This year for Christmas my family took an amazing trip to the British Virgin Islands. The color of the water, how soft the sand is, and the size of the fish. It's unbelievable. So I thought I would share a little taste of that.
Also this is my first time using my new FUJIXT2 and let me say, it was wonderful. For the first time on vacation it wasn't a hassle to carry my camera(and an extra lens) around. Mirrorless is the way to go. There are a few shameless selfies and iPhone pics thrown in.
Day 1: We flew in and stayed at the Windward Passage Hotel. Great little hotel for the price, gorgeous views, and an amazing courtyard. It was really close to town(which had pros and cons) and really close to the ferry where we were meeting my parents the next day. We got in and walked to Burger Max, a tiny hole in the wall kind of place, and just relaxed for the evening.
Day 2: The next morning we walked into town(Charlotte Amalie), bought some really cool wooden sunglasses(left ours at home), escaped from the rain at a covered, open air bar with the nicest bartender, ate at this cute little cafe called Pasta Go Go for lunch. The owner was this sweet British lady and her son. We had some amazing(and well priced) paninis and just hung out until my family's flight arrived and we ferried over to the BVI to pick up our catamaran. For dinner we ate at this tiny shack where the locals hang out. They were so nice everyone tried to give up their chairs and tables. I really wish I knew the name of this place, it was so good, just a short walk from where we were docked in Tortola.
Day 3: Most of this day was spent sailing. We did stop along the way at The Indians which is this really cool rock formation with deep drops. Great for a quick snorkel stop but best for strong swimmers. Back at the boat we saw a huge barracuda. For dinner we went to Willy T's(sorry I missed getting a picture of this one). Willy T's is a floating restaurant(you got it, it's a boat) where people go up to the top deck and jump off the back. They used to give out free t-shirts if you went topless, but don't do that anymore. It was a really fun atmosphere and we enjoyed the food. I got a local dish called roti which is like a wrap with curried chicken and potatoes served with a mango dipping sauce. Mmmm!
Day 4: Christmas! Mum surprised us with the cute personalized YETIs and British chocolate(even though she said no presents). We spent the day at Trellis Bay where we visited Aragorn's Studio to see some local art, chilled in a 12 person hammock, went to the Loose Mongoose and jumped on their giant ocean trampoline, and then had Christmas Dinner at the Last Resort with live music.
Day 5: We made our way over to Saba Rock where I tried really hard to catch a picture of a HUGE sea turtle. Turns out they aren't so slow in the water. Lunch here was amazing, by far one of our favorites but a little pricey. The gift shop is cute and we were able to replenish our stock of sunscreen (us Brits are very pale). From there we took the dinghy over to Prickly Pear Island and explored down to the beach where The Beach Bar is. Later, we did end up going back to Saba Rock to watch a tarpon feeding and wow they were monsters.
Day 6: My favorite day. We sailed to Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda and caught a taxi as soon as we got there to head over to The Baths. We ate lunch at The Top of The Baths Restaurant (also on the top of our list for fav restaurants). From there we hiked over to The Baths where we spent hours exploring the trail and I took tons of pictures. When you exit the rocks, you come out to this gorgeous enclosed beach where we snorkeled and relaxed before heading back. We got back to find out while we were gone my brother, who had stayed behind, had gotten stuck on the dinghy and was rescued by the captain of another boat. We ate dinner at their casual restaurant that night and rowed back to the boat.
Day 7: As it turns out, the bottom half of the engine had fallen off the dinghy. Luckily, we booked through a great company and they took care of it quickly so we could get on our way. Most of our day was spent sailing, we stopped off at Sandy Cay. Fair warning, this island is amazing, but BRING SHOES. You may get on the shore and think "wow how serene", but when you decide to explore and follow the path filled with magical hermit crabs everywhere, and get to the rocky part and think "how long could this last?" if you don't have shoes the answer is an eternity TURN BACK. If you have shoes it would be a great little hike. I wanted to die and will no longer be buying this island for my future home. We ended up mooring in Garner Bay, Jost Van Dyke. Strawberry from Sydney's Peace and Love took us in like family so we spent the afternoon lounging on the beach, shopping in the boutique, and relaxing at her restaurant. They do a self-service bar which my family really enjoyed. If you like lobster this is the place to go. Easily 3 lb lobsters.
Day 8: My second favorite spot we visited was the bubbly pool. Seriously this place was amazing. The water rushes in to this little crevice and fills up this tiny little beach. It's a lot of fun to play in the water, pretend to be mermaids on the rocks, and get violently pushed off those rocks by the waves. Word of advice: carefully climb the rocks. The view is SO worth it. And you get to watch everyone else get pushed over. I will warn you, this is not a rainy day activity. While walking the trail to get to the bubbly pool, there are several hand painted signs warning about the trees that when rained on produce acid. We tried to moore at Foxy's but it was completely full. People were camping out for New Years coming up. So instead we went back to Garner Bay and went to Harris's. Another wonderful lady who made us her family. She made a special lobster chowder that night. She also does a weekly special of all you can eat lobster if you can line that up right in your trip.
Day 9: Our last full day on the boat. This was another day filled with a lot of sailing and gorgeous views. I think by this day all of us land lovers were just ready to sleep in a real bed and take a real shower. Sailing is amazing and fun but wow do you forget what a luxury it is to flush your toilet paper. We stopped at Pusser's Marina Cay for the afternoon on the beach and had our last dinner together. It was amazing but pricey. What was really fun is their dessert menu was on a ViewMaster. Too cute!
Day 10: NYE! I don't think any of us kids made it to midnight. We took the ferry back to St. Thomas, grabbed a quick lunch, and took a taxi over to our condo. We stayed at this great place in The Anchorage Beach Resort. It was exactly what we needed after a busy week of sailing. We all took REAL showers and slept.
Day 11-15: We spent a lot of time recouping by the pool and in the condo. When we weren't at either of those we were eating at least once a day at this great place called Sangria's. The staff is wonderful and took great care of us! The pizza is highly recommended and the fish sammie. It was just a short walk over by beach. We did do a brunch at the Caribean Fish Market which was great. On the second day my sister and I did make the poor decision to try to walk to the grocery store(less than 2 miles away). DO NOT do this. The road there is just too busy and there's nowhere to walk. A stranger driving past felt so bad for us that he stopped and insisted he take us to the end of the road. Thank you stranger!
Day 16: Blain and I taxied over to our last hotel after my siblings left early that AM. We stayed at Lindbergh Bay Beach Resort which we chose solely based on it's proximity to the airport. Honestly it really wasn't too bad but after getting the shuttle to their sister resort, Emerald Beach Resort, right down the road we would choose that next time. Blain was really wanting ice cream so we found a nearby gelato place called Scoops & Brew. Guys seriously this place was so good I contacted their gelato supplier and am working out how to order some for home. We also ate at Tickle's Dockside Pub which honestly is a culinary experience I would like to forget. The service was great and a good atmosphere, the food was just not.
Day 17: Time to say goodbye. We spent our day at Emerald Beach Resort grabbing a late lunch at their restaurant, a short walk on the beach(soo pretty), and some lazy time at the pool. We picked up our stuff from Lindbergh and walked literally across the street to the airport.