The Old Man and the Sea Blog

Posted by Geoff

So the old man wants a blog post from each of us kids.  Judging from my dad’s dedication each day to write you timely blog posts, get them online whenever he noticed ANY potential flicker of internet strength from the many beach bars, and his enthusiasm as he spoke of the day’s writing, I think its safe to assume that you have a pretty good idea what we did on our vacation.  I’m sure he mentioned diving with black tip reef sharks, getting pelted by the stinging horizontal rain as we approached the low lying atoll Anegada, and our (meaning me and Wes) attempts to fly the hull on the thirty-eight foot cat. So what the hell am I supposed to write during this seven and a half hour, oh-so-comfortable flight back to the chaos of California?  Well I guess you get to hear me ramble about my experience from the trip… Lucky you!

So first things first, I’m sure it has already been mentioned but this was our first family vacation in about eight years.  Now that I think about it, I think our last vacation was salmon fishing in British Columbia where I caught a sixty four pound salmon that I remember being taller than Wes.  I think its safe to say he’s grown a bit since then.  So… my dad came to us with the plan that each year one of us would get to choose the vacation – pretty much anywhere we want – and all we have to do is manage to get the time off from our busy lives.  Fair enough.  Being the oldest, I got to choose first.  Nice!

First things first, wherever we went needed to be warm… with water warm enough to swim in.  San Francisco gets PRETTY frosty after a while.  Given that I tend to spend every free second of my day working on my boat to try and get her ready to go cruising, I thought it might be a wise move to use this as an opportunity to get another taste of cruising.  The last time we went cruising I was about fifteen years old and who knows… maybe it really sucked and I just remember the good stuff.  I figured this trip could serve as a test before I go “all in” and sail South.

Tonga was my first choice but after cyclones nailed the South Pacific and we learn the King of Tonga wants us to pay $2,000 for a short inter-island flight and didn’t fly on the day we needed to fly and the two planes they fly break down half the time, several weeks ago we scrapped that plan and opted for the logistically simpler plan to go to the BVI’s.

If you want to read up on the details of the trip from the start (delayed flights, missed flights, tired as hell, trip to paradise) to our departure to the airport at 5:30 am this morning, I direct you to my dad’s blog posts.  I am down to 38% on the battery meter.

Simply put, the trip was awesome.  Probably could not have gone any smoother. Well, on second thought it would have been nice if our sombrero wearing Caribbean hot sauce didn’t explode as it flew from the counters while Wes and I were racing back to Tortola with full sails in twenty-five knots.  But hey, that’s why you have the internet!  We’ll just order some online.

We lucked out with absolutely beautiful sailing.  Sun, rain, squalls, wind, no wind, clouds, clear water, not clear water, sharks, angel fish, the perfect balance of anything you would imagine.  I smiled till my face hurt, laughed till my stomach cramped and I literally started to cry.  Singed about half an inch of hair off the entire right side of my head lighting the BBQ for some grilled Mahi burgers.  Best of all we, as a family, had a great time together.  We’re all coming home tanner and happier.  I know that Jen and Wes are already planning their next trip to the BVI’s, figuring out how many friends you can cram on a sailboat to make the trip cheaper (Wes and I found that you can sleep an extra two in the mainsail cover, sleeping under the stars on the boom).

For me this was just the confirmation that I needed. I need to go cruising. Now needless to say, cruising is different than chartering a boat for a week.  This was a vacation and I know that cruising is a never ending challenge and a LOT of work. On this trip however, I found myself happiest when things went wrong – when we almost lost our rudder, hit by squalls and what most would call “crap” weather forcing you to reef down.  I know this post has been a lot about “me” but I suppose that was the point.  The fact is though that this trip was not about me, my dad, Wes, or Jen. Nor was it about the sailing, the diving or the beautiful weather.  It was about the people.  From the moment we stepped onto the islands we met some of the most amazing, knowledgeable and happiest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.  Every one of them had so much to teach if you were willing to take the time to listen to their stories.  And believe me, we heard some pretty awesome stories!  And then there is the fam – the reason we made this trip happen in the first place… safe to say we had a blast!  Time to prepare for landing… until next time!

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  • April 20, 2010 - 4:21 am

    Marlene Shirley - My heart filled with “warm fuzzies” as I read your post. I am so grateful you all had such an amazing time. I can relate to smiling until your face hurt, laughing until your stomach cramped and you end up crying tears of joy. That’s what happened to Kerry and I on our trip t Beijing. And it’s just unbelievable the awesome people that live on this planet we call earth! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and feelings. Love, Aunt MarleneReplyCancel

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