I almost missed the adventure of a lifetime! I was invited to go sailing in the British Virgin Islands (the BVI) back in 2006. I really wanted to, but I was so steeped in new corporate responsibilities I almost decided not to go.
Fortunately for me, I wised up. Like duh!, “It’s the adventure of a lifetime! Just when do you think another opportunity like this will ever show up again?" I decided if something so absolutely amazing as sailing the Caribbean in the BVI for 12 days was offered and all I could do was run a list of why I shouldn't or couldn't go, then I just totally, absolutely, without one doubt, really really really needed to go!
So I did...
Janet and I flew out of Seattle and met the rest of our crew in Dallas, Texas. Then a flight to Puerto Rico and another to the island of Tortola in the BVI. We caught a cab at the airport (one of the scariest parts of our journey) to our boat in The Moorings, Wickhams Cay 2, Road Town.
I think I was in Tortola all of 20 minutes when (emotionally still tethered to my cell phone) I realized, "I'm totally unplugged and off the grid!" I powered it down and as I threw it in my backpack the corporate me shifted to the adventure.
Making ready at The Moorings, Wickhams Cay 2, Road Town, in the British Virgin Islands.
Little did I know how much I would soon learn about sailing or how much it would change my life. I was a shipmate now and though my talents were unknown and unproven (even to me) they would be needed and I would find them.
We attended a boat handling and safety class for a couple of hours our first day on Tortola then headed back to the Jorvik to stow our gear, check our provisions and make ready for sail. It was suggested everyone launch together that afternoon and stay in a group. But as we sailed out of Road Harbour we broke from the pack and headed across the Sir Francis Drake Channel for the Indians and Peter Island. For the next 12 blissful days we went island hopping our way around the BVI.
(Left to right) Arthur Brelsford, Captain Jeff Brelsford and his wife (in blue) Hilary and sister Janet Matzke. We've been sailing about a week in this photo and we've become quite the seasoned and adventureous crew.
You'll find these little neighborhoods all over the islands. What an amazing life style! As I understand it, these are mostly summer homes for well to do Brits and others from around the world.
I saw some of the most amazing sunsets I have ever witnessed in my life here in the British Virgin Islands. The sky was so big and you could see all the way to the edge of the world.
You'll also find some pretty amazing private residences like this one in the islands...
As with any adventure we had our share of close calls and a few surprises... One beautiful afternoon the wind picked up really fast out of no where. We were facing a squall coming right at us and had to make some quick maneuvers to get out of the way.
I'll never ever forget for as long as I live when Captain Jeff yelled a command to change the main sail. I was pulling rope with every bit of strength I had. "Pull!.. Pull damn it, pull!..", he yelled!
The sails were so full and taut, no matter how hard I pulled I was losing rope and we were leaning hard. My hands burned even through the gloves and my shins were brused and bleeding as the ropes had me dancing the deck.
An instant lesson in teamwork and courage. We hussled like crazy, followed Captain's orders and through our total adrenaline rush together got the boat under control and out of harms way.
Of course, now that it's over and the sky is once again blue and the waters calm, it's time to kick back, have a brew and tell some stories! Isn't life amazing!
I think this is a call for celebration! The crew of the Jorvik is gonna do it up right today. We're taking shore leave... But before we do let's get ourselves and the boat cleaned up and do some laundry.
It was way more than a vacation. I never worked so hard in my life and called it a good time. You learn a lot about people on a sailboat at sea and most of the really important stuff is with very few words.
Sailing is about trust and cooperation. You don't sail a boat by committee. When you board you leave your ego in your duffle bag and do your best to learn the role you play that best serves the crew. There's a time for work and time for play. The only competition you have of any meaning is with yourself.
I hope you enjoyed my little tale of the sea... I often reflect on it and think if I ever ran a company like this we'd so totally rule! I made forever friends and mates and if it were somehow someway ever possible again, I wouldn't hesitate for a second to come aboard and sail away with you all again.
In loving memory of Arthur Brelsford (Sinbad) and Captain Jeff Brelsford (You're in my prayers. I hope you are better soon and set sail again). Hilary Wallace Brelsford (We haven't talked for so long mate and I so admire you and appreciate your courage. Bless you and thankyou and continue to take care of our captain!), and Janet Matzke, thanks always for being my friend.
Life's a reach and then you Jibe.