Snorkeling at Treasure Point

On Friday, March 23rd, we got our boat.  After a hectic three hours of
loading all of our provisions onto our boat, Carino, a 433 from Footloose, we finally got off about 3:30 and
arrived at The Bight on Norman Island at about 4:30.  We had a great
meal of mahi-mahi on board and the next day we went snorkeling at the
caves at Treasure Point.

who had never been snorkeling, jumped right off the dinghy into 25 feet
deep water, came up and yelled "there’s lots of fish down here!"
Needless to say, he took right to snorkeling.

There are some great pictures of our boat with us sailing at Yacht Shots.  If we’d realized what they were doing we might have smiled!

Finally, the British Virgin Islands!

We arrived at Beef Island airport at 6pm EDT and took a cab to our hotel on Tortola.  It was a long day as we left the house at 3:30 MDT but Jacob still had plenty of energy for a swim and then he tried conch fritters for the first time.

How Jacob used his windup flashlight to save the day

For unknown reasons, Continental gave away all of our assigned seating on our first flight out of Denver.  The only two seats together that they could give us were in the last row of the airplane.  So Jacob and I sat in the last row and played Uno and checkers.  As anyone who has watched kids not sit still would understand, some how all of the (magnetic) checkers ended up spilling off the table and onto the floor.  After collecting all the ones we could see, we were still missing one, so Jacob crawled behind the seats with his wind up flashlight, and found the missing checker stuck to one of the seat legs.  I’m sure Jacob would tell you that his windup flashlight is an indispensible tool on any trip!

Jacob’s first travel crisis

Remember what I said about getting behind children in line
in security? Well, I was wrong.  On our way to the British Virgin Islands last week our six year old, Jacob, caught the attention of the TSA security agents.  In his Scooby Doo backpack he was carrying, in addition to the normal
treasures, a metal box of travel games, a metal Bob the Builder box to
collect treasures in and a wind up flashlight – oh, and a metal bell without
the clapper. When his
backpack hit the scanner’s screen the TSA agent stopped the conveyer belt, stared at the image for a while and
then waved over one of her associates. The second guy stared for a while and then pulled out his radio and
called for a third person! The third
person collected Jacob’s backpack and took it over to the explosive testing machine.  By this time, Jacob was starting to look really worried.  The agent took eveything out of the backpack, much to Jacob’s concern, examined it all, tested it for explosives and then took all the contents and the backpack back to the scanner.  Jacob bravely fought back tears and asked why were they taking his backpack?  We got it back shortly after that and the agent explained they had never seen a wind up flashlight or a metal travel games box before.  Jacob is now sure he does not like security and that they take things from you!

How to Go Through Airport Security Like a Pro

Ok, so nobody goes through like a pro anymore.  The ever changing rules are made to make it as awkward and silly as possible.  But since I can still get through quickly if not easily, I thought I’d share some tips.

First off, if you are checking a bag, check everything except your book and life will be much easier.  Just remember to take off your shoes and belt (or don’t wear a belt), and you’ll be set.  Oh, and your jacket.

If, like me, you hate checking a bag, here’s what you need to do:

  1. First, put all your liquids, like toothpaste, in a plastic baggie.  You can do this at home, but if you forget most airports have plastic baggies handy for you. DIA does.  Make sure
    that none of your liquid containers hold more than 3 ounces.  (That’s
    like one of those travel size bottles of mouth wash or toothpaste.)  No full water bottles.  (You can take an empty bottle through and fill it at the fountain in the terminal.) Then
    take all of the liquids and put them in a
    ziploc bag and put it in a very easy to access pocket of your carryon.
    I’ve found that liquids are the most overlooked thing in security, so
    if you forgot to put your toothpaste in the baggie, don’t panic.  When
    you go through security you will need to take this baggie out and put
    it in one of the plastic bins.
  2. Next, everything in your pockets should be stowed away in your bag.  You can do this while you are waiting in line. I have a pocket in my briefcase I reserve for the "everything in my pockets" including my watch.
  3. Laptop. Your laptop will need to go through in a bin of its own so have it handy.  I put both my plastic baggie of liquids and my laptop in the outside pockets of my rollaboard all by themselves so it’s easy to pull them out.
  4. Jacket.  Jackets must come off.  Sometimes if you’re a woman they’ll let you slide by in your suit jacket.  Sometimes they won’t.
  5. Shoes.  All shoes must come off and go through the xray machine.
  6. Belts.  Not all belts have to come off but it saves a lot of time to just take it off and run it through the xray machine with your shoes.  If the machine you walk through beeps, you might have to go through extra security steps like being wanded.
  7. Boarding pass.  In some airports you will need to hold your boarding pass in your hand as you step through the scanner.  (You don’t in DIA but you do in San Jose, San Francisco, etc.)

