Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Another couple joined my wife and me for a week aboard an all-inclusive crewed yacht charter, in this case a catamaran with iYachtClub. We could not have had a better time! We had chartered a cat in Greece last year and had a great time, but I have to say that our experience on the boat this year was even better.
After our flight from the states, the captain picked us up at the American Yacht Harbor Marina in Red Hook, on the East End of St. Thomas where we hung out a little at the Tap and Still Bar to watch some World Cup action. From the very beginning, our captain could not have done any more to make sure our time was relaxed, easy and fun.
We’re Off On Our Caribbean Yacht Charter – Day One
Upon boarding we found the catamaran itself to be perfect for us with big private rooms with queen sized beds and en-suite heads and showers. Before we left the dock, the captain gave a safety talk along with an introduction to the systems on the boat and some general knowledge about living on board. Then we shoved off the dock and were on our way.
We sailed to Maho Bay in St. John for our first stop it was about a 40-minute sail to get there past the stunningly beautiful emerald green hills of St. John. Once moored there, we enjoyed a perfect late afternoon swim and snorkel where we saw and followed a turtle for a little while. We ate the first of many great meals on the boat. This time it was steak with great sides. All in all, a great start for our Caribbean yacht charter!
Activities, Locations and Great Food – Day Two
On day two we woke up in the morning had breakfast served to us, then we snorkeled and kayaked into Francis Bay Beach to check out the salt pond there. The Audobon Society built a boardwalk around it with a couple of observations platforms and benches – great for early morning birding.
We saw some ducks there I have never seen before but later identified in the bird book on board. There were lots of educational materials on the main salon shelves with information about the history of the area, the local flora and fauna both above and below the water.
After returning to the boat, we headed over to Sopers Hole, Tortola to check into the BVI. We wandered around the cute little wharf side village there while the captain took care of our paperwork at the customs office.
There was a dive shop right next to the dock, and I bought a t-shirt for a friend of mine who is an avid diver. I found out that the company does rendezvous diving trips with charter catamarans like ours and can certify you with your open water dives if you do your coursework before you arrive. Something to consider for our next charter!
After the captain had us all cleared in, we then set sail for Cane Garden Bay, Tortola which was less than an hour away. We had the IPOD cranking an eclectic mix of tunes while we sailed. At Cane Garden Bay we feasted on the chef’s Basil Chicken and Pineapple Yams for dinner, then the captain took us in by dinghy to the beach bars there to listen to some great live Reggae music at Myett’s. The night was very peaceful there and the sight of the beautiful green hills of Tortola was amazing to wake up to..
What an Awful place – Day Three
We headed to White Bay on Jost Van Dyke for the third day of our BVI yacht charter hitting the Soggy Dollar bar early. What an awful place! Hammocks, chairs in the water for cooling down, mango painkillers….pretty much ruins you for life!
When the line got too long at the bar, I headed next door to Gertrude’s and had a cool experience with her and some of the locals hanging out with her in the bar. I had asked for vodka with orange and cranberry juice, light on the latter. She responded by handing me the bottles and saying, “Help yourself- make it however you’d like!”
That never happened to me before, and it was just perfect for the setting. That night we chose to go ashore and eat at the famous bar/restaurant Foxy’s. We chose the Caribbean BBQ buffet which was ok but not nearly as good, frankly, as eating on the boat. The karaoke there was a hoot, and we all really enjoyed ourselves.
Best Snorkeling Experiences of our Lives – Day Four
On day four we sailed to Monkey Point after breakfast and had one of the best snorkeling experiences of our lives! The coral was unbelievable, and we swam with literally tens of thousands of small silver fish. A school of giant Tarpon were hunting the fish and we would see them suddenly appear when the silver fish schools suddenly parted. Amazing!
After lunch, we sailed into North Sound ,Virgin Gorda which took about an hour, and there we headed into the Bitter End Yacht Club for drinks. The Bitter End Yacht Club has many beautiful mega yachts moored and docked there, it seems to be a popular place for the rich and famous! We sat on their beach chairs with our drinks after the sun went down.
