Picture yourself watching a movie, stuffing your face with popcorn and anything else within reach. Not just a movie, a thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat! 28 years and counting, I'm eating the popcorn, watching, "The Life of Irina Smirnova", or simply, my mom.
This time, the movie was a family affair. To vast majority the cast and the plot might resemble a horror movie - voice of a scary movie narrator - "Stranded on a catamaran for four days... with all family members!!! Run!!!" This, was not the case.
Fast forward to the first month of January, 2017. Amidst the recent shooting at Ft. Lauderdale Airport, our flight to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, remained. We've arrived at the Cyril E. King Airport shockingly fast, playing 100! Puzzle on your iPhones will do the trick. Because the flight came in a little too late to ferry over to our final destination, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), we stayed in Charlotte Amalie, territorial capital, over night at the Galleon House Hotel; charming room with a picturesque view.
Now this is where it gets DREAMY!
Early am we are off to the ferry dock. Walk, hat purchase, heavy luggage, sweat, flirt with local policeman, ferry, arrived to Tortola Island, BVI. Cue for James Bond music! As Capitan John whisks us away into the open ocean to arrive upon a 56 ft catamaran, Amazing Blues. We step on to the vessel and see a scrumptious breakfast and our personal chef Shirelle with a sweet greeting, "Welcome to your home away from home!" After introductions, we explored the splendid staterooms which best accommodate eight guests in a luxurious comfort. The aft starboard master cabin features a full walk-around bed, desk, sitting area, large ensuite bath and access to both the aft terrace and main salon. The VIP cabin aft to port is entered through a companionway from the terrace, which provides a great deal of privacy. Two more queen cabins are forward, with a twin cabin amid ship. Mom-VIP, Alina and I-queen cabins.
For the next four days, our mornings started with mouthwatering breakfast and proposals from Captain John, not the engagement kind. As he referred to the map of the islands, our collaborative selection was easy. Key words, unique, never done before, exciting, unmistakabley sealed the deal.
We snorkeled off of several islands and saw an array of unique fish along with vivid reefs. Paddle boarded every possible minute around the bay and had a chance to chase the sunset with my sister, that was a moment to remember. Midst of our explorations, Chef Shirelle prepared delicious lunches, snacks, dinners and desserts. As we requested vegan and non-gluten meals, she tackled the challenge with ease and grace. Some of our favorite items included: almond pilaf, hummus, bean burgers, quiche, endless tasty salads and key lime pie. Our gastronomical taste buds were more than satisfied.
Canopy tour on Tortola Island was a highlight. Although the cables were short and sweet, the staff made the experience a pleasurable one with laughter and comradery. Cherry on top, The Baths at Virgin Gorda Island were available for us to see; high possibility of being restricted to visitors due to high tides. Imagine an island with huge boulders scattered on the bank. We climbed through the boulders and discussed the shapes and their resemblances. Nature persistently reminds us of its breathtaking beauty. Here comes the exciting part. Kind Captain John took us tubing on the dingy, the most thrilling/scary three minutes of my life, as mom and I held on to the tube as though our lives depended on it. Surprisingly that was not the pinnacle of our trip. Being together, with limited access to internet, laughing, exploring, talking, star gazing at night, the three of us, sharing these moments was the most memorable. Amazing Blues was truly our "unplugged" home away from home.
Prior to our trip, I never thought vacations like this existed. Never understood why people love boats so much. I get it, there is something magical about being surrounded by nature, a big blue calming monster that rocked us to sleep, took us places and harbors the most beautiful creatures. As I finish writing about my perspective, I want to loop in my sincerely beautiful mom. She always strives to have the best of Dolce Vita. This trip was an eye opener and it's all because of her free spirit, kind heart and endless love. Thank you mom, for always looking out for Alina and I. As life gets hectic, full of work, routines and chores, remind yourself to break free and enjoy life as it's still young, especially with your loved ones. At the end of it all, memories are all we have.