Aerial View of St. Thomas
Day 1: Board your charter yacht and enjoy lunch alfresco and lovely water views while cruising to an anchorage on nearby Water Island for a first swim in the beautiful Caribbean blue green waters.
After lunch head to Magen’s Bay, St. Thomas, located on the northern side of St. Thomas. This bay is well protected by land on three sides and is an excellent overnight anchorage location. This is the perfect location for water sports fun. Perhaps go ashore to Magen’s Bay Bar and grill, which is a fun location for a before dinner drink. Overnight on anchor.
Day 2: After a great breakfast on the aft deck, depart for Inner Brass Island, one of the few U. S. Virgin Islands still undisturbed by man. With 130 acres, this tropical island is undeveloped and still has its natural beauty. Enjoy white sand beaches and terrific coral gardens, that are so rarely visited, there is a rich tropical fish community. As this island can only be accessed by private yacht, it is off the beaten path, even though there is a helipad on the island left from a resort site never developed. Anchor and head to the beach for a great beach picnic in utter privacy.
After lunch, cruise to the western side of St. Thomas to Savana Island, another rarely visited islet, where again your yacht may be the only yacht in sight. Savana Island is one of the lesser-known islands in the region. This small islet is uninhabited, with sunny beaches, green forests, and total privacy. Enjoy the sun, sand, water sports, and the feel of truly being away from it all. Overnight on anchor.
Ruins of Annaberg Plantation
Day 3: In the morning depart for Cruz Bay, the heart of St. John Island, which is just a short cruise away. Head ashore for a short walk to Mongoose Junction to visit the local shops and galleries for the morning, and perhaps pick up a bit of the Caribbean to bring home. Return back on board to cruise to Waterlemon Cay to anchor for lunch.
60% of the land of St. John, which is one of the three main U.S. Virgin Islands, is part of the Virgin Islands National Park. St. John is the smallest and least populated of the three United States Virgin Islands and has white sand beached, beautiful bays, and virgin forests.
Waterlemon Cay is a top location for snorkeling, with a diversity of marine life and coral including purple sea fans, Boulder and Grooved Brain Coral, Mustard Hill Coral, Elkhorn and Pillar Corals. the variety of fish is also extraordinary including Atlantic Blue Tangs, Bluehead Wrasses, an assortment of Parrotfish, blennies, grunts, damsels and Squirrelfish.
Located at on the eastern end of Leinster Bay, along St. John’s north shore, this part of St. John was a favorite spot in Colonial days, with the ruins of Annaberg Plantation close by and accessible by a late afternoon hike for anyone that wants to stretch their legs. This Plantation was one of several St. John’s plantations owned in the 1720s and 1730s by Frederick Moth, the first Danish Governor of St. Croix and, later, the Governor General of the Danish West Indies. In the early 1800’s, Annaberg, was one of St. John’s biggest sugar producers, also producing molasses and rum for export. By 1808 Annaberg Plantation covered nearly 1,300 acres and included Mary’s Point, Betty’s Hope, Munsbury, Leinster Bay and Brown Bay. By 1871, the plantation went into decline and was eventually abandoned.
Day 4: Perhaps have a refreshing early morning swim and then breakfast. Head ashore to explore St. John by land with a several hour jeep rental. Either drive yourself, or have crew members drive jeeps while you enjoy the passing view. If wanted, a guided tour can be arranged instead in a comfortable van to learn the island’s history and flora and fauna with a local guide.
Return back on board to cruise to beautiful Francis Bay to anchor. Have lunch on board. After lunch the crew can put out all the water toys. The beach at Francis Bay has just been ranked as one of “12 clear water beaches you need to see to believe” by TripAdvisor. Because it faces west, so is leeward of the trade winds, the water tends to be calmer than other north shore beaches and so great for water sports.
Snorkeling in Francis Bay is terrific. Expect for fish to see fry, jacks, yellowtail snapper, Spanish mackerel, barracuda, tarpon, pompano, French grunts, Parrotfish, blue tang, and Little Damselfish, along with eels, stingrays, conch and sea turtles. For a more remote snorkeling location in the bay, take a sea kayak or paddleboard out Whistling Cay, another great snorkeling spot.
Here also is an opportunity for a late afternoon hike on the Francis Bay Hiking Trail. This is an easy half-mile trail that loops through a variety of terrains included shaded greenery and a salt marsh. Overnight on anchor.
Cannons on the Roof of Fort Christiansvaern
Day 5: In the morning cruise the 35 nautical miles to St. Croix, the furthest away and largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Stop at Buck Island National Park to play in shimmering blue water and explore spectacular coral reefs. The island boasts exceptional wildlife. Anchor here for lunch, swimming and snorkeling.
Arawak and Caribe inhabitants were the original natives of this island, and after with the advent of European settlement, control shifted between Spain, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, the Knights of Malta, Denmark and the United States, with all nationalities leaving a mark on the island. Visiting just the two main towns of Saint Croix will give you a glimpse of the island’s incredible history, from regal 18th and 19th-century homes in Christiansted to a tropical rain forest in Frederiksted. The island was developed with sugar and cotton plantations.
