The priority for our trip to Tampa was to have dental work done. Boring, I know. Most of the time was spent driving to and from orthodontists and the hotel, doing school, and occasional meals. We did a few things so we could check off our wish list for things you can’t do in the Caribbean i.e. McDonalds, Twistee Treat, Busch Gardens, and Charlie’s Steakhouse. Most of these are food related, but what can I say, you crave a LOT of stuff when you can’t have it. For months I’ve craved the crispy fries you can only find at McDonalds, the smooth ice cream from Twistee Treat, and any decent steak. We returned to the boat after our trip with full bellies, to say the least.
Our trip to Tampa lasted about a week before we left again. As we flew to Tampa, coronavirus was just beginning to be a thing, but by the time we left, my mom and I were holding our breath in the airport with little exaggeration. We didn’t fly through just any airport, we had to go through the Atlanta airport, otherwise known as the biggest and busiest airport in the world. If that isn’t a hotspot for germs, then I don’t know what is.
We meticulously wiped down our seats, screens, trays, and armrests on the plane, being sure that we didn’t touch anything that wasn’t cleaned. We brought no less than ten hand sanitizers with us as we boarded our flight from Tampa to Atlanta. We left that flight with about five full sanitizers and five empty. The next flight brought us from Atlanta to St. Thomas, USVI where we used the majority of our leftover sanitizer.
As we did on our trip out of the USVIs, we stayed with Mandy and Joe before returning to our boat in the BVIs. It was March 17th when we returned to SV Kuma Too, St. Patrick’s Day and a fairly personal day to our family. On March 17th three years ago our dog, Jett, passed away after almost fourteen years with our family. She was even in the household before me. My parents loved her very much, so every year on St. Patrick’s Day we wear a green shirt with a penciled version of our dog on the front as a way of remembering the dog that we all loved. We didn’t want germs on our Jett shirts so we waited until we got to Kuma Too before changing into them.
Of course, Mandy and Joe didn’t want to bring bags with airport cuddies onto the boat so we slowly passed up the luggage as Mandy sprayed our bags with Lysol.
It was fairly dark out by the time we arrived so we spent a couple hours drinking and socializing before being sent to our previous arrangements. Previous arrangements means, yes, we did do the weird bed arrangement from before. (Read the prior post to understand). After a few more hours of reading-because there is no such thing as me going to bed without a book in hand- I went to sleep.
The following day my mom and I spent on the boat. I wanted to go back to the restaurant Gringo’s since it would be our last chance to go before all businesses started to close, but we didn’t have the time. So we ate a quick lunch before going to a ferry that would take us from the USVI to the BVIs. By the way, this was the LAST ferry ride to the BVIs. The BVIs were no longer allowing non-residents on the ferry due to the coronavirus. We just made it. We were very lucky to be on that ferry. It was the only way we could return to our boat and our family could be together again.
Quick question before the blog continues, have you ever been on a ferry? Yes or no? Because I want to know if it was just ours that sucked or if it’s a common thing. Our ferry was so loud that I’d need to shout so my mom, who was sitting right next to me, could hear me. We got water sprayed in our eyes, on our face, and in our mouths. We were so desperate to stay dry that my mom used her dry bag to shield herself from the oncoming spray. I gave up on trying to get a decent view and moved inside, which only made the noise worse. I wasted so much time outside, that the only seat left was one in the very front with no window and a few inches of leg space. The one benefit was that I got the row to myself. No one else wanted to sit without a window.
When we reached our drop-off area we had to wait in line as the workers took our temperature. Even after we got through that we could only stay for a few days in the BVIs before being sent back to the US. For us, this meant going back to the USVIs because we didn’t want to travel the hundreds of miles to Florida. Plus, at the time, there were only about thirty or so cases in the USVI.
And at last! We were reunited with my dad. A delicious homecooked meal was waiting for us back at Dragonfly.
The peace and quiet of returning home lasted all of one day before it was back to school. The bars and cafés were mostly deserted but still open for the time-being. So my dad and I took advantage of the vacancy by eating at one of the cafés then working using their free internet for any customers. Chocolate croissant and free internet, what more can a person ask for?
A few hours of work was all we did the next day before sailing to a different island where the snorkeling was some of the best we ever saw. There was a small tie-off for dinghies so none of us had to patrol and we could all enjoy the vast amount of fish. We saw parrotfish, coral, various snapper and grouper, and after I got out my parents saw the best yet: a Caribbean Reef Squid. While that’s all fun and dandy, my favorite part were some of the caves that could be found in the outcropping rock connected to the island. There wasn’t anything necessarily cool inside, but I’m still a kid and I love anything small and seemingly adventurous.
It’s day and night really. The snorkeling was amazing and colorful, and the next day we went on a hike that I have officially named “The Torture Trail”. My parents may think I’m exaggerating but I was working hard to keep my breath. An hour to a small bay that we only spent fifteen minutes at and an hour back. My water was out before we even reached the bay. Besides kneeling over and almost hyperventilating a few hundred times, it was a good hike all jokes aside. We were able to see places we’ve been from multiple points on the trail, which seriously helped my poor understanding of geography.
The most satisfying part of the entire hike was when we got back and got to plunk down at a table (at the restaurant that would close the next day) and drank a gallon of water…each. The food we got to eat as a reward for our two hours of sweating was also a good bonus, especially since it wasn’t the ordinary island food. They had nachos and fish tacos and jalapeño poppers and conch fritters. Of course we didn’t get all of that, but we did order a few of the appetizers.
As our exhaustion started to wear off we became aware of a few things. 1) That we were all starving after our hike and would need even more food once we returned to the boat and 2) There was a game of Jenga just begging to be played on the beach. So obviously my dad and I faced off and after who knows how long, I decimated him in the game. Muahahaha. That’s my evil laugh.
The next day would lead us to traveling out of the BVIs and into the USVIs to avoid the expiration on our visas.