Ronnie and I had flown to St. Thomas to join the Arabella, a 40-passenger sailing ship that was spending the week in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Collecting our bags, we exited the airport and got lucky--a van taxi was filling up with other vacationers heading for Red Hook on the western edge of the island, where we were to meet the Arabella. The van stopped first at the Red Hook ferry terminal, where all the passengers disembarked except for us. The driver dropped us at the Molly Malone Irish pub, after he asked a woman where the Arabella was docked. She replied, "50,000 people have asked me that question today" and concluded that many of them were eating lunch in the restaurant. We went inside and quickly met a couple from Cincinnati who had just sat down, so we ordered lunch and ate with them. Ronnie loved the conch chowder and the conch fritters; I stuck with the chicken quesadillas.
Arabella staff had told us to meet the crew at dock D next to Molly Malone's, so we finished our late lunch and were on the ship about 4 pm. She is a lovely vessel, and was originally built as a private sailing vessel. The company bought the Arabella and spent a couple of years extending the ship and changing her into a passenger ship. Our cabin was very tiny, with a built-in queen sized bed and minimal storage. We had 4 drawers under the bed, a cabinet over the bed, and a narrow shelf around the bed, which was about as wide as a book. That shelf was invaluable for holding our books, glasses, sunscreen, and other daily necessities. The room has a small sink, with a toilet and shower in a small adjoining room. Taking a swimsuit, shorts, and t-shirts in a duffel bag is the best way to go. The room is only about 7 feet wide and 10 feet long, with no room under the bed to put anything, so suitcases use up valuable floor space. A clothes line in the shower would be nice to be able to hang stuff. We didn't spend much time in that small space! One of the prices for sailing on a "small" sailboat.
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