Here it is. Please forgive typos and misspellings. Enjoy!
Friday (01/15/16) six of our group flew from Wichita to St Thomas and spent the night at the Emerald Beach Resort. One other in our party (the newbie who is currently the music supervisor on the national tour of Wicked) met them there. One person who works for United Airlines got down there on Saturday morning. All eight of them walked to the hotel and then made arrangements with Kevin Campbell to take them to the ferry dock in Saturday morning to head to Tortola. Once they got to Tortola they rented a car and took two trips to BVI yacht charters to sleep aboard the boat. Rite way was where they got the groceries and got the liquor delivered to the boat that afternoon. Two different groups gave our group food and alcohol on Saturday so we have never been more fully stocked on food and liquor!
This is the first time we have brought meat down with us. My dad is a cattle rancher and I took advantage of access to great steaks. The party that took it down was in the group that went to St Thomas. That night at St Thomas they checked the meat and the top layer was still very cold just not frozen. They took those and put them to the bottom of the cooler and by Saturday afternoon when they unloaded it on the boat it was all still frozen. Shout out to polar bear coolers!
A fellow coworker and myself couldn't leave until Saturday due to work and we flew Southwest to San Juan on Saturday morning and stayed at hotel la playa in San Juan. The receptionist that checked us in was very friendly and extremely helpful. The rooms have been redone and bathrooms remodeled. No pool, but direct beach access where I spent walking the beach and watching the sunset. We decided to eat at the hotel for dinner and it was very good! I had a plantain dish with churrasco steak and the friend had the risotto. We sat right at the water’s edge. A wonderful start to our vacation. This hotel reminded me of a nicer version of the tamarind club on Tortola. The only complaint was the shower didn't quite get hot. It almost got warm
We flew seaborne early the next morning and had one of our group pick us up in the rental car. Our captain and his son did the boat briefing the day before, so when we got to the boat from the airport and loaded up our luggage we took off!
This is the first time any of us have ever chartered a catamaran. It has always been a monohull. It took a lot of convincing to our captain who has been going to the BVI for over 25 years. We had Karisma a 440 lagoon. We were all in heaven! The helm station on top became everyone’s favorite spot to sit. My one complaint was that there wasn't much breeze or airflow in the aft cockpit.
Our first day we headed to the caves where we snorkeled and ate lunch. Next off, we found a ball at Norman island and took the dinghy into the Pirates Bight. I lead a group of four up the road on the hike to the helicopter pad up the hill. Gorgeous view! We decided to keep walking on the road and explore a little bit. When we got back we met up with our friends for a drink. Was going to use our Drinking Guide but our waitress said it was only a dollar off of a certain drink so we decided to have the special they were having of buy one get one that was going on. Back to the boat we bobbed, drank some more, and adventured around on the kayak we rented. W ate dinner on the boat and the fisherman on the boat caught a red snapper so we threw that on the grill as well. We headed off to the Willy T for a drink and we weren't really feeling the vibe so we went back to the boat and drank and had a good time.
Next day we sailed off to Cooper Island. Our captain insisted we get there early and good thing he did because when we got there at 12:45 and all but two balls were gone. Five of us went down to cistern point and snorkeled. Once we got half way ay around we spotted a turtle and followed him along the rest of the way around the point. We bobbed and drank and went ashore for happy hour. We like walking around and sitting there in the deck chairs drinking and watching the water. We ate dinner on the boat and this night our fisherman caught horse eye jack tuna.
Day three we left very early so some of us could go to the baths. We got to the mooring field and found the closest mooring ball to the shore that is just north of the dinghy line. We decided that we could swim into shore. There is a little bay/opening to the north of the dinghy line that we were very close to. It looked easier than it actually was! Even though we were there before 9:00am the place was packed. Tons and tons of people. Two people in our group have not been there and the rest of us haven't been there in six years. What I did notice is that there was order and it was very organized with all the tourists. I remember last time waiting on ladders and platforms for someone going the opposite direction to get through. This time everyone was going the same direction and it was easy to pass a big group when there was room. We made it to the top of the baths and realized we forgot our drinking guide! We headed back down and someone from out party brought the dinghy so we could ride back. At that point it started raining but it felt really good to get rinsed off by all that fresh water.
