I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


I arrived at the West End ferry dock at 9:30 to catch the 10:00 ferry to Jost Van Dyke. When I was here two years ago, we stopped at this island on our day sail but only had about an hour and a half there. It was the most beautiful beach I had been to on that trip and so was very loathe to leave. I am excited to be going back!

Just as the boat arrives, two sisters arrive that were at Cane Garden Bay the last time I was there. They are about my age or older and really friendly so I am happy to see them here. We chat about where we're from and where they've traveled (they are beach people so have been to most all of the beautiful beaches in the world) and what they do for a living. While we are waiting, a nice looking island fellow shows up and flashes me a big smile. I smile back and he asks how I am and I say I am great.

We all board the ferry and, although there's seating outside on the back deck, the whole deck is full of cargo; mostly beer and food for the restaurant bars over on the island so we all have to sit inside the stuffy passenger area. Fortunately, the windows are open and once we get underway there is a bit of a breeze.

The island fellow from the dock popped onto the boat so I thought he was traveling with us but I look out of my window and there he is on his own boat!

When we arrive on JVD, he is there on the dock waiting for us. The two sisters and I are talking about where we want to go first - they decide they want to walk over the hill to the Soggy Dollar Bar. I want to go to Foxy's first and the fellow tells me he is Foxy's son and he will drive me there if I like. I tell him I met one of his brothers on Anegada and as we try to figure out which brother it was - as I am useless at names - we get in his battered little Suzuki jeep and head over to the bar. On the way I find out his name is Dean and he shows me where Foxy lives and where he lives and stops to chat to a cousin who is working on a boat.

We pull up to Foxy's bar and I am so happy to finally see the place as we did not get here on our last visit. I have seen lots of pictures though. I ask Dean if his dad is there and he says he is but that he's old now and not always in the mood to visit with the tourists. But as I walk past an open doorway near the gift shop, an older man comes out and smiles at me. "Hi!" I say, "My name's Sandy." I shake his hand and he tells me his name is George. So it's not Foxy. Then some people from a dinghy that just docked walk up and say, "FOXY!!!! SO good to SEE you again, man!" and hug George. I look at them, mouth agape and Foxy laughs at me. "You scoundrel," I say, "you had me completely fooled." He laughs again. I watch and listen as the boaters chat with him and then have their pictures taken with Foxy. So I ask if they'll take mine and they do. Then Foxy sits on a log stump and starts making remarks about Americans being so politically correct and I say I am Canadian. He then launches into a rap/poem about Vancouver that is hilarious. He then does one about Toronto. The guy is amazing. He is in his 70's and yet he can remember all of this... but then he wrote it so I guess that is why. (I have come to realize since writing this that he makes these raps/songs up on the fly... amazing!!)

Foxy regaling us.

Eventually I make my way into the huge gift shop with the best selection of clothing I have seen so far. They even have women's T-shirts with a deep V neckline (which I love) that has Foxy designs on them. I buy one. Then I go sit at the bar and order a Carib beer. I don't like beer much but I grew to like Corona when I was in Mexico (it was the only thing to drink at the beach restaurant) and I am dying of heat after being in the stuffy gift shop for so long and need something refreshing. As I sit at the bar, Dean walks up and sits with me. We have an interesting conversation about how he can read people's auras and he read mine as soon as he met me. I ask him what he saw and he says 'a good heart, and some other things'. I ask what 'other things' and he says, not now - maybe later. The aura talk started by him guessing my exact age, which no one ever does; most people think I am a lot younger than I am so it shocks me when he is exactly right. He makes me guess his age and I am way off. I thought he was about 32 but it turns out he's 46. He also tells me that he is single and a musician turned DJ.

Foxy's Bar.

He asks if I want to go see the beach and I think he means the one out front so say yes, but then he walks away from that beach and to the car. We get in and he drives over the hill to where Ivan's Stress Free Bar and Campground is. When we get to the beach, I can't believe how gorgeous it is. The color of the water here is unmatched in the rest of the BVI that I have seen. And it's so clear you can see the bottom no matter how deep it is, and it's all sand. We get in the water and just float about for over an hour. It's pure heaven. We meet another woman in the water who is from one of the charter boats. She's really friendly and when we get out of the water to go sit on the beach, we join her friends and have some good laughs. What a fun bunch!!

Beautiful water.

Fun bunch!

Dean and I take a walk farther down the beach and go for a swim again. As we float he tells me what else he saw in my 'aura'. One thing he says is that I have had a very stressful life. That's pretty accurate. He also tells me that I haven't had anyone special in my life for a long time and he's right about that as well.

After about another hour in the water we walk back down to Ivan's and gather our stuff to head over to the Soggy Dollar beach. As we leave, Dean introduces me to Ivan. He's so cute! He's obviously old by the way he moves and is eating a sandwich so slow and carefully, but his face is unlined and looks so young. It's amazing how young all of the islanders look - it must be this languid, stress-free life. How I envy them.

We drive over to the Soggy Dollar and wow! it's so crowded today. There's a webcam on top of the bar roof that has live pictures and I visit it almost every day when I am at home and I don't think I have seen it this busy this time of year. (And, by the way, I am really wishing someone I knew was watching the cam and could take a screen shot of me on it. That would be so cool!) Dean needs to go see his brother who has a bar just behind Soggy Dollar up the road, and so he heads off and I go to the beach. It's just as I remember it... the water is the most amazing shade of blue/green and warm! The sand is softer than any other island I have been to. It's heaven. I go in for a swim and see the women we were hanging out with at Ivan's so we stand around in the water and chat some more and I get to meet more of her friends from another boat that they are sort of traveling with. Everyone is so friendly that it has made this whole experience so much richer for me. I am happier than I can ever remember being - and so relaxed it's ridiculous. I have noticed that I even walk like an islander now with that slow, unhurried sway.

White Bay in front of The Soggy Dollar.

White Bay in front of The Soggy Dollar.

A group of teen girls and their mom's try to get back to their boat without getting the merchandise they bought at the gift shop wet. Funny to watch!

The Soggy Dollar Bar.

It seems way too soon when Dean comes back and says we should think about heading off soon if I want to make the ferry. He had offered to drive me back in his own boat after the party at Foxy's tonight, which he is DJ-ing, and at first I accepted the offer as I knew I wouldn't want to leave at 4:30 like I am now. But then I thought about the trip back on the water in a small power boat in the dark and it scared me. Also, Dean has been making overtures to me that, quite frankly are not unwelcome and - had this been the first day of my stay in the islands instead of my last - I would have returned. But there's nowhere this can go now and I don't want to encourage him. So, after a quick trip into the gift shop where I buy a cute tank top, we climb into his jeep and head back over the mountain to the ferry dock. On the way he takes a detour over a hill on a path that isn't more than two rocky ruts with high grass in the middle and scrub and cacti on either side. He wants to to show me the best view on the island. But, unfortunately, when we get up there, the trees have grown higher since his last visit and obscured the view. There's also a cell tower here and he tells me he wanted to buy this property to build his house on but these guys got it first.

Back at the ferry dock, we say our goodbyes and I thank him for a wonderful day. He drives off and as I walk to the dock I see the two sisters, who I haven't seen since we arrived. Turns out they took the opposite tour of the island from us and so we just missed each other.

I had a fantastic day on the island and I can't think of a better way to have spent my last day here. If I ever come back, I am staying on Jost Van Dyke for half of my trip as it really is paradise.

Leaving. (this is not Jost Van Dyke, just an island on the way)

I just found out from a friend that I am on the front page of the Vancouver Sun today!!!!! UPDATE: The article is gone from The Sun page but it has been reprinted HERE.

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