Things to bring that you might not think of.

1. Bug spray & hydrocortisone.

2. Soft-sided cooler.

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Travelogue: BVI June 2017

Friday 6/16: Houston-St. Thomas-Nanny Cay BVI.  Travel day! We met our crew at the gate and our flight to St. Thomas left at 10am.  We passed the time with a few drinks, chatting and we were just very excited to be starting our trip!  Once in St. Thomas, we took a taxi to a private water ferry to cross to BVI.  On prior trips, we’ve used a private ferry, and it’s  but this time it didn’t save us much time and definitely not money.   We brushed elbows with the DuPont family, as they were exiting the private water taxi… We were told the family has a huge house atop ST.  We paid $30 each for the private ferry to complete our customs forms and get them processed at BVI Customs in Soper’s Hole, on the west side of the island.  Customs closes at 6pm, so you have to factor that in from your flight arrival time.  It took us 30 mins to get through customs.  We taxied from Soper’s Hole over to Nanny Cay, proabably about 20 minutes.  Jules with VSV Charters was expecting us and showed us to our fantastic 46-ft catamaran.  You can see the tour of the boat here.  Meanwhile, RiteWay had just delivered all our frozen foods, dry goods, condiments, cheese, lunch meat, and of course, liquor!  PS Don’t overbuy on tortillas!  Lol.  Dinner was at the Peg Leg restaurant located at Nanny Cay.  The meal was great, I heartily recommend.  One more thing about Nanny Cay Marina….They have the BEST air-conditioned restrooms and showers for folks staying in the marina.  There’s a hotel and condos, very cute beach and pool that make Nanny Cay my favorite marina thus far.  We’ve departed from Road Town and Hodges Creek, and I don’t remember their marinas being anywhere as nice.  The Crew.

Saturday 6/17: Nanny Cay-Norman. We taxied over to Rite-Way in Road Town to buy our fruits, veggies, meats and other items that weren’t on the boat like paper towels, cookies, etc.  We agreed in advance that each couple would cook 1 dinner, so we purchased those items at Rite-Way, too.  Taxis on Tortola generally cost $10/person.  Our driver waited for us while we shopped, so the fare was about $25 more.  We left Nanny Cay about noon, and motored over to Norman Island to visit the world-famous (or infamous!!) Willy T’s boat bar.  On the way we snorkeled at the Indians, one of my favorite spots.  There are a few mooring balls to choose from there…it’s a very popular site, so expect other snorkelers.  Once we were settled in at Norman, i made a batch of deviled eggs, which was super-easy and went quickly.  We had 9 dozen eggs, so we had to use them up somehow!!  Later,   Dave and I got adventurous and decided to take the stand-up paddle over to Willy T’s.  It was an epic fail from the start, as we had never really used a SUP extensively.  We fell in at least twice, maybe three times, but that’s OK since a lot of people arrive in their bathing suits to Willy’s.  We jumped off the 2nd story of Willy T’s.  It’s a must-do!! (Note: this is my third trip to WT’s bar and the first two times they have many TV screens with pics of patrons drinking….Mostly nude 20 year old girls…I was seriously turned off by WT, but this time there was only one screen and it was a perfectly normal pic.  Perhaps Willy’s realized the BVI is becoming more of a family destination, or perhaps they realized the pictures were seriously gross.). We had a simple dinner and then to bed.  Naughti by Nature.

Sunday 6/18.  Norman-Baths.  We departed Norman to catch a mooring ball at Coooper Island, but all the balls were taken when we arrived.  There are about 30 balls at Cooper and they are ALWAYS occupied.  Instead we motored to the Baths at Virgin Gorda.  This is our third time to the Baths, and it’s always lovely to see the ginormous rocks.  The mooring balls at the Baths are for day-time use only, so we had to anchor west.  That night we grilled shrimp, tilapia and asparagus for the crew.    (What was the name of the small island where we hiked and Nena got sea urchin?)

Monday 6/19: Baths-Bitter End/Saba Rock.  We dinghyed over to hike the Baths.  You have to tie up the dinghy and swim the last stretch to the shore.  There’s a floating rope line which a lot of people use to drag themselves over by hand.  We got some great pics at the Baths, swam in _____ which is my favorite part of this excursion, and then we hiked back to what we thought was the trailhead where we started.  Instead we ended atop the Baths where there was a nice looking restaurant and shopping.  We quickly found a short cut back and met our party back on the beach.  Next, we sailed to Bitter End, arriving about 2pm.  That was our only sail of the trip!  I guess it was simpler to just motor the shorter distances.  On the sail,  we saw Richard Branson’s two private islands – Necker, and his newly acquired Mosquito Island. There was quite a bit of building construction on the latter, and Branson’s 100-ft catamaran, Necker Belle, is now in harbor at Mosquito.  Fun fact: there is a small artificial island with two fake palm trees off Necker.  Dave & I dinghyed there last time from Bitter End, it takes a little bit.  But it’ SO unique and well worth it!!  Also during the sail, we snorkeled and swam at Sandy Spit.  It’s a must-do.  The small spit is pristine, and you can walk around the whole thing.  That night, we settled in at Bitter End and had happy hour & dinner at Saba Rock.  SR is a VERY popular place, and they are well known for their huge Anegada lobsters and conch fritters.  Dave and I love to roam around the small island, where there is a hotel, lovely green grass, and plenty of seating on couches and hammocks to take in the ocean.  Our dinner did not disappoint.  That evening we all played The Question Game on the boat, a game for grown-ups only!!   When   We saw a small shark in the late afternoon.

