Posted by: kathandroger | March 28, 2015

Home, sweet home.

It always goes so quickly. One moment we were in the Caribbean and now we are back in the rain in France. Gone are the temperatures constantly around 28c and the light cooling winds. Our swimming week went well. We were a group of seven swimmers,led by three experienced guides, and fed and watered by a French chef and crew of two.The catamaran was large and comfortable, with en suite accommodation, and plenty of room for lazing about. Just as well, as two swims a day of a couple of miles is more than I have even done, even though the warm and floaty sea made things easier. The other guests were all experienced ocean swimmers as well, so I had to swallow my pride and don a pair of flippers to keep up! Needless to say the birthday girl had no problems, especially after we were coached in technique by David, a very well known long distance specialist who has swam the English Channel. There are no black lines on the bottom to follow, and I found navigation difficult in the waves; several times I had to be redirected and reckon my zigzag courses must have doubled my distances! The sea in the Virgin Islands is crystal clear, and the fish were amazing. Lots of rays, barracuda and turtles as well as hordes of smaller brightly coloured ones. The coral, too, was pretty, but not as impressive as the Maldives. After swimming we were treated to a variety of cocktails before a four course meal of local produce-wonderful. Fellow guest were American, interesting, and great company despite being a very diverse group.It was with great sadness that we parted after a week and Kath and I spent another three nights on Virgin Gorda. It felt strange to be on solid ground again, but the food choice in the innumerable restaurants and the colours of the plants all around were very impressive. Alas, we were not able to hire bikes on the Island-too dangerous was the explanation, but our hotel was literally on the shore and the views from the restaurant in the evening were stunning. The V.I. must be one of the top venues for sailing; the number and variety of craft on the water was immense, all overshadowed by the huge cruise liners, which can carry up to 8,000 guests and 3,000 crew! Stay away from the ports when they dock-the crowds of herded tourists are everywhere. We did manage to eat very fresh lobster on Anagada, a flat an uninteresting island but with lovely beaches. The poor animal was fished out and killed in front of us and tasted wonderful!

The local sights were impressive, but at last the holiday was over. We had to take a ferry to another island to catch the first small plane to St Martins, and had a couple of hours to lose on the beach. The end of Tortola is well known for the ramshackle huts that accommodate the artistic community there, and I was fascinated to see lots of laser cut metal sculpture, much of it to a standard I only aspire to. We then went on to a pottery and, following Kath, I heard her talking to the potter. He noted that she was English, and asked where she was from. When she explained she had spent some time in Dorset he was even more interested, as he himself was from between Blandford and Sturminster Newton. Blimey! It was one of my patients, Jerry Broadway, who lived about 200metres from me in Child Okeford!  He had distinguished himself to me several years ago when I asked about Pike fishing, and he left a lovely 6lb specimen hanging in a tree outside my office-we made some quenelles. Jerry was on a 4 month visit to see one of his ex pupils from Bryanston School. Small world or what.

The journey home was by boat, two planes then train and finally car. No sleep for 48 hours, and the hell of Charles de Gaulle airport but we made it. Brain in neutral, watch lots of films and eat-easy. I am glad to be back in our own little bit of paradise, and only wish the grass hadn’t grown so much. Lots to do here before the first guests of the season arrive.DSCN0372DSCN0438

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