Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day Nine - Virgin Gorda, British VI

dateline Tortola, BVI

Today I woke at 0615 and went straightway to the 12th deck café for coffee, and saw on the stbd side a most gorgeous colored sky as the sun rose over a scattering of small islands and the sea and sky were lovely colors. This being the second time I had ventured from my cabin without the camera, I went back quickly and shot a half dozen or so different pics as the sun rose and yet another cruise ship approached the island slowly. I hope the many pics do the scene justice. [Judge for yourself; see below] The ship passed us and is a celebrity liner with no name on stern. The one with us yesterday in St Thomas was the Serenade of the Seas, and my taxi driver was taking a cruise on her next week, about his 8th.

Dreams last night were wonderful, and life ain’t too bad awake either, as I sit drinking my coffee and watching the celebrity ship approach Tortola with a half dozen officious little police type ships swarming round her (and us) like Chihuahua puppies lusting after a great Dane. They are making quite a fuss and I was just telling ‘fritz’ the cfi yesterday about them rolling the cfr trucks at all the stops on the way to Bora Bora, and now I find myself wondering whether they have received some sort of threat to the ship,. Certainly it [cruising] epitomizes the type of living that Muslims find unholy.

Well we are cleared to tender, and I have twenty minutes to get myself to the stardust lounge for my shore excursion, which is ONLY a ticket to Virgin Gorda. Time will tell if I have screwed this one up, but it will be foot on a new island…..

And so I made my way to the stardust lounge, arriving about three minutes before our assembly time of 0730. It turns out that the Highlights of Virgin Gorda thing was the way to go, and we had a double deck boat filled with people on their way to get off the boat and onto open buses. No room for me. The ride across the water was lovely, and so yes, I have been boating in the BVI so there!

When we got to the dock, however, there was a lovely welcome sign and not a lot else. There was a closed customs bldg and naught else anywhere. The female running the tour told me there was no room. Someone else said there was, and she came along and said no again. So I walked away from the dock and to my right, toward visible ship masts which I hoped would yield a sail.

Found a hole in the fence and soon felt like Robinson F Caruso on a deserted island, as the ship was not going back for three hours and I was left with the following resources: sunscreen, binocs, gps, raincoat, two towels, camera, bottle of water, paper and pencil, a quiet pretty beach and a gorgeous view. So I fell back on my own resources to amuse myself, and immediately began a journal of the kamikaze event, and wrote letters to A** and C***, inviting them both to dinner in NYC if they ever have any free time. God help me if they ever say yes!

Went into the water up to my knees, and basically had resigned self to look into things next time a little further, when I decided to walk a little further. Thinking of Princess Bride, I listed my assets and what I was missing:

Have: water, beach, sunscreen, gps, writing stuff, binocs, rain parka, towels, lovely view, sectional.

Don’t have-food,, taxi, sailboat, toilet, bike, internet, postcard, reading material Incidentally, I picked up eight satellites on the gps, which it had not done since I was on the river in Bangkok heading to the Royal Orchid hotel and another kamikaze lobby entrance in my sweats.

Finally decided to walk a little further from the ferry.

It was like a twilight zone episode, as I came to a tourism center with internet (which at forty bucks an hour I passed) postcards, t shirts, batteries and candy bars, and I got them all. They had begging chickens, some pretty music, a chair and shade to sit in, and the rest of the time on Virgin Gorda passed very pleasantly. The first wasn’t really unpleasant, just a bit of a surprise, and there were a few sprinkles of rain, but not enough for me to put on the parka.;

On the beach there was even a man Friday, although he said no more than good morning as he mended his lobster pots or whatever they were. There was a tiny sandshark on the grass and again, some substantial yachts at anchor and moored alongside. The one that I saw a location on was Roadtown BVI which I now know is the capital of Tortola. I got a postcard of Virgin Gorda and one of Tortola despite my visit to Tortola being about five seconds (as Fritz dumped the flaps yesterday and I put power on the skyhawk hee hee= touch and go on runway seven – perfectly done).

Time now is 1325 local, 1225 NY, and we are under way, with no more stops till we are in NYC. I am already thinking seriously of re booking the Dawn again, even understanding that a balcony is not necessarily in my next trip for the price I paid for this one. I fell in love with being waited on hand and foot aboard the Ecstasy and this trip has done nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for it. BTW, I went off and left my do not disturb sign on, and have quite a collection of dirty dishes, but all otherwise fine.

When I got back to the ship, the ferry was smashing up against the Dawn as we debarked, and I remarked to myself that this was the very last time that I was going to climb aboard this lovely vessel this time out. For sure will keep an eye on prices for upcoming cruises on her, maybe even Xmas. I already spoke to R*** about same. As I wandered around, I felt again that there is just something for everyone here. Little kids were splashing in the t rex pool. Many others were at a poolside barbecue, and the garden café was also filling up, with all kinds of exotic food for every taste. Even mine, as I went to the Bimini deck for two hotdogs and some fries.