Since there was no wind we motored to the north sound and got some free water and ice at Saba and grabbed a mooring ball. On the way over a ferry boat passed extremely close behind us into Spanish Town and it caught our fisherman’s line. Someone grabbed a knife to cut the line but our fisherman was very upset and lost an expensive lure. It was an intense few seconds on the boat. The rest of the trip we made jokes with him about catching a ferry…or fairy.  Once we got there three of us wanted to snorkel so we took six to Saba to get hamburgers (we all love them there) while three of us took the dinghy around the north side of prickly pear island and snorkeled. I was expecting the snorkeling to be better there but we did see a very big star fish which was really cool. On the way back it started raining on us again for a short bit. We picked up our fisherman on the boat (who was enjoying his gin) and joined the others on shore. At this point some were ready to go back but four of us wanted to stay for happy hour and enjoy Saba. We made our way to the north side of the island where they have some big oversized outdoor furniture on a deck that overlooks the ocean to the north/east. We could have stayed there all day. It is one of my favorite spots to just drink and relax. We made our way back and saw to the tarpons swarming in to get fed. We slowly made back to the boat and turned in early for a long and early day the next day
We left very early to get to Anegada. Great weather and calm seas. Fastest we have ever made it out there...partly because we were on a catamaran I think. Several of our group saw some dolphins on the way out but by the time the rest of us looked they were gone. Our fisherman got a great big fish in his line but it got away. We got a mooring ball and got our open aired truck for the ten of us. Our first stop was to the Wonky Dog to get reservations. We were already impressed with the customer service with Desnee (spelling?). We thought we were off to Dotsy’s for treats and a cake for a birthday of one of our party. We were sad to find out she is doing desserts for another business now and her little bakery is not open anymore. We headed to the mangroves and there were a couple guys there just finishing getting buckets full of conch ready to take to the other islands. It was very fascinating. One of the gentleman gave one of the ladies in our party the most beautiful conch shell I have ever seen. Such bright colors and a deep and beautiful pink.
We have never been to Flash of Beauty before so decided to stop there. Such a pretty beach. My only complaint is that the sand isn't as fine and soft as Cow Wreck. The snorkeling here was unbelievable! I could have stayed here all day. We had lunch there and the two ladies working at the bar were great. Everyone enjoyed their food and the fish sandwich was excellent. We decided to skip Loblolly and head to Cow Wreck. We saw some flamingos in the salt ponds and we all noticed that the livestock this trip for some reason seemed healthier than in years passed. We took a right too soon and ended at the Anegada Beach Club. This place looked nice! We made it to Cow Wreck and unfortunately were very disappointed. Why we have loved this place so much in the past it was very desolate and hardly anyone there. It was extremely crowded with tons of people there. All the chairs, tables, and benches were completely full. It's lost a lot of its charm for our group but I understand more people is good for business so it must be good for them. While we were swimming we noticed how small the beach is now. I need to look back and find some pictures because none of us remember the water being that close to the palm trees.
We headed back and noticed some road work being down on the roads and it looks like they are going to pave some more roads, which will be nice. We got ready for dinner and headed to the Wonky Dog. Everyone loved their experience and the food was superb. The appetizer highlights were the risotto, conch salad, and the mussels. One of our guys kept saying they were the best mussels he had ever had in his life. The majority of us got the lobster Rockefeller and loved it. One person got the regular lobster and another the jerk lobster. No complaints and the customer service was top notch. The Wonky Dog t-shirts came in that afternoon and five in our party bought one. On a side note, the day before we left we were in Road Town at a bar and one of our party was wearing his wonky dog shirt and the owner of the restaurant was there and came up and talked to him. They got their picture taken together. It was a nice little moment.
Each year we may…or may not…. have a somewhat crude blow up doll as our masthead on the front of our boat. We always get lots of waves, pictures, laughs, and jokes. It is all done in fun and makes it easier to spot our boat. The next morning, we came to find out that someone during the night had stolen our doll! We laughed about it and made jokes. We hope someone is enjoying it as much as we did. We have even made a funny video about it.
The next day was extremely ROUGH. The swells were bigger than I have ever experienced down there. Most people laid down and one member got very sea sick. We finally made it to Cane Garden Bay. Looking back, we probably should have gone somewhere else that night but everyone loves this place. Everyone was beaching their dinghy to the north side of the dock. We got there at a good time and were able to load off onto the dock. Only one cruise ship was in this day and we enjoyed d our favorite bars, floating in the waves, and having a good time. We were swinging all night and we were all grateful we were not on a monohull. Myett’s was jam packed as the cruise that was in that day was the blues cruise. Last time we were there we met Marcia Ball just floating in the water. This time performing at Myett’s was Kelley Hunt (some cruise ship passengers told us). We didn't spend any time in there due to the crowds and how loud it was.
