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Monday, June 14, 2010

Sail Away: Castaway Girl

We have been to the island of St. Thomas USVI eight times.  Each time we go we take something different out of it. Sometimes we go into the town of Charlotte Amalie to shop, eat, and drink.  Sometimes we just walk aound in the blazing heat drinking from street market to street market exploring the city.  On once such jaunt we found out that the famous 99 stone steps that lead up through the Government Hill  District actually lead to nothing.  Zip. Nada. Nowhere.  Not even a bathroom at the top of the stairs.  You get to the top, turn around, and descend amid lizards, fauna, and heat. 
Most of our visits involve some kind of water adventure in and around the beautiful Caribbean waters that surround the island.  And so it was on our last trip to St. Thomas.  We booked a champagne catamaran sail from St. Thomas to the adjacent island of St John for snorkling, beach combing, and rum running.

Because we  had already done this sort of thing before in St. Thomas, we knew extactly what "a short ride to the marina" from the ship and pier to board the catamaran really meant.  It meant cocktails at the harborfront Parrot Cove Bar beforehand.  Seriously.
After leaving the ship, we explored pier-side Havensite Mall, shopped for a friends upcoming birthday, stashed the loot in waterproof plastic bags, and headed straight to Parrot Cove  for Bloody Marys, Screwdrivers, and Rum Runners.  At the appointed time, we climbed into our door-less, rail-less, seatbelt-less jeep for our transportation to the marina on the eastern end of the island.  We knew what to expect.  Others didn't.  Without warning, our jeep was flying up and through the rugged volcanic terraine on  tiny narrow 2-way roads. Steep.  Up , over, around, down, up, and around at very fast speeds with only squeaky honky beeps from our jeep to warn other drivers we were barrelling around corners. The roadway trees ripped hats off of heads as people vainly tried to photograph the beautiful flashing scenery. There were schedules to be kept.
Our jeep slowed to a crawl as we neared the sleepy Pirate Cove Marina on Benne Bay on the other side of the island. It was quiet and serene. We found our way to our vessel for the day,  a sleek 60' catamaran named Castaway Girl.  We all threw our shoes into a large box and climbed aboard.  While everyone else filed into the designated comfy seating area, Michael and I headed straight to the front where mesh nets seemed to hold the boat together.  Front row.  Better views. Better everything.
We slowly weaved our way through the harbor amid fishing and pleasure boats until we hit a clearing and the sails were hoisted.  The eastward winds filled the sails as we made our way through the current cut and out into Pillsbury Sound.  Shallow teal glass water slowly morphed into deep sapphire blue waves as we wafted our way across the Sound. Even the wind was quiet. 

We moored at Trunk Bay to snorkle and swim. A hatchway dropped from the catamaran into the sea for easy access.  Please!  We donned our gear and jumped right off the side of the boat, enveloped by the sea. Cool and warm.  Perfect.We were there for a few hours.  At some point, there was a barbecue on the beach.  We could see it, but we couldn't smell it.  We were out in the water. Sea creatures. Under the water away from everything with sun shading cloud wifts changing the underwater terrain from second to second. It was too good to leave.
We pulled anchor and caught the westward winds back to St. Thomas.  Champagne flowed.  Rum spilled onto the decks. Music blared. Wedges of ripe brie, Dutch Edam cheese, and crustless finger sandwiches on platters lined the counters under the shade of the covered seating area.

We slowly made our way back to the marina riding soft waves along the way.

Moments like that should never end or be forgotten.


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