bucket list

02 March 2021
19 February 2021
16 August 2019
14 August 2019
13 August 2019
09 August 2019
14 May 2019
08 May 2019
30 April 2019
29 April 2019
24 April 2019
20 April 2019
17 April 2019
13 April 2019
08 April 2019
18 March 2019
22 February 2019
31 January 2019

Treasure Island

02 March 2021
Melissa Swenson
Treasure Island
We woke to sunny skies and 48°. After breakfast we checked out at 9 a.m. and hit the road. It is only around 215 miles from St. Augustine to Treasure Island. We stopped for gas and to stretch our legs. The traffic was crazy around Disney World and came to a stand still. Our waze redirected us to avoid the worst of it. Still, it was 3:00 when we finally reached our destination. As we drove over the bridge to Treasure Island, it felt like another world. It had warmed up to 66°. We settled in to our adorable airbnb bungalow and walked to Caddy's to see the beach. It's a hopping place! We would soon learn that this is a favorite spot and is really busy on the weekends. Young and old alike, but mostly young people on the weekend. We just kept our distance, moving farther down the beach to set up our chairs. During the week, we took advantage of the smaller crowds and the free chairs and umbrellas at Caddy's. We ordered drinks with an app and they delivered to our chairs. Perfect! This is the life!
Treasure Island has that old Florida feel. Sunset Beach is an event everyday at sundown, and the cottages are all reminiscent of Key West.

Sign sign everywhere a sign

19 February 2021
Melissa Swenson
Tired of the cold and headed to Florida! There were many travelers on the road headed south too. We left a day earlier than planned because of predicted bad weather. Another round of ice was expected in Virginia. So off we went! We left Urbanna at 10 a.m., made a few stops and arrived in Florence S.C. around 4 p.m. We passed a car along the way towing a loaded, tarp covered trailer, with a sign that read, "Goodbye PA and NJ, Hello Florida". A sign of the times.
We left Florence the next day at 9 a.m. after breakfast. 95 South was littered with Billboard signs . Half were for "adult" stores and the other half for Jesus. Satan vs. God. Evil vs. Good. A sign of the times.
We arrived in St. Augustine around 3 p.m. After settling in to our room at the Flagler Inn, we drove to the historic district. Parking is nearly impossible. We have many fond memories here. We have made many stops here over the years, on our way both South and North on S/V Bay Breezin'. Many times we wished for a car when we were here on the boat, but now it seems it would be much easier to walk everywhere from the city marina than it is to drive in all of the traffic and try to find parking! After two rounds we lucked into a parking spot across from the marina. It happens to be right in front of one of our favorite restaurants, O.C. White's. We had talked about walking to a little Polish restaurant that we like. Instead, we were lured under the trellis of the outdoor patio at O. C. White's, by the music of a lone guitar player. Almost everyone seated here had a dog by their side. Obviously, a popular spot for the locals. We enjoyed a glass of their special "St. Augustine Sangria" and we split a plate lasagna. It was delicious! After dinner we enjoyed a stroll over to the marina. It was a beautiful evening.
With an extra day before we check into our air bnb on the Gulf Coast, we decided to stay another night in St. Augustine. The chance of rain today is 100%. Despite the rain, we drove cross the Bridge of Lions Bridge to the beach front. We toured the lighthouse and had a wonderful lunch at Sunset Grille. We had homemade clam chowder and key lime pie...yum. The sign outside said "You are now somewhere on A1A".

BVI Sail

16 August 2019
Yesterday I stayed home alone while Heather worked. After work, we went to Root 42 for a drink and then to The Old Stone Farmhouse for dinner. The restaurant is charming. Over two centuries ago, the building with two foot thick stone walls was the hub of a 250 acre Danish sugar plantation. It was a hard decision, but I settled on the Mahi and shrimp over roasted cauliflower steak with citrus butter and green mango salad. Heather had the 8 ounce filet with truffle herb polenta, roasted mushrooms, bordelaise and bearnaise, grilled asparagus and crispy leaks. We enjoyed these with a bottle Chardonnay. Our waitress was great and she was a friend of Heathers. She insisted on sending us home with a decadent chocolate mousse and coconut macaroon to share, on the house. It was truly an amazing dining experience.

Thursday August 15
We were up early to catch the 6 a.m. Fast Cat in Red Hook to the Westin in St.John. This new, very modern air conditioned ferry is owned and operated by Cruz Bay Watersports. It is a 100 foot power catamaran. The interior is beautiful, a lot like an aircraft except the seats are more comfortable and has much more leg room. This is Heather's commute numerous times a week. We were on the dock at the Westin Hotel by 6:30.

