Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sabrina turns 11

Sabrina's 11th birthday was spent hanging in Road Town, Tortola, BVIs. She planned her day to the minute. Monster Pancakes for breakfast (a type of baked egg/pancake), painting nails on the boat then out for lunch. The kids both enjoyed a huge cheeseburger and Ting, a Jamaican grapefruit soda. After lunch we did some expensive grocery shopping. We found our hair braid lady in the craft stalls and Sabrina sat for an hour while Sherry braided her hair. Dinner was pizza on the grill with Marc grilling a made to order pizza for everyone. Present and card opening followed with big smiles by Sabrina. Thanks to Kmart on St. Thomas and Black Friday, we got an adult version of Apples to Apples. The added weight on the boat is compensated by the kids desire to play the game nightly. Marc gave Sabrina the ever popular, "get out of dishes", "get out of punishment" and "wild card" hand made coupons. Showing great discipline, Sabrina just cashed in some of her last years cards a week before they expired this year. Smartly, she got out of Thanksgiving dinner dishes which Marc completed by himself.
After Road Town, we headed toward Norman Island, home of the Wille T floating boat bar and reputed buried pirate treasure. Though when here 17 years ago, I was young and crazy enough to do a body shot on the bar, this year we just watched the crazy drunken sailors. We met 6 guys on a boat from Rhode Island who bought us beers, danced, chatted us up and invited us back to "party" on their chartered catamaran. After assuring them that 9:00 p.m. was our bed time and we were old enough to be their parents, we left the craziness.
After two snorkeling adventures in the Caves and Indians, we felt the reefs were in respectable shape after 17 years of abuse by boat loads of tourists. The fish followed us around after being trained that boats and snorkelers meant food. Our entertainment has been watching the charter boats trying to anchor, pick up moorings and sail. Yesterday an "Emergency" call was heard on the radio. The panicked captain did not know to say "Mayday" or "Pan Pan" and state his position in the event of an emergency. He had ran his Moorings charter boat up on a well charted reef. With no Coast Guard or Boat US to save him, the local restaurants coordinated a rescue after figuring out where he was.
In Roadtown, we spent an afternoon touring 5 year old catamarans coming out of charter and going up for sale. Anyone thinking of buying the sales pitch presented at the boat show about the wonderful income stream chartering gives you should see the boats after 5 years. Even the boats "fixed up" looked trashed to us. Then, after seeing the way the boats are handled, the charter boats do not seem like a good deal. Next to Virgin Gorda, Anguilla and onto St. Maarten.