Firsts and Bests


My wife Erica and I were able to confirm a few key things about our daughter and boats. You see, I got an assignment for the magazine to take a crewed charter with my family in the British Virgin Islands with a company called The Moorings. If you’ve never been to the BVI, trust me when I tell you it is truly a beautiful place and a cruisers’ paradise. I don’t think I could really lay out the islands in a more pleasing array, were I given the chance to reach down from Olympus like some color-obsessed deity and place the landmasses in water that ranged from cobalt to cerulean to palest azure. The distances we ran each day gave us just enough boat time to cleanse our palates to appreciate the next spectacular stop. The coves our skipper David Blacklock and first mate/cook Deb Mahan put us in were a terrific combination of views (both above and below the water) and protection (we needed to find the lee of the islands since a couple of tropical storms were playing cat and mouse with each other—and us).

Taking a crewed charter makes it easy on parents too, since we found we can focus on time together and leave the details to the experts. Turns out our daughter Zuzu is great on a boat, and managed to fashion a distilled version of her lubberly life (a few toys, a few new books to read) that worked very well on board. She’s shown a tendency toward motion sickness in the past but she got acclimated well and quickly on our cruise, with a bit of help in the form of carefully considered doses of Dramamine for long or rough passages.

As we ran about an hour to Anegada, an open-water run that we expected would have a bit of a roll thanks to a storm-pushed swell, Erica sat with Zuzu in a shady spot with a fresh breeze and talked as Anegada rose from the haze of the horizon—asking imaginative questions that provided the distraction that did the trick. It’s not easy to explain but watching them talk, the wind drowning out the words, I was as proud of my family as I could be: Watching them because I was concerned about how Zuzu was feeling (Erica’s sea legs put us all to shame), and when our daughter’s face broke into a smiling giggle I knew she felt fine.

We all swam off the boat, Zuzu always in her life jacket as she’s a very new swimmer, and of course we saw a bunch of marine life around. At one point I felt a tingle in the middle of my back, and as it heated up a bit I moved Zuzu toward the ladder. Too late. Some sort of jellyfish fry or an errant cnidocyte got her on the leg. She said she thought she too had been stung, and climbed the ladder, with me right behind her. Deb got her a white vinegar compress as we watched tiny welts rise on her leg. But no tears, and, most importantly, no fear the next time we had an opportunity to jump in.

In fact Zuzu may have indicated some marine-biologist tendencies as she sketched fish from a snorkeling guidebook the crew had on board. Good times and more to share soon.

Firsts and Bests

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