Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taking a Break in the Sun

My regular readers may have noticed the recent rerun of articles on the Christian Bookmobile. I didn't just post anything, though. I selected some of my favorites, ones that were published so long ago you may have missed them.

Why the repeats?

Celeste and I were in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, the first week of 2011 for a short vacation. Last year we went to Halifax, which I selected because of my desire to see snow. This year she suggested a place where we could enjoy the sun and warmth. With a range of 72 to 80 degrees, we did enjoy pleasant temperatures.

We left Austin January 1, and flew from Austin to Dallas to Miami to St. Thomas. In St. Thomas we took a Cessna 402C, along with five fighting roosters, to Tortola, BVI. From there we took a boat to Virgin Gorda in the dark.

I'm writing this the next morning after the trip before I forget how tortuous the 25 minute boat ride was for me. The boat was shaped like a 20-25 foot fishing boat with the skipper sitting high above the small cabin. The other seaman put us in the cabin and gave us the safety lecture. At the end of the safety talk, he'd warned us the water was unusually choppy tonight. There was one other passenger in the cabin with us, a young woman with a United States passport who told Celeste she couldn't speak English. She shrugged toward me after the safety announcement.

As we pulled away from the pier, we saw our first sunset in the Islands. It was one of those bright red ones that seem to linger forever. Soon, I was wondering if it was the last sunset I'd see. The next 25 minutes were pure hell. It was like I was stuck on an amusement ride gone amok. I'm still dizzy this morning.

There was nothing to hold onto as we bounced across the sea. I was amazed the bottom of the boat didn't break apart as it hit time after time after hanging in the air first. Up and slam. Up and slam. Where did that guy say we'd find the life preservers?

I sat next to Celeste on the only cushion while the young girl was holding her knee up against mine, probably to keep from bouncing off the fiberglass seat. I leaned one hand against the bulkhead for support, but soon it was so wet my hand slid off the wall.

There was a window above Celeste which we closed when the water first splashed in. But then it got so hot I opened it and welcomed the cold spray on my face. I was feeling queasy about this time and spied the sink across from us in case it was needed. I was reminded of my time in the marines aboard landing craft and always being the first one to throw up.

About the time I reached my limit, the engine speed cut and I knew the nightmare was coming to an end. We landed in Spanish Town and there was a taxi waiting for us. The distance to our resort was only about a mile from the place the boat landed.

Note: by the end of the week, I had been on five other boats of various sizes without incident. Our trip back to St. Thomas for the return flight was on a large ferry boat, which was quite comfortable.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about losing my wedding ring while snorkeling.

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