EMILY'S RECENT CHARTER IN THE B.V.I.
I stepped off the plane in Tortola, happy to have a brief break from the Maine winter. I was off to spend a long weekend aboard 'Bermuda IV', a new poweryacht in the charter fleet. She is a 96' Cheoy Lee that winters in The Virgin Islands and summers in Bermuda, marketing herself as a luxury live-aboard dive yacht. Stepping aboard, I was greeted by Captain Michael Davis, a tall thirtysomething gentleman from (of course) Bermuda. Christine East, the First Mate/Master Dive Instructor (not to mention amazing hostess and talented photographer) guided me to my stateroom to get me settled in.
Bermuda IV has a distinctive green hull and is simply but elegantly appointed, with cream colored furnishings thoughout her spacious interior. After a quick freshen up, I headed to the aft deck to join the others. As I had arrived late, the chef had saved me a plate for dinner (well, actually about three plates, complete with appetizer, entree and dessert). After a few bites and a little wine, I had officially 'decompressed'.
The next morning, as I slid open the door to the deck, Michael greeted me warmly and offered up coffee, juice and an impressive fruit plate. Offers of a full cooked breakfast were made, but as none of us were big 'breakfast eaters', we declined. Soon we were off to our first destination, The Baths. We were joined by the 88' Sparkman & Stephens sloop, 'Demoiselles', with whom we would be traveling in tandem. As we began to motor over, most of the group headed up to the flybridge to enjoy the view. I wanted to finish some reading and took advantage of the numerous seating areas, settling on what I dubbed 'the best seat in the house', the large cushioned bench on the bow.
After an amazing afternoon at The Baths, a formation of large boulders stacked amongst each other creating a series of caverns and small tidal 'lagoons' we made our plans for that evening. The anchorage was a bit 'roll-y' to spend the night so both boats moved to a more sheltered location at Salt Island. I suspect Captain Mike had ulterior motives for this move: 1. to show off his extensive knowledge of the island's history complete with guided tour (including the search for the elusive wild goats that dwell on the island) and 2. he and Chris were dying to introduce myself and a shipmate (both non-divers) to their passion, and what better place than the famous Wreck of the Rhone.
After breakfast the next day, while the others took a tour of the island with Mike, Chris gave us our briefing for our introduction to diving. By the time they had returned with the tender, we were ready to go! The equipment took some getting used to, but diving (especially in the presence of two amazing instructors) is an incredible experience.
When we returned, lunch was waiting for us and plans were finalized to go to Jost Van Dyke for the evening. 'Demoiselles' had set out a bit earlier and was already anchored when we arrived. We decided to check out Foxy's, a popular beach bar on the island, and swung by our neighbor yacht to see if anyone cared to join us. We were welcomed aboard by Captain Jorg Wendt and guided to the large cushioned sitting/sunning area for a visit. Sinking into the lush pillows, we nearly forgot our mission to go ahead and check out the local action. We were dinghied in to the dock and met up with the rest of our crew, all enjoying refreshments at a picnic table in the open-air bar. Plans were made for that evening, and I was invited to spend some more time with Jorg and 'Demoiselles'. We had a lovely visit with great conversation, cuisine artfully presented and returned to Bermuda IV, sleepy but content.
In the morning, we opted to eat breakfast late and instead get a jump on the day by heading over to 'Sandy Cay' (my favorite stop of the trip!). As we neared the island, it was amazing to see something straight out of your imagination, the very clichè picture of a 'deserted island'. A white sandy beach stretching the entire length of one side, beautiful palms and not a soul in sight. Within moments we were in the water, beach-bound! After a long walk on the beach and some swimming we returned to the yacht in anticipation of Mike's Proper English Breakfast. Wow! A huge amount of food, fried eggs, grilled tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, fried bread (a first for me), English bacon and all of the obscure condiments that come with it, including something known as 'brown sauce'. It was wonderful and incredibly satisfying and inspired us to take another very long swim!
We departed Sandy Cay for our final destination, Trellis Bay (adjacent to Beef Island - home of the airport). 'Bermuda IV' hosted a cocktail party for the two boats and Captain Mike expertly prepared the infamous Rum Swizzle, the official drink of Bermuda. Monday morning arrived all too quickly, and I said my goodbyes as Mike dinghied me in to the dock at Trellis Bay. After unloading me and my things, I rolled my bag for the two minute (literally) walk up the drive to the Beef Island Airport.
Within a week of my return, we had placed a client on the boat and my experiences were echoed in his follow up:
"Our cruise on 'Bermuda IV' was flawless -- absolutely perfect in every way. You should feel very comfortable recomending Michael Davis and his staff, as they are clearly some of the most accommodating crew I have ever encountered. As testament to their professionalism, they truly went out of their way to make sure my boys (10 & 11) were always comfortable and having fun.
Mike had a plan to make sure we were well entertained, but was always open to last minute changes and was never short of suggestions.
Lovely people to spend time with - and hope to do it again.
Thank you for your assistance!"
Photograph of The Baths courtesy of Jackie. All other photographs courtesy of Emily.
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