Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Postcards From The Pond 10

Monday 1 November 2010
Tortola, British Virgin Islands

And so we arrived. After all those days at sea we woke up to discover that we were sailing through a landscape/seascape as beautiful as any other you could ever hope to see. It is as though some great cartographer had frown tired of drawing continental coastlines and decided to see what happened if he was to flick is pen like some mischievous schoolchild of old. And as all mischievous schoolchildren of old, like myself, will know you finish up with a random pattern of blotched and ink spots - some small, some even smaller - which you can then attach romantic names to and call the British Virgin Islands. Salt Island, Beef Island, Fallen Jerusalem, Pricly Pear, Dead Chest : you can no doubt think of sillier names but someone in the BVI has probably beaten you to it.

Oh but what a day we had. Tortola was always going to be a safe bet for the highlight of our holiday - it is not ever Caribbean island that contains a posse of relatives who will fete you and treat you and give you a day that will live long in your memory (strangely enough not entirely true in my case but we weren’t scheduled to visit the other qualifying islands on this trip). After writing about very little happening for the previous nine days, it is now strangely difficult to switch modes and write about a day full of images and memories.

But perhaps I can just give you a flavour by giving you a selection of brief images. On my return home when I get chance to download my camera images maybe I will have captured something of the essence of at least a few of the following:
- Sitting on the balcony of my nephew and nieces house gazing out at the yacht harbour and drinking a cooling lass of beer at 9.30 in the morning;
- Being played with like some insignificant pebble by the force of the sea as we swum in a palm tree fringed bay which we had to share with little other than a passing dog;
- Driving over the mountainous spine of the island, an island so narrow that you hadn’t time to name the tiny islands you we seeing off the south coast before you were having to name the islands off the north coast;
- Having lunch at a restaurant at Long Bay which must surely be one of the most gloriously situated restaurants in the world;
- Drinking a beer in a pub on the south of the island and getting into a friendly argument with a group of Americans who had just  sailed in on a catamaran as to whose boat was the bigger (we won by a factor of about a thousand);
- Wandering down the main street of the capital of the island group accompanied by nobody else other than half a dozen hens and a rooster;
- But perhaps most of all the kindness of Diana, Nat and beautiful young Tasha in giving us a day we will all remember.

The remaining days will no doubt flash by very quickly now (we will be visiting a different island every day) and therefore I know you will forgive me if I save my thoughts and images up until we get back to cold, dark Britain at the weekend (and despite all the Caribbean sun I am still a Yorkshireman and my internet time is almost used up and the choice would be to buy some more or spend the money on an extra crate or two of beer). And anyway, my crossing of the pond is now over; our coming visits to St Maarten, St Lucia, St Vincent, and Barbados or merely local perambulations compared to the transatlantic journey.

So until next time,
Yours in restful sunlight, AB

P.S. I am glad to say, not only did I manage to complete Chapter 2 but also Chapter 3 as well. Over 14,000 words written whilst in transit from Europe to the Americas. All I need to do now is book the rest of the round-world trip and the Great Novella of the Twenty-first Century might get finished at long last.


  1. Ah, the bluest blue ever. Wounds like you're having a splendid time, Alan.
    There's nothing better than a morning beer. Best of luck on The Novella of the Twenty-first Century!

  2. ....and that should read "sounds". Freudian slip, since I feel wounded I'm not in the islands!

  3. Nothing like a sea cabin to cultivate the muses it appears. This is only the first leg of the voyage...wonderful.

  4. Glad you're having such a fun time, Alan. We have a nephew who lives in Grand Cayman. Your posts have the familiar ring of his emails, about them. I'm raising a virtual glass to you and yours, to wish you continued fun and relaxation.

  5. Coastlines: I believe they were designed by Slartibartfast? You can check the details, as usual, on the Hitchhiker's Guide (aka Wikipedia).
    Your beer awaits you at the Mallard.
    By the way, it is raining and cold here. Enjoy, you deserve it!

  6. Oh my goodness, I should have sent you some of my tropical shirts to wear. I wore them on every Monday of the week of the last ten years that I taught. I may have to go put one on just to view that photo again. That is so wonderful.

  7. It sounds lovely..we have Jack Frost visits ever morning now..winter is on it's way..sunshine now that sounds wonderful to me..I look forward to your photos when you get back! :)

  8. Why did I think you were joking when you said you would be greeted by relatives there?! How amazing and wonderful. It looks beautiful too. I suffer with you, in spirit at least, as I write this from the Hawaiian islands.

  9. Although the sun has put in an appearance today, I suspect the temperatures here are a tad lower than the ones you are experiencing! Now, the mountains and the swimming - heaven! Soak up the rest of your trip. It needs to sustain you through the Winter.

  10. So now you are in the Caribbean. Welcome to my adopted part of the world. You will be going to my favourite island Barbados but not coming as far as teh island I live on - probably as well - we're getting the backlash of Tomas.

    Enjoy the remainder of your cruise.

  11. I don't think I like you any more. It's cold and raining and I'm in need of Vitamin D.

  12. St. Lucia - been there, done that. Get ready. It's WINDY! (So nail everything down!)

  13. 4 days with no updates - guess you're enjoying yourself too much ;-)

    Looking forward to the next installment.


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