Next morning, we motored over to Diamond Cay and got the closest north west mooring ball. It was the perfect. Place. We had views of the waves breaking on the reef between Jost and Little Jost. I really recommend this spot. I could have stayed there all day with the breeze and the views of those waves coming in. Within the first half hour four turtle spottings had taken place. The boat next to us said they saw several rays while snorkeling as well. Part of our group went to the bubbly pool. Once you are on the trail I recommend taking a right on the trail as it heads up the rocks for the awesome view of the waves and the reef coming in between Jost and little Jost. Absolutely breathtaking! The surge was up a bit at the bubbly pool but still lots of fun. There weren't too many people there as well. After that we had a drink at the bar and the group decided instead of staying the night there we would sail over to Sopher’s Hole for the night. Our group always loves the bushwhackers at Pussers ( not the service though) and shopping. This is the only place we get shirts to take home with us. We ate on board since we had so much food. I was very surprised to see so many cruise ship passengers at Sopher’s Hole. Two different big catamarans came while we were there to drop people off and I was very impressed with their “parallel parking” skills in a space I didn't think a boat could fit in.
The last day was a perfect day for sailing. We sailed all morning and got up to 11.4 knots. We were all very excited of how fast we were able to go. We decide on some place we have never been before and went into Great Harbor on Peter island. We took a mooring ball close to the beach bar and near the big rock cliffs. Most of the boats were closer to the other side of the bay. We absolutely loved our spot. The snorkeling right off the boat was just wonderful. So many fish, coral, and rock formations. I could have snorkeled all day there. No one went ashore because we were having such a relaxing time on the catamaran with the nice breeze and later that night the full moon lit up the bay. It was a perfect ending to our time in the catamaran.
The next morning we decided since we were so close to Road Town we decided to sail some more for a couple hours before turning the boat in. Some great winds again and enjoyed the last sail. We turned in the boat and waited for our rental cars. I feel even getting all of our luggage and gear off the catamaran was so much easier and faster on a catamaran. We left the extra food and alcohol for the dock workers and boat cleaners.
Off to the Tamarind we went. It was very busy since it was Sunday and brunch was going on. We had a great brunch and then checked into out rooms. The majority of our group is now over the Tamarind Club, unfortunately. Every time there is something wrong with a reservation. One couple booked the honeymoon suite and confirmed it on Expedia and we even called a couple days ahead to make sure all the reservations were good to go. Besides all the reservation issues, the husband’s attitude and how he talks to people just ruins the experience. The two kids are what make the place for us. They are always so friendly and helpful! The servers for dinner are not friendly (we all wished Desnee from Wonky Dog was there), the showers trickled water (we got better showers in the catamaran), and it is the same worn out bedding with holes in it as last time we were there. After this last experience, we think in the future we will just drive over for dinner or lunch instead of staying there. I will do my research on here to find the other favorite places to stay after a charter.
After brunch most everyone took the cars to Trellis Bay and explored over there. They saw the happenings of everyone getting ready for The Full Moon Party. Some of us had intentions of going that evening but after dinner everyone just wanted a good night’s sleep.
The next morning a few of us went down to Josiah's bay. That day marked a couples sixth wedding anniversary that were married right on Josiah's bay six years ago to the day. It was a beautiful morning and no one was there on the beach. We went back up to the hotel and decided to drive around the island and we asked Cat at the bar for some ideas as well. We hit Brewers bay and Cane Garden and ate lunch at Myett’s. There were no cruise ships in that day and it was just perfect. Lunch was great and great server as well. We used our drinking guide again there as well. We got to the top of Cane Garden Gay and hit an area with a look out point on top of building and a little shop… It's right by a park/ preserve. I can’t remember what it was called but the views over to Jost and beyond were breathtaking. On the way down we stopped at Stoutt’s Overlook Bar that Cat recommended and had a drink. What a great local bar! The view down to Cane Garden from there and the breeze was outstanding. The gentleman that owns the bar was there and was so nice and told us stories of the island and starting up his bar. No wonder the locals love it there so much. We will be back there to visit for sure. We stopped at Bomba Shack since some haven't been there before. I don't enjoy it there. Lots of surfers that day and it was fun to watch them. We then headed to Road Town and we all got some spices from the Sunny Caribbee store, ran into the Wonky Dog owner, and some other walking around and exploring. Headed back to Tamarind for dinner and to pack. Three people flew out of beef island on seaborne then southwest the rest of the way, the others took the ferry out of Road Town after returning the rental cars then flew out of St. Thomas on American. Everyone made it home that night and on all scheduled flights.
The majority of the days we were there were overcast, which we really enjoyed. It wasn't quite so hot with the blazing sun all day. We still got our warm weather and sun fix! The only horrible sea day was coming from Anegada to Cane Garden with the big swells. We all enjoyed the space on the catamaran and I don't think we will ever back to a monohull down there. BVI Yacht Charters let us walk around their 2015 Lagoon 520 TILDA and we are in love. Wow!!! We can dream. Till next time.