After lunch cruise to Christiansted and head ashore to explore this town. The town was founded by Frederick Moth after he was made the Danish governor of St. Croix in 1733. The people of Christiansted have done an excellent job in preserving the 18th-century Danish-style buildings which, along with the fort, were constructed by African slaves. Solid stone buildings painted in pastel colors with bright red tile roofs line the cobblestone sidewalks, giving Christiansted a feel of 18th-century European/Danish architectural style. Because the town was constructed by African slaves, there are felt to be many African influences in Christiansted’s design as well, making it today, one of the few “African-Danish” towns in the world.
Visit historic Fort Christiansvaern in town on 7 acres for a self-guided tour. Fort Christiansvaern, built when St. Croix was under control of Denmark, was started in 1738 to protect the harbor from foreign invaders, privateers, and possibly pirates, The original fort remains largely unaltered and served as the focal point for Danish control of the island. Today, Fort Christiansvaern is one of the best-preserved colonial forts in the Caribbean and features exhibits of the history of Christiansted and life on the island of St. Croix.
If weather permits, anchor just outside of Salt River Bay National Park for the night. Salt River Bay is a living museum on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Prehistoric and colonial-era archeological sites and ruins are located here in a 1,015-acre park created in 1992 and today jointly managed by the National Park Service and Government of the United States Virgin Islands.
Salt River Bay is one of the Caribbean’s rare bioluminescent bays. St. Croix is home to not one, but two of these rare bioluminescent bays, the other being Altona Lagoon. The crew will rent sea kayaks for all that want to experience the thrill of being surrounded by nature’s “living lights” at night, as no motorized boats are allowed into the nature preserve, only those paddled by hand. Paddle into the bay after dark, to see the swirl of bioluminescence with every movement of the water. Overnight on anchor.
Day 6: Cruise around to Frederiksted in the morning. It is a grid-planned city, designed by surveyor Jens Beckfor in the 1700s and is about 30 years younger than Christiansted. Frederiksted has a naturally deep port and is home to Fort Frederik, constructed to protect the town from pirate raids and attacks from rival imperialist nations. It was named after Frederick V of Denmark, who purchased the Danish West Indies in 1754 giving Denmark control of St. Croix at that time.
Frederiksted is often referred to as “Freedom City” by locals as this town was the location of the emancipation of slaves in the then-Danish West Indies. On July 3, 1848, freed slave and skilled craftsman Moses Gottlieb, who also was known as “General Buddhoe,” led an uprising of slaves on St. Croix’s West End plantations, who marched on the town of Frederiksted. Governor-General Peter von Scholten proclaimed on that day at Fort Frederiksted the emancipation of all slaves. The town was destroyed by a labor revolt, known as “The Fireburn” because of the use of arson, in October 1878. Frederiksted was later restored during the Victorian era, with Victorian details seen today in the town’s architecture.
Located on the northern end of Frederiksted is Fort Frederik, also known as Frederiksfort, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Built between 1752 and 1760 by Denmark, the fort defended the natural deep water port and local commerce from pirates. In 1776, the first salute from foreign soil to the new nation of the United States of America was fired from the fort. The fort includes a museum and art gallery.
Return on board to cruise to the St. Croix Yacht Club at Teague Bay to anchor for lunch and an afternoon of water sports, swimming and snorkeling. Perhaps head into the Yacht Club for a drink in the evening before dinner. Overnight on anchor.
Day 7: In the morning cruise north to the southern side of St. John to Reef Bay, St John part of the National Park. An advanced hiking trail starts from Reef Bay into the valley, where ancient Petroglyphs are located at the base of the valley’s highest waterfall. A spring-fed pool beneath the waterfall reflects a 20 foot wide panorama of carvings found on the blue basalt rock, with other carvings visible nearby.
Also on the shore of Reef Bay are the ruins of Reef Bay Sugar Factory built in 1725 and used for processing sugarcane into sugar and distilling rum. The factory buildings include a boiling room, an animal-powered mill, and a still with a cooling cistern for distilling rum. The sugar factory continued to operate until 1908, with Bay Oil being produced at the factory as well during the St. John Bay Oil boom in the early 20th century
In the 1960s the sugar factory ruins were restored under the auspices of the Virgin Island National Park. These ruins are one of the best surviving examples of a historic West Indies sugar operation.
Have lunch on anchor, and in the afternoon explore ashore, perhaps hiking the trail to the Petroglyphs, which is an advanced trail, and/or visit the Reef Bay Sugar Factory ruins. Or just relax, swim, snorkel and have fun with water toys. Overnight on anchor.
St. Thomas Charlotte Amalie
Day 8: In the morning after one last swim, cruise back to St. Thomas to Charlotte Amalie to disembark.
Map of U.S. Virgin Islands