The swell changed again today but the wind was more favorable. And there was LESS rain. Holy wet Caribbean. Crazy. Anyway we headed back to a spot we’ve named Lola’s. As soon as we rolled up in the My Ann, we could see that good shoulder to head-high lefts were pinwheeling off the sandy spit. I couldn’t throw my board off the boat fast enough…we had to get out there. Soon the sun came out and the surf was being polished with offshore winds. For the first time all week I realized just how strong and hot the Caribbean sun really is. We surfed for several hours until we had to return to the boat to escape the sun.
After lunch, the swell started to drop and so did the tide. Our wave took a break so we decided to head to a spot called Pelican Point for some snorkeling.
“There is lots of excellent snorkeling in the BVI,” said Captain Kirk. “But this place, it’s majestic.” That turned out to be a pretty darn good description. Just like I described on Day One, it might as well been a scene from Finding Nemo. But this time there were tons more fish. About three curious yellow and black fish hung by my feet the entire time as I explored the reef. There were massive schools of purple heart-shaped fish feeding on the reef. Tiny silver fish. Sharp black anenomes. Huge staghorn coral. Ones with the brightest neon blue stripes you can imagine.
I saw iridescent rainbow colored fish with checkered pattern bodies. Amazing.
Later we raced the sunset on a downwind paddle that ended at our morring for the night, a football field distance from Willy T’s, a famous floating bar and restaurant moored in the middle of a cove on Norman Island. The thing is a big black iron vessel called the William Thornton and it looks a lot like a pirate ship. While we enjoyed cups of Pain Killers, the potent mixed rum drink of choice, we watched the owner drag aboard a fresh Mahi Mahi he’d just caught. It became the dinner special and we promptly dispatched it down our gullets. After dinner, the bar started kicking with the over 40 yachty crowd. We saw three groups of sailors that we’d met at various spots in the BVI earlier in the week.
Soon the Pain Killers were too much for the yachties to handle and people started disrobing and jumping from the top deck of the ship into the bay below (a Willy T. tradition). Meanwhile I taught random drunk Brits how to standup paddle in the darkness. Fun surf, a downwinder, and tons of rum AND even some sun - we were finally living the Caribbean SUP dream!
It was the morning after that rager at Willy T’s (see Day 6) and even though my head was still clouded with a rum haze, as soon as I heard the familiar sound of the twin diesel engines coming to life, I pulled myself out of bed and climbed to the flying bridge to join Captain Kirk. It was probably 7 a.m. and the crystal blue water had that quiet calmness you only get in the early a.m. As we motored toward our destination at the Morrings Yacht Club on Tortola, I watched the verdant green hills of the BVI passing by. I saw snorkel spots we’d explored, surf spots we’d surfed, bays we'd slept in. I was very tired but I didn’t want to miss a single second of our last morning on the My Ann.
Captain Kirk and I reminisced about the week. Laughed about how the rest of the crew was still sleeping (as usual) and how much fun we had surfing over the past week. Then I got that sickening sweet pit in my stomach that sometimes come when you’re saying goodbye to friends or maybe a place you’ve come to love.
We rounded a point on Tortola and then I saw a familiar sight: a black rainstorm headed our way. I had to laugh as Captain Kirk and I rolled down the vinyl windows of the flybridge in preparation for the oncoming storm. It was a fitting end to our moody-weathered Caribbean week-and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it.
Look for this BVI feature in the Spring, 2011 issue of SUP magazine.