Our closing date for purchasing Great Expectations was scheduled for December 29, 2017. Legal issues delayed the date into January, but we weren't going to let that affect our planned 3-day sailing excursion for Old Year's Eve. We had booked a 3 day trip with 2 other couples on Soulshine Charters, a crewed Lagoon 4400 sailing catamaran, just recently returned from being holed up on Puerto Rico for the 2017 storms.
Day 1: Sail to Jost
The first mate and business partner, Pete, picked us up on the National Park Dock in Cruz Bay and dinghy'd us out to Soulshine in the harbor. Captain Jim Lee and deckhand/cook Megan showed us around the boat, gave a safety briefing, and got us into our queen-bed berths. The rooms each have their own bathroom and are quite spacious with portals that can be opened for air flow.
The salon area is open and spacious and we really noticed how much more room their was with the helm being built on top of the main cabin area.
Once underway, we sat back and relaxed while Megan plied us with "it's 5 o'clock somewhere" afternoon beers. They sailed the boat into Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands to check us into customs. It was December 30th and the bay was already full of boats moored for Foxy's Old Year's Eve party the next afternoon. We decided to stay put and just relax on the boat for 2 nights rather than sail off to Sandy Spit and possibly not be able to find a spot to anchor for the end of year party.
We dinghy'd in to have a sunset drink on the beach, then headed back to the boat for a wonderful dinner prepared by Megan. The guys cleaned up and did the dishes while we just relaxed, then went to bed early. Slept great to the gentle breeze blowing through our windows.
Day 2: Dinghy to White Bay for a little work and play
I was hired by Soggy Dollar (for my 'day job' at VickeryHill) to replace the live webcam on the newly rebuilt bar roof, so Captain Jim, Chris, and I loaded up in the dinghy with a backpack full of technology for the short cruise over to White Bay. The camera install was fairly straight-forward, and not long after we got it up and running on the web, Jim returned with the rest of our group for lunch and drinks at Hendo's.
While I'd been back to White Bay 4 times since the hurricanes, today was something special. The bay was full of boats. The beach had between 200 and 300 people on it. Music was blaring. Dozens of people floated chest-deep in the water with a drink in their hand. Jost was back!
After another few hours in the sun and sand on White Bay (and a few Painkillers and Fat Snoopy's), Captain Jim came back with the dinghy to motor us back to Great Harbour where we cleaned up, took a nap, and got ready for the big Old Year's Eve party at Foxy's.
Meghan cooked another wonderful dinner (filet mignon) and then broke out the Chambong: yep, it's a bong for champagne. A few drumrolls and bottle of champagne later, and we were off to the beach and the big party. Dinghy's were piled on top of each other on the dock and along the beach. Hundreds of people milled around enjoying food and drinks from the rebuilt businesses (some just recently thrown up with plywood). Probably ⅓ of the crowd were in togas (it was advertised as a toga party) and the music was jamming. We didn't get on the beach until well after sunset, but the party had started hours earlier.
A few drinks, a few bands, and a lot of hugs later, and we texted the captain to bring us back to Soulshine before the countdown.
Day 3: Sail back to USVI with a stop for some fun in the water
After breakfast, we broke anchor and captain Jim sailed us over to the north shore of St. John where we anchored and then jumped in the water to play around. Jim manned the dinghy and prepared us for a little something unexpected: the Soulshine slingshot! It's a little hard to imagine, but they basically tie a line from the top of the mast to the dinghy, it lays slack in the water, where you grab on, and they motor out away from the boat, tightening the line and slinging you up in the air 15-20 feet -WATCH THE VIDEO!
After an hour of some serious relaxation just screwing around in the warm water, we motored back to Cruz Bay, disembarked with hugs, thanks, and even booked a trip for next year...we're thinking of heading to Anegada for a nice long sailing trip and some New Year's lobsters!
Taking a 3-7 day BVI excursion on Soulshine Charter's crewed catamaran before (or after) your villa stay is a perfect way to get out and enjoy the Virgin Islands from the water, come back to St. John and spend a week or more relaxing by the pool and on the beaches. You'll see the islands from a different perspective, meet new people, and be catered to by Soulshine's smiling crew. Plus, how could you not want to try the Soulshine Slingshot!
For you Sandcastle Hotel/Soggy Dollar families: we've created a villa rental special that includes a trip on Soulshine or day trip with Palm Tree Charters >