The following is a review for a charter we booked for early January aboard 53′ Catamaran Amazing Grace! We have worked with this group many times before from our days of running Yacht promenade 🙂

Arriving on Amazing Grace!
Arriving on Amazing Grace!

Review From Guests Aboard Yacht Amazing Grace!

Before I dive in, I just need to thank Kerry at H2Otrips.com for making this trip possible. Post
Irma/Maria, Kerry kept me in the loop about our original boat and started a plan to make sure
we would have a yacht when we arrived for our charter on January 4, 2018. We had some
hiccups on our end with people dropping out, but in the end, we ended up with a spectacular
boat and a wonderful crew! Thank you again Kerry!

Recent review for 53' Amazing Grace
Recent review for 53′ Amazing Grace

For those of you who wish you could have come and those who were coming then decided not
to come along, you are missing an amazing trip.

Sure there are some scars from Irma. A roof or two are missing and palm trees need to be
replanted. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty of damage that only years, lots of money and
hours of long hard work will bring the BVI back to what it was when we last sailed here two
years ago on Yacht Promenade. But my point is that while there is a lot of work to be done,
this place is still amazing and gorgeous! Irma made a mess, but wounds heal and the BVI is
accepting visitors.

Virgin Islands as beautiful as ever
Virgin Islands as beautiful as ever

When we arrived at STT, the airport looked just like it did every other time we’ve landed here. I
take that back, in some places it looked better! New paint and drywall, new tile and not nearly as
crowded. There were no steel drums playing in baggage claim, but the music was pumping
through the sound system and gave us the Caribbean vibe we are accustomed to when we
touch down on this breath taking paradise.

First stop, our hotel for the night before our charter began. Booking a room in St Thomas has
always been a crap shoot. On our first trip, the yacht broker had recommended a “popular”
hotel. Probably because of its price and proximity to the ferry docks, It wasn’t very good. Trip
2 we did a sleep aboard. This time, with limited choices, post Irma, we booked the Emerald
Beach Resort by the airport. I was quite leery and cautiously optimistic.

The reviews weren’t
wonderful, but we had zero options. The staff was absolutely wonderful. They called the week
before we arrived to confirm we were indeed coming. They told me they didn’t think the bar or
pool would be open yet, but they were trying. Some rooms might not have A/C, etc, etc. Full
disclosure! I can appreciate that.

Wonderful day at the beach
Beach!

When we arrived the pool was open, the bar was open and
we got 2 rooms with A/C. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was NOT the Ritz (The Ritz was still
undergoing repairs). One of the rooms was rather dirty (I’ll never hear the end of that one) and
the people next to that room had a frat party all night. But my point was this, The Emerald
Beach was not a bad choice for 1 night before charter. I’d stay there again.

Day one, we arrived at Compass Point Marina to meet our crew and our floating oasis for the
next 9 days. A bit of destruction remains, but it’s looking pretty good. As we were waiting for our
Captain to pick us up and walk us to the yacht, we were chatting it up with a guy who, when told
what catamaran we had charted, said she was the best looking yacht in the marina! Made us
very happy! Shortly thereafter, Captain Mark sauntered up. Young and enthusiastic, we all
thought we had hit the jackpot!

Having a great time aboard Amazing Grace!
Having a great time aboard Amazing Grace!

We wandered over to the boat and without a hint of disappointment, we laid eyes on “Amazing
Grace.” What a beauty! She only arrived in the VI’s a couple months ago after a trans-Atlantic
crossing from South Africa.

We caught our first glance of Rachel, First Mate and Chef Extraordinaire! As they were on a 24
hour turnaround, she was busy making all the final preparations for our arrival. We were welcomed with a tasty little treat of Rum and….well who cares what she mixed it with, it was
rum and we were in the Virgin Islands… no further explanation needed!

Delicious meals aboard 53' Amazing Grace!
Delicious meals aboard 53′ Amazing Grace!

Loaded up and ready to set sail, we took in the utter beauty of the “Amazing Grace.” Only two
years old, she is shiny and new! The master suite is so spacious and inviting. I hit my head
only once all week… and that was the waters fault! All of the cabins had nice big beds and
ensuite showers and heads.

Having been to the Virgin Islands on four previous occasions in the last 18 years, I thought I had
seen a vast majority of the places one visits on a charter boat. I stand corrected! Mark and
Rachel had planned out a great itinerary, with a lot of flexibility built in. For our group, that’s a
must! We like to take each day as it comes.

