Two weeks ago I set a couple of essays to automatically go live on the web site while I was on a tropical adventure with the family. My wife, son, daughter, and I flew down to the American Virgin Islands and met up with my wife’s side of the family, who’d been several times before. They showed us around St. John and St. Thomas and I tried snorkeling for the first time.
Seeing as how I’m writing two Paizo novels set in tropical lands (and waters) the trip couldn’t have come at a better time. I was taking notes every day (relying on my wife to snap the pictures). I’d actually SHARE some of those pictures except that most of them have the family in them, and as regular visitors know, I keep that stuff private.
One of the highlights was a chartered boat trip on the Take It Easy VI, captained by Dana Paradise and crewed by his First Mate Mary. I couldn’t recommend them more highly. They were pleasant, friendly, knowledgable — and they were great with my kids. If you ever want to head out to some more secluded snorkeling spots you should definitely look them up. The boat was roomy and comfortable. Their site has some great pics of both their boat and the kind of sites we saw on our trip.
Snorkeling wasn’t quite as simple as it looked, and it took a couple of days before I got the hang of it — partly because I was always using rented equipment and partly because I was working my legs too hard. Once my wife finally gave me the final tips I needed I really grew to enjoy it.
The islands were stunning. Despite the bright greens in many of the pictures, the islands were somewhat dry — they aren’t as lush as the Hawaiian islands, which I had the pleasure to visit a few years back. I’d like to make a return trip some time now that I know my way around a little more so we can explore a few spots in greater detail. I have to say that I was delighted to have so much fresh fish. My wife’s father and I tried to take in fresh, locally caught fish at as many meals as possible.
Surprisingly, I got a decent amount of writing done most mornings before we started our daily adventures — more than I did in the few days before and after the trip. It always takes more energy than I think to ready the family for a trip, and then to recover from one. On the long plane trip there and back I read a lot of paperbacks, one of which was by my friend and fellow Pathfinder Tales writer, Chris Jackson (author of Pirate’s Honor). I’ll talk more about the books I read in my next post, but I mention Chris because he and his wife Anne pretty much live out of their boat in the Caribbean, and maintain a pretty nifty site with great pictures of their boat and the islands.