Hello everyone! I am Captain Shane’s brother, Vance. Since Shane’s charters are in the Virgin Islands I had the unique opportunity to visit St Maarten as I was asked to help my brother sail the vessel from the shipyard which he had the boat on land for during hurricane season. (Being his brother, I was free labor! Along with the trip from St Maarten I have been helping Shane with maintenance & cleaning of the boat to get ready for charter season) The sail was 98 nautical miles (a NM is 1.15 miles), we made it for the 4:30pm bridge opening & sailed all night, pulling into St John at about 8:30 am. I enjoyed St Maarten a great deal!! Maho Beach is famous for being at the end of the runway so you can take pictures of planes right over your head, or hang on to the gate and get “blown away” by the planes taking off!!! St Maarten having the nickname “The Friendly Island” was dead on! Along with befriending a local I hung out with a couple nights, everyone was incredibly nice & went out of their way to be friendly. I can’t say the same about the poker table there…just kidding, I was chasing a 5 for a straight on two different hands.
When we got to St John I instantly smelled some of the best cooking ever when we were walking to Customs. We could not figure out where it was coming from so I asked a local. “You have a good nose, mon!” The restaurant was at the top of the hill about a quarter mile away & the salmon was Amazing! When you are here, if you make it to St John make sure to have Shane point out the restaurant (more a hole in the wall with 2 tables).
To get to land you take the dinghy, Temptation. I am saying this because I am impressed with the name. Shane & his best friend, Joel, came up with the name. “Temptation takes you away from The Light.” (His kayak, Redemption, got it’s name because “If you have Temptation, you have to have Redemption.”)
I am a swimmer so once we got to the Virgin Islands my favorite thing was the snorkeling!!! I am looking forward to today as Shane found a place that I can get my scuba certification & today is my 1st class. We have stayed on the US side so the snorkel sights Shane took me to the 1st day are Tac-Tight & Boobie Rock (the 2nd was rough water so I only suggested it to the strongest of swimmer). The next day Water Limit had huge sea fans & lots of fire corral. Our 3rd day of snorkeling was the fullest. I felt we should rename Fish Cay to Sea Urchin Point as there were 1000s! Turtle Cove had conch shells everywhere & I saw at least 4 turtles & 3 stingrays. When we pulled up to Turtle Cove there were 4 or 5 day boats, & snorkelers everywhere, but by the time we left we were the only ones there. Shipwreck Cove (purposely sunk) was about 20 feet deep & I watched Shane swim THROUGH a hole in the boat! (I had not eaten & was drained of energy so didn’t even attempt it). Here we swam with a school of about 200 yellow tailed snapper. Our final snorkel of the day was at Barrel of Beef which is next to 2 sunken Navy barges.
We had a great hike to Ram’s Head, so have Shane take you there! For anyone that knows Shane, they know he is a movie buff so we watched a movie almost every night after the sun went down. I am a collector of the Blade comics & Shane had the television series recorded so those were the first couple nights in the salon (the salon is the area of the boat that would be called a living room if we were on land). We visited multiple sugar factories & since the deer do not have enemies here, I was within 5 feet, looking eye to eye, on 2 separate occasions. I cannot describe how beautiful these islands are, you have to come & find out for yourself!!!