Even before we left our homeport of Massachusetts, some of our boating friends were already talking about renting a boat and sailing around with us in the British Virgin Islands. At that point I was skeptical if we would make it to the Caribbean, never mind make plans with others. But a couple of months after we left, those same friends started to ask when we thought we might be in the Caribbean because they wanted to book a boat. It was so exciting to know that I would see them again but at the same time it is so hard to commit to being somewhere by a certain date when one is traveling by sailboat. But, it did all come together and on December 9th and 10th two groups of friends flew down to St.Thomas then ferried over to Tortola, BVI to get on two catamarans and sail around the British Virgin Islands with us!
Jesse and I dinghied over to the Indians to meet up with the crew of sv Bear Necessities: Pam aka Pamalama, Chris aka Big C, Chris aka Cooley, Liz, Dan aka Pants, Kerrie aka Kerrie Time, Steve, and Meaghan. It was so unreal to see our friends sailing up, it just didn’t feel real, I felt like we were watching a video of them or something. Then, watching them do a piss poor job of picking up a mooring was just comical. To be fair, although most of the crew owns boats, none have ever operated a catamaran. Before they were even all tied up I was on the boat crying and hugging everyone, still it did not seem real!
We snorkeled the Indians and then had a very short motor passage over to The Bight, where sv Smitty was already anchored. Bear Necessities picked up a mooring with 100% improvement vs the first attempt earlier that day, and we were right back into step like we were at Worlds End in Hingham, MA – floats off the back in the water, tied with dock lines so we wouldn’t lose anyone and drinks all around.
We all decided to get rinsed off and changed to head over to the 100’ Schooner, The William E. Thornton aka The Willy T, for drinks and dinner. After a while, we noticed that one of the dinghies (Bear Necessities had two dinghies for their group of eight) was still missing. They had decided to go on a trip around the anchorage when we went back to Smitty but they were now MIA. Jesse and I figured that maybe they already had gone over to the Willy T so we headed over to the Willy T, but upon arrival, their dinghy wasn’t there either. Hmmm, they must be down at the other restaurant, let’s go check. As we pull up to the dock Liz and Kerrie come running over to us and all I hear is them say “It’s Bad!” Uh Oh – what are they talking about?….
As Liz, Kerrie, Pam, Cooley, and Chris were walking the beach they saw some guys playing Jenga. This isn’t the normal table size Jenga, but the super-sized version that consists of large pieces of wood (think 2 x 4 size pieces). After they watched one of the participants use two hands, someone jokingly said “hey that’s cheating you can’t use two hands”, from here I am not exactly sure of the story, I don’t know if the guy was drunk or angry or just joking but next thing I know for sure is that a our friend got knocked in the face with this piece of wood that the Jenga player threw at the group for whatever stupid reason! The blow was hard enough to shatter the lens of his sunglasses and bring him to his knees. Due to concern that he may have a fractured skull or damage to his eye (which was already extremely swollen and black & blue and bleeding) and he likely has a concussion, the restaurant called VISAR (Virgin Island Search and Rescue) to come and pick up our friend in order to bring him to the nearest hospital, back on Tortola!
Keep in mind, this is day one, these guys have paid literally thousands of dollars to take this vacation and now it may be over, and, this particular friend is the qualified captain of sv Bear Necessities, I really can’t believe this is happening!
So, off our friend and his girlfriend went to go back to Tortola in a large RIB boat that goes something like 65 mph. Jesse dropped me off at the Willy T to tell the other half of the crew what was going on and he went to drop off the other three so they can change. At this point, no one feels like having fun, we all have that awful feeling like we just found out a friend died – everyone was just in a state of shock. Then just as I finished telling everyone what’s happening, the second group of friends gets to the Willy T and they, of course are all excited and ready to party with everyone. So, I repeat the story to the crew of sv Sunshine: Deb, Whitey, Sarah, Amanda, and Ken. Then, I’m not sure how the turn of events happened, but we all decided that our friend would be more pissed if he knew that we were sitting around not having fun because of what happened…so, we decided to do what we all do best together – DRINK!
And from that point the shenanigans ensued, there were naked jumpers from the top deck, naked body shots, board shots, dancing, tattoos (fake), and so much ass slapping! Oh, and let’s not forget about how one drunken person fell into the water three times while trying to get into the dinghy to go back to his boat (Cooley!), and not on purpose.
Meanwhile, two of friends were on Tortola. Our friend had his head x-rayed and underwent other tests and further examination is required by an eye specialist once he gets back to the states. I cannot speak highly enough about VISAR and Moorings. VISAR very quickly responded and professionally handled the situation. Moorings arranged for our friends to spend the night on a boat that was at their home base and kept the restaurant open late so they can eat and brought them back to Norman’s Island the next day.
It took a lot of convincing, and pain meds, but our friend did decide to stay in the BVI. By the end of the week he was feeling better enough to joke about his incident a little. I tried to get him to wear a Pirate eye patch but he said he wouldn’t wear one unless we found and caught a live parrot for his shoulder (epic fail). He also was joking that the VISAR crew all wore helmets but did not give “the guy with the head injury” a helmet to wear. We joked about how no one is ever going to believe this story so we might as well spin it to something that sounds just as preposterous…like telling people “It’s a Long Story that Involves a Goat, a Bottle of Tequila, and a Pitching Wedge”.
Again, this was day one of their visit, more stories to come…