By Tracey Parent
The cast of characters… (some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty).
Well I’ve now been on the boat 24 hours and gotten to know the others aboard a bit. Let’s just say it’s going to be an interesting week.
So let me start with Ross. Ross is our captain, he is the owner of ActiveCruising.com, which coordinates private and group sailing cruises throughout the Caribbean but specializing in the British Virgin Islands. I found Ross through a friend on Facebook and have had no less than 10 friends and clients begin working with him to plan their own cruises. The great thing about Ross and his company is that you can make your own private trip with friends, family, etc., or you can join one of his customized group trips, which is what I am doing right now. There honestly is a trip for everyone, from Eco-cruises to Scuba, and even Yoga, Pilates and SUP cruises.
Next up is ‘Melanie.’ Melanie is from Chicago, mid-forties and so far, reserved. I am pretty sure Melanie packed for three other people as well because her suitcase is the size of her sleeping quarters. Which surprises me because this isn’t her first trip either with Ross or on a boat. Her morning started with makeup and hair spray, which made me giggle inwardly. I mean, who the hell needs foundation and eyeliner at 7am in the Caribbean? I do believe however that we should all do what makes us feel good so you do you Melanie.
‘Bob and MaryJane.’ Bob and MaryJane are a cute married couple from Philly, I’m guessing in their early thirties. They are very picky eaters but not the kind that make it an issue for everyone else. Other than MaryJane’s allergy constraints, they just pick off the things they don’t like. I know this because I have taken on the role of “chef” on board, which anyone who knows me would find fitting (despite my earlier assertion that I would be making nothing stronger than a margarita). The truth is that I love to cook for others and I like being in charge. In my mind I imagined this free-for-all chaotic kitchen situation where everyone had their own crap and morning and afternoons would be too many cooks in the kitchen. I much prefer taking the lead and making sure everyone gets fed so that the fridge and kitchen stay organized and clean. Even on vacation I can’t stand a messy kitchen… but, I digress, Ed is the videographer on the boat and has THE COOLEST stuff EVER. He has two drones, underwater cameras, remote control everything. For him this is a working vacation. He and his wife are very nice.
‘Joe.’ I mentioned him before, he is the owner of a bunch of restaurants in Hilton Head, SC. He’s tall, mid fifties I guess, very sweet and warm. He seems like a gentle soul. He reminds me of my father. Smart, intellectual and even on vacation his entrepreneurial spirit needs stimulation. His idea of relaxing is reading a business-related book in a hammock. He’s single and traveling with his two friends ‘Eric and Carolyn,’ also from HH and from the restaurant industry (and no, none of them cook).
‘Eric’ and ‘Carolyn.’ In some ways he annoys me, but in other ways I find myself liking him, although I think as the week progresses his idiosyncrasies are probably going to prove to be an issue for others (they already are for one person on board), but time will tell. Carolyn is just a spunky and sweet Southern Belle.
Kristi. My friend and travel-mate is so many things. She is sweet and salty defined. She drinks a protein shake for breakfast and proceeds to eat candy all day. She hates rules and sometimes intentionally breaks them just because they exist. She’s funny and crazy. You can count on her to have brought every level of sunscreen but it wouldn’t surprise me if she smuggled a katana in her bag as well. Go figure. So far all has been tame with her. Let’s just hope she doesn’t over-imbibe. Pray for us.
And last but not least there is ‘Pam.’ I’ve been dying to tell you about Pam. Remember how I said the “zen” people I have met tend to be the most chaotic? Well PAM fits the bill to-a-tee. First of all she is sweet, she is beautiful and she is kind. She loves the earth and she is just as you would imagine a Hawaii-girl would be. Bronze, blonde highlights in her salt soaked long hair and that natural beauty that requires no makeup. She wears this sterling silver necklace with a whale tail pendant, and tie-dyed sundresses.
She is sister-earth with a sharp edge to her. She is zen until you irritate her, which I haven’t…. so far.
I won’t waste time on the little tantrums but last night is worth mentioning. Dinner was over and the check arrived. The bill comes and all that is required is for each person to find their food and drink, add the total, plus the 15% service charge, which is gratuity (there are no taxes) and pass the check down to the next person with your money. Simple enough right? WRONG. Pam decides to make it easy and add up everyone’s total but instead of speeding the paying process she is drawing lines through items she has already added, then can’t make it all add up, then can’t read what she has already scratched through and after about 10 minutes she is pissed. She has adopted the responsibility unnecessarily, and now is snappy and agitated and nobody else at the table knows how things got this awkward this fast. Needless to say, it all worked out, Pam took a walk and calm was restored. Pam is gonna be the drama on this trip I’m fairly certain. But she will almost certainly be the most fun as well!
It’s 6:30am and once again I am up with the sun. The thing I am most grateful for this morning is the fact that this birth control strategy is actually WORKING… so far, no flow! To say I am not an early riser would be an understatement. The term “early-riser” gives the impression that being awake early is intentional. I don’t sleep well, what with turning 40, kids, dogs, etc. So one might think given the opportunity I might sleep for days but honestly I think it’s gratitude that wakes me with the sun here. Being on a gorgeous boat, in the perfect weather, with the most magical views, makes you not want to waste a moment.
So here I sit on the rooftop of the boat listening to the water lap up against the side of our boat and others, the sound of the ropes hitting the masts of the sails on all these amazing sailboats moored beside us. It’s like a sailboat parking lot. Right now we are moored in the small bay at Saba Rock and The Bitter End Yacht Club. There are probably a hundred sailboats in the bay, sails down and lightly swaying back and forth in the breeze. The sun is coming up just over the mountain behind The Bitter End, and on a few of the boats you see a captain or two up and prepping boats and having their morning coffee. The temperature is… I dunno, whatever perfect is, with a breeze. When I woke up this morning and entered the galley, our captain Ross, said the wi-fi was down. I couldn’t care less. I’m sure we will get it sometime and when we do I will check in and make sure the world at home isn’t falling apart without me, which I feel certain it isn’t, and I will send out this update.