The Bitter End, Arabian Horses & Sailing to Anegada, Scooters – Day Five
The next morning, Day Five, we followed a path through the resort that eventually turned into a trail just past the pool, that took us around behind The Bitter End to a flat road leading to Biras Creek -another resort with a beach. We came upon a horse corral there with 2 of the most beautiful Arabian horses I have ever seen. The road wandered up into the hills, and would have made for a good 5 mile run or hike if we were so inclined. We enjoyed petting the horses and then headed back to the boat.
The late morning held a real treat, sailing to Anegada for the day. I know it’s off the beaten path just a bit, but that’s its charm. The sail was beautiful, about 2 hours, and we all enjoyed relaxing and listening to the tunes or reading and napping on the way there.
Once we were anchored, we rented scooters and drove to the other side of the island to the Cow Wreck Beach Bar where there were perhaps 7 or 8 other people and a beach that felt like it was all ours. In fact, in just a 10 minute walk it really was all ours!
The beach stretched on forever without another soul or footprint to be seen. Back on our scooters we tooled around the little flat island, which was really fun. At night, we ate BBQ’d lobsters at Potters by the Sea. We enjoyed good service and good food, and I think it was the best of the available restaurant options.
The Captain and the Chief made our Yacht Charter Experience Special
The captain would start each day laying out some options, but always with the refrain, “I’m here to help you create the experience you want. So it’s really about what you’d like to do.” And if what we wanted to do was not make any decisions, he handled that for us also.
Everything was easy, and he and the chef couldn’t do enough for us. It really felt as if he was another friend who we happened to bring on the trip, but who also cleaned, sailed and took care of all the details. At night after dinner, we usually played cards or some dice games he taught us.
One time we all danced on the cargo netting and used the spotlight to watch the nurse sharks chowing down on their dinner next to the boat.
The Dogs, The Chimney and the Piano Bar – Day Six
On Day Six, we sailed to The Dogs, and snorkeled The Chimney.. Before the trip, when I found out that the captain was from North Carolina, I had mentioned it was too bad we couldn’t have some good Bar-B-Q. Low and behold at lunch, he served us exactly that- he had it sent from home from a restaurant frozen. Goes great with a BBC! After lunch, we went to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda and stayed in the harbor because we thought we’d go to the piano bar there, but we were so bushed we never made it in. Others say it, and the restaurant, are good choices.
The Birthday Suit Plunge – Day Seven
On Day Seven, we went to The Baths on Virgin Gorda to climb around and go snorkeling. It was fun to fool around on the rocks, and the formations were really interesting, though it was the most crowded place we visited. Had some great fish tacos for lunch and headed to Norman Island and the famous floating bar, The Willy T. Unfortunately, it was pretty quiet around 6 on a Monday night. We did shots of red headed sluts and then my friend and I did the birthday suit plunge from the mast (not bad for 50, but not so great for anyone to look at either.)
My wife wanted to jump (with suit) and when her friend chickened out, the chef volunteered to go with her. Exhilarating moments for all. We had dinner at Pirates which was pretty good before heading back to the boat. There was a nice area for kids to play if you have any with you.
The Indians, Coral, Turtles & Sting Rays – Day Eight
On Day Eight we stopped at The Indians for a snorkel. These are a series of pinnacles that stick up above the water and have cool caves and grottos underneath and some very colorful coral and tons of fish. The water was pretty rough and the shallow rocks on one side got tricky, though it is certainly worth doing on calmer days. We had crab cakes on the boat for lunch, fired up the blender for cocktails and headed to St. John back in the USVI.
We wanted to stay in an idyllic setting for our final afternoon and evening, and the captain parked us in Watermelon Cay. It was absolutely lovely, with big turtles, sting rays, thousands of fish in several schools- the works. There were only four boats that night in the bay. We had both the sunset and early morning beauty we had hoped for. –
The End of a Perfect Week – Yacht Charter in the BVI
The next morning, we checked back into the USVI in Cruz Bay, St. John. The town has many interesting artisan shops, bars and restaurants and places to buy hats and t-shirts. The guys hung out drinking Presidentes at the Beach Bar while the ladies stocked up on some mementos and gifts for friends before heading back to the boat.
We sailed back to Red Hook (about 30 minutes) where the Captain had a taxi waiting to take us back to the airport.
We hated saying goodbye. It was truly a perfect week.
Rich Goldberg, NY