So back over New Year's (I know, this post is only two and a half months too late) Fletch invited me to go visit his friends in the Virgin Islands with him. These were friends who lived on a sailboat and of whom I'd heard nonstop talk of ever since I'd met Fletch nearly a year before. They were the infamous power couple of the Caribbean.

A couple days before the Old Year's Night party was set to take place at Foxy's Bar on Jost Van Dyke (the place to be in the Caribbean to bring in the new year) Fletch flew out to meet me, and the two of us flew Denver to Newark, Newark to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas (I got to sit co-pilot in the little puddle jumper to my great delight). Once on St. Thomas, we took a taxi from the airport to the ferry station, stopped for a couple Painkillers, and finally took a ferry from St. Thomas to St. John. Who'd have known a US territory could be so out of the way?

I would like to insert a brief interlude here to share with you my great joy at seeing the Caribbean again for the first time since leaving Roatan. I have been visiting the Caribbean for as long as I can remember, and that color is like nothing else you will ever see. You can go to the hardware store and pick up those paint swatches that claim to be 'caribbean blue,' but the true color is impossible to replicate.  It's so vibrant and refreshing and crystal clear, you could get lost for hours just staring at its beauty. You will never know that color until you fly over those waters for the first time, and search as you might, you will never find that color again.

Once off the ferry in St. John, Fletch immediately spotted Summer on the beach just getting back from a dive. They ran at each other and embraced, and after all this time I finally got the meet the legendary Summer. She had another friend visiting her, Dave from Boston as he would come to be known, and later that evening the other half of Summer and Mikey introduced himself as well.

The next few days were spent preparing for our journey to Jost Van Dyke, a little tiny island, population less than 300, with two bars to its name. And yet this tiny little spec of an island would be host to one of the most epic new year's eve parties around. Mikey and Summer had a group of friends all coming aboard Sugar Beach (the sailboat), and so boxes of liquor and bags of groceries were quickly transported via the dinghy to the boat in preparation for our trip.

In the end there were ten of us aboard the little two-bedroom boat, all happy and care-free as we set sail for Jost Van Dyke with enough booze to sink the ship. Sailing into Jost was a spectacle in itself. Hundreds and hundreds of boats filled the two main bays, everything from dinghies to magnificent pirate ship - looking cruises, from simple sailboats to the world's finest luxury yachts. One of these yachts was in the process of setting up a massive inflatable water slide starting on the stern deck and landing in the ocean. A few of us boarded the dinghy in glee to go beg for a ride, but the guard in charge of setting the thing up told us to come back later. (We did, and had to politely navigate our way through the captain, and at least four different security guards, but it was well worth it!)

After a good deal of pre-partying on Sugar Beach, we finally made our way over to Jost Van Dyke. The beach was vibrating with the sound of music coming from every bar. The only actual bar here was Foxy's, but on this night for the party, an entire makeshift street of tents selling alcohol had popped up, allowing for a true bar-hopping experience. The night quickly turned into a blur of dancing and drinking, meeting up with everyone then breaking off again, getting lost in the crowds of people raving, running back to the beach for a breath of fresh air, buying more drinks from the next bar-tent down the line. lights, colors, music, the intoxication of an entire island in the middle of the Caribbean turning into one massive party.

At some point in the early hours of the morning we finally crashed. Fletch and I slept on one of the two small beds on the boat, already somewhat limited on space, only to hear a knock on the door and a heavy Boston accent ask if there was room for two more. Apparently it had started to rain outside so we rolled to one side of the bed and finally dozed off, wedged together like sardines, too drunk and happy to care.

Sugar Beach gradually came to life the next morning and all of us aboard gradually stumbled our way, via the dinghy, to the neighboring bay were the Soggy Dollar Bar was. Painkillers were quickly ordered to cure the hangovers, and a lazy day was spent soaking in the sun and napping on the beach. At some point, some genius in our little group decided to pull the beach chairs right to the shoreline so that we could sit in Zac Brown Band fashion with our toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world... Happy New Year.