An August 2002 trip
to St. Thomas by Hal1026
Quote: St. Thomas's northern shores face the Atlantic Ocean while its south side fronts the Caribbean—a seasport lover’s dream come true. Only some 32 square miles in size, St. Thomas has an interesting mix of terrain, points of interest, shopping and year-round nightlife to keep the energetic traveler fully occupied.
Shoes: bring the slip-on, covered kind you can wear in the water that are all rubber. If you're going to do any onland hiking on St. Thomas or neighboring islands, bring some lightweight but higher topped boots.
Hotel | "Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina"
Six individual buildings house the resort suites and villas, with units A B and C reserved for families. Each unit is full equipped with kitchen area including standard-size refrigerator, oven, microwave and coffee maker. Additional features include a private balcony and/or patio, and/or patio and king beds and sleeper sofas to accommodate up to four guests in the suites and six I the two-story villas. Personally, I loved the lounge area near the sliding glass doors giving out onto the balcony, where you could watch the sun set and rise on the Atlantic horizon.
Onsite aquatic activity just a few hundred yards from your suite range from underwater excursions and deep sea dives to sports fishing and sunset cruising, tailored to meet the abilities of anyone from novice to expert adventurer. Inclusive activities for all guests are snorkeling, sunfish sailing, beginner windsurfing, and while you’re relaxing on the sands, beach towels and lounges. You can also enjoy parasailing, kayaking, Sunkats, waverunners, powerboating, fishing, snorkeling and sailing, for a nominal fee. For divers, both beginner and experienced, there’s a full-service PADI dive center. When you’re ready to explore neighboring islands, you can take off to St. John’s or the BVI with a cruising package available to resort guests from NauticBlue, located at Sapphire’s 67-slip full-service marina at the western rim of Pillsbury Sounds. Land-based sports also available around the property include tennis and volleyball, and golf is nearby. The front desk has a selection of eco and island tour information for adventures further afield around the island.
There are three dining facilities at the resort, all featuring open-air seating which is an essential part of the Caribbean dining experience. Sapphire Beach is on the east end of the island, 8 miles from the airport and about 30 minutes from Charlotte Amalie the capital.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 28, 2002
Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina
P.O. Box 8088
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 31, 2002
#4 Smith Bay St.
St. Thomas 00802
Attraction | "Power Yachting with NauticBlue"
Our power yacht from the Marina at the western rim of Pillsbury Sound mid-morning around 9:30 a.m., on a day that was overcast and quite windy. As our captain pointed out as we headed into deeper waters, the day’s conditions were considered a "system" although not a severe one. This didn’t bother me personally at all and what held my attention was the changing view as we passed alongside the different curving shores, some rocky, some sandy, of islands covered in dense tropical vegetation where anything would grow. Since the temperature was up in the mid-80’s, sitting on the upper deck as we passed by both inhabited and uninhabited islands was really part of the fun of the day.
Our first stop of the day was at Great Harbor on the tiny British Virgin island of Jost Van Dyke, around 10:30 a.m. Jost is the all-time party island of the Caribbean, but there were only a few craft lying offshore when we anchored. After drinks at the legendary Foxy’s bar and restaurant, we headed a short way west and put in at White Bay, where we lunched at the Soggy Dollar restaurant. Departing Jost around 1 p.m., we cruised by Tortola, and passed Cane Garden Bay, the star of Tortola’s north coast beaches, a long stretch of white sand fringed with palm trees. Continuing south between Tortola and St. John, we arrived at little, uninhabited Norman Island, where we set anchor for a half hour or so first to take a look at The Caves. The Caves are popular with snorkelers and swimmers, but our group just took time to do some snorkeling to observe coral and young fish. We didn’t discover any of the buried treasure that legend reputes to the waters and hidden caverns of this island, but it was a fine end to an adventurous enough day.
Since St. Thomas is well-known for its charter boat operations, you’ll have a wide selection of facilities and craft and packages to choose from for either one day or longer charters. Expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $350 per day, depending on the time of year, length of charter, type of boat and extra features you want. For the right package for your needs, you can call or e-mail the American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook and ask their assistance (Tel: (340) 775-6454; www.americanyachtharbor.com; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 11, 2002
Sapphire Beach Marina
East End of St. Thomas
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
You walk a few hundred yards to Foxy’s Tamarind Bar, the major point of interest in Great Harbour. Foxy’s is the hub of action several times a year when owner Foxy Callwood hosts round-the-clock parties marking major local events such as the Halloween Cat Fight – a catamaran race culminating in a Halloween party; the Wooden Boat Regatta every May; and the New Year’s eve party that draws the biggest international crush of revelers. At such times, up to 40 vessels of various sizes and description are anchored in little Great Harbour. The premises are closed between late August till the beginning of October, but open for lunch from Monday through Friday the rest of the year. The menu here includes barbecue items, hamburgers, steaks and local lobster. Part of the international flavor that Foxy’s exudes is found in the countless souvenirs people have left to mark their visit – everything from caps to T-shirts, license plates to sandals attached to the roof.
The other major point on Jost is White Bay, reachable by land or water taxi. Again, one of the most creamy little beaches with a heavenly view makes White Bay somewhere you could sit and watch the horizon forever. There’s no dock at White Bay so you either swim or powerdingy in. We headed past the Soggy Dollar Bar area to their restaurant for some lunch; the menu here ranges from hamburgers to chicken rotis to flying fish sandwiches. This is also the time and place to sample the Painkiller, a rum mixed drink said to have been first created at the bar here. If you want to stay over on Jost Van Dyke, one of the best bets is at the adjacent inn, White Bay Sandcastle, consisting of six cottages--only two have air-conditioning, all have bath and shower and minus telephone, radio or television. There’s also a campground (Tel: (284) 495-9312) at White Bay, just east of the Sandcastle. The waters here are among the best for snorkeling; for fishing, try your luck near the rocks at Changes Point on the west end of the bay.
Foxy’s Tamarind Bar: Tel: (284) 495-9258; credit cards OK, reservations before 5 p.m.
White Bay Sandcastle: www.sandcastle-bvi.com
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 6, 2002
Jost Van Dyke
British Virgin Islands
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands