11/22/01 - Thanksgiving Day ArrivalThis was our first time flying after September 11, so we made sure to give ourselves plenty of time. We left the house shortly after 6:30 a.m. for our 9:30 flight. We parked in Central Parking . The airport wasn't too crowded at that hour. We were second in the check-in line. Our ID's and credit cards were checked. We normally try not to check bags, but with all of the security concerns, we decided we might as well. Then we went to the security checkpoint where National Guard troops checked our ID's again, and our bags passed through the scanners. We were told to empty all change from our pockets before walking through the metal detector. There were no issues, and we got through with plenty of time to spare.
We ate a Burger King breakfast and then waited in the gate area. It was eerily quiet, although full of many people. The plane, on the other hand, was pretty empty. We watched "Bridget Jones Diary" on the flight. It was a direct flight, which arrived in St. Thomas at 2 p.m. (1 p.m. EST), 30 minutes ahead of schedule.
The rental car company had no more sedans, so we got a brand spanking new (3 miles on the odometer and a temporary license plate) bright yellow Jeep Wrangler. We went straight to KMart to buy some supplies (food, drink, etc.) and then arrived at the Secret Harbour Beach Resort to check in.
We called our pal Marty to check in with him, and then ate a Thanksgiving dinner at the Blue Moon Cafe. I had potato leek soup as an appetizer and we both got turkey dinners with all the trimmings (cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing).
We went back to the room and tried to contact Marty to solidify a meeting time for Captain Marty's Island Hop the next morning, but his cell phone was out of range. We relaxed in the room watching the Dallas/Denver football game, followed by "Survivor".
We tried to remember what time we had met Marty at the Marina Market the previous year, and we assumed it had been 7 or 7:30. We went to bed at 10:30 and set an alarm for 6, planning to go to he market and hopefully run into Marty!
11/23/01 - Captain Marty's Island HopWe got to the Marina Martket at 7 a.m. and ordered sandwiches at the deli. After a while, Craig thought he saw Marty heading toward the marina. I ran across the street to catch up with him. While I was gone, Craig met Marty's girlfriend Tiffany (along with the other couple who would be joining us, Leon and Paula) in the market. While Marty got the boat ready, I headed back to the market and we all bought all of our supplies.
We set out soon afterwards on the 6-passenger boat (a bit smaller than last time). We set down anchor off of St. John (with a view of Mick Jagger's house) and enjoyed the sun while eating a snack. The weather was gorgeous and the ocean was much smoother than last time. We saw lots of pelicans and some fish literally leaping out of the water.
We stopped at Tortola to go through customs, as we would be stopping on islands of the British Virgin Islands. We passed the Indians (we had wanted to dock there but all the buoys were full). Then we stopped in front of an island with some caves in which a treasure chest had been found.
We pulled up and docked at the Willy T, a boat on which there is a restaurant and bar located offshore of Norman Island. We met Zeus, the bartender. What a character. He is great! We looked through his infamous photo album while he served us some Zeus Juice cocktails.Then we drank painkillers. Paula and I joined into the infamous Willy T hijinks, which culminated with us jumping from the boat into the water. Not being someone who has ever jumped from a high place into the water, this was quite a coup for me. I got a free T-short for my efforts. I also got a Willy T temporary tatoo. It was great time, and we had a blast. I would only suggest going there if you don't mind a wild party, though! (And you don't want to bring the kids!)
After the Willy T we anchored off Tortola and swam out to the Honor Bar. We sat in chairs there and the weather was much nicer than the previous trip (when it had stormed, and that had prevented us from getting to the Willy T at all!) After than we went past Sandy Cay on our way to Jost Van Dyke.
We anchored off of Jost Van Dyke and swam to the Soggy Dollar Bar. We saw some people we had met at the Willy T. The bartender had lived in Melrose, MA, and we chatted with him for a while while we sipped painkillers. Then we swam back to the boat and had to high tail it back to Red Hook to refuel the boat before it was due back. We got dinner at the Texas Pit BBQ. We sat at picnic tables and ate brisket, chicken, ribs, cole slaw, and potato salad. We parted ways at 6:15 and went back to the room.
