I consider my self a fairly lucky person, sailing has been good to me, I started sailing at an early age and it has stayed with me so far most of my life, when I have not been working with wood I have been tinkering with boats, sailing has enabled me to do things that most my peers only dreamed of, running away to a Caribbean Island, starting a charter business, traveling to new continents and countries under sail power alone, meeting amazing people that influenced how I lived my life, opening my eyes to new possibilities and adventures and eventually paying me to share my experiences and time with people who are dreaming of following similar footsteps.
Recently I have become increasingly nostalgic about England, especially the Sussex countryside where I grew up, cricket on the green, afternoon tea with and scones, walks in the country, pub lunches with friends, fishing in the rivers and hunting for game in the fields on an early summer morning, but I have grown to realize that you can’t turn back time, nothing stays the same, the planet continues to turn and time does not stand still, the summers have come and gone and the country has changed, the changes are irreversible and we must accept and move on.
Back to the present, the world has changed dramatically in such a short time, one minute we were ticking along running our businesses, living our lives and accepting the world around us, then all of a sudden everything stops, the world as we know it grinds to a halt, time, urgency, routines and normality is flipped on its head, projects we are working on are put on indefinite hold, our future is uncertain and everything slows down, a new routine starts to emerge, time for ourselves, time to reflect, slow down and start to appreciate the world around us, nature, the stars, the wind, the sun rising and setting, the moon stepping through its phases as it waxes fill’s and wanes.
We are anchored at Norman Island, we are on day 18 of the curfew here, maybe its 17 it does not matter, slowly we have settled into a new routine, the urgency has gone, we take time for ourselves, we find time for exercise, to look after our well being, to stretch , to breathe and to enjoy the world around us, we do jobs on the boat, we cook more, we talk, we have fun and we spend time talking about the future, at night we sleep under the stars, we leave the boat open to the elements, the wind blows across the bed at night and we breathe clean air with every breath, we sleep well and wake with the rising sun.
Many times in the past I have overheard older friends discussing the good old days in the BVI, the pioneering spirit of the industry in the early days, the parties, the friendships made, the sailing for fun on a day off, the camaraderie amongst people with the same vision, and somehow that’s been lost in a way, the focus has been commercialized, the Islands have changed, the charter fleets have grown and the anchorages have become crowded at times, once you could have the choice of empty anchorages in the Virgin Islands, to enjoy the nature and the beauty, swim with the Turtles and Rays, watch the sunset with an unobstructed view, you can still do that but it takes a bit more planning, the norm has become rush to the next anchorage by early afternoon to ensure you have a mooring for the night, 100 foot away from your neighbor. All of a sudden and if by magic the clock has suddenly been turned back, the impossible has happened and we have turned back time, the old BVI has re-emerged, we are floating at anchor in Norman Island with a few boats, a bay full of empty Boaty-Balls (pre-paid mooring system) nobody moves, the few boats here have formed a network to help each other out, observing strict social distancing procedures, we exchange intelligence from the various social media sites, we pull together as one small community isolated from the rest of the world, we swim in crystal clear waters, there is no sound of diesels, the Tarpon are here and so are the Turtles and Rays, we hear the birds for what seems the first time, everything is peaceful, so what seems to be impossible has actually happened I have been lucky enough to experience the turning back of time, who would have thought it, to experience the old BVI, as the pioneers would have met it, an impossible dream, in life anything can happen.