As we steam away from Tortola for NY, I have elected to remain on my balcony and catch up with the mornings activities, and won’t budge till we are out of sight of land.

For fun I just looked at my diary for a year ago, and I was dealing with nine inches of snow with the camper etc. Obviously, I have no idea what wx has been going on back on LI. But this is quite a bit more pleasant, with the warm trades blowing across my balcony and a succession of lovely green islands and white sailboats filling the gorgeous waters of the Caribbean. With the cabin gps and my TCA chart that I got yesterday, it is a cinch to see just where we are. I ran into Dr Ho earlier and asked him to telephone and come on up and share the balcony.

The British Virgin Islands are falling astern now (Jost Van Dyk off my balcony) and I am openly and overtly lonely now. . This gorgeous, sunridden balcony overlooking the gorgeous blue Caribbean and the even more beautiful virgin islands falling astern is downright lonely with an empty chair. I even thought of wondering how much a condo on one of these islands would go for.

After reading the description of the snowstorm last year on this date, the idea of sitting permanently on a warm balcony overlooking the warm water appeals. So does another cruise, although it will be tough to do without the balcony for sure. I think it is time to wander the ship and watch some people. Called Dr Ho but no answer.

Wandered here and there. Got some ham and turkey sandwiches and brought them back to the room which I forgot to leave the sign on to make up, and it is filling up with empty dishes. R*** sent some more too which I haven’t even looked at. I gave my letter to A*** and got one of her “light up the room but unfortunately infrequent” smiles.

Went to the meeting on upcoming cruises and they have one that goes to both Machu Picu and the Antarctic which sounds ideal. The ‘dead cow’ in the impressions dining room does not sound appealing so I am going to wait and have another burger in the Blue Lagoon (for such is the name of the little place next to reception). I figure to time it for 1900 and listen to the Philippinos and then go internet a little.

I stopped off in the gift shop and was successful in finding instructions which enabled me to stop the alarm from going off on my watch. While I was there, a couple was looking at a watch which sells for thirty five thousand dollars. I asked the clerk if they sold many, and she said no, they do not. I pointed out that for that price I got a house, car and airplane and boat. Her rather plaintive response was “well, it is platinum”.

And I went to the casino with twenty bucks, saw a $25 table with a rich old idiot lady and a slow dealer who was milking her dry, so as soon as I won one hand at the five buck table, I went over, and got a 13 against a ten showing. But the old lady split fours and sevens I think, and got every low card in the deck, so I stuck and the dealer broke on his 16. Feeling chuffed, I left posthaste with thirty five profit.[well, $30]

Watching CNN now, as the vacation is over and we are heading home. Terrorists attacked the US Embassy in Riyadh KSA. More mayhem in Iraq and attacks by ETA in Spain as well. Stocks seem to be way down…will go on line later tonight. . Stood awhile on the balcony of the internet café on the 9th deck watching the dancing to the Philippino trio who hit some really bad chords in Just in Time.

On line I checked and got another nice message from Mr V***, some more funny messages from S*** in Colorado who has developed quite a cult following, and no wonder, as her turns of phrase are marvelous... kind of like Erma Bombeck on speed. Quick post on pprune and I was off, without checking email at home or comics. . The blue lagoon was busy so I came right back to the room to see a sea turtle on my bed (towels) and photographed it, and looked at the last bit of stuff from R*** and it was chocolates, so I am prolly gonna skip dinner altogether.

But I did find myself back in the internet café catching up on the few things I missed first time, and to listen to the romantic trio playing. Have been catered to, waited on, looked after for eight or nine days, have seen and photographed five new islands, have six or so new postcards for the refrig area, nothing unpleasant facing me at home, and actually still two more days and nights at sea. And presumably the resources to do it all over again, to South America, Macu Picu and Antarctica if I want to. None of which explains why I feel like I do.

----Tortola Sunrise

-------- My Robinson Crusoe beach


Fijufic said...

I have been to Tortola. Treacherous roads. Lots of European touristy types. I stay in St. John, USVI to avoid the speedo sightings...UGH! I haven't made it to Virgin Gorda

Anonymous said...

I think it is best known for the sailing in the waters around the islands. I understand Jost Van Dyke has only part time electricity.

St Thomas, from what I was reading on cruise critic, apparently has a much worse crime problem than they let on.

Still, the thought of a warm balcony with a view of the sailboats still appeals.

BethanyC said...

You were right, I haven't heard this story. Nice reading Darling. But, somehow I find myself jealous of "S" in Colorado. Of course, I always was. She was incredibly clever!

Fin said...

So are you m'dear, so are you. And thanks for reading.