Caribbean Cruising in Style Photo Gallery
By Ryan Jannenga
Taking a taxi from the airport to the east side
of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands seemed
to be the obvious choice for most, since air-conditioning
and expediency was seemingly worth sacrificing
a little local flavor. I opted however, for the
city bus. No better way to get a true taste of
culture than to get as far away from tourists
as possible. Although I stood out as the sorest
thumb on the island, the locals were very friendly
and helpful, and were sure to let me know when
my stop came. After weaving through side tracked
neighborhoods and eye-shutting fragrances for
30 minutes, we finally arrived in the quaint little
town of Red Hook. Having several hours to kill
before the arrival of fellow journalists I did
as any red blooded, Caribbean bound yachtie would,
and bellied up for a few at Molly Malone's.
The better part of the afternoon was spent at
this mellow, Irish Caribbean pub where fountains
trickle and fat iguanas pursue the illusive remnants
of conch fritters. The pub is steps from the boat
docks and is a great place to enjoy cool shade
and good food. The hours flew to the tunes of
Thin Lizzy, Rod Stewart, The Eagles. The rest
of the party showed and we were off on the tender
to board Arabella.
The 160-foot sail cruise ship, Arabella, has 20
staterooms, each including air conditioning, satellite
TV, and telephone. This regal schooner sails throughout
the Spanish, British, and U.S. Virgin Islands
from November through April and offers access
to secluded coves and bays that larger cruise
ships cannot negotiate.
After getting settled in we embarked on a sunset
sail to St. John over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres.
Dinner ashore at La Tapa met what few expectations
I had as we drank wine and admired the talents
of local artists. The night progressed and I found
myself doing poor (if not slightly incriminating)
renditions of Garth Brooks at Polli's karaoke
cantina, which seemed to be a hot spot that night.
As we headed back to the dock, St. John was alive
with island jams and street goers despite its
small, idyllic setting and it was a shame to have
only one night to spend there.
Waking up only mildly alert, yet fully de-pruned
from hours in the hot tub, which sits on the aft
deck, I found the sails hoisted and pushing us
toward Norman Island in the BVI's. Norman Island
is 610 acres of uninhabited reefs and bays, which
hold great snorkeling and diving spots. A beautiful
island style lunch was being served to my surprise
seeing as breakfast had come and gone hours past.
We enjoyed mango chutney, coconut shrimp, and
crab cakes as the crew anchored near the "Treasure
Island caves", which are the supposed setting
of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic. That afternoon
was spent kayaking warm, clear caves, swimming
in the endless tranquility of blue, and beachcombing
through the relics of forgotten yachties.
The falling sun seemed to lure us effortlessly
to Peter Island for, you guessed it, cocktails
and hors d'oeuvres overlooking their secluded
coves. Peter Island lies four miles south of Tortola
and is comprised of 1,300 acres of lush, mountainous
terrain and private beaches. The harbor on Peter
Island is one of only a few in the area that can
dock mega yachts and also offers a full service
marina and daily water sports. We were lucky enough
to get a tour of the entire resort and spa facilities.
Designed to overwhelm and captivate, the spacious
open-air spa will undoubtedly ensure your peaceful
well being as the resort provides first class
amenities and sapphire views of Caribbean bliss.
We dined aboard Arabella that night on fresh mahi-mahi,
island salad and Chilean wine. The elegant dining
of the main salon is romantic and rich, keeping
with the ships intimate setting. The night once
again drew me to the hot tub under the twinkle
of 10,000 stars and nothing but beauty seemed
By this point in the trip the inevitable rethinking
of one's life began to occur and our arrival at
Jost Van Dyke certainly did not help. The morning
cast a picture perfect setting for a day of inebriated
wanderings between the bars and the water, which
was spotted with charter boats and smiling faces.
Our first, and really only plan, was of course
a world famous Painkiller at the drinks own birthplace,
The Soggy Dollar Bar. The Painkiller is a local
concoction of Pusser's rum, tropical juices, and
a hint of nutmeg. One quickly turned into one
too many, as is so often the case when in a tropical
paradise, so after a refreshing dip we shuffled
down to the One Love Bar. Perhaps not the best
way to counter a buzz, but after all, this was
The music at One Love
was a hi-light of the trip and I hope that my
recommendation of a soundtrack was dually noted
by the bartender. The one-man island band did
a 10-minute cover of A Pirate Looks at Fourty
which would crush any ex-patriated parrotheads
attempt at local stardom. Although being thoroughly
content with my feet in the sand and a cold beer
in my hand, the clock struck that not-so-happy
hour of time to go. Not that it was all that bad
seeing as we did a sunset cruise around to the
next bay, Great Harbor, for dinner at Foxy's.
Foxy's has a slightly more upscale atmosphere
with great food and a good energy. The huge gift
shop will keep the girls busy while the guys corral
about the bar talking ship and stretching truth.
The stroll down the sandy road to Corsair's is
usually the next action taken if the dancing at
Foxy's becomes too much. Corsair's, which has
also been deemed an "official" harbor
hangout is a must see due to its cheap drinks
and beach front setting. We enjoyed the soulful
tunes of Harry Belafonte as the moon came to cast
a glow over our hammock.
Somehow to my huge surprise I found myself once
again in the hot tub back on Arabella. This being
our last night out we made the most of it by playing
games, revealing secrets, and spilling wine. Falling
asleep with the gentle sway of a sailboat rivals
any five-star resort.
Clearing customs in St. John the next morning
was a breeze despite the foggy head and beating
sun. From there we headed back to St. Thomas for
shopping and a barbeque lunch. As the women flocked
to the jewelry and T-shirts I sat pondering the
necessary steps leading to a Caribbean relocation.
Life revolves around fun, work revolves around
life, and I've grown tired of cities. So by the
time this gets read I will hopefully be back to
de islands mon.
Check out these websites:
Peter Island Resort