Rick took me to the British Virgin Islands for the first time in 2013. A good friend of his chartered a sailboat and we spent a week living aboard a 42 foot Beneteau. I have to say, at the very least, I was uncertain about the experience. Don’t get me wrong – I was 100% on board (literally and figuratively), but the extent of my sailing experience prior to this trip was two outings on a tiny lake in Kansas… The first of those outings was so rough, we probably shouldn’t have even had the sail up (or so they told me afterward). The second, well, there was no point in even putting the sail up. Zero breeze. I ran us aground on that trip (not my fault – the captain zoomed out on the depth finder display thingy and I got disoriented – and why would you put the rookie at the helm to begin with – and thank goodness for retractable keels and the unfazed demeanor of the physician/sailor man captaining us).
Anyhoo, point being that although I was absolutely beyond excited for the adventure, I was definitely a little (lot) uncertain about my comfort level onboard a ship in an actual ocean.
We spent the first night moored at Trellis Bay, off the eastern tip of Tortola. Talk about a Latitude Adjustment!
The whole experience was so spectacular – the dinghy ride to the boat, sea turtles swimming by, getting accustomed to the gentle movement and lapping of the water… We had an amazing cheeseburger in paradise that night, too! Next morning, after purchasing large amounts of Arundel Rum at the gift shop on shore (seriously – get some if you’re ever there), we set off for Virgin Gorda. And the nerves kicked in. I think for me, not knowing what’s “normal” in any given situation causes me to be anxious. Once I got familiar with the feel of the boat slicing through the waves (and not tipping over), catching the wind in the sails (and not blowing over), and learned to lean against the tilt of the boat (and not fall over), I was hooked. 100% fully immersed in the adventure. I had to make it through the uncertainty to get to the indescribably vibrant experience of a lifetime. And now I can’t wait to do it again.
I threw off the last vestiges of uncertainty and embraced another adventure on that trip, too. I knew I loved that sweet, strong, funny guy that hauled me all the way to the Caribbean, but that week, I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. You get to know a person when you travel together. You get to know them even better when your chosen method of travel is 42 feet long and surrounded by water. That was a great week. That trip launched us onto the greatest adventure of all – a life together. You never know what’s on the horizon, but we know that we can face it together.
We went back to the BVI over a year later. I told Rick as we stood on the beach and smiled at each other in our wedding finery, “Last time we were here, I knew I wanted to marry you. This time, I got my wish.”
I love you, babe.