Northwest Maritime Center leads flotilla in the British Virgin Islands

hallie kopaldAll

British Virgin Islands Flotilla

Flotilla captain Daniel Evans reflects on the trip. 

International Travel’s first trip couldn’t have been better.

Honestly, this isn’t an attempt to make you jealous. I mean, I’m jealous and I was the one spending a week in the tropical Caribbean, but I’m not talking about just one trip; I’m talking about the trifecta, the jewels of the crown. I’m talking about International Travel with the Northwest Maritime Center. Our 2019 lineup: British Virgin Islands, Tasmania, and Croatia.

Where do I begin? Obviously I should talk about the British Virgin Islands (BVIs). Do I talk about the sea life first: the hawksbill turtle, the southern stingray, the nurse sharks? Should I mention the legions of cuttlefish holding formation during their coordinated swims? I could lead with the sailing at 6 to 10 knots while some folk work the helm and others catch up on their reading?

Maybe chronological!

It all started when we arrived at the Moorings office on Tortola and found waiting for us two boxes of fresh local produce from the local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. We had to look up half the fruit to identify them, but one thing was common to it all: it was delicious. Have you had a Soursop? We made it for dessert and it was an instant success. We ate dinner less and less ashore because the food we were creating was just that good and that local.

Wait, wait! I want to talk about the beaches first! We had all kinds. Cooper Island had the most beautiful coral and sand with purple fish just off Cistern Point. The Baths and Devil’s Bay on Virgin Gorda had this incredible scramble through giant volcanic boulders. We were hauling over the top of a boulder to slide down and wade through waist-deep water into a tunnel made by the giant rocks. There was even a spot where you had to swim underwater under a rock group to come out on the other side. We stayed so long at the Baths that we ended up having it all to ourselves. Marina Kay (pronounced Key) has a reef encircling 60 percent of its shore, leaving just enough room to grab a mooring and head to the fine sand beach for some snorkeling (that’s where we saw the rays!)

BVIs was the Northwest Maritime Center’s first trip in the trifecta of globetrotting fun to offer economical, high-quality experiences to our greater community. We started in the British Virgin Islands because we thought there couldn’t be a better celebration to kick off the effort. The BVI’s offer great snorkeling, sailing, warm water and island adventure—and that’s what we experienced!  Where to next? Our next NWMC-led trip leaves to Tasmania to participate in the Australian Wooden Boat Festival and spend 14 days on the island sailing tall ships in the parade of sail, visiting ancient forest by both a historic train and boat cruise up the Gordon River and hanging out with Tasmanian Devils under cover of night. All in a place that’s officially claiming to have the cleanest air on earth.

We are going to close out this year of International Travel by going sailing in Croatia along the Dalmatian Coast! Ancient cities, soaring castles. It’s some of the Adriatic Sea’s best history nestled beside turquoise waters, and it’s not too late to come with us! We leave on September 21 for 10 days. Details are here.