We spent the first night in Francis Bay on St. Johns, and we did a little diving and snorkeling.
Rachel and Mark introduced us to the “sling-shot.” Loads of fun, unless you belly flop on your
way down.

Diving off Amazing grace yacht
Diving!

Made our way to the customs building (which is really just a tent, post Irma) the next day, and
barring a little hiccup for showing up 5 minutes before 9:00 we got through pretty quickly, then
on our way to The Bight at Norman Island. As the Willy T is currently sitting on the shore, we
chose to eat and dance on the beach at the reopened restaurant at the Bight. Food was great,
atmosphere was jovial and a little dancing on the beach was the perfect way to end day two!

Dinner at the Bight, Norman Island
Dinner at the Bight, Norman Island

The next days took us Salt Island for a snorkel and scuba dive. Cooper Island for a quiet
evening on a mooring ball. It was pretty sad to see the bar, restaurant and buildings all beat up,
but we could hear the hammers banging away for their big grand opening in a few months.

The next day took us to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda. Spent an lovely Sunday afternoon
drinking and eating at Coco Maya. The Cocktail of the Day was a Coconut Sour! Heaven on
earth! (I’ll be doing my best to recreate it when the snow melts at home and the temperatures
reach above freezing). The swells were huge that day so we couldn’t get into the baths by boat.
We cabbed it over and did the usual hike through the boulders.

Beautiful day at the Baths!
Beautiful day at the Baths!

When we got to Devils Bay the
waves were HUGE. Never seen it that rough before. All good though, fun times!
Spent the evening at Leverick Bay. Missed the Micheal Beans show by a night, but still had a
nice evening relaxing and soaking in the beauty!

The next morning we were up bright and early to sail out to Anegada. It’s always a “must visit”
on our list when we come down. We love to rent scooters and zip around the island. This year
we had planned to stay the night at the Anegada Beach Club, but the tents were still being
rebuild, so we unfortunately didn’t get to stay. We did take a little tour of the newly designed
beach tents. They are going to be amazing! Can’t wait to go back and stay soon.

Enjoying Anegada
Enjoying Anegada

As always, we hit up Big Bamboo at Loblolly. Always fun times and met some great people
from New York. Anegada wouldn’t be complete for us until we spend the afternoon at Cow
Wreck Beach. I could stay there all day! This year we actually had a good balance of food AND
drink!

Back to the boat for the night and their may have been an incident involving a stolen inflatable
Pink Flamingo from a near by boat, but the evidence was blown away.

Pink Flamingo Aboard Amazing Grace
Pink Flamingo Aboard Amazing Grace

Leaving Anegada is always a little sad. We really should plan for more time there but we were
heading to White Bay and the Soggy Dollar, so there was a little motivation to raise the sails and
get moving.

White Bay looked a little beat up, but Ivan’s was open and our beloved Soggy Dollar was
making Painkillers. The beach wasn’t very crowded and there were only 4 or 5 boats, but we
had a blast as always, and we have the t-shirts, hats and about a dozen white Painkiller cups to
prove it.

While our crew took the boat around to Great Harbour for the night, we took a hike over the
mountain to Foxy’s! A fun evening with the crew and back to the boat we went.

Night at Foxys
Night at Foxys

As the trip was winding down we spent one evening at Waterlemon Bay on St. John. As we
were pulling in I spotted the boat we had originally reserved for this trip. Up on shore and
banged up. Quite sad really. We saw boats upside down and washed ashore in most places
we went. The clean up has a long way to go. But the damage and debris never took away from
the beautiful beaches or the gorgeous water.

Sailing back to St. Thomas is always the low point of the trip. It signals the end of our relaxing
retreat to paradise. We have to say goodbye to our fantastic crew and start to wrap our head
around work and bitter cold when we step off the plan back home. But this year we fund a
renewed passion for spending our winters on the beaches and bays of the Virgin Islands. We
met several people who bought boats this year and put them into charter service which has us
narrowing our sights on the possibility of executing the “5 Yr Plan.” Maybe sooner than we
thought.

We left knowing we will be back soon. The Virgin Islands never disappoints!

Lounging off Amazing Grace
Lounging off Amazing Grace
Tasty meals aboard Amazing Grace
Tasty meals aboard Amazing Grace

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