A soft sun rises over a gentle ocean, silhouetting several large puffy clouds. The light is diffused by a light haze of Sahara blown sand as I wake up in the sail bag of a 50 ft catamaran. My eyes focus on the open blue sky above me which cradled endless galaxies just five hours ago when I went to sleep. I am rocked gently by shallow ocean waves in the 70 degree weather which will soon warm to a consistent 85 degrees when the sun intensifies and quickly launches from the horizon to mid-sky.
My eyes close and I nap for another hour until the warmth causes me to throw off the sail I’ve wrapped as a blanket over me. Post nap, I watch a small isolated rain storm gliding elegantly between two islands to my left while my eyes drift around to the gap between myself and the nearby shore filled with warm, crystal clear light blue water.
I climb out of the sail bag careful not to wake the people on the bow or those sleeping on the cushions tiling the second level of our vessel. Most everyone spent the prior night outside in the maternal comforting weather. I walk down to the main deck and softly speak good morning to our fun and experienced chartered captain Fiona. She has sailed across the Atlantic several times and spent the last 20 seasons here in the British Virgin Islands. Meanwhile the rest of our crew can be found sleeping in their cabins after a long night of tear inducing laughter, tropical drinks and dancing as hard enough to break a toe. These nights are typically capped off with a midnight clothing optional swim in pitch black, 70 degree, calm water outside our boat.
I am already in my swim suit because there is no reason to change out of it given how often we go in and out of the water. The trunks shimmer as the gold material reflects the morning light. Just a few days ago a whole 22 of us in our group wore this futuristic space attire on an interactive scavenger hunt among a few dozen other tropical vacationers at White Bay on Jost Van Dyke.
I find my goggles as someone else stirs on the boat attached to ours that is home for the other dozen of our group. Jumping in the water I expect the familiar shock of cold water rushing around me as it has for all my childhood in cool Minnesotan lakes or as an adult in the alpine lakes spotting the Sierra Nevada but it doesn’t come. This water is nearly the same temperature as the air. It is warm and inviting as I began to snorkel around looking for treasures. This trip I’ve found money, turtle eggs, a go pro, watched a sea turtle snacking, seen sting rays, explored caves and swam through dynamic schools of thousands of fish changing their shape in response to snacking four foot long Tarpins in pursuit. These morning swims are one of the favorite parts of my trip.
This day will be very similar to the last with group meals cooked in our kitchen, midday snorkeling, near constant music and drinking on a sandy beach with a mild breeze. All the while with water inviting us to cool off. Finally ending in a huge dance party into the night either on the boat or at some beach bar. Yet, every day offers something unique and different on this seven day co-Bachelor-Bachelorette party sailing trip containing people freely sharing their energy, creativity and selves.
One island night we turned a restaurant into a dance party as we moved tables aside and began ‘getting turnt’. Each one of us dancing in an animal costume ranging from artisanal unicorn onesies to cat ears or animal hats. Each representing our own personal spirit animal.
Another ended by laying on floaties consisting of a poop emoji and a unicorn while looking upwards as candle propelled paper lanterns were launched into the sky and disappeared. While on another we all wore tunics to an area with large boulders you could scramble through and danced on the beach as a fun, laugh filled tribe sharing this happiness to everyone we met. (The Caves, Norman Island)
Possibly the peak experience was the a psychedelic experience next to a beach bonfire under limitless stars that ended in a sunrise dance and swim on the shore of a place we had renamed Scorpion Island. (Prickly Pear Island)
This trip really put me into another mode from the typical challenging mountain experiences I pursue. The mode that brings me to places like Burning Man, EDC and raves for the caring community, free creative spirit and dance all night long until sunrise energy. The mode that earned our trip, “the weirdest group” one captain has ever chartered with :D. I knew only two of the 22 going into the trip and leave with many friends and filled spiritually with their energy and support.