The day before we left, my quest was to get back in touch with my favorite friend from Tortola, Leona Wattley. Years before I had tried in vain to contact her when I read that her husband, Paul Wattley, the Tortola Minister of Communication and Works, had suddenly died. I was unsuccessful then, but was determined this time to track her down. My detective work yielded that her internet presence was under her first name Sylvia. I left messages for her on Facebook and LinkedIn asking if she were the Leona I knew from The Anne Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico in 2000. One of my messages reached her and she called me immediately from Tortola and we made a plan to get back together.
On the plane and the ferry on the way there and back I met quite a few other people with whom I had tons of things in common. The downside of that was all the talking over jet engines and ferry engines left me with a medium case of laryngitis. I could still speak softly, but even today, my voice is not fully recovered.
Originally it was supposed to be rainy the week or so we were going to be there. When I heard that, I said to Andrea: “Let me work on that.” (I have a knack for good weather.)
HENCE: the weather was perfect the entire time. There were a couple of showers that cooled things off at night, one during lunch while we were on land that cooled things off. I couldn’t have ordered a better scenario.
Having only met in person two days before the trip … Captain Butch, Andrea and I all got along delightfully well and worked together on the boat like a well-oiled machine as if we’d been sailing together for years. Captain Butch, who has been sailing in the BVI for 27 years showed Andrea and me all the wonders of nature and history — and took us every day to fabulous restaurants for lunch and dinner. We snorkeled all the reefs and saw all kinds of fish, huge starfish, conch (barracuda, stingrays too). Between our three phones and a camera we effortlessly took over 600 gorgeous pictures and some video.
We met and talked with many interesting locals and ex-pat transplants spreading the word about the Mission of The Global Rowing Club. I had a nice visit with Foxy, a BVI icon on Jost van Dyke — and afterwards met with his assistant Susan.
Upon hearing about my background and looking over the GRC website together, Foxy’s assistant Susan informed me that Foxy wants to open a health retreat on Jost van Dyke. Susan, a former long-distance swimmer, expressed particular interested in the Pro/Master’s Athlete health retreat as well as my plan to build the sport of LONG DISTANCE ROWING and the year-round rowing center and new boat design. She felt all the health/athletic-related plans would go over very well in the BVI as a high percentage of the cruisers visiting were adventure-oriented masters athletes like Butch — a retired marathon runner after ruining his knees running. Long-distance sculling for Butch would be, as it is for me, physical therapy in addition to being a superior full-body work-out.
She informed me that current British political policies were slowing down the development of renewable energy initiatives in the BVI. Richard Branson purchased Mosquito Island to establish a green community/resort. It doesn’t seem to be progressing rapidly, but the time is at hand to break through such barriers and we will be in the wings at the ready with The Cosmos Renewable Off-Shore Energy Platforms — just the sort of outlandish project that would capture the imagination of a man like Sir Richard. It certainly is Virgin territory!!!!
But hands down, of all of our adventures, the best was the wonderful evening with Leona our last night when we returned to the marina in Road Town. Leona’s and my connection was instantaneous. As we caught up over dinner at the marina, it came to light that she is on an accelerated path of spiritual awakening. My friends absolutely loved her too and she lamented over and over that she had not been able to meet us on our first day to join us for the whole cruise. We finished this magical evening over wine and cheese at her beautiful house on top of the mountain overlooking Road Town and the harbor.