This trip came about it a funny way.
We didn't have a trip planned... there was no trip on the horizon.
With D's new business and him being a one-man-shop, we just didn't see how we coulod make it work.
So I just went online and fantasized. I shopped & planned vacations... and that's when I was bitten by the bug.
"Well, maybe we can do a little vacation... squeeze just a little something in..."
I started looking on our timeshare web site for possible trades. I was looking at the Dominican Republic. I wasn't totally sold, but I was shopping. (At this point, I hadn't even asked D - after all, it wasn't real... it was just a fantasy, right?)
Then, on the timeshare website, a catamaran cruise popped up.
I didn't even know you could TRADE for something like that!
There was an added cost for "provisioning" since it was all-inclusive.
But how new and exciting and different! What an ADVENTURE!
This was something we had never done before.
I wanted to put it on hold and talk to D and see if we could maybe consider doing it. It was a little touch & go for a few minutes with the representative couldn't find it online -
"It's gone... sorry."
"WHAT????... It was there... I was booking it!"
"Yeah, but it is not there any more."
Thank goodness I am persistent though because I asked her to look to see if there were any other weeks available all year for it. She looked around and said "no" but then "Oh wait, there IS one week available... it is October 16-22".
That was the week I wanted... sheesh!
That is rule #1 - don't give up!
I put it on hold and approached D.
He was concerned about the tight quarters, the other guests (3 other couples), the weather, and numerous other things. I was too.
This WAS a risk.
The question was Was It Worth It?
After discussing and chewing on it for the 24 hour hold time (and talking to Grammie - could she watch the kids?) - we decided to do it.
We booked it!
We added a few additional days onto the end of our itinerary - in case the cruise was a BUST. We looked into which islands might be the best bet for the extra days. (It was between Virgin Gorda, Tortola - where we were flying in & out - St. Joh, but we had been there for 11 days already, and Cooper Island.) We booked our airfare (best deal this time was on www.vayama.com).
And then we counted down the 45 days to "blast off".
I looked on www.tripadvisor.com and Googled comparisons (like Tortola vs. Virgin Gorda).
Everything I read was saying Virgin Gorda was the winner. We had been to Virgin Gorda before, for 2.5 hours on a previous day trip, but hadn't spent any actual time there. I was going back and forth between 2 affordable places to stay on Virgin Gorda... Guavaberry and Mango Bay. Guavaberry was down by The Baths, which seemed like a great location. BUT
* it is waaaaay down at the end of the island, away from everything else
* we had been there before
* we were going again for an afternoon on the catamaran.
So we chose Mango Bay which was more at the midpoint of the island and seemed an easier base from which to explore.
Our flights were expensive but not the peak (which was like $850+ per person). They were also LONG - LAX to Dallas to Puerto Rico to Beef Island (Tortola)... we could definitely see why so many people are baffled when we tell them we are from California... it is mostly East Coasters there... they wonder why we aren't in Hawai'i. (But when you meet the people, see - and feel - the water, and experience the Caribbean, you don't wonder any more :)
We arrived to Beef Island at 9:00PM after a LONG day of travel which started at 4AM. We got eaten ALIVE by mosquitos as we waited to go through customs etc.... what a way to start the trip - ugh! We walked out and told a guy we wanted to go to Nanny Cay (pronounced "Key"). They put our bags in a van and we took off in the dark on an island we had never been to to a destination that was a bit vague to us. This is the norm here and we are used to it, but we thought how scary & foreign this would seem to people who had never done it before or who were not used to traveling. So many people arrive and their resort has sent a car... but we have NEVER done it that way.
The drive to Nanny Cay was long, much longer that I had thought... maybe 45 minutes on curvy, narrow, dark, unfamiliar island roads. Our driver had his wife (girlfriend?) and their toddler in the car too... the baby snuggled quietly on the mom's lap in the front seat and they murmered quietly to themselves as we drove. We arrived at Nanny Cay, which is the marina. There were probably 6-7 Festiva "cats" all docked side-by side. We were greeted and after a little confusion, were put on a boat - the "Annie" - a $770,000 catamaran. Some of the other boats' guests were still awake with music and drinking and partying... but our fellow cruisers were all asleep already (about 10:15PM). We settled in to our tiny little cabin and fell quickly asleep.
D woke we pretty early the next morning and let me know we were the youngest BY FAR on the boat.
Bruce & Judy from MN were in their early 70's... we can only HOPE to be as active and adventurous as them when we are their age! They had both be devastated by the loss of spouses to cancer and reconnected (they had been friends in Jr. high) had married each other just 8 years ago.
Marianne (Cardiology Nurse Practitioner) & Jim (works for "the fed") from Long Island... live SUCH the Long Island life... $100,000+ weddings for each of their girls, etc.
And Harley (forensic psychologist with GREAT stories) & Robin (runs his practice) from Miami (they had a large, black, pet potbellied pig named "Pinky").
Our bed - Yes, we both slept there :)
Our "wet head"... the bathroom IS a shower all in one (check out the drain in the floor)... the sink faucet is the shower faucet.
See D's foot in bottom left corner? He is on the bed!
Getting ready to go snorkeling off the boat at Norman Island on the first day.
Playing Black Jack with Bruce & Judy, Marianne (the dealer), and Harley & Robin.
At The Baths on Virgin Gorda - this was just a day stop... we could come back here for 4 days at the end of our trip.
Climbing through The Baths at Virgin Gorda