Tuesday 6/20: Bitter End-Gun Creek-Leverick Bay.  In the past, we’ve gotten a couples’ massage at Bitter End, so were very surprised to learn that the spa is no longer operating there.  Instead, the lady at reception booked our massage across the Sound in Leverick Bay for 12:30.  Then, we headed for our hike on Guy’s Trail.  This is our second time making the hike and we loved it!  There are plenty of great photo ops along the trail.  Be aware that it is a VERY aggressive trail – lots of rocks, steep ascents and descents.  No flip flops on this one!  It’s worth it to get in shape before this vacation!  Dave and I had just completed P90X3, so I was strong and flexible with plenty of endurance.  If you hike Guy’s Trail, follow the signs that will return you back to Bitter End.  There is an alternate trail to another resort nearby – Birra’s Point – and you’ll get stuck on that side if you take that route.  That happened to us the first time and we had to catch a ferry back with local workers to BE.  Hee hee.  We finished the hike and swam in a fab quiet pool.  There are many outdoor showers on property for a quick rinse if you want a break from boat showers.  Next – we caught the free ferry over to Gun Creek, which I didn’t find to be too terribly exciting.  Mainly it’s a residential area for the locals.  The owner of the Leverick Bay spa met us on shore and drove us the short distance to the spa.  I encourage you to check out this gem of a spa!  Our masseuses did great jobs and it was very peaceful.  Total cost of the massages was $355 including a $25 tip for each masseuse. Afterward, we walked around the Liverick Bay Resort which is high-end yet smaller and more intimate than Bitter End.  We shopped at Pusser’s and had conch fritters and a nice curry chicken roti.  Before we rolled out of the resort, we stopped at the pool bar and as we were finishing our drinks, a swarthy sailor of indeterminate nationality rolled up ordered a shot of rum.  “I’m in a hurry,” he proclaimed as she poured the drink.  He downed the shot and immediately said “One more.” With that he threw back the second shot, dropped some cash on the bar (no tip ;), and he disappeared.  We chuckled at the incident, and little did we know that we would see the swarthy stranger once more on our travels….. ;).  We caught the 5 o’clock ferry from Gun Creek back to Bitter End.  Our friends picked us up in the dinghy and whisked us to Saba Rock for happy hour once again.  This time I saw Troy Aikman!  OMG he is a chiseled machine!!  Then it was back to the boat and a light dinner and to bed.  

Wednesday 6/21: Bitter End-Cane Garden Bay.  Cane Garden was a new stop for Dave & me.  It’s a nice high-end bay with mooring balls, surrounding by steep hills with houses.  The lights on the hill at night are beautiful.  We went to shore and stopped in to a few bars and had a terrible dinner at _______.  The food was meh and the service was horrible.  We pick up a few things from a small grocery store at REALLY high prices!  Think a canister of Folger’s for $8.50 and 10 slices of Gouda cheese for $9!!! 😦

Thursday 6/22: Cane Garden Bay-JVD.  During our motor from Cane Garden to Jost, we snorkeled and swam at Sandy Cay, an island gifted by Rockefeller as a national park.  That was a new stop for Dave & me.  We also pulled in to Slyvan’s Peace & Love Bar, located at _______ for a drink and shopping.  Let’s pause for a minute.  This very remote out-of-the-way placed had the BEST clothes shopping.  Me and the girls splurged on a few very cute items, see my post on my shopping haul at BVI.  .  It brings a smile to everyone’s face each time we find a sea turtle.  As we moored at Slyvan’s, a lady dinghyed up and invited us to her bar/restaurant, so that’s what we did.  There was a huge cage of GIGANTIC lobsters – the biggest we had ever seen – on the dock as we walked in.  Her name was Cynthia and she was a nut!  Her shirt that said “Drink Up Bitches” was the most hilarious part of it. HAHAHAAHAHA.  Jost is a primitive island.  This time we moored at White Bay, which I absolutely LOOOVE.  It’s peaceful and quiet.  We moored in front of Ivan’s Stress Free Bar – we love that place.  Ivan’s offers a variety of beach cabanas to rent for the night or a week at really reasonable prices.  Ivan’s claims that it never closes!  Ha!  That’s hilarious!  At 5pm, we watched a wedding from the ocean in front of  Ivan’s. It was a really sweet ceremony, then the party was off to Foxy’s for the reception.  At dusk, we saw a bunch of tarpon feeding off the back of our boat. There must have been 15 of them, and they swam upside down in a cluster to stip up little fish. Cool!  Our friends cooked marinated chicken with rice for dinner.  Then a few of us dinghyed over the Great Bay for dancing at Foxy’s.  Dave and I had a fun, romantic time dancing together.  We played giant Jenga and I won!  Just as was we were finishing our game, who did we see but our swarthy sailor friend!!  We immediately went up to him and told him our story of seeing him get rum shots at Liverick Bay, and we all had a good chuckle!!!  I got his name – he’s from South Africa – since he captains boats in BVI.  That happens a lot in the BVI – you run into the same people from island to island.  

