigerator, do a little cleaning (we’d done most of the cleaning the night before), and enjoy the rest of the day wandering around the town before spending a relaxing evening at the Fort Burt Hotel.
Remember how I started the previous paragraph, “Friday was very windy.” And windy meant that lots of salt water splashed onto our clean clothes and body as Efithia tossed around, her motor chugging away at the breakneck speed of four knots.
Happily, we were the only boat coming into the marina at that time of the morning. Once we phoned the charter company, they sent out a dingy with two people on it, one a driver, and the other a young barefoot boy who climbed onto Efithia – while she was moving – as if he was stepping over a puddle in the middle of the street. He drove the boat into the slip, leapt off and tied her off.
Rich and I then scrambled to start unloading… two huge Army duffle bags full of our clothing, snorkel gear, linens, and bags of shells; two sailing bags of gear; Sputnick in her computer bag; and my carry-on bag. We also had several cans of soda and some food for the rest of the day and flight home the next morning. Note: We were so buzzed that it didn’t occur to us that we couldn’t take the soda onto the plane and a bottle of rum until we got to the airport!
While Rich dragged all of our gear up several flights of stairs to the Fort Burt Hotel (across the street) because the charter company wouldn’t let us keep them in their office, I emptied out the ice chest and finished cleaning.
An hour later, both covered with sweat, we were ready to permanently step ashore and wish Efithia ado. While our sea legs disappeared within minutes, our energy was zapped. We felt and looked like zombies. Not only was the heat draining, but we weren’t used to walking long distances after nine days of swimming, walking short distances on land, bouncing around the boat, sitting, and sailing.
We decided to head towards downtown and get a bite to eat. We took a back road, which runs in front of the old Peebles Hospital (top), the only hospital in BVI. Since we last visited, a new, multi-story hospital has been built, which you can see to the left of the older hospital.
The streets in BVI, even the main roads, are very narrow. Most don’t have sidewalks and the cars park on both sides of the streets, often a few feet from the homes and businesses. In spite of cars parking as far off the roads as possible, barely two cars can fit down a streets, passing within inches of each other.
Below is a narrow alley that Rich found interesting because of the numerous electrical meters mounted just below the ceiling, towards the back of the alley. I was intrigued by the mixture of bricks, shells, rocks, and mortar used to build several of the buildings we passed.
And because both sides of the street are parked up and parking lots are practically nonexistent, if someone has to make a stop, like retrieve their mail from the post office, they simply stop in the middle of the road and everyone behind them has to wait until they return.
After making our way now the street, and not getting hit by any cars, we arrived at Pusser’s, an institution in BVI with bars and restaurants throughout the islands and a reputation for strong drinks using Pusser’s Rum. We were early for lunch and explained to the waitress that we’d just gotten off a boat and simply wanted to chill-out – both in the relax sense and air conditioned comfortable of the restaurant.
After a while we ordered. Rich had a hamburger with fries and I opted for yummy, decadent macaroni and cheese. You gotta’ have your comfortable food in times of need!
After lunch, we headed for the Old Government House, which was built in the 1920’s and served as the home of the island’s British governor until the mid-1990’s. On a hill, a short walk up from the main drag that runs through Road Town, the Spanish-inspired home is surrounded by mature landscaping, sitting areas, and paths.
After much discussion, the Government House was restored and reopened as a museum in 2003, and a new residence for the governor was built next door. Several rooms contain the original furniture; most striking is the dining room with panoramas of the islands painted on the wall by the wife of a governor.
Upstairs is the only air conditioned room. Inside are stamps that were issued by BVI and United Kingdom. In other room is a library with historical documents and photographs that were donated by islanders and others who influenced the development of BVI. Throughout the house are portrays and paraphernalia from British royalty, including a guest book signed by Queen Elizabeth II.
We spent an enjoyable hour or so looking through the Government House then hobbled back to the Fort Burt Hotel, hopefully that we could check in. After gathering our luggage, we were escorted to our room. What a surprise! Not only was the room spacious and air conditioned, but it had an incredible view of the marina and the surrounding area.
I didn’t know what to do first. Walk barefoot on the cool marble in the bathroom. Take a long, sudsy shower. Sit on the balcony and look at the site below. Melt into the king-sized bed (Rich’s choice). Turn on Sputnik and catch up on writing? Watch through binoculars the cleaning lady napping on Efithia, instead of cleaning the boat. Attempt to drink an iced diet Pepsi without spilling it (one of my choices).
Not only did I spill the Pepsi, but I spilled an entire glass of water that evening while at the upscale Drakes Point at Fort Burt restaurant. I think my equilibrium was off. I was so used to “things” moving while on the boat that I didn’t compensate for non-movement when on land.
After Rich snoozed for a while and I wrote, we headed to the crystal blue pool at the hotel for a few laps without having to compete with tropical fish, coral, waves, and other sea life. We then sat in the shady and reflected on our trip, remembering the blizzard of fish that would swim past us, the windy days when our boat zipped along at six knots, exploring deserted beaches, sipping mojitos as the sun set, flocks of dramatic black and white seagulls that begged for food, being rocked asleep in the v-berth, sudden rain showers, finding two intact conch shells, sharing Haggen Daz ice cream bars, and much, much more.