perfect days at hull bay

on the north side of st thomas, there's a quiet little stretch of beach that all the locals go to. it's just about as beautiful as magens bay, but on a much smaller scale. my best girls and i spent our down days stretched out in the sand with cheap beer, watching surfers ride the winter swells, paddle-boarding out to the point, and enjoying each other's presence until well past sunset.

these are the days i'll look back on and melt into the memories of. love and beauty and absolute bliss.

boats and babes

during my VI visit, i had the anomalous good fortune of having almost* all of my best friends free from work on the SAME DAY. in the world of "island time" and last-minute bookings and work dependent on weather and captains who call you at 9pm (when you're already at the bar) to tell you princess cruises just booked a morning trip and "be at the dingy dock at 7am"... having all but one of your friends completely free is like winning the damn lottery.

so, we went on a boat trip about it!

quincy called her captain friend and he pointed the bow toward the british virgin islands. we spent a day around norman island, mostly at the willy t (a bar on a boat just offshore, with a dock to tie up to and a ski to take shots off of with your friends---a beautiful and silly combination). we swam and giggled and danced and had the most perfect day.

from snow to island

after a week in ohio, callie and i went back to the virgin islands---she, to resume her new life there, and me, to visit with the rest of my very best friends and do some work for a culture website.

i was asked to conduct interviews and take pictures around the virgin islands for a culture website that contacted me at the beginning of the year. although it was a temporary gig, it was a surreal and momentous thing for me to essentially make money from travel for the first time---a small, but reassuring step toward a lifestyle i've been hoping to manifest for a long, long time.

at the very least, it was an excuse to fly back to my little rock of paradise and spend invaluable time with my favorite people in the world! ;)

amber took me surfing at hull bay to test out my new skill. i may have stood up on my first wave in costa rica, but i hardly made it past the arduous paddle out to the waves in st thomas (my sailing muscles are looong gone). but this beautiful best friend of mine has turned into a proper island girl since i moved away last spring---surfing and free-diving and spear-fishing like a champ on her every day off. i am so proud of her.

i also got to visit with two-thirds of my old castaway crew! my captain and first mate are like family to me, so spending time with them was so comforting and fulfilling. 

kim was the first friend amber and i made on the island, and we have been so grateful for her ever since. she is such a sweetie that she attracts animals everywhere she goes. like this pack of strange fluffy creatures that found her at hull bay.

so many precious people to me, all in such a beautiful place. i am one lucky girl.

FRIEND SHIP VIDEO

ahhhh, this is long overdue seeing how this boat trip through the british virgin islands happened the first two weeks of january and we are now almost in march in costa rica! but! it's finally done! and these are such glorious memories! i just love sailing and blue water and green islands and beautiful friends so very much. something about seeing them in motion makes me grin from ear to ear. thanks Friend Ship 2014!

norman island

we spent the last couple days of our trip around norman island.

we spent a night hanging at the infamous willy t's boat bar, and then another night recovering from it. we toured a beautiful 72 foot yacht with a suave captain who wanted to hire me to live on his boat and work as crew. and we spent a perfect morning exploring the best snorkel spot i've ever seen. 

after our last day on norman island, we sailed back to tortola, where i caught the ferry back to st thomas. it's crazy how quickly this trip went by!

i used to wonder how people could live on a boat for long periods of time. the small spaces and lack of conveniences kind of puzzled me. but after i easily got used to being rocked to sleep by the sea, i began to like the idea of living on a boat for a while.

i think the small spaces are lovely. it forces everyone on board to come together and interact more regularly. and the wide open spaces you explore along the way more than make up for any temporary lack of wiggle room. 

it's a simplistic way of life---one that i got a taste of, and am beginning to crave more and more. i love the self-sustainability of it---the mostly relying on the sun and the wind and the sea to propel you onwards. it's a very romantic relationship with nature, and so very fulfilling. and it's certainly different from the hustle and bustle of just working on a sailboat. because at the end of the day, there are no rules or strangers or deadlines. just the elements 

so the real question is, who wants to hop on a sail boat in sayyy southeast asia and check out that part of the world with me?!? :) :)

seriously,

stefanie 

jost van dyke

we spent about a third of our trip around jost van dyke.

i think we can all agree that it's the best of the british virgin islands... small population, friendly people, a handful of world famous bars, perfect views of the surrounding US and british islands, and the clearest, bluest, dreamiest water you've ever seen. it's the kind of beauty that makes you want to stand back and gawk at it from afar, but also be totally immersed in it at the same time.

looking at these pictures again has me thinkin' i'd maybe give up oxygen just to be swallowed by the sea and dissolve into those colors forever.