Thursday, June 30, 2011

VirginSSUDs2011 Trip Report - Day 1

Bomba Charger. No, Speedy. No, Island Patriot. Yes, Island Patriot, Conch Charters, Kokomo, and Cap’n Jon. Phew!

Yawn comes the dawn. After hotel checkout, we humped all our gear out to the taxi and took the long, mountain route to the ferry terminal. Free sightseeing because of an extra passenger on our ride. Eventually, however, we worked our way back down to the waterfront and the ferry terminal. Bureaucracy is the universal human constant. Flying to St. Thomas counts as a US internal connection but now we were going international on the ferry ride to the British Virgin Islands and there was paperwork to be done.

Our ferry was scheduled for 0830 so when the Bomba Charger pulled up for an 0825 departure, we lined up. Wrong boat. Ok. The large, beautiful power catamaran Speedy was just down the dock and one of the workers pointed us there. Cool. Much nicer boat than the ancient Bomba, which I had ridden in the late 80s when it already looked old and tired. However, we were not on the lovely Speedy either. Finally, we were approved for the decent-looking, fast catamaran Island Patriot. Boarded and sat on what turned out to be the hot, stuffy lower deck. A one-hour steambath with some Spiderman videogame storyline playing on the tv. Ack!

Jon later confessed that he was distressed by that ride to the point that he feared that our sailing experience would be similarly unpleasant. Happily, that was not the case; but I’m getting ahead of my story.

An hour later, we arrived at the Roadtown ferry dock and got in line to clear customs. A hot, endless time later, we made it through that particular bureaucracy and boarded our special Conch Charters taxi. Our charter was scheduled to begin at noon and we were early so we left our bags at the charter office and walked next door to the pub for some brunch and liquids. We drank and snacked and watched them do final prep on our boat.

At the appropriate time we did a buncha paperwork then started a boat checkout with the delightful Emma. For a decade-old charter boat, Kokomo was in fine shape. Simultaneously with our ongoing boat checkout, our grocery delivery arrived and we loaded all those supplies under Jon’s supervision. While all this wonderful, efficient prep was going on, I managed to step through an open hatch, twisting my left knee and bruising the shit out of my lower lumbars and buttocks, mostly on the right side but with some effect on the left, too. Ouch.

Finally, we were all checked out, food put away, and dink attached. Ready to leave the close, stuffy marina and get out on the lovely, fresh, open water. Despite their lack of sailing experience, Jon and Ben were very efficient at getting the mainsail hoisted and then unrolling the jib. Engines off, we became a sailboat. W00t!

I pointed out our course to Jon and he took over the helm. Cap’n Jon on duty.

A pleasant couple of hours later, we rolled up the jib, dropped the main and motored into the bight at Norman Island to pick up a mooring ball for the night. By radio, we arranged for a rendezvous SCUBA dive for day 3 and settled into our first night aboard. Jon prepared a wonderful meal and we enjoyed our tropical sunset and evening from the cockpit of Kokomo.

VirginSSUDs2011 Trip Report - Day 0

Leavin’ on a Jet Plane

Our flight to Paradise, aka the Virgin Islands, was scheduled for 0600, so rather than force someone to wake up at oh-dark-thirty to drive us to the airport, Jon and I stayed in a hotel airport the night before. After a nice dinner with our families (cuz Mary and Qacei had driven Jon up and were gonna hang with Ronnie and Chloe for a coupla days), we got dropped at the lovely Running-Hot-and-Cold-Hookers Motel for some sleep before a 0400 shuttle to SEA.

To make a very long story short, our flights were uneventful and we eventually arrived at STT, St. Thomas, USVI. Ben was already there, having arrived on an earlier flight from his home, and he met us at the terminal to help carry our extensive array of luggage to the nearby hotel we’d booked. Luggage dropped in the room, we hit the outdoor bar and sucked down some rum punch refreshment while interacting with the tropical barflies. They seem to be a more interesting class than your typical New Orleans barfly. From the cool, chill of the Northwest, we’d come to the warm, sultry decadence of the Caribbean where the air smells like ancient sins and the wind whispers lascivious secrets to the careful listener.


We were all fairly tired so we hit the sack early in anticipation of a 0730 cab ride the next day to the ferry dock where we’d make our final connection to Roadtown, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, the actual starting location of our tropical adventure.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Word Meme

Stolen from Mary

Yourself: anticipatory
Your partner: nonpareil
Your hair: fleeing
Your mother: demanding
Your father: passive
Your favorite item: brain [Sorry, Woody Allen. In your context it is also true that it's my second-favorite organ.]
Your dream last night: forgotten
Your favorite drink: (Zombie Princess) cocktail
Your dream car: Tesla
Your dream home: Caribbean
The room you are in: cluttered
Your ex: forgotten
Your fear: failure
Where you want to be in ten years: relaxed
Who you hung out with last night: family
What you're not: ordinary
Muffins: sugary
One of your wish list items: spacetravel
Time: enough
The last thing you did: cleaning
What you are wearing: smile
Your favorite weather: Caribbean
Your favorite book: yes
Last thing you ate: taco
Your life: lovely
Your mood: happy
Your Best Friends: delightful
What are you thinking about right now: Caribbean
Your car: sticky
What are you doing at the moment: daydreaming
Your summer: busy
Relationship status: perfect
What is on your tv: life
What is the weather like: Seattle
When is the last time you laughed: recently

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

LIFE is Good Unschooling Conference 2011

A retrospective in photos.

I am Aeolus, with the assistance of Jon Gold, under the supervision of the uberrobot Gort.

Chloe sez, "You're too loud!" Jeeze, Chloe, maybe you're too old!

The gang's all here. Greybeards and Hot Backup Chicks.

The fabulous Hot Backup Chicks.

Hanging in the park with Ronnie and Kimya Dawson.

Smiling faces.