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Candela (The chef), bronze and buxom, said she was the daughter of a famous Argentine model who'd bought several properties in the Virgin Islands back in the 1970s. When Candela wasn't working in the galley (which was rare), she could be found lounging languorously, straw hat shading her face, a brightly colored something or other falling off her hips, a leg hanging over the coaming catlike.

Into the Wet
Each day passed in this manner:
Wake up 6 a.m.; lounge until the sun comes up an hour later.
Breakfast topsides. (The place mats
and napkins are never repeated.)
Swim and snorkel. (Coral reefs are found in nearly every anchorage.) Sail for a few hours to another island, where we stop for lunch.
Swim and snorkel.
Lunch. (Perhaps a pasta salad in a hollowed avocado, a roll, fresh butter, and caramel flan for dessert.) Relax.
Swim and snorkel.

While they return to La Creole after snorkeling off Treasure Point at Norman Island, in the British Virgin Islands, Steve reports to Dan on the length of his fish sightings.

Sail to our evening's anchorage.
Swim and snorkel.
Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 5 p.m
Dinner at 7 p.m
Steve and Oliver fish.
Cards, video, or conversation.
Asleep by 9 p.m
As the anchorages, beaches, and reefs compiled, we lost track of where we'd been, or at least their sequence. "Where were we yesterday?" one of us would ask. "Norman? Or was that St. John?"

Now, with benefit of my notes, photographs, and a clear head (thanks to a drafty office window), I can give an accurate itinerary.

From Christmas Cove we rounded the northern side of St. John, stopping at several gorgeous beaches inside the vast Virgin Islands National Park that occupies two-thirds of the island: Cinnamon Bay, Trunk Bay, Hawks nest Bay. Apparently unable to fake them in L.A., Hollywood makes movies - The Four Seasons, starring Alan Alda, for instance - at these sites, and that gives me hope that this trip is - pinch myself- real, not just a 50-foot prop and a good acting job.

Sopers Hole, at the western end of Tortola, has a customs office at which people off boats and ferries are expected to clear into the British Virgin Islands. There's not much to the town other than some waterfront shops and the Pusser's Landing pub and store complex, one of five throughout the islands.

Heading east, there are good anchorages at Norman, Peter, and Salt islands. Coming and going, we stopped at all three. Norman, Peter, and Salt islands.

Leaving Oliver to haul the dinghy ashore, Dan and Andra have time to take a leisurely stroll along the beach at Hawksnest Bay, St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Coming and going, we stopped at all three. Norman, supposedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, offers good snorkeling off-you guessed it- Treasure Point. Moorings here, as elsewhere in the islands, are available for boats to 60 feet. At Norman, Steve saw his first barracuda hovering under La Creole.
Sputtering to the surface, he yelled, "Oliver! Check it out! There's a barracuda under the boat!"
Oliver leaned over the side. "That's Henry. He's my friend. He always know my boat and come to visit."
Steve immediately called for his disposable underwater camera and dove again. "Most kids that age see a barracuda, they jump out of de water," Oliver said admiringly. "Not Steve. He's goin' back for a closer look!" [Read on..]

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La Creole Sailing Yacht Charters
St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Contact Phone: 800-478-2029 (954) 724-9913


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