Tropical Adventure


Trunk Bay, on St. John.

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.

vi_mapSnorkeling 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.


5 Comments on “Tropical Adventure

  1. The Virgin Islands are nice. I’m generally not a fun in the sun kind of guy (too pale, basically I just stand there blinking in the light) but we do like to cruise, and we’ve taken a couple of tropical trips. The last time we were in the Caribbean I went snorkeling for the first (and only, up to now) time. I think it would have taken me a while to get the hang of it – it was a windy, stormy day, which made it tougher. My wife (who’s a strong swimmer, unlike me) kept swimming farther and farther out by the sharp rocks, which was kind of harrowing.

  2. I know what you mean re: fast swimming wives. Mine had many summers of snorkeling when she was a kid (albeit at a lake, NOT in the ocean) and I had a hard time keeping up.

    Also, being pale myself, I had to spend a lot of time rubbing in sun screen. All four of my immediate family members are on the pale side, but we got away with few REAL burns.

    Incidentally, saw that you’d been watching Attack on Titan. We just finished a view of the second episode ourselves last night.

    • Yeah, I also had to spend lots of time with SPF 1000. It was quite a moral victory to finish that trip as pale as I left. Let me know what you think of AonT. It doesn’t resolve after the first season (there will be a second at some point), but I thought it was pretty good.

  3. Until now, the only Anime series I’ve thought was well enough written for me to watch to the end has been Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (and I thought it was brilliant — AonT so far is much more promising than anything else I’ve tried since.

    I’d be curious to see if you had any other recommendations — minus spoilers, of course!

    • I’ve really struggled with anime – a lot of it is too childish for me, or sexist. I’ll Try Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood (it streams!), and you might look into Claymore (again, it doesn’t resolve, but it’s a worthwhile run). Other than that, most of the anime that I’ve managed to get through is in movie form.

      Oh, if you’re up for something really trippy, there’s always Serial Experiments Lain, which I enjoyed a lot even though it confused the heck out of me! The theme is nice (

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