Flotilla Fun Page 4

I'm lounging in the spacious cockpit of a Jeanneau 54 named Endless Reach, watching the moon rise over Culebra as I listen to an impromptu after-dinner talent show featuring owner Rob Godwin on guitar. The softness of the evening, the warmth of new friendships and, of course, the rum, is bringing out the inner Bob Marley in all of us. Just then, our Grenadian flotilla captain, Ron Phillips, makes
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Culebrita On High

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Sailing throughout the Spanish Virgins, I didn’t appreciate the full sweep and measure of the islands until I joined the Lee family on a climb to the peak of Isla Culebrita and scanned the horizon from an abandoned lighthouse. Dozens of islands, reefs and beaches lay spread out below us, with Puerto Rico and St. Thomas clearly visible to the west and east. From our vantage point, we could see how truly alone we were—in a full 360-degree turn, we saw just one other boat within miles of our anchorage.

The remote nature of the islands does present some manageable challenges. Water and fuel are hard to come by, customs regulations governing those coming from Tortola are ill-defined, and the abundant reefs needed to be carefully avoided.

However, as Stan Lee said, joining a flotilla “allowed people to go to new places that they hadn’t visited and might have felt reluctant to venture to on their own.”

As this was my first flotilla, I was a bit anxious about how well the crews on the various boats would get along. I needn’t have worried. For the last night of our flotilla, we sailed to St. John in the USVI. After a lovely evening strolling through the town of Cruz Bay and an incredible dinner of fresh snapper at Mango Morgan’s, we said a sad good-bye to our new friends. I’ll miss the magic of the islands, the sailing, the new friends and, of course, Ron’s sing-alongs.

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