Southern Caribbean Cruise - Tortola, British Virgin Islands
February 14th, 2016 - Cruise Day 2 & 3
Monday we docked on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. The four of us had booked a semi private boat charter with Aristocat Charters and were in for a day of sailing and snorkeling.
After a little confusion on following the directions from the pier to the boat in the marina [note to self to write them better walking directions to give their cruise guests] we boarded the Lionheart and set off by 9 am with a total of 14 pax and 2 crew. Captains Luke and Scott were outstanding - friendly, capable, customer service oriented. We sailed for about 45 minutes across the channel to Norman Island. Tom and Ellen sat our front on the netting suspended between the pontoons where you got great views and the salty spray breeze. Pete and I opted for the back where it was less bumpy and we could talk to the Captain and some other guests about the region. Highlight of the sail out was passing the yacht currently taping the Bravo TV show "Below Deck". It's the ridiculous kind of trashy reality tv where we all know it's not real, but we love it anyways, especially Tom.
We stopped for 45 min at Norman Island for snorkeling. Aristocat Charters provided the fins and masks and noodles to float on if desired. We brought our own snorkels and masks but borrowed some fins and headed out to the reef. There were tons of fish, some coral, huge sea urchins, and best of all almost no one else there!
After getting back on board we sailed for about 20 min to a nearby cove with a beach where we grabbed a buoy to tie off and we were given an hour of free time while they prepared lunch. Depsite the drizzle, Tom hopped in the water and made a brave first ever attempt at paddle boarding. He took to it right away and impressed all the others on board with his balance. They asked me if he was really athletic and all I could do was laugh - he plays no sports just has good balance. I followed him into the water and swam to the beach doing an Australian crawl so that I could carry beers for us and my hat in my free hand. Again, all the guests on board commented that their wives would never do that for them, LOL. Ellen joined me and we drank on the beach while she tried paddle boarding with some coaching from Tom. I also tried, but stayed kneeling, knowing that my balance was not strong, even on solid ground.
After an hour of paddling and swimming lunch was served as a large buffet spread in the cabin. All of it was delicious and it was accompanied by all you can drink soda, beer, rum punch, and dark and stormy mixed drinks (ginger beer and rum). After lunch we sailed for another 20 min to The Indians where we snorkels for a half hour. All four of us agreed that this was the top snorkeling we have ever done, including Hawaii and the Western Caribbean because of the plethora of fish and the colors.
We sailed back, arriving about 30 min before all aboard. After a long day in the sun and all that rum, everyone headed straight back to the ship for showers and naps. We dressed up for dinner as it was Valentine's Day and the on board dress code called for 'evening chic'. We had reservations in the French restaurant on board where everything was delicious, albeit service was slower than desired. My favorites were the crab and salmon parfait starter, venison with red cabbage and the cheese course before dessert. All in all it was a great day and I was the only one who got too much sun (although I blame the husband/cabana boy since everywhere I applied it I didn't burn).
Monday we spent at sea and there is nothing significant to report - breakfast on the balcony, slept in, watched a top chef cooking challenge in the theater, lunch, trivia, cocktails, dinner. Pete and Ellen have been sampling all the musical venues/artists on board so I will have them dictate a review later.
Tuesday we are in Fort de France, Martinique which is a French speaking country so Pete and I are on duty for all conversation!