From St. John to Norman Island, from Norman Island to Tortola, from Tortola to Virgin Gorda, we finally arrived at this magical place that Fletch had insisted we visit in the dead of the night. We slept on the boat, with the intention of spending the entire next day exploring the Baths.

We awoke at our own leisure, ate some breakfast sandwiches, and packed what we could manage into whatever dry bags we had, seeing as we no longer had a dinghy and would have to swim.

I couldn't possibly explain to you how magnificent, and breathtakingly beautiful, and travel-magazine-picture perfect this place was. The Baths are these beautiful rock formations, right on the beach, so that you are constantly wading through that crystal clear turquoise water, and the suns rays are dancing with the shadows and throwing light in magical ways. You probably didn't get anything out of that except for 'rock formations' and are thinking, yeah, I had to sit through a week of geology in my high school science class. Woo rocks. Or maybe that was just my initial reaction upon hearing about this place we'd sailed so far to see. But the truth is I don't know if I've ever seen a place more beautiful, and I've seen a place or two in my life.

We started out by walking through the caves. You could really get lost in there, some led only to small chambers with spaces only big enough to let a stream of water in, others led to massive rocks you could boulder up and bask in the sun on top of. We found one such spot and spent some time sitting and looking out over the ocean. When we finally made our way down again and back into the caves, it was just in time to find a few people starting to come around another corner. We pointed out our find and told them to head that direction and climb up, but right as their eyes started to show the first glimmers of excitement, a tour leader in kakis and a name badge pushed his way to the front of the now emerging tour group and informed everyone very brusquely that they were not allowed to do any such thing. Ha! tour groups. We continued on our exploration as the group stumbled to a halt to listen to a geology lecture.

I guess I could say I had a bit of a spiritual experience that day. I just spent a lot of time inside my own head, because how could you not stop and reevaluate life in the presence of so much beauty?  It's like as a little kid, you always imagine what your dream world would be like, your own personal bit of perfection, but those thoughts fade away as you grown up and the stresses of everyday life take their place, and then for a few fleeting hours you realize that this little bit of sand and ocean and rocks is that picture of perfection that you always imagined your world would be like as a kid. And so I allowed myself to take a stop back, forget the world was turning, and just enjoy this brilliant little world.

After some time spent on the beach, we went off to explore our way down this path which spat us out in the desert as if we had found the rabbit hole. Curiouser and curiouser. I mean how do you go from everything I've just shown you to this: 

At the end of the deadly cactus path, we found ourselves at the ocean again. This time it wasn't a glistening pool of turquoise glass, but rather, massive crashing waves releasing the fury of Poseidon. If you are someone my size and have a healthy respect of the ocean's power, then you do not want to get too close to these waves for fear of being knocked over as if a friendly full grown saint bernard were jumping up to lick your face. Fletch told me to stand on a certain rock and let the waves crash over my feet though, and so curious, I did. It was as if nothing but air was hitting me. The water crashing down all around me was so churned up, it was nothing but foam. 

Back on the main beach from which we had come, the tour group (finally finished with their geology lesson) came spilling out of the caves and onto the beach. What happened next was one of the funniest things I've ever witnessed. Without so much as stopping to admire the stunning beach, they each pulled out a yellow snorkel vest, strapped it on, and bobbed their way back to the boat they had come from like an army of rubber ducks.