A Chartered Day Out With Children, Part 1

Captain Ocean Peterson picked the six of us up (Husband, Babies, visiting Mother and Sister, and me) at the dock at 8:30am in the chartered motorboat; he was taking us out for a day tour around the neighboring British Virgin Islands (BVI). We had been out on a boat several times before with the babies, so I managed not to pack eight billion bags of ‘just-in-case’ stuff for them this time. One still needs diapers, wipes, snacks, sippy-cups, life vests, dry clothes, sunscreen and towels with two little ones, just not several bags of each. Of course I am sure we could have managed without half that, but in my experience, the minute you don’t have something, you need it (the chances that someone will have diapers in your child’s size – or at all, for that matter – at a restaurant reachable only by boat are pretty slim). And, I am almost ashamed to admit that we try never to leave home without our iPad when there is a meal involved. Almost.

Captain Ocean on Jost Van Dyke. An incredibly experienced mariner (he literally grew up sailing around the world), he is also a fabulous story-teller and is wonderful with all ages (the Babies love him, and visiting family friends in their 70s were equally impressed).

At the grand old age of two, BB rarely sits still, usually wants to sprint in the direction of danger (bodies of water/narrow docks/feral animals/massive iguanas/steep rocky coastlines) and wails sadly when he doesn’t get his way. He sounds like a bit of a nightmare, but he is actually quite charming 95% of the time; you just have to head him off at the pass, be prepared to take long walks with eagle eyes and cat-like reflexes, and know that he naps beautifully on a boat after crying for three very looooong minutes. He loves being on boats and sits still on our laps for the most part, but the second he hits dry land, he is off like a shot. The iPad guarantees us that we might get to finish most of our lunch – selfish, but true (and we only use it for meals and long car trips – that is ALL I am admitting to). One day, perhaps we will wean him (let’s see how this year goes). BG on the other hand, is patient and obedient, as well as a natural boater. She always wants to go faster – she actually enjoys sea spray on her face; and, she too sleeps brilliantly on a boat.  But I am getting ahead of myself…

The iPad, with the most important accessory - the car seat strap holder thingie. Not only can you use it in a car, but you can wrap that strap around heavy table centerpieces, around chair backs, etc. etc.

This was our third trip with Ocean (yes, his real name) and even though we didn’t have a plan in place, I knew he would come up with the right islands to motor around, the perfect spot for snorkeling (you have to take into consideration currents, waves, and Lord knows what else), and the best place for lunch with the Babies (as opposed to places where people happily drunk on rum flash each other – that will be another post about a chartered day out sans enfants). First stop: 30 minutes away on Jost Van Dyke to clear customs. Jost Van Dyke is 4 miles long, with a sandy main street bordering the water and hammocks in palm trees alongside. Besides being a beautiful and charming island with fewer than 200 full-time inhabitants, Jost is also famous for other things, among them: having the largest New Year’s Eve Party in the Caribbean (or, as it’s called there, Old Year’s Night); being the birthplace of the ‘Painkiller’ (a very rummy and incredibly tasty drink); and two pilgrimage-inducing bars– Foxy’s and the Soggy Dollar (there are obviously many other terrific things on the island that do not include alcohol, but those will have to be for future trips).

Jost, looking from Foxy's end to the other.

Main Street.

The dock in front of Foxy's.

We cleared customs, sat at Foxy’s, listened to Foxy himself strum the guitar, and sipped Painkillers. I don’t care what time it is – when in Rome…though the Babies had pineapple juice. BB found a brand new spin on his favorite activity of throwing rocks into the water: he would throw them, a very friendly playful black lab would bound into the water and try to catch them, then wait for BB to throw another. Seriously, it could have been hours of entertainment for both Baby Boy and Dog – I wanted to take the dog home with us. BG discovered an empty hammock stretched between two palm trees overlooking the rock-throwing, so she amused herself climbing, swinging, and watching pelicans dive for fish. Mother and Sister fell in love with the Painkillers and spent the next week trying to recreate the perfect Painkiller. There are all sorts of different recipes on-line, and as a result, when they left I inherited the most random tropical selection of drink ingredients ever. It is quite difficult to recreate Foxy’s, though they did a masterful job.

Foxy's sign.

Foxy with guitar. Besides being an incredibly interesting, successful, and friendly person, he tells great jokes.

Great sign over the bar at Foxy's.

BB throwing rocks.

BB still at it, with Husband keeping tabs.

BG chilling out.

BG would have stayed there all day if we had let her.

BB checking out other seating options.

Sister and I then took a walk down the beach to the other end of the main beach/street, and happened upon a cool tire swing shaped like a horse. We went back to get BG (BB not being a fan of swings) and ran her back there. She was in absolute heaven. It was time to go soon after, and back on the boat we went…

BG sprinting down the beach to the swing.

The ingenious horse tire swing.

BG happy on swing.

We had to promise that we could come back soon to use that swing.

Church at the quiet end of the beach.

Possibly the most peaceful place on the beach on Jost. Every cemetery I have seen in the VI and BVI is above ground.

A perfect little boat, though not ours that day.

This entry was posted in Caribbean Escapades, Island Style, Raves! and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Chartered Day Out With Children, Part 1

  1. aimee says:

    I want a Painkiller stat!

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