Friday 6/23: JVD.  We practiced the stand-up paddle again and I finally got it after 3-4 falls.  For me the trick was keeping my legs perfectly straight and attached to the board.  Dave never could get the motion…. So he did sit-down paddle instead… 😉  I took a couple of naps that day…it was so nice to rest after many days and nights on the go.  Of course, no visit to the BVI would be complete with going to the Soggy Dollar Bar!!!  This is the most popular beach bar in the BVI, and is renowned for the Painkiller drink.  The bar got its name early on since you have to swim to the beach.  You can dinghy over, but most people swim from their moored boats.  Thus, SOGGY DOLLARs in your pocket.  ;).  Dave and I went to Soggy twice that day.  Soggy is ALWAYS crowded, as many power boats bring people in for day excursions.  I always see interesting affluent people at Soggy!!  There is a GREAT gift shop with super-cute Soggy swag… Plan to spend some $ here.  I had a champagne on both trips and I felt super high-end!! LOL.  Back at the boat, our friends made chicken fajitas for dinner.  Very YUMMM!  Later Dave and I made the dinghy ride over the Foxy’s for more great dancing and giant Jenga.

Saturday 6/24: JVD-Coooper-Nanny Cay.  We snorkeled at  A drink at Cooper.  They have a nice boutique which I skipped this time… I already finished my shopping for the trip.  Nanny Cay, hamburgers.  At 1am, we noticed the AC had stopped running and as our buddy Chris checked the control panel, the power on board flickered hard a few times then he shouted out “There’s an electrical fire out back!”  We all run up top and the power receptacle that we were plugged into had shot out flames and was smoking.  It all gave us a good scare, but the guys determined it didn’t pose further concern, so we all went back to bed. 😦

Sunday 6/25: Travel day back home.  

10 Lovely Spots in the BVI

1. The Baths

2. Sandy Spit / Sandy Cay

3. JVD – White Bay

4. Bitter End & Saba Rock

5. Leverick Bay

6. Peter Island secluded area

7. Cooper

8. Tortola: Nanny Cay / Soper’s Hole

9. Cane Garden Bay

10. Norman Island – Willie T’s

Maybe we don’t HAVE to paint our nails….

I was on a medication for 6 months that completely destroyed my nails.  It was such a weird side effect.  My nails were so weak and just WOULD NOT grow.  It felt strange to have such short nails and during that time I gave up polishing them.  My nails were such a wreck, I felt like only giving minimal effort.  

I got off the medicine with the OK from my doctor, which has had multiple benefits. 1. My nails are coming back. 2. One less doctor to see. 3. One less prescription to manage.  I still haven’t painted my nails.  I kind of enjoy not having that on my weekly to-do list!  I’ll get back to wearing nail polish again, but I learned from this experience to let go and realize the simplicity lesson.

Eat less restaurant food

I used to love finding new restaurants and trying out a new appetizer or salad.  New American is my all-time favorite cuisine and it’s fun to check out a hipster place with craft drinks… craft EVERYTHING.  Lol!!  My tastes have changed over the last 2 years.  Homemade meals are always better!!!  Healthier.  More economical.  More relaxed just chilling out with the fam at home and ditching the drive, 45 minute wait and meh customer service.  

Cooking can be very simple.  I think I’m just about over any recipe with more than 8 ingredients.  Seriously.  There just isn’t enough time and who wants to be stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is hanging out??  Make your time in the kitchen very efficient.  Get help from the kids.  Come up with meals that the hubby will enjoy cooking… Delegate! ;). 

It’s time to uncomplicate cooking for our families.  We don’t need a personal chef and we can do better than endless rotisserie chickens and mac-n-cheese.  With a little inspiration and focus we can have fun in the kitchen again!

Best undies ever

I ADORE the Ambrielle brand of women’s panties at JC Penney.  I like the polyester blends that are very easy to hand-wash.  I recently picked up 5 pairs for $25… Great price and I could have saved more if I had a coupon.  I especially like the sheer see-thru undies….SO CUTE!!!!!