Thursday, January 29, 2015

Let's start at the very beginning

Because I hear that's a very good place to start. Although I'm a little unclear on the order in which it started - this was another everything-just-fell-together trip. Possibly not quite as serendipitous as the Finland trip, which, as some may actually recall, came about because I just happened to go to the Manhattan West Marine to pick up a couple of Eldridges (east coast tide and pilot book and a very handy thing for a tide-sensitive boater to have), ran into Capt. Kat, who was there picking up something of her own, and left with my Eldridges and an invitation to go sailing in the Gulf of Finland (yowza!). 

This time, there was more of a confluence of events, and it was definitely Facebook-driven. I actually can't remember what happened first, but at some point in the fall, Jenn, who I met on the Finland trip and with whom I've stayed in touch, said something to me on Facebook about how she and Captain Kat had been talking about a USVI sailing trip. Around the same time, TQ announced that he wanted to go on vacation -- yowza again!

We haven't really done a just-us vacation since he moved to New York (and in fact for a while before that when he was in PA - that involved a string of weekends in the country for me but for him that was called "home"); we've traveled to a couple of family gatherings and had a couple of pretty nice staycations, but no going away and playing with boats together like we really like to do. In the meantime I've run off and had three adventures without him (Hawaii in 2010 for my 25th reunion, Finland and Estonia in 2012, and of course my solo trip down the Hudson last summer, which we'd actually discussed doing together, but which I'd also dreamed of as a solo trip for years, long before we started dating, so when things fell into place for the solo version, I just did it); I'm not sure whether that makes me a bad girlfriend (because I leave my poor guy at home while I run off and have fun) or a good girlfriend (because I don't guilt-trip him when he can't join me for one reason or another, I just go anyways) but I'm a pretty independent cuss and (to quote that "True Facts About" guy on YouTube) that is how I do.

But he was finally in a position to join me on something now. Fantastic.

At first I'd thought he was talking about something around the Thanksgiving holiday. Short notice, this was already November, but I'd already planned to take that week off and I was game. When he clarified that he was thinking more about a nice thawing-out trip in January, for a moment I was off-balance, because that's not a time when I would usually take vacation, but when I thought about it I realized that that's actually not a bad time at the office - there are a few January projects that would have to be done before I left but some late nights would let me do that, and we don't really start into the budget until February (Really Big Children's Book Company's fiscal year is June to May so late winter into spring is Budget Hell and a vacation request would be met with derision - but January's OK).

So with that in mind, I emailed Jenn and Capt. Kat about their January in the USVI plans - picturing the situation as being that they already had things lined up, and if TQ and I were lucky there would still be space on the boat. As it turned out the deal was nowhere near as done as I'd pictured -- more of a  "Wouldn't it be fun to...?" talk over margaritas. However, when I emailed them saying, "So this trip you have planned, is there any chance...?", things went from theoretical to real in a blindingly (and delightfully) short amount of time - TQ and I were in, Kat and Jenn were serious about it, 2 or 3 more people would make it work. Jenn had another couple in mind, one of her oldest friends, Lenore, going back to elementary school, and Lenore's husband Dave. Lenore had never been on a trip like this but they're an adventurous couple and had loved Jenn's stories from other trips, and when they got the email, there wasn't a moment of hesitation.

Within a few more days, we'd agreed on days (first from Jan 16th - Jan 23rd, then extended to the 26th when we saw that Island Yacht Charters, the charter company in St. Thomas with which Capt. Kat was planning to line up the boat, had a 10-days-for-the-price-of-7 deal right at the time we wanted to be there -- once again YOWZA -- lotsa yowzas going on --). Pretty soon there was a contract for an Island Packet 440 (we'd hoped for a slightly smaller boat but those were all booked), and then we were sending Kat deposit money, and then we were buying plane tickets, and then there was a string of what-to-expect emails (Kat's great at that)...well, this whole flurry of things happened in early to mid-November, so then there was this long period when the trip just seemed so far away, and then it was finally January and I had to start scrambling to get all my work things done and then there was shopping to do (I need shades! I need cute yet practical shoes! I need a long-sleeved white shirt for the middle of the day! I need shorts! Jeeze, do you know how hard it is to find shorts in Manhattan in January? I need books and a journal and pens and bigger SD cards! So needy am I!!!) and then all of the sudden it was the night before and I was up all night obsessing over my packing and then we were driving to the airport and then...

Waiting to board, early in the morning at JFK --

 Land ho! Approaching Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas. I think that's Water Island straight down from the wingtip - a few night later we anchored there, that was our jumping-off point for the longish day sail to Vieques. 

Look, sailboats! That'll be us soon! TQ was actually taking these, this being his first trip down here I'd given him the window seat, but I did ask him to take some pictures of the approach. 

 About to land on St. Thomas


 Hurry up and wait. Jenn's flight had gotten in a little late, so she found us here; we got our bags, she led us to the gentleman with the rum samples (how did we miss that guy???), and then it was off by van to find our boat. Let the adventure begin!


Karen @Baking In A Tornado said...

Wow, the power of connections. How this all came together is pretty amazing. But you take your opportunities where you find them, and you certainly had a great one here.

bonnie said...

I have some stick-in-the-mud tendencies, I do like my routines, but I'm pretty good about shaking that off and jumping when something fun comes along. Paid off beautifully this time!

Baydog said...

Nice! Looking forward to the next installment