A very good friend of mine by the name of Denzil Baynes, endured many a cold winter here in London… until one day he came up with a bit of a bright spark idea… he wanted to be a yachtie… and to cut a long story short, thats just what he did. For some time now he's been cruising the Caribbean and the Med… living the dream in every sense of the word… he also likes to keep us updated with his adventures, so from time to time Denzil gives us a little update on where his ridiculously awesome life takes him…. a little inside look at life as a yachtie… Check out the rest of Denzil's posts here
St Thomas, USVI (United States Virgin Islands)...
March 16th, I arrived at Crown Bay marina around 1400. After clearing customs I grabbed a day worker and washed the boat down from mast to hull. We had done 3 hour watches between the 4 of us which consisted of 3 hours on and 3 hours off so by the end of a 28 hour run our energy tanks were empty! The only positive light at the end of the tunnel was the thought of kicking back on the flybridge with a beer after a gruelling 36 hours of work.
That evening we headed over to the Fat Turtle in Yacht Haven Grande, St Thomas. We used a local Gypsy taxi as transport to get there which entails hopping on the back of a truck with fabricated "church pew style" seating with no doors. It almost looks as though people are being taken off to a cattle Market. It's the cheapest mode of transport around the Islands as well as being the most interesting.
The following day we headed over to the other side of St Thomas, a place called Red Hook. We had 4 days off here in Red Hook starting with our first night out falling on St Patricks Day! This location was carefully chosen for the crew time off as it had 6 bars within stone throwing distance of each other, just as many restaurants if not more and a ferry port with the ability to Island hop. We did 3 out of 3 main attractions which included: the Irish Bar for St Patricks, the Caribbean Bar and restaurant for food and the ferry trip from St Thomas over to St John’s. Once we docked in St John’s we caught a Gypsy taxi up and over the hilly Island to a little Bay called "Trunk". Well known for its snorkelling it had crystal clear water and a snow white beach. We spent the whole afternoon wading in the calm cool water in between baking on the warm soft sand.
A little before sunset, the three of us caught another Gypsy taxi back to the ferry port and visited the famous "Woodys Seafood Saloon" for happy hour. Too many "happies" down we decided that food was next on the agenda and so fell through the door of a Spanish Tapas restaurant. Once propped up at the bar counter we ordered everything on the Tapas menu including a 1989 bottle of red.
On the Monday, March 22nd, we moved the boat from Red Hook Bay on the East side of St Thomas to Charlotte Amalie on the South side of the Island. The owners were arriving the following afternoon so we needed the day to tie up, wash down and detail the boat for their arrival. The day after they arrived I was asked to join them on their day’s activities.
We took a Gypsy from the Yacht Haven Grande marina to the centre of town, Charlotte Amalie. We walked the quaint stone alley ways and streets. The main street caters for all the cruise liners of which 3 visit on a daily basis. All the Gold, Diamonds, various other jewellery pieces and Liquor are sold at Duty Free prices. My owners picked up a beautiful Baccarat crystal vase which as part of the service got delivered to the boat. Since our hands were still free we then caught another Gypsy taxi over to the Sky lift. This is a cable car that travels at a 70 degree angle to a viewing platform, Bar, Restaurant and shops overlooking Charlotte Amalie, the Marina, Town and the Caribbean Sea. It’s possible to see for miles up there!
Once we returned to the boat I was invited to join the Island Tour. A private hire van with tour guide drove us around the island of St Thomas with a verbal introduction to all the interesting places and sights that St Thomas has to offer. The tour guide drove us into the Ritz-Carlton for a viewing and we enjoyed a complimentary drink on the balcony overlooking the magnificent hotel pool which compliments as well as competes against the turquoise, emerald and as it shallows, crystal clear water of the ocean.
As we drove along Skyline Drive, we stopped at a viewing point to overlook Magens Bay. This Bay has been rated in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world by National Geographic. I can't tell you at what number but I can definitely agree that it should be right up there!
We left the dock in St Thomas at 10am and had very pleasant seas to Puerto Rico arriving on the dock at 2pm. The Marina was huge and we had the very last dock at the very end. The only way to and from the main gate or dock masters office was by Golf cart.
I was very lucky again to have been invited the following day with the boat owners to join them on the Islands Rainforest tour. We were picked up by Manny, a local who moved to Puerto Rico when he was only just a young boy from the "Big Apple", New York City. He was incredibly intelligent, knew so many facts about the Island and filled our heads with interesting Puerto Rican knowledge on our 45 minute drive up to (Rainforest)***
St Croix, USVI...
The next morning we departed for St Croix around 10am. There are 3 major Islands that make up the United States Virgin Islands. These are St Thomas, St John and St Croix. My personal favourite of these 3 is St John. The beaches are beautiful, the town of Cruz Bay is quaint, festive and friendly, the Island is not too big and everything is easily accessible. St Thomas is the main Island, it has an airport and is generally the major stop for cruisliners. I was not particularly impressed with St Croix. It appears to be the Industrial Island of the 3. Its home to the Cruzan Rum distillery and a Venezuelan Oil refinery.
We left St Croix on Sunday March 28th and have anchored in Magens Bay over night. Today is March 29th and we're headed over to Red Hook before planning a trip to the next Island. Most likely to be in the BVI's.