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We will feature experiences in Paradise, for you by you. Adventures in Paradise as told through the eyes of those who experienced them.
Bareboat Honeymoon in Paradise by Bret Bauer
Every guy wants to give his bride the honeymoon of her dreams, and I was no different. I am talking the kind of honeymoon her friends would all be jealous of forever, and I decided a barefoot charter would be perfect. Now my wife had a little hesitation about this, because of our lack of open ocean boating experience. My reassurance probably did not do much to subside her concern, but in my defense I did have to submit a boating resume. I was deemed good to captain a barefoot charter. Yes, my new bride called me captain!
Our honeymoon date arrived and we were off. Well almost off. I say almost, because the provisioning company forgot to include a couple of items. Although they did remember the important things rum, beer and water. After a three hour delay we were officially off, just the two of us French kissing life square on the lips.
Captaining our own barefoot charter was one of the most free spirited experiences we've had, but there are a few things to consider if it is your first time. Everyday activities that become a challenge are cooking, getting use to the swaying while sleeping, and having good balance while hooking a mooring ball is a must. Also, going against swells was the one aspect as a mainlander I did not give any thought to, because from the shore all boats look so graceful moving through the water. I assure you this is not the case. When the swells are five feet and that boat is following the contours of each wave, the question whether or not is the boat going to sink will definitely sink into your mind.
Once you get your sea legs under you the experience becomes much more enjoyable, and we were just getting our adventure started. Our first night was at Cooper Island and the next day we cruised north to the Baths. The Baths were amazing, to hear the waves come crashing in against the boulders and feeling the bubbles they create was a very stress free feeling. There was also a great walking trail between two beaches. This trail took us over and under boulders, and we even had to wade through waist high water. The best part was finding some of the nook and crannies amongst the boulders in the water with the sun light shinning reflecting off the water.
Moving north along the west side of Virgin Gorda we headed to Gorda Sound and settled in just off shore at Bitter End Yacht Club. We loved this location, because it offered the opportunity to provision, which prices were not too expensive, and enjoy the complete lack of tourists. This allowed us to relax and be lazy together on the boat, and we soaked up every minute of this. Partaking in island libations while setting in the Caribbean sun watching the boats come and go. That was one of the desires I had for my wife in giving her this honeymoon, complete solitude in picture perfect paradise! Something everyone of her friends would be envious of.
From there we cruised around the Dogs. Anchoring long enough to enjoy some lunch and restock our beer supply up at the helm. We also made a stop at the southern tip of Guana Island to do a little snorkeling. The amount of fish and different colors were so amazing. However, our snorkeling came to an abrupt end when my wife "saw" a jelly fish. Now I honestly did not see it, but me being a sensitive and caring man couldn't take the thought of my wife getting hurt. Aside from her freaking out a tad bit this was one of the best snorkeling spots we found, and the best part about it was there were only a few boats. Perfecto!
Arriving at Cane Garden Bay later that afternoon gave us an unobstructed view of the sun as it began to move towards the horizon. In the words of Kenny Chesney's song It's That Time Of Day, the sky was truly a cotton candy sky. The sun and clouds created some of the most beautiful red, orange, and pink colors my eyes have ever seen.
As beautiful as this anchorage was, I was in for an unpleasant surprise later that night. Let me say neither one of us had gotten sea sick to this point, and we had been pretty careful what and where we ate. However, at one of the beach bars, who shall remain nameless, I ate something that did not set well with me. In the middle of the night I found myself leaning over the side of the boat ridding my body of whatever I ate. My lovely wife cared for me by helping me to the stern, where she got me a towel and a glass of water. Minus that ten minutes we never got sea sick or food poisoning, but please learn from me, it pays to be careful what and where you eat. Andrew Zimmerman's saying, if it looks good eat it, does not always apply.
If you are counting, we are now on day 4 of our honeymoon and staying put was on the agenda for that day. We decided to go ashore and take a morning walk, check out a couple of the provisioning stores and relax on the boat. When day 5 arrived we did not cruise for too long before stopping at Sandy Spit. This stop was cut short due to rough seas that made for a very unpleasant experience. So we decided to continue on to Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke.
Jost Van Dyke is one of our go to spots in the Islands. If you have never been there, put it on your bucket list. The abundance of stress free places to hangout from Foxy's to Soggy Dollar are everywhere you turn. With that being said, there are two places you should check out. The first is a little bakery just down the road from the ferry dock called Sugar & Spice Snack Bar, and the very kind lady there makes the very best pates in the Islands. My personal favorite is chicken, but she does not always have chicken. So, be prepared to try the salt fish pates. It is pretty good as well. The second is Corsair's with the atmosphere and Vinnie's stories you will never get bored. In addition, the food at Corsair's is five star. It was the most romantic dinner we had on our trip with the intimate setting, candle light, and waves splashing up on the beach. I think my wife definitely thought I was the man!
A trip to Jost Van Dyke cannot be completed without a stop at Soggy Dollar. It is just one of those have to go to places. To rest your rear-end in a beach chair, enjoying the view, white sand, warm water and of course one of Mic's legendary painkillers is a perfect end to the best honeymoon. To share it with the lady who is my best friend and now my first mate made it even more memorable.
If you are thinking of captaining your own barefoot charter, I would encourage you to do so. If you want to give your fiancé the most unforgettable honeymoon that all of her friends would be jealous of, then do a barefoot charter. Go out on a limb and try something new, but remember to drink your ales, hoist your sails, ride the winds and think of us.