So at this point you will have your suitcase, your purse or briefcase and two bins (one with your laptop or video camera and one with your shoes, belt, and jacket) plus you will need to hold your boarding pass in your hand.  So as best you can slide the bins and your bags through the xray machine.  Walk through the scanner with your boarding pass and then put yourself together on the other end!  I always store my laptop first and then put on my shoes – but that’s all personal preference.  (I walked off without my laptop once which is why I always grab it first.)

Lately I’ve found that getting in line behind kids is actually a good thing.  They take off their shoes much faster than the adults, don’t wear belts, and don’t carry suitcases full of things that might make security suspicious.

Photo by plugimi.

Not just dreaming of sailing anymore


I’ve been dreaming of sailing in the British Virgin Islands for a while now.  I even posted on how to plan a sailing vacation.  Well, I’m not just dreaming anymore – we decided to go ahead and do it.  The question is just which month and exactly how much are we going to spend on airfare!

I took a liveaboard sailing class a year ago September in the British Virgin Islands and loved it – I blogged about it.  (Remember the entries are in reverse order.)

Here are some reasons to sail in the BVI:

  • It’s beautiful.
  • The snorkeling is awesome.  I’ve seen turtles, octopus, squid, barracuda, … in addition to the regular coral and fish.
  • You can always see land.
  • All the islands have beaches with great sand and beach bars.
  • Sun.
  • Warm water.  Even I don’t get cold after a couple of hours in the water.
  • Everybody there is in a good mood.  (Probably because they are all on vacation. 🙂
  • Boats.  Sailboats.
  • Sailing.  Crossing the ocean silently with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face.
  • People.  Everyone is ready to sit back, have a beer and laugh.  Or dance.  Or party.
  • Willy T’s.  The bar on a boat.
  • Foxys.  The beach bar.
  • Great weather.  It’s the same 75-85 all year around.
  • The place on top of the Baths with the great hammocks.
  • The Baths.  Who doesn’t like scrambling through rocks and caves.  Especially caves that are open to the sunlight!
  • Good food.  Conch fritters, anyone?

I’m very much looking forward to going back!

How to plan a sailing vacation

  Ever looked at a magazine cover of a beautiful white
sailboat surrounded by gorgeous turquoise water and wondered how in the world
do people plan a vacation like that?  Well, I’ve been dreaming about
sailing lately, and since I’m not planning on taking my three month old sailing
any time soon (they won’t let me start him in swim lessons until he’s six
months!), I thought I’d share how I planned my sailing vacations and live
vicariously though those that might decide to go.  Feel free to send me

First you have to decide what type of sailing vacation you want.  In part
it will depend on how much sailing experience you have and in part it will
depend on how comfortable your traveling companions are with sailing.

There are five basic ways you can take a sailing vacation:

Continue reading “How to plan a sailing vacation”

Pictures from Sailing Class

I had a great week sailing in the BVI on the Moorings boat Salaway with Offshore Sailing School.  I made new friends and learned a lot.  One of the coolest things we learned was how to "heave to", how to stop in the middle of the ocean.  The joke of the day was several thousand dollars and a whole week of class and we learned how to stop!

Here are the pictures I took.