A little while later Marty and Tiffany showed up at our room during a power failure. We hung out by candlelight and then went out onto the beach. They left at around 8:00. It seemed much later, though, after such a busy fun day. We fell asleep before 9.
11/24/01- Coki PointWe got up at 7:20 a.m. and cooked our own breakfast. We ate it while listening to the blues on the satellite TV. Craig had bacon and eggs and I had Fruity Pebbles. We saw a hummingbird on our patio.
At around 11:30 we headed to Coki Point. As usual, it was full of men who "get things." The showed us to a nice spot, got drinks, chairs, and snorkel equipment for us. We snorkeled at the coral reef on the left hand side of the beach, which was less crowded. It was amazing. There were so many fish, sea anemones, etc.! A guy swimming by tapped Craig on the shoulder and handed him some fish food. Immediately 20 fish flocked to Craig and started nibbling his fingers. We went back to the shore for some sunbathing and another drink. Then we did some more snorkeling. We saw some catfish-looking things and some worm type things that lived in the coral.
We left the beach at around 5:00. We watched the sunset from our beach at Secret Harbour.
After a shower we headed to the Agave Terrace. I swear it was the best meal I have ever eaten. We got to sit near the rock garden, like we had our first time there. We had been lucky to go there on a Tuesday and a Thursday last time (when there is live steel pan music). No such luck this time, but that was fine. We got the Agave Sampler as an appetizer. It consisted of crab surprise (which was like a crab rangoon, served with a lemon/orange/lime/pepper sauce that was very citrusy and very spicy at the same time), conch fritters with Bahamian cocktail sauce (which tasted kind of like horseradish), and shrimp in aioli cokctail sauce (which was kind of like a ranch dressing). Their sauces really make the meals, as the flavors complement one another exquisitely . There was oven fresh bread. They toss a salad at your table (radicchio, grapefruit, croutons, feta, and dressing). We enjoyed the salad more than we had last time. It was less tart.
Our waiter read the specials and added that he recommended staying away from the crab cakes. What's this??? I had been dreaming of their crab cakes for an entire year! I gambled and ordered them anyway (how could I not?) with island rice. They turned out to be perfect. The island rice had a weird aftertaste...it was like fried rice but had a spice in it that I wasn't too crazy about. Oh well, that didn't matter. Craig got mahi mahi (with orange sauce) and lobster medallions. It was served with pasta in a mushroom sauce. He really enjoyed it. As much as we wanted dessert we were way too stuffed.
We went back to the hotel and put on some blues, and fell asleep soon afterwards.
11/25/01 - Magen's BayWe woke up at around 8:15 a.m. I ate breakfast and we headed out at around 11:30. We went to Sir Francis Drake's Seat, which offered great views of the surrounding islands. It's where he used to sit and watch for pirates, and we got the feeling that he really could see any approaching ships from his perch. There were vendors selling stuff out of their cars, and I bought a cover-up and a towel.
We went to Mountaintop, which is a little indoor mall with a deck that has a beautiful view of Magen's Bay. We bought lunch there (cheeseburgers shaped like hot dogs...weird!) We then ate actual hot dogs as well. We enjoyed the view but left as it started to get crowded with tourist buses.
We then headed to Magen's Bay. Like the last time we were there, the weather wasn't perfect. It was cloudy and there were showers and a lot of waves. When the sun came out we went into the water for a while. We left around 4:30 and picked up subs at the Marina Market. We ate them on the patio of our hotel room while watching the sunset.
We got in touch with Marty and Tiffany, and they came by. We partied out on the sinking wedding gazebo at the end of the Secret Harbour dock.