The boat for this day long trip to the British Virgin Islands is S/V Daydreamer, a 55 foot catamaran. She is at the dock with two other Cruz Bay boats, Island Time and Jost Boat. There are 45
passengers today. After everyone fills out their paperwork for customs and immigration and hands over our passports, we can board. A continental breakfast of ham and cheese croissants, fruit and pastries is waiting for us. Everyone helps themselves as we depart. Captain Brent is at the helm. Ivan, the other crew member gives the safety talk. Our first stop is back to the north shore of St. John at Lovango Cay for snorkeling. Local legend has it that 18th century pirates visited a brothel located on the island, sought their pleasure and sailed away. The "Love and Go Island", hence the name Lovango. We are under sail, the bar is open and our next stop is a BVI customs office on Jost Van Dyke. We picked up a mooring and Ivan took the dinghy in with our paperwork and passports to clear us in. We motored around to White Bay where there are many boats anchored. Brent pulls Daydreamer right up on the beach. Both aft and bow anchors are set and the guests depart for a few hours on Jost Van Dyke. There is a selection of beach bars and cafes. Heather and I made our way to the most well known, the Soggy Dollar Bar. It is where the Painkiller was born. I got a chicken sandwich with pasta salad and ate while Heather took lunch back for the captain and crew. There is a photo album on the picnic table that shows pictures before the hurricanes and of the aftermath. Everything has been rebuilt. I took a walk on the beach, snapped some pictures and visited the gift shop. There are lots of people enjoying lunch, drinks, playing the "ring toss" game and hanging out in the water. There is a great vibe here. The party continues back on the boat. Some of the passengers take a turn at the helm for a picture. We sail back to St. John where we have to stop at the customs dock to clear back into the U.S. With our passports in hand we file through the office. As Captain Brent explained, they have a great arrangement with customs in the BVI. You pay their fee and they just wave you in. Back in the U.S. they want to see our smiling faces. We motored around St. John to the Westin on Cruz Bay. After the boat was "ship shape", we took the 6:30 Fast Cat back to St. Thomas. It has been a "lovely cruise". A great ending to my time back in the islands. It's always hard to say goodbye. I am so glad to see Heather so happy. She loves her life here!


14 August 2019
The clouds are covering the sunrise this morning. By the time we leave at 8:30 the sky is clear. It is going to be a beautiful day! We arrived at the Ritz Carlton to meet S/V Jammin' at 9 am. Captain Brent and Erin are bringing her from St. John. Heather picks up beach towels and lunch for the guests from the hotel kitchen. We are waiting on the beach when they arrive at 9:30. The captain pulls Jammin', a 63 foot Gold Coast catamaran built in St. Croix, right up on the beach so guests can walk up the ladder that lowers to the water. Boarding is at 10:30 and there are 29 guests today. I am happy that they have room to add me. The max is 45, so it won't be crowded. The wind is blowing 15-20 kts. As soon as we can turn into the wind, Erin and Heather raise the main sail and unfurl the jib. The music is good and " we be Jammin". It is a nice group of people from all over the world. I sat at the helm with Brent for a while. Great view from up there! Our first stop is Lovango Cay, St. John. A small, self -sufficient, eco-friendly island with just a few residents. We pick up a mooring here and spend an hour or so snorkeling the reef. Heather spotted a group of six squid. They look so graceful swimming over the reef. Our next stop is Honeymoon Beach on St. John. It is a National park. We can see what is left of Kenny Chesney's house at the top of the hill. Unfortunately, it was totally destroyed in Irma/Maria. We pick up a mooring and spot a turtle immediately. Everyone is excited to get back in the water. Some swim to the beach. Heather takes people back and forth in the dinghy. She started driving a dinghy when she was 11 years old! The bar is open and lunch is served. This was a nice long relaxing stop. I sat in one of the bean bag chairs on the bow with my Painkiller (signature rum drink of the islands). Time to head back to St. Thomas. There are a few kite boards out as we approach the beach at the Ritz. It has been a wonderful cruise! My trip would not be complete without a sail.

