Family charter aboard S/V Rhapsody
Just returned from a perfect week long charter on Rhapsody a gorgeous 72’ Irwin monohull. Here is our week long adventure – I hope you find it as perfect as we did and take your family to the clear blue waters of the British Virgin Islands for the vacation of a lifetime.
DAY 1 – We meet Captain Melanie, First mate Jack and Chef Leslie in Red Hook in St. Thomas about 2pm. After a short dinghy ride we see the dark blue hull of S/V Rhapsody sitting calmly at anchor waiting for the Jonas family to arrive. As we approached I notice everyone had a huge smile on their faces knowing in a few minutes we were going to start another wonderful sailing vacation. As we boarded the pristine S/V Rhapsody we were met with the sound of Caribbean music playing and Chef Leslie preparing lunch. As we got settled into our cabins and went over the “rules of the yacht” – Jack was busy preparing the kids “kiddy coladas” and the adults a refreshing “pain killer” to start our charter. We decided to get under way as soon as possible so we ate our lunch while under sail. The crew picked up the anchor and we set sail for Jost Van Dyke where we will spend our first evening. Approximately 1:45 minutes later we were picking up a mooring ball in Great Harbor in front of Foxy’s. The kids wanted to go run on the pure white beach of White Bay, a short 4 minute dinghy ride around the corner from our anchorage. There we swam and hung out at the Soggy Dollar til dinner time.
DAY 2 – After a good night sleep we started the next day with a filling breakfast prepared by Chef Leslie. At breakfast we discussed our itinerary for the next few days. Captain Melanie explained to us that with the winds our best course would be to sail the north side of Tortola and head to Leverick Bay in Virgin Gorda for an evening Happy Aaarrhhh party with Michael Beans. We release the mooring ball and head for Leverick. Along the way we stop at the north end of Jost to play at the Bubbling Pool which is a natural pool formed by rocks. After our Bubbly Pool excursion and lunch, we are on our way to Leverick Bay. We reach Leverick bout 3:30pm the kids want to go swim in the pool at the bar so we head to shore and swim for a while and after listen to the music of Michael Beans – a very entertaining “wanna be pirate”, and a show you don’t want to miss! After the show we dinghy back to the yacht for dinner and dessert. After dessert the kids are off to bed in their cabins and the adults enjoy a few relaxing after dinner drinks compliments of our mixologist First Mate Jack.
DAY 3 — Our plan for today is to visit the Baths – which are a natural formation of granite boulders that over hundreds of years have become smooth and rounded by the waters. We arrive just about 10 am after a great hour and a half long sail where we averaged 7kts. We get there just before the crowds arrive and have the Baths almost completely to ourselves. We spend about 2 hours walking and crawling thru the trail and swimming in Devils Bay (one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen). Jack brings the dinghy over to pick us up to take us back the yacht for lunch. Today’s lunch was my favorite of the week Chef Leslie made a seasoned shrimp served with couscous mixed with peppers, tomatoes, pineapple and feta cheese. After lunch we head for Cooper Island our next overnight anchorage. Once at Cooper we go ashore to play on the beach and swim. Cooper has a great relaxing atmosphere. The beach is quiet and lined with chaise lounge chairs in the sand under palm trees. There is a bar and restaurant right on the beach and down the beach a few paces is a SCUBA diving shop and small boutique. I played Frisbee with my kids and try some fun brain teaser games at the bar. The bartender Jeff shows my kids some magic tricks to keep them entertained. We ate dinner ashore at the Cooper Island Beach Club. The food was outstanding, everything was fresh and the service was great.
DAY 4 Today our itinerary takes us to Salt Island and then to Marina Cay. We spend the morning playing on the beach and snorkeling in Lee Bay on Salt. The kids found lots of sea glass some nice shells while snorkeling. When we get back to the yacht we see two sea turtles at the surface of the water a few feet away. Marina Cay is about an hour sail to the northwest our plan is to snorkel on the beach and go to see Eric Stone play at the top of the hill. A quick ten minute downpour keeps us on the yacht a bit longer, but no worries we have our own music and the bar is always open! We make it ashore to listen to Eric play for about an hour – we need to get back to the yacht where Chef Leslie is preparing another wonderful dinner. After dinner the crew fills the hot tub and the kids watch Nemo while relaxing in the hot tub and eating pop corn. Not a bad way to end the evening!
DAY 5 This is the long day! We leave Marina Cay about 9 am and head to Monkey Point in Guana Island to snorkel. This is a great place to snorkel and dive. There is a cliff that drops off about 50 feet and there are all kinds and sizes of fish to see. After we snorkel for about an hour we head to Cane Garden Bay – absolutely beautiful bay. The beach is lined with restaurants, bars and shops, we could have easily spent two days here. The water was calm and the kids played in the water for hours chasing the bait fish and playing skipball. We head back to the yacht for lunch and get under way for our final stop of the day and our anchorage for the night Great Harbor in Peter Island. We arrive about 4pm and head to shore for some more shopping at the Peter Island Boutique and then go play on another beach. This time its volleyball. Dinner is served just as the sun is setting. Another perfect day comes to an end.
DAY 6 — After a late breakfast we head to Norman Island which lies roughly 5 nm to the SW of Peter Island. We plan on spending the day here. We pick up a mooring ball off Angel Reef about 100 ‘ from shore where we are the only boat. Once we get secured everyone gets their snorkeling gear on for a beautiful snorkel off the reef. The sun is shining and the visibility is 60 plus feet. We see all kinds of marine life, parrot fish, yellow fin Snapper, angel fish, Blue tangs just to name afew. Since the Reef is on a cliff that decends about 40 feet down there is more marine life than on your typical reef. On our way back to the yacht we see a spotted eagle ray gliding effortlessly about ten feet underneath us. We have Cheeseburgers in Paradise for lunch along with frozen cocktails to refresh us. After lunch we head over in the dinghy to snorkel the Caves at Norman. This snorkel never disappoints us – tons of fish that actually follow you waiting for food. We swim into the caves where we are greeted by tens of thousands of baby fish that are hiding out. We swim in and as we turn around we see the wall of baby fish glistening in the sun. Spectacular sight! After snorkeling for an hour or so at the Caves we head back to Rhapsody grab our beach bag and head over to the beach at Pirates Bite. The water there is extremely calm and we get in a few games of Frisbee and volleyball. The kids have some wings and fries to hold them over for our dinner which will be at the Jolly Roger Restaurant in Sopers Hole. We call Jack to come get us at about 3:45pm – as usual he is right on time. We get back to the yacht shower up and get ready for a quick 30 sail over to Sopers Hold in West End Tortola. There we pick up a mooring ball for the evening. After a few happy hour cocktails on the yacht, we head over to the Jolly Roger restaurant for a tasty Lobster and Prime Rib Dinner. The food was again excellent and our view even better as we sat on the dock watching the sunset in the distance behind St. Thomas. After dinner we haed back to the yacht for our last night aboard. The kids head to their cabins and watch a movie from the yachts library which has over 500 movies.
DAY 7 — The day we all dread, time to pack and start heading home. We catch the 10 am ferry from West End to Charlotte Amalie. Its about a 40 minute ride and we sit on the top deck taking in all the beautiful islands we just spent a week exploring. Once we clear customs we are greeted by Christopher my private taxi driver who never misses a beat – he takes us to the airport and helps us check our luggage. Another great week spent in the BVI’s – this was our 22nd charter and one of the best! Can’t wait to go back again!