On Sunday we hauled out our passports and took an excursion to the British Virgin Islands aboard the Bad Kitty. It’s a nice little boat with a friendly three-person crew that took us and about two dozen other passengers on a three-stop tour.
The tour started with a long leg across relatively calm seas to the Baths, a popular destination for cruise ship excursions. Along the way, the crew gave us water, juice, fruit, and bread, then checked us in with the British authorities. The Bad Kitty then anchored close to the beach by the Baths, and the passengers and two of the crew members swam over. Because I didn’t have a waterproof carrier and didn’t want to wreck my phone, I didn’t get any photos of the Baths. They’re interesting rock formations right on the beach and pictured in countless swimsuit photo shoots. Be advised — there is some bending, climbing, and physical exertion in visiting the Baths, as you scale rocks and squeeze through crevices; an older guy in our group found it to be a struggle. And speaking of exertion: after the visit to the Baths we swam back through the surf to the Bad Kitty, which was about 100 yards offshore. My exposed cellphone would never have survived it.
Once all of the members of the group were present and accounted for we sailed past a number of the small islands in the BVI — many of which are apparently privately owned — to Norman Island for snorkeling. Along the way we saw lots of sailboats and other craft out on the water. It was a perfect day weather wise, and people were enjoying it to the hilt.
At Norman Island, we plunged into the water again to explore some good snorkeling territory, with lots of colorful tropical fish, like schools of yellowfin tuna, and a cave to explore. We were given flotation vests because U.S. law requires it, but the water is so salty floating is easy.
Then it was back into the boat for the last leg of the trip, to Jost Van Dyke. With the strenuous work done, the crew supplied us with a flow of “painkillers” — a popular local drink featuring rum, fruit juices, and a sprinkling of nutmeg on top to give it a nice holiday touch. We also were given Bad Kitty temporary tattoos, and the ready availability of the painkillers made for some creative tattoo placement on the part of some passengers. I went for the traditional upper arm placement.
Our final stop at Jost Van Dyke let us wade ashore onto what is supposedly one of the world’s premier party beaches. (We were told 15,000 people were expected on the beach for New Year’s Eve, which would be incredible if true.). Dozens of boats were anchored in the bay, and the alcohol flowed freely for the visitors. We stopped and had lunch, flaunted our tattoos, and enjoyed our trip to the BVI.