An old mariner’s phrase, meaning that you wish someone to have a safe and swift journey. That is, fair, not high, winds and a current that is pushing you in the intended direction. By the way, a following sea with high wind is dangerous, or so I’m told.

It’s probably safe to say that Hurricane Irma is bringing with her some following seas, but not the good kind. Hot on the heels of Harvey who wreaked so much horror on many people I love in Texas, I’ve been thinking about the Caribbean quite a lot this week with the coming of Irma. Such an idyllic area that millions of tourists and residents love greatly — a place so dependent upon tourism for its livelihood. Hurricane season is Russian Roulette for the economies of so many residents and businesses — I grieve at the devastation that Nature leaves behind.

Unlike many of my dearest friends, I don’t travel to the Caribbean often.¹ In fact, I’ve only been once in my life. On my honeymoon with My Darling Husband.

Funny story. To me at least. MDH planned our honeymoon and the only thing he would tell me about it was that I would need bathing suits. So after our wedding, while he got a few hours sleep, I packed for who knew where. We had to leave for the airport unconscionably early because it was early April and the hour was springing forward. I was exhausted and miserable on the flight to Miami, so he plied me with Bloody Marys — hair of the dog that bit me at our wedding reception. We took the short hop from Miami to St. Thomas and I was still oblivious. He walked me up to the sign at the registration desk for our resort destination – Caneel Bay on St. John – and beamed at me with such pleasure at his surprise. I just looked at him perplexed. “What’s Caneel Bay?”² I was such a rube.

After a rum drink, or two, on the ferry to Caneel Bay, and a nap, I was feeling much better. The rest of our stay was amazing. We did a little sailing in the bay, snorkeled around the peninsula to see some of the seven beaches the resort boasts of, took long walks, relaxed under palms on the beach next to our bungalow and ventured out to other nearby islands. Perfection.

Seventeen months later, Hurricane Marilyn crashed through that part of the Caribbean, devastating the Virgin Islands and poor Puerto Rico. Caneel Bay was shut down for at least a year rebuilding. Every time this part of the Caribbean gets pummeled by hurricanes, I think of Caneel Bay with fond memory and wonder how it fares. I hope with fair winds and following seas.

¹ With my red hair and fair skin, lounging on beaches is not a good or healthy look for me. I love to walk on beaches, though, shelling, looking out to sea, wading in the surf … heaven.

² Caneel Bay is set on a private peninsula and is comprised of 170 acres of the Virgin Islands National Park. Most of St. John was purchased by Laurance Rockefeller in the 1950s, after he “discovered” it while sailing with his family. He donated the land to the US Government to create a national park. Caneel is the Dutch word for cinnamon. In the 18th century, St. John was settled by Dutch planters who named the bay for the abundant cinnamon trees on the island. (The resort’s logo shown on the image above is a cross section of a cinnamon stick.) Rockefeller oversaw every detail of the building of infrastructure and the eco-sensitive resort, which opened in 1956.