While playing catch up with my cousin out in San Francisco, I had a few questions to answer for her that she couldn't piece together via Instagram. Of her concerns, her main one was how I ended up on a yacht. And she wasn't the only one with this question. I returned to the office in the new year with a raspy voice, a solid tan and a smirk like I stole the last cookie in the cookie jar. Guess what? I might as well have.
clarify, I went on "Yacht Week." Not a yacht. What is Yacht Week? I
wasn't really sure when I signed up. Alex showed Jackie and I this video
and I was sold after the first 20 seconds. It didn't take much, if any,
convincing. Granted the rest of the video looked like an adult spring
break, but for me, it was the promise of temperatures above 30 degrees
and I can't say no to that.
So what is Yacht Week? It is many of
things. For one thing, it's nothing like the real world. There were
plenty of moments where I felt like they were filming Real World: Yacht
Week. That was just Caz with his GoPro. It's spending one week between two catamarans filled of 18 of your
friends. It's being claustrophobic. And seasick. It's taking bonine and dramamine daily and letting your qualms float away. It's sharing a cabin
with one closet for three people who overpacked. It's moving the dishes out of the
cupboard to make room for your roommate's clothes. It's hearing the
sound of those plates crashing, knowing that it wasn't the best idea and that you might not get your security deposit back.
It's being thankful it's not the bottles of liquor that hit the deck.
It's called glamping, luxurious camping. It's sharing a bathroom with 8 other
people. It's pretending not to have used that bathroom only until your
skipper tells you from now on, it's either you use the ocean or wait
until we reach dry land. It's 6 friends being hosed down by your skipper
because your boat ran out of water. And then one falls in. Or gets
It's proposing to your skipper not once but probably
twenty times because he is part Viking, part Macgyver and you've
entrusted your life in his hands for the week only after knowing him for a few days or hours and somehow you feel like he's your baby blanket. It's
watching the couples catamaran deal with Captain Ron and search for the
keys to their dinghy, again. It's celebrating two of three of the Adam's
30th birthdays and knowing that even though we're getting older, we
still know how to throw one hell of a birthday party. It's spending your
days lying on the boat, listening only to the sound of the waves
crashing against the boat and the music, faint in the background. It's
having a playlist for sailing during the day and one for the evening.
It's hearing these songs in your head long after the music has stopped playing. It's
hearing "eh eh eh eh eh" and breaking out into "ah ah ah ah ah." It's
learning the lyrics of what to do with a drunken sailor, sailors. It's taking care of the
scrapes, the cuts, the bruises, the jellyfish stings, the strep throats, the wounds of
a week at sea.
It's getting off the boat hoping to not get
soaked and land safely in the dinghy. It's seeing how many people one dinghy can hold. It's sitting in the front part of
the dinghy and knowing you will reach the island drenched. It's reaching
dry land, wet, and tipsy, never having control of your balance and
footing. It's ordering lobster, leaving the New Yorker in you behind and
adjusting to island time, mon. It's one too many pain killers, the
famous drink at the local favorite Soggy Dollar Bar. It's ringing in the New Year at
Foxy's, on Jost Van Dyke, with the rest of the British Virgin Islands.
It's trading in hailing a yellow taxi cab in place of finding a yellow
buoy to anchor the boat. It's meeting people from all over the world
(and even ones down the street) and high fiving them when we reach our
destination for the day because for that week they are your "Yacht Week"
friends. The ones you play beach volleyball with, lay around in an
inflatable tube in the Caribbean and dance the night away with. It's island
hopping. It's snorkeling off Necker Island. It's looking at the map and
deciding where we want to go that day. It's giving up itineraries. It's
rediscovering the British Virgin Islands, years later, lost at sea, only
to find yourself really happy again.
It's not caring. It's loving it.
It's a week of bonding, of laughing, lots of laughing. It's wearing a
bikini by day and throwing on a summer dress at night. It's flip flops
or barefoot. And it doesn't matter either way. It's taking in a sunset.
And another sunset. And another sunset. It's filling your mind with
images of bright colors, from the sky to the ocean. It's turning your
cell phone off for the week and feeling a great sense of relief. It's
losing track of time having the time of your life.
It's not for everyone. But given the opportunity, I'd do it all over again.
Stay bitten ;)