We then went to Latitude 18° right on the water in Red Hook. It is a nice open air restaurant/bar with live music. We sat at a picnic table which was not underneath the roof so that we would be able to visit and hear each other a little better. Hudson and the Hoodoo Cats were playing some rockabilly. We really enjoyed ourselves. We had a few drinks and tequila and Jaegermeister shots. Afterwards we all went back to Secret Harbour and frolicked on the beach. Craig and Marty discovered a crocodile sculpted out of sand. We met a guy from Connecticut who chatted with us for a while. Marty and Tiffany left at about midnight.
11/26/01 - Charlotte Amalie and Bluebeard's CastleWe had a leisurely morning and left the room at 12:30 to go to Charlotte Amalie. We had trouble getting into the parking lot, so we parked further down in the one hour parking section. We were actually there for 1.5 hours, but managed not to get a ticket. We did some shopping (got some alcohol and some perfume as Xmas presents). One interesting thing that we learned is that you cannot bring 151 rum onto airplanes any more, because it is so flammable. We ate lunch at the Happy Buzzard (chicken soft tacos and nachos), which had outdoor tables in an alleyway of shops. We went back to the hotel to drop off our purchases.
We went to Bluebeard's Castle (the time share place where Marty works) and met him and Tiffany. We arrived around 5:00. Marty talked to us a while about time shares and then at 6 PM we attended the Bluebeard's Monday night party. Marty and Mikie (whom we had met during our last visit) emceed. There was free rum punch and a buffet for $20 per person. There were two young girls from the Antilles School doing "Moko Jumbi" stilt dances, and one of them asked me to dance. It was at this point that our camera decided to conk out for the night. There was a band with steel pan drums, guitars, etc, providing the music.there was a limbo dancer from Jamaica named Bull, and he was truly amazing. Marty escorted me up to be first in the limbo line, and I promptly fell. After the guests were through with the limbo, Bull put on his show. He is 50 years old and so limber it is incredible. He limbo'd under a flaming pole set atop two beer bottles. I was so upset that my camera wasn't working. But I found some excellent photos and video footage of him on the web here.
After that there was dancing. Craig didn't partake, but the rest of us did. Afterwards we got to meet Bull, and then there was karaoke. Marty and Mikie did "Soul Man", and Marty also did "Love Shack". After the karaoke, we went to the Room With A View restaurant (located on the grounds of Bluebeard's). It had walls completely comprised of windows that look over all of the lights of Charlotte Amalie. It was absolutely breathtaking. We had crab cakes, crab crepes, brie, garlic bread, and mussels. Everything was delicious! After that we had shrimp cocktail and Millionaire's Coffee (coffee and alcohol in a wine glass with carmelized sugar around the rim). I had everything except the mussels and shrimp. We stayed until a little after 12:30. We said goodbye and Marty said we should stop by the castle before leaving for home the next day.
11/27/01 - DepartureWe woke up at 9 a.m., showered, and packed. We left the room around 11:30. After checking out, we stopped at Bluebeard's to say goodbye to Marty. We talked to Mikie for a few minutes and then chatted with Marty by the pool. It was pouring while we were there (better to have it raining on our way out). We said goodbye and he told us how to get to Tickles Dockside Pub (where Tiffany works) so that we could say goodbye to her as well. We got a bit lost near the docks but were able to locate it. We said goodbye to Tiffany and then got some deli sandwiches at a little store next to Tickles.
We got to the airport at 1:29 (3 hours prior to our 4:26 flight, as instructed). It took about 40 minutes to go through all of the customs stuff. We ate our sandwiches in the terminal and then caught our flight to San Juan, and then on to Boston.
It was a great trip, and we really enjoyed hanging out with Marty and Tiffany. This is becoming a Thanksgiving tradition, and we are quite pleased about that!
Brand new rental Jeep
Cap'n Marty's Island Hop: Tiffany and Marty
Zeus and Steph at Willy T
Secret Harbour sunset
Fun on the jetty
Craig and Bluebeard's Castle
Steph and Marty