The British Virgin Islands; Christmas away from home; A wedding

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Wedding: Sara and Dan tie the knot at Marina Cay

Once in a lifetime - Sara a few minutes before her wedding on Marina Cay; truly an absolutely beautiful bride

Invitations went out – on VHF and SSB 8104 – the wedding was definitely going to happen. Early January in the British Virgin Islands.

View from Marina Cay

My daughter Sara, her long term partner Dan and their little 3 yr old daughter Caitlyn were booked to fly down from Canada for New Year - and they planned to get married. All I had to do was pick out a suitable setting for the big event!

Not an easy task – considering my darling daughter wants nothing less than what she considers to be the very best. The outline was standard; a white dress, bridesmaids, flowers, pictures, and reception – groom to be in attendance at required time.

The beautiful open air ceremony was conducted on a gorgeaous atoll

We chose Marina Cay for the wedding – a beautiful small coral island, surrounded by reefs and azure blue water – it had everything; a white sandy beach for the kids to play on, good hotel rooms for the bridal party (although lack of air conditioning freaked the groom to be); a wedding arch was perched at the topmost viewpoint of the atoll and would be where the actual ceremony would take place. Enough I thought, to fulfill the most romantic dream.

Sara attempting to makeover Mum

It was also easy to get to for the cruisers. No land based person has a clue how difficult it can be to get somewhere specific at a certain time and date. Sailors are governed by the direction and speed of the wind – if the wind is in the wrong direction the boat won’t sail that way. Try explaining that to a landlubber when there is a date to be met!

The staff at Marina Cay assured me they could manage everything that might be required for the wedding but I was still a little concerned that the venue would be a disappointment – how many mothers would quail at having sole responsibility for planning the biggest event in her daughter’s life?

Sara, Dan and Caitlyn

Soon enough we made preparations to meet the bridal party – we sailed from the BVI to the US Virgin Islands – a short hop of a just a few hours (Maybe 10 miles in a car on a good road). Arriving in the anchorage we picked up a convenient mooring buoy. Just as we tied up – the steering cable snapped – our house was going to go nowhere for the time being. No to worry – a repair would be done – we had plenty of time. We jumped into the dingy (our 2 person runabout car) and set off around the headland for a good 20 minute ride to clear customs and immigration, and to get final details on the ferry that was to bring my daughter and her entourage to us. On the way back we stopped off at the gas dock to fill up, and guess what – the pin sheared off the propeller – our dingy was powerless.
Dusk was falling – we were faced with an impossibly long row home to the boat. Fortune smiled on us however – and we were offered a tow right up to our transom by a passing yacht – wonderful people out there!

The wedding arch, decorated with local blossoms

Next day we really did have a problem – the boat wasn’t going anywhere – the dingy was immobilized, and our visitors were due to arrive in a few hours. Lady Luck smiled again and Tom on Annie B cruiser friend (and wedding guest) volunteered to go ashore and collect my family in his very big dingy
Sometime later we watched their slow and stately arrival – no wonder – they clambered on board with 5 large and very heavy bags, a full sized child car seat, and a carefully wrapped full length wedding dress.

Here we were – all these bags, toys, car seat, formal suit, wedding dress, bridesmaid dress – 4 adults and a lively 3 year old – on a 35 ft sailboat. Cozy! Lucky I had the forethought to hand off 2 full sail bags of my stuff to another cruiser friend to keep for me, so that I had extra space. (I know my daughter’s traveling habits)

Flower girls
At Marina Cay my daughter declared herself delighted with the island and the arrangements. She changed the arrangements for flowers, cancelled the cake, re-organized the reception, sent the best man and groom off to the mainland for orchids, found a photographer and persuaded a friend to do a video recording. She bought champagne, engaged a hairdresser for herself – and her mother, as well as for some of the wedding guests. She generously lent out dresses for the occasion to several of the women – including her mother.
Flower girls.

Just married!

About 20 cruising boats attended the wedding – new friends as well as old friends. The open air ceremony went without a hitch. Marina Cay outdid itself in friendly and efficient hospitality – we danced and sang well into the night. My daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter had a fairy tale wedding and a once in a lifetime cruising holiday.

Mike and I have unique memories of a beautiful wedding, a generous and loving daughter and son in law, and many caring and bighearted cruising friends in our new cruising adventure.

Caitlyn playing on the beach near where the boats was anchored
After the Great Event we spent some time sailing among the islands - an idyllic cruising ground. we toured Norman Island, sang along with Foxy in Jost Van Dyke, lazed in the sun on the beach at Cane Garden Bay and explored the caves.

The Baths - clearest of water and beautiful beaches

The Wedding Group