The Lionheart, Part 1

As the first Island loomed in the distance, I had to pinch myself to make sure I was not dreaming. It was the first time in my life that I was on my way, with my family, to a tropical paradise, to live on a sailboat for a week, and soak up the ever present sun. My whole family, all ten of us, were en route to the Island of Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands, or BVI, located in the Caribbean Ocean. It was a trip of a lifetime, and we were so excited!

It was a long tiresome trip however, lasting nearly two days. Originating in Idaho, we then went to LA, thenTheLionheartMarina.jpg to Miami, which is where we met up with our sister, Naomi, from New York. From there we flew to Puerto Rico, then finally arrived in Tortola. It was a gorgeous sunny day, when we touched down, and after a very cramped ride to the Rental car place, we arranged our vehicle, and headed to the hotel located in the marina that also held the sailboat that we would be boarding in a few days. Although, since it is a British Settlement, they drove on the left side of the road, which took a lot of time to get used to, but we left that up to my Dad.

The following days were spent getting acquainted with our new surroundings, and weather conditions, figuring out the Island way of life, and taking it easy. It was still three days before we would head out on the Lionheart, the name of the sailboat, and it was time well spent. Hanna, our oldest sister, and her husband John, arrived the following day, and the airline managed to lose Hanna’s bag, with everything in it, and we would have to leave the next day without it. Thankfully the other sisters pulled together, and had spares of everything. You just have to make the best of the situation. We were then all together as a family, which had become a difficult endeavor, since my sister was in New York, and I in Alaska, so we were so thankful for this chance to enjoy paradise together.

The next day we met our captain, Mobbsie, and immediately became part of the family. He was a cheerful, laid back sort, but was very knowledgeable in his job, and we would come to find out how blessed we were to be sailing under his command. He was a Paramedic/Diver/Sailor, originally from Australia, but had since then become captain of the Lionheart, Married, and had a little girl. He gave the rundown on how the trip would go, and some of the options and rules, and shortly after, we loaded our gear, boarded the vessel, and we were underway.

Due to our first destination being into the wind, we ended up motoring out of the marina, rather than sailing.

It was a thrilling first day, and we all were on deck for show. It was so surreal, but it was happening. Our first stop, was Cooper Island. The water was so warm, and clear to the bottom, so some of us donned our snorkels and fins and hopped right in, others, with soaking up the sun as priority, headed to the beach in the dingy, named the “Lion Cub”. Those of us in the water saw lots of fish, and I saw an Octopus, and a Barracuda. Already we were having so much fun. That night, and every night to follow, we slept on the boat. The quarters were tight, due to our large group, but still very comfortable, with bathrooms in each room. Although we ate at a bar or restaurant nearly every night, we also had our own food on board, and cooked a lot of our own meals. It was the first day that we were introduced to the “Painkiller”. A traditional Caribbean drink, that was basically rum and fruit juice, but the result was very enjoyable, but you had to be careful, because although the taste was fruity, it was still powerful stuff.

The following day was much of the same, except we got to sail for the first time. All of us had a turn at the helm, but some relished it more than others. We worked as the crew as well, and ran lines and cranked winches, to tack into the wind, and also tied up at the mooring buoys. Our stop for the day was at the Virgin Gorda, which held the famous, “Baths”, a Spread out area, littered with huge boulders, that created an amazing place to explore, for snorkeling and swimming. We had a great lunch upon the top of the island, and listened to live music. Things just kept getting better. That evening we set sail once more, arriving at another Island to stay for the night. We ventured out in the kayaks, and also got to see huge Tarpon surface at the back of the boat, under spot light, truly amazing.

To Be Continued…

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