Meeting Grandpa Stingray

If you are planning a vacation but lacking inspiration of where to go, I think you should have a look at the British Virgin Islands and particularly the island Virgin Gorda. We been anchored off the island in a bay called Big Trunk Bay and have had a great relaxing time. Every morning we have been fortuned to wake up surrounded by turquoise water with an outstanding visibility. We have been anchored on 5m depth and from the boat you could easily see fishes helping us cleaning the hull and baby stingrays swimming at the bottom. Speaking of stingrays, we have not only been surrounded by baby rays, one day when I was out snorkeling among the “Gothenburg archipelago looking” boulders I thought my heart would leave my body when I met Grandpa Stingray. Grandpa Stingray was just underneath me resting his large body at the bottom looking up on me with his eyes that where bigger than my clenched fists. Luckily Grandpa Stingray looked tired and didn’t move while I was swimming above him. I know that Stingrays generally aren’t harmful to humans and when threatened there usual reaction is to swim away. However, if they’re being attacked by predators or if someone would accidentally step on them they can defend themselves by stinging with their tail. And ever since I heard the story about the woman who was killed by a stingray I have hold stingrays in great respect. The poor woman was sitting in the cockpit of a boat when a stingray flew up and stung her in her heart to death. Yeah, I know this was an extremely rare and unlucky accident, but still enough to be frightening. When I breathless returned to the boat the girls where thrilled and Maria was eager to have a look at Grandpa Stingray herself. Even though Maria knew Grandpa Stingray would lie there she was surprised and little frightened too. Stingrays are simply commanding respect!

While snorkeling we have not only seen stingrays, the other day a large Barracuda swam by, luckily we didn’t see its scary bloodthirsty mouth though. To further add little excitement to our relaxing sunbathing days we have almost managed to flip over our dinghy, Volare. Last night was an exception from the calm days and nights we have experienced here so far. Swells in the bay and waves breaking in on the beach made our dinghy take off from the beach little more exciting than usual. When the engine didn’t want to cooperate a huge wave caught us and we all thought Volare would turn over, giving us bruises and a saltwater destroyed engine. Luckily Volare didn’t flip over, only leaving us half soaked with butterflies in our stomachs after the rollercoaster dinghy ride it took us on. Oh, I forgot, of course we had to spend some time emptying the dinghy swimming pool too.

Of course, we have been doing less breathtaking activities too. Virgin Gorda is home for the Baths, a collection of giant rocks which serve as national park. The old boulders create a cave which we visit. It’s an exciting feeling being inside a cave having to climb and squeeze in between rocks and then suddenly end up in a tidal pool. The Baths are not only famous for its boulders and cave also for stunning beaches and awesome snorkeling. However, I would be lying if I said we have had the paradise for our selves, other tourists can basically be found everywhere, in charter boats but also in resort villas ashore. But on the other hand, it isn’t that bothering, the fellow tourists we have met here around have been so very friendly and I have often ended up having a little pleasant conversation with different strangers. And according to me, one of the best things when travelling is the opportunity of meeting new inspiring people!

Yesterday we left the little bay and instead anchored outside the harbor to be closer to facilities. Maria and I are at the moment trying to plan for the future by picking schools and educations for the autumn 2010. Studying feels so far away while sitting here, but deadline for the application processe is close and internet on Cuba will most certainly be even harder to find there than it is here. We also need to do some provisioning and get some work done on the boat before we can leave for our first longer leg since the Atlantic crossing. It’s about 500 Miles to Turks and Caicos, our next destination. This leg will also be Catrine’s introduction to long distance sailing, her very first sail trip longer than 24h! Exciting! Over and Out! /First Mate

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