Island Hopping Part 5 - 5 Islands in One Day
Our first full day on St. Thomas we met our soon-to-be BFF, Captain Patrick of Privateer Charters when he picked us up at the hotel for a day on the water. The Mann had been texting on the sly with Captain Pat for weeks planning what would be one of the best days of our vacation. First of all, he offered us a ride to and from the dock, took us shopping for boat snacks and drinks and was a knowledgeable, laid back super friendly guide all day. We settled onto his boat, a clean and perfectly maintained 27' center console. We stashed our stuff and chatted about where we wanted to go. If you've read any of my other posts, you know that we do not like to follow the crowds so while checking out the bar scene on Jost Van Dyke looked cool, we were more interested in staying away from the crowds and finding secluded spots for snorkeling, photos and unique experiences. So that's what we told Captain Patrick and he said "I know just where we're going, let me have your passports" and off we went.
We started off cruising by the little islands between St. Thomas and St. John: Grass, Mingo, Lovango and Congo Cays. That area is also home to Carval Rock, a small islet that was supposedly used to discharge ship's cannon balls before they pulled into the ports of St. John and St. Thomas. It's a cool site surrounded by magnificently clear turquoise water that looks like it's glowing. From there, we headed to Capt. Patrick's favorite snorkeling spot on the north side of St. John near one of the many sugar planation ruins on the island. We saw colorful fish and a variety of corals. Captain. Patrick lent us one of the GoPros he keeps on board so we were able to get some great video of our underwater adventure.
Next, it was off to the BVI's! We stopped over at Jost Van Dyke to clear customs then walked the beach and saw the famous Soggy Dollar Bar. While the Soggy Dollar is an institution, we were looking for something a bit more off the beaten path.
We waved goodbye to the Soggy Dollar and set out for *bucket list destination*: Sandy Spit. Sandy Spit is a teeny tiny islet that is less than an acre in size. We anchored and swam to shore. Circumnavigation took all of five minutes but we explored all shores and played with a lonely palm tree. There's a great spot where different tides come together creating a wave mohawk so we played in the surf and worked up an appetite.
It was time for lunch at Foxy's Taboo on the east of the island. We got out of the sun but stayed in the fresh air and had perfect cocktails and a great meal with Capt. Patrick, followed by a touch of shopping at the attached gift shop. To round out the experience, a bunch of horses decided to wander over to the restaurant and hang out with us.
Boat days seem to fly by and we didn't want to waste time on land so we hit the water and headed to one more spot to finish out our adventure: Tortola! We had had our fill of snorkeling but we were definitely up for one more swim to shore for a tropical beverage. We pulled up at Smuggler's Cove and let the tide carry us to the beach where we found Nigel's Boom Boom Beach Bar & Grill amidst the palm trees. We hung out with Nigel while he made us a few cocktails and chatted with the other guests that were cozying up to the bar. I wish I had been hungry because Nigel has some great sounding beach food as well. I could have hung out there for hours but, alas, the ocean was calling us back. We swam back to the boat and, sadly, started out trip back home (but not before driving by another *bucket list destination*: Bomba's Surfside Shack. Literally a shack (that has been washed away a time or two), Bomba's is famous for its full moon parties and I CAN'T WAIT to go back and spend some time there in the future.
Island hopping is one of my very favorite things to do on earth. Being able to hit so many different locations made the charter worth every single penny (and there were many). We're already planning to hang with Capt. Patrick the next time we're in the Virgin Islands. My next *bucket list experience* is to charter a boat for a few days and hit all the little islands, bars and scenery there is to see without worrying about having to get back to shore.
Our time with Capt. Patrick was not over. We wound up meeting him that night in town after grabbing dinner at Fish Tails (best mozzarella sticks, especially after a boozy day on the water). He told us about a couple of his favorite spots in downtown Red Hook and we had a leisurely walk around town as the night life started to get into full swing.
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