TALES of a Traveler
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It was a relief to feel some warmth as we left the ship today in Tortola. The skies made us believe it could be a bit chilly out. We asked directions, and headed for Speedy’s ferry service. It was a 10 minute walk to the pier and we were on the ferry by 8:50. The 9 o’clock ferry was the second of the day, but the first that cruise passengers could catch. We were pleased to get seats up on top, to keep seasickness at bay. Soon we were on our way, enjoying the breeze and chatting with other ferry passengers on the half hour ride to Virgin Gorda.
Once ashore on Virgin Gorda, we hopped on a safari cab and drove the 10 minutes to the top of the baths. As we began our trek to the beach, we were awed by the beauty in less than 20 steps. The dirt path down to the shore is overgrown with trees, creating an open tunnel that transformed us to another time and place. We stopped for multiple photos, then finally made it to the bottom, where we were awed once again by nature. In front of us, the tree tunnel opened onto a beautiful turquoise beach enclosed by enormous rocks, and powdery tan sand. Absolutely beautiful!!! Then, our adventure really began.
Not content to just sit on the first beach we came to, we took the path to the left. Squeezing between two huge boulders, we began an unforgettable journey. You see, the huge boulders create natural caves, where the water ebbs and flows based on the tides. To wind your way through them, you must squeeze through rocks (sometimes almost on hands and knees!), climb boulders, and wade through the water. Each corner and crevice seemed to hold a new and greater beauty (as well as opportunity for slipping). Since we were on the early ferry, we were virtually alone on our trek, allowing us to soak in the magnificence at our own pace, capturing gorgeous moments on camera.
We continued to the end of the path, past Devil’s Bay and onto Stony Beach. There, we sat down to just soak it all in, admiring a gorgeous view…khaki sand, turquoise water, majestic grey rocks and stark white boats beyond the buoys. Ah, just fabulous! We made the decision at that point to stay and linger for a few hours, making note of when to catch the ferry back to Tortola. Dave and Susan hopped in the water, and beckoned for Scott and I to join them. At last I caved, and enjoyed some time in the bay.
Following our swim, we decided to trek back just a bit farther. A kind islander told us that the end of the trail is the furthest tip of the island, and the point where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. Dave and I strolled out there, again awed by it all. All alone, on the tip of the island, we were able to truly enjoy the crashing of the waves, the serenity of the sea, and the magic of the moment. We managed to get a little rock climbing in, too. Awesome!
Soon it was time to start heading back to catch the cab, to get on the 2:45 ferry. Winding our way back through the baths, we were struck by how many people were there. With many places only allowing people to flow one way, it was a bit congested. This made us thankful that we had experienced the setting before the crowds arrived. While the pictures are fabulous, they will never do the baths justice. If you ever have the opportunity, you really need to see them for yourself…they will not disappoint you!
As I type this, we are pulling out of port from St. Thomas, an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Based on what I had read about St. Thomas, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it. It is the most visited cruise port in the Caribbean, and tends to be quite crowded, so that is the tidbit that stuck in my mind. However, leaving this evening, my opinion has changed.
We headed off the ship about 9:45, to quickly find our first photo op of the day. On the rocks around Crown Bay, where we docked, rested scores of iguanas. They were quite charming sunbathing on their rocks, staring at us. Such cooperative photo subjects! At 9:58 we were sitting on a safari taxi ready for the half hour drive to Magen’s Bay. Now, if you know me, you know I’m not particularly a beach person. So, there must have been a very good reason to pay to get out to that part of the island. You see, Magen’s Bay has been declared one of the best beaches in the world by National Geographic magazine, as well as being listed in the book “1000 Places to See Before You Die”. Being the list girl I am, I decided it was worth the trek.
Greetings from beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico! Upon arrival in San Juan, a cab carried us to our hotel – La Concha Renaissance. The front desk upgraded to suites at check in, so we’re enjoying some extra space this evening. The hotel is beautiful, with a lovely enclosed courtyard, ocean vistas, and fountains throughout. It makes us wish we had snuck away to La Isla Encanta a day sooner, to have more time to enjoy the ambiance.
After refreshing from our red-eye flight, we headed off to Viejo San Juan. Dropped off by the Cristobal Colon statue, we lunched outside near the plaza. Soaking up the ocean breeze and tropical music, we slowly slipped into vacation mode. It was a long, leisurely lunch. Dave and I shared some grilled chicken and beef, as well as fried plantains. Yummy!
Our day in Antigua started bright and early, as Disney Cruise line opened their 2013 sailings on the Magic and Wonder. Since I had reservations to make for a client, I got up in time to have breakfast, confirm cell phone coverage, and be off the ship in time to call at 9am. Much stress went into that phone call, as we had a segway tour scheduled at 10:10. I had to finish the call in time! After an hour on hold, I started to give up hope of getting through, but decided to not hang up until I absolutely had to. Right before our guide appeared, a very nice rep at DCL picked up the line. I was able to confirm the necessary bookings before heading off on our adventure. What a relief!
We walked with our guide to our rendezvous point, where we were joined with other Segweyans. (Our name for the rest of the day). We hopped in a shuttle and drove out to our training facility. Just arriving at the facility was exciting, as the adjacent beach was stunning. With the sand, the palm trees and the color of the water, I will forever call it “Corona Beach”, as it looked like a Corona beer commercial. Honest!
Lisa is the travel loving, animal adoring, Mickey Mouse hugging owner of Dreams Delivered Travel.