Day 6 – 4/2
Jon and I have always loved snorkeling the Indians but we weren’t sure how to best share this with the kids. Fortunately, they trusted the grownups. I’m still amazed that such little kids would be brave enough to jump off a boat, swim through deep water, only to reach a rocky outcrop with no beach. But they all did it! I hope these first snorkeling experiences will set them up for a lifetime of underwater adventures. Here are a few shots of us setting out…

[img][image][/img]IMG_0543 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

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We picked up a mooring at the Bight on Norman Island for the evening. After a trip to the beach, we headed back to the boat for some fun. Everyone loves flying through the air….

[img][image][/img]IMG_3079 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

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Even the big kids…

[img][image][/img]IMG_3077 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

We also rigged a rope swing…

[img][image][/img]IMG_3088 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

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Next, a little hanging around during happy hour….

[img][image][/img]IMG_3098 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

Then, we all enjoyed a beautiful sunset ashore…

[img][image][/img]IMG_3120 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

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No trip to Norman is complete without a stop at the Willy T. The kids crashed early after watching an episode of Scooby Doo, so we left them in the care of my parents and set off into the night. As usual, the “T” never disappoints!

Day 7 – 4/3
Our last full day started with drizzle and a chill in the air. The older kids wanted to learn more about knots so we taught them how to do a clove hitch, figure 8, square knot and a bowline. I’m embarrassed that they were able to master the bowline immediately when I still have to concentrate to do it right!

Once the weather cleared, we motored over to the Caves. The current can be strong in that area, so we decided to pile the kids onto the kayak and swim them to shore. My dad even joining us – he’s holding on to a noodle with one hand the boat with the other….

[img][image][/img]P4030278 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

We spent our last few hours on the water at Kelly’s Cove. The kids played rainbow tag on the tramps….

[img][image][/img]IMG_3156 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

My parents soaked up the sun….

[img][image][/img]IMG_3037 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

Sadly, it was time to head back to the Moorings base for our last night. Grandma and Ellie will miss the boat…

[img][image][/img]P4030292 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

And here’s our parting shot – the Captain and Tenille…

[img][image][/img]P4030295 by monty_video, on Flickr[/image]

Day 8 – 4/4
Everyone was up early to catch the 10AM Road Town Fast Ferry back to Charlotte Amalie. As we cut through the channel between Great Thatch Island and Mary’s Point on St. John, the kids tossed a small “message-in-a-bottle” into the water. We all added our names, ages and contact info. If you happen to see it washed up on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, please get in touch!

Final Impressions
Before heading out on this adventure, we needed to establish some ground rules. One of the TTOL members, “Aarpskier,” created a wonderful document for kids titled “BVI and Grandkids.” We reviewed this info before the trip and along the way. It was an excellent resource!

First, each person learned about their specific job on board (see crew list). This was a great way to make the kids feel more connected to the experience. Even Brady, the three-year-old, was responsible for checking all hatches before we got underway. Of course, an adult (usually me) double-checked his work. Our five-year-old swabbie, Colby, was best suited to his job as he loves cleanliness and organization. He is available for hire, if needed!

Second, the kids had some VERY specific safety rules. They all wore lifejackets when we were sailing or when swimming off the boat. They had to be escorted between the cockpit and the tramps when we were underway. Most importantly, when Captain Jon or First Mate Amy told them to do something while we were sailing, they did it without question – a rare occurrence for kids.

Third, we implemented a buddy system for all water excursions. Each kid was paired an adult partner who would guide each snorkel trip based on the interest, age and experience of the child. We also made sure that the assigned partners didn’t change mid-snorkel to avoid any confusion in the water.

Finally, we had a rule about having fun. We wanted to make sure that everyone felt that they had some input on our daily activities. Whenever we needed to take a break and just “play,” we did. Hopefully the pictures prove it!