Planes, trains and automobiles. That’s Caribbean island hopping for you, except forget trains and substitute boats. Inter-island hopping can be a major pain in the ass. At least, that’s how the rumor goes, seeing as everyone runs on “Caribbean time,” a warped sense of reality foreign to cosmopolitan dwellers who schedule their days down to every bathroom break.

I may be one of these people. So you can imagine the agita I was feeling when I heard that the airline I was flying from St. Maarten (SXM) to Tortola (EIS), LIAT Airlines, was known by the locals as Leave Island Any Time. A quick search on Lonely Planet left me reeling as I read horror stories of lost luggage and a common theme that the airline always manages to at least “arrive on the day it is supposed to.” I had a noon ferry to catch in Tortola to take me over to Virgin Gorda, and the next one was not for another six hours.

Well, fortunately, this is a story that turns out well. The flight landed early and it was a very brief walk from the airport to the dock to catch the ferry. When taking a ferry off of Tortola, you will usually be embarking from Trellis Bay. As soon as you leave the airport doors, make a left and keep walking straight for about five minutes and you’ll come upon the piers. A small market is available that sells snacks and cold beverages so you can wait comfortably for your ferry.

There aren’t a whole lot of options to get off of Tortola. The BVI caters to a very upscale community and most of the luxury resorts have their own private transfers, which come at an astronomical fee. There are a few low budget ferries, but because they are the only options they tend to leave when and how they want to. I recommend using Speedy’s. A one-way ticket to Virgin Gorda is $20 and they run on a pretty reliable schedule. It’s about a half-hour ferry trip.

All in all, not a bad day for travel. I left St. Maarten at 10:30 a.m. and arrived at Villa Aquamare at 12:45 p.m. Not too shabby.

Now I sit in this 8,000-square-foot, five-bedroom villa drinking a Carib beer looking over the private plunge pool out toward the ocean, wondering what on earth I did in my previous life. But that, my friends, is a story for another day. Until Monday.

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