I often experience recurring dreams in my life. They usually involve me waking up late before an important statistics final in college or not knowing when I’m next on the work schedule for my old job at the record store. Yes, record store if you remember these. Each time I wake up in a frantic mess and it takes me a moment or so to remember exactly where I am and what I should be doing. Once I come to I experience this sigh of relief and pure elation that it was only a dream. And of course that I don’t take statistics anymore as well. But then there’s this “one” dream. It’s the one that when I wake up, sincerely wishing I would be exactly where that last frame of my dream left me. That place is Water Island. Water Island is technically the 4th island of the United States Virgin Island chain. It’s not the biggest, not the flashiest and doesn’t even have the best views or snorkeling. It is what it is, and for me that’s enough. Specifically, a small patch of sand on the coast called Honeymoon Beach.
Getting to Water Island is easy enough. Just a few dollars by ferry from St. Thomas will allow you a scenic little 15-20 minute trip to the dock at Water Island. And what is a small distance seems light years away from the hustle and bustle of Charlotte Amelie and their residing cruise ships. Once on land you’re just a 5 minute walk or one minute golf cart ride to the shores from the ferry-boat. You see, there are a few cars on Water Island, but only a few. Golf carts are the primary means of transportation on this little paradise and if you don’t have access to those means, your flip-flops will be enough. By the time you reach the shore and depending on your luck, you may find yourself completely alone, and this my friend, is good.
The beach is a simple 5 minute walk from end to end with a nice little shack at the end of the shore that serves as the beachside bar. If you’re lucky, it may open for you at some point during the day, as well as the makeshift kitchen that opened up a few hours after we arrived. No need to stand in line as we were the only non locals to cozy up to the picnic tables. The rest of the patrons came on motorbike or golf cart to grab a delicious burger or whatever fare happened to make it to the menu this day. Make your order and continue your playtime until the smell alerts you to the meal being ready.
All the while, you remain amazed at how this location has no other traffic except for the few sailboats that wait in the harbor bobbing up and down with very little attention to the solitary barking of a single dog that calls Honeymoon Beach home. The few waves that do come onshore are mainly forced upon the sand from some casual swimming to the attached platform about 30 yards out in the ocean. It’s a great launching point for some small jumps into the crystal clear water but serves best as an oasis within an oasis. A skillful swim with a rum drink in hand to the platform and soon you’ll find yourself in my dream. With family assembled on the floating disc, full bellies and a rum drink in hand for everybody over the age of 21 and the reflection of the palm trees on the water. It’s the moment that defines the many moments of sleep that will awaken me for years to come. It has become, at that very moment, the beach that my mind will venture to whenever I wonder what the world holds for me. In a perfect world, this is home. In the realistic world, this is the goal. A retirement destination. Holder of the family jewels. Isn’t it that simple? Maybe so.
Live within your means, travel beyond them.