Beach Bars and Iguanas

13 August 2019
Saturday August 11
There is a cool breeze blowing through the five, floor to ceiling, 21 pane louvered windows all night. The bedroom overlooks Sunsi Bay. I can hear the roosters crowing at 5am. The sky is gorgeous in red ord orange as the sun comes up over the residual clouds on the horizon. Other birds join in the chorus. There is a pair of parrots that I have observed every day. Heather slept in until almost 9. She was exhausted from her long day yesterday. Cruz Bay Water Sports is taking local kids in summer camp on a snorkel sail. The first two trips yesterday were filled with thirty plus kids each trip. Her third trip was a sunset/dinner sail to St. John. Our breakfast this morning was at Lattes in Paradise overlooking American Yacht Harbour. We watched fishing charters, day sailing charters and ferries preparing to depart. After breakfast and a little shopping we headed to Sapphire Beach. Since I was here last year, a huge pavilion with a bar and lounge has been built. We stayed to listen to the band. Then we stayed for cheeseburgers for lunch. And then we stayed to see more friends and more music. We decided to take out Chinese food for dinner. I spent a quiet evening at home and Heather went out with friends.
Sunday August 11
It rained some overnight. The sun turned the sky red briefly at sunrise and then slipped behind some clouds left on the horizon. By 6:30 am, the sun is over the clouds and it is too bright to stay in bed. Time for coffee on the balcony. The roosters in the distance are really loud this morning. I see the parrots playing in and out of the trees. We had brunch at Caribbean Seafood Market. Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Marys kept us there into the afternoon. Chanda met us and from there we picked up Chris and went to the beach at Magens Bay. Hailed as one of the world's most beautiful beaches, it is popular with both tourists and locals. There is a fee to get in, but is minimal for locals. The grounds, bath house, food pavilion and bar are all well kept. There were no cruise ships in today, so just mostly locals enjoying the beach. We stayed until closing time at 5 pm. We went to the laundromat, threw a load in and walked to ITP for a cocktail while we waited. Another early night back at Heathers for leftovers and a movie.
Monday, August 12
Time seems to be flying by now. Heather is on a private charter today. She is up at 5am to catch the 6am ferry this morning to St. John where they will take the boat to Virgin Gorda to pick up guests and sail to Scrub Island. She should be back around 7pm. Heather's neighbor, Bob, gave me a ride to Sapphires in Redhook at 11 am. I had lunch at the bar and then walked to the pool by the marina where I spent most of the day. The pool was full of kids. There were two huge iguanas hanging around. They are very bold because people feed them. One came up under the chair next to me. It may be because I was just bitten by a snake at home a few weeks ago, but they really made my skin crawl! Too close for comfort! I decided to leave. I walked up the hill to a poolside restaurant that Bob recommended. It was a nice quiet bar with just a few people in the pool. There were some issues in customs, so Heather didn't get the ferry back until 8. We had a late dinner at Slice and headed home. I'm excited to sail with Heather tomorrow.

Island Time

09 August 2019
Melissa Swenson
From Rivah time to Island time. Not a hard transition. It has been over a year since I've been to St. Thomas to see Heather. That is too long!
Tuesday August 6
There is a steel drum band and free Cruzan rum shots as soon as we are off the plane. A nice welcome to the islands.
I took a taxi from the airport to ITP (Island Time Pub) to meet Heather after she finished her work day. It's just like "Cheers" as everyone yells a welcome to Heather and Heathers Mom! I love all of Heather's friends....her island family. It was great to see everyone and catch up. I was starving so we shared a Hawaiian pizza.
Wednesday August 7
My first full day here was what I call "acclimation" day. We had a late breakfast at Carigas on the water by Independent Boat Yard in Red Hook. It is a good time to catch some of her friends who keep their boats there. We spent the rest of the day shopping like tourists at the cruise ship dock. We went through the Pirate museum (very cool) and chatted with Captain Jack Sparrow (oppps, he uses the name John Sparrow now) He looks just like Jack from Pirates of the Carribean and never breaks from character! Disney won't let him use the name. Then, we had to stop at Kmart for some essentials. Back to ITP for dinner and home by 10 p.m.
Thursday August 8
Breakfast was at Bernie's this morning. We picked up Chanda and met Andy and his coconut retriever, Chuey, at the noon ferry to Water Island. More friends filled the little ferry boat for the short 10 -15 minute trip to the island. I had never been before. It's a great beach to hang out all day. We shared a cabana,swam, played darts and ate conch fritters and quesadillas. We took the last ferry back at 6p.m. Heather and I decided on dinner at Pesce, a great Italian restaurant next to ITP at American Yacht Harbour. Heather had Fettuccine Alfredo and I had Snapper Piccata. All pasta is made in house. Delish! We called it an early night. Heather works a long day tomorrow.
Friday August 9
It stormed overnight. They've been having a lot of rain with thunder and lightning(unusual here). It's all good though. The cisterns are full and the island is lush with greenery and tropical flowers. The Flamboyant trees are.....how should I say...FLAMBOYANT! It was overcast this morning when Heather left at 7a.m. There are still a few passing clouds but the sun broke through by 9 and there is a fabulous breeze up here on the side of this mountain called St. Thomas. Heather was worried about leaving me all day alone. She won't be home until after 10 p.m. After trying to get me to take her car (too scary to drive here for me) I assured her that I would be fine. There is not much to eat here. Heather is out at meal time most days. I "make do" dining Al Fresco with biscotti and coffee with Kahlua. Summer sausage and Gouda for lunch. Tuna, olives and nuts for dinner. Trader Joe's dark chocolate with caramel and Black Sea salt for dessert. I always provision! I'll find a few "Mom projects", like cleaning the fan and painting a table. My very southern mother used to do things like polish the silver when she came to my house! About 10:30 a.m., I saw Heather's boat sailing south to St. John. I spent the afternoon reading. Heather has Saturday and Sunday off. I'm sure we will find something to do!

Vessel Name: Bay Breezin'
Vessel Make/Model: Hunter 410
Hailing Port: urbanna va
Crew: melissa swenson
Bay Breezin''s Photos - Georgetown to Savannah
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Added 7 December 2014