Virgin Islands: Trip Overview

January 11, 2009 at 9:17 pm 5 comments

Before I continue on with a series of Virgin Island posts, I’ll do a quick overview of the trip. And before I do that summary, I do have to give some serious props.

My uncle paid for me to go on this trip. He flew me down there. He put me up in the hotel and boat. He fed me. He even bought me new shorts and sunglasses.

This past fall, I was living in a vacant house. All my possessions were sold, donated to charity or placed into storage. The only furniture the dogs I had were a folding table, a folding chair and a foam mattress pad to sleep on. Meals at home were quite simple too. Since all my dishes were in storage, I ate frozen meals… or one-ziplock bag meals.

And then… just a couple of months later– I was in the Caribbean.

I was surrounded by pristine sands, crystal clear waters, a warming sun, new flora to absorb and hills to hike. I rode on a luxury 120-foot yacht from island to island. I ate decadent, gourmet foods prepared by a personal chef. I was flown home on a NetJet, for goodness sake!

What a contrast.

Saturday, December 27

I almost miss my flight. Miraculously, I make it! We arrive at the Marriott at St. Thomas and enjoy a large family dinner.

Saturday, December 28

Spend the day at pool at the St. Thomas Marriott resort. In the afternoon, we board a 120-foot yacht called Sovereign. We jet ski and enjoy a delicious dinner.

Monday, December 29

We head to Jost Van Dyke where I do some hiking! Later, others try their hand at water skiing.

Tuesday, December 30

We head to Virgin Guano where we take turns jumping off the boat. The adults go snorkeling and the kids learn to wakeboard. After the day’s activities, we head to Virgin Gorda and dock for the night.

Wednesday, December 31

I got terribly ill, but it still ended up with amazing memories. We explore The Baths at Virgin Gorda and anchor in Leverick Bay. I slept most of the evening, but woke up to celebrate New Year’s with the kids. We watch fireworks from the top deck!

Thursday, January 1

We decided to stay anchored in Leverick Bay for another day. We enjoy swimming around the boat and water sports.

Friday, January 2

More hiking! We walk about 6.2 miles and ascend 1500 feet to the top of Virgin Gorda. In the evening, the boat heads to Peter Island where we dock for the evening. For the first time on the trip, I go on shore with the adults at night. We go to Deadman’s Beach Bar.

Saturday, January 3

Another hike! My uncle, aunt-to-be and I leave the dock, hike up to Sunset Loop and meet the boat on the other side of the island. My Maryland relatives rented a boat and met us at Peter Island. Both boats head out to Norman Island and we snorkel at The Caves.

Sunday, January 4

We leave Norman Island and go to Tortola to clear BVI customs. Then we head to St. John and clear customs there. Finally, we head to the Westin Resort where we swim, drink Dauquiris, wrestle each other on the water trampoline and share one more giant family dinner.

Monday, January 5

We take a water taxi to St. Thomas, board the Net Jet and fly to Dulles. From Dulles, I go to Silver Spring, MD to pick up my car. From Silver Spring, MD, I drive to Occoquan, VA to pick up my dogs. From Occoquan, VA, I drive to Elizabeth City, NC.

And then I was home.

This trip to the Virgin Islands, this was the trip of a lifetime. And my uncle did this for me.

If anyone has any ideas on how I can thank him, let me know. Two syllables just doesn’t seem to do my gratitude justice (even when repeated profusely and accompanied by a hug).

Entry filed under: Jonny Sawyer, Travel, Virgin Islands.

Weekly Winners – January 4 – January 10, 2009 Virgin Islands: The Trip to St. Thomas and an Epiphany

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Serenity  |  January 11, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the sunset picture from Jan 4th!!!

  • 2. tgaw  |  January 12, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    @Serenity – Thanks! The sunrises and sunsets were amazing down there and also amazingly diverse. I have a post coming on Saturday dedicated just to sunsets and sunrises on the islands.

  • 3. geekhiker  |  January 12, 2009 at 11:54 pm

    Uh, huh. I think I want your uncle to be my uncle. Seriously.

    As for repayment, is there any place that you could take him in return? Perhaps not quite so fancy (now I see how the proverbial “other half” lives; rough, tain’t it?), but certainly the gesture would be something special…

  • 4. Aaron  |  January 13, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    An excellent summary!

    I know several folks that fly private charters these days and they like it much more so than commercial jets. If you have the means, I highly recommend it. πŸ™‚

    As for the Uncle, I’m sure you’ve got lots of great pictures, possibly even video. Ever thought about making a DVD with a collection of the pictures, some video, perhaps some background music with his favorite bands or even voice-overs explaining the scene surrounding each photo?

  • 5. tgaw  |  January 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

    @geekhiker and @Aaron,
    Thanks so much for your ideas! I’ve been brainstorming, but haven’t come up with any destinations for a repayment trip yet. But, Aaron is right. On the plane, I downloaded EVERYONE’s pictures to my computer, so I do have ample resources to do something photograph related.

    I will continue to reflect! πŸ™‚


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