Day on a dinghy in the Caribbean

Has anyone ever told you to go to your ‘happy place’? You know that place you go to in your mind’s eye if you’re upset and you want to quickly shift your mood back to a positive place? Well, my happy place is motoring around the Caribbean in a bright yellow inflatable dinghy, stopping in a cove where I slip into the warm, silky turquoise water with snorkel and mask.

This became my favorite happy place after spending a day with a group of friends doing just that on a visit to St. John. There were six of us – three couples – and two of the men were ex-Navy. I only mention that because of the confidence I felt with their capable skills navigating the waters and reading the charts and maps. We decided to spend an entire day exploring the island’s remote beaches and coves, accessible only by boat, snorkeling, picnicking and, of course, enjoying some adult beverages.

Each couple rented a dinghy. The company we rented from outfitted each dinghy with coolers stocked with our favorite adult beverages and plenty of water as well as awesome picnic food. They also provided us with snorkeling gear and sunscreen.

As we motored away from the dock on the pristine October morning, I felt like I was in the scene of a sexy spy movie. Opening scene: Three bronzed, good-looking men are each at the helm of a brilliant yellow, inflatable motorized dinghy. By the side of each man is a bikini-clad beauty. The early morning sun sparkles on the cerulean Caribbean. Six champagne glasses are raised and happy cheers fill the air as the engines rev and the boats and speed away from land.

I’ll always remember and treasure that day. It unfolded beautifully as if it were scripted. The six of us snorkeled and swam. We lounged on beaches in protected coves where it felt no other humans had ever stepped foot upon the sand. (I’m sure they had, but no one was around when we were there!) We ate fresh fruit, sandwiches and drank cold beer. We laughed and marveled at the natural beauty and daydreamed about what life would be like if we lived in such beauty on a daily basis. I wanted that day to go on forever.

Every Caribbean island I’ve visited is like one rare exotic jewel after another emerging out of the most translucent and transforming setting of crystalline turquoise water upon and in which one can sail, swim, dive, snorkel and forget that anything else exists — at least for a little while. If you are headed to the Caribbean, I highly recommend renting a dinghy for the day or half a day and exploring the places that are unreachable any other way than by boat. You’ll have a true sense of being an explorer and maybe you’ll discover your very own happy place that will live forever in your memory.

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