Sailing from Paradise, Williamsburg SailsPeople dream about taking off to that idyllic island in the sea, but sooner or later they wind up sailing from Paradise back to reality.

“Years ago my husband and I went to live on St. John in the Virgin Islands,” Darlene North related while on a charter sail of the York River with Carrie and Grace Willetts of Seaford. “I had a job teaching kindergarten on St. Thomas, the next island over. It took 45 minutes to commute by ferry from one island to the other, and it cost $350 a month to do it. We had a 38-foot sailboat and an apartment on St. John.  St. Thomas was just too dangerous in terms of crime. St. John was smaller, only six by nine miles.

“We had a friend whose sailboat ran aground on a reef, another 38-footer. You couldn’t just drag it off since the corral was protected. It would have taken a crane to pick it up, and that wasn’t possible. So we’d go out there during the day and take parts off that we could salvage for sale. He used to live on the boat and now he was living on our couch.”

The wind was gusting out of the northwest as we zipped across the York. “We loved to sail in the Virgin Islands. Another fellow’s boat was extremely fast and we’d be heeling like we are now. We could make it to Jost Van Dyke easily in that his boat. Ours was much slower.

Did she miss the Caribbean? “Oh, sure I do. But eventually you feel isolated. The first night we arrived, we came with two dogs. One of them, a Weimaraner, got into something and had what looked like bee stings all over his face. We reached a vet by phone who said to get ice and Benadryl for the swelling. We went the market, and they didn’t have it. We asked neighbors. Finally we got a doctor to give me some. It took about 2-1/2 hours for what should have been a simple thing.

“Here at home, when you need something you just go to the store. There it’s much more difficult. Then again,” she paused, “when you’re there you don’t need all the things that we think we need here.”

Let’s go sail. To see the rates and reserve a date for a sailboat charter, click here. To check out reviews from sailors, click here. To become a crew member on a charter sail or to tell us your sailing story, click here.

More from the Captain...