Charter Wrap Up – Soggy Dollar

soggy
White Bay, Jost van Dyke

For those of you who follow News of St. John regularly, you know that we recently took a little cruise around the British Virgin Islands for a week. Well we never got around to posting a wrap up report, so here it is. 🙂

To recap, we hopped aboard the Guiding Light July 5 and spent the following six days on board. As we mentioned during previous posts, we visited Norman Island, Cooper Island, Virgin Gorda and Little Jost van Dyke.

(Click here to read about Charter Day One – Norman Island and the Willy T.)

(Click here to read about Charter Days Two and Three – Cooper Island, the Baths and more from Virgin Gorda.)

(Click here to read about Charter Day Four – Little Jost van Dyke and the new B Line Bar.)

So there’s a reason we never got around to writing our trip wrap up. That reason’s called the Soggy Dollar Bar.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Soggy Dollar Bar (and I’m sure this is a very small percentage of you), it’s a very fun bar located over in White Bay on Jost van Dyke. The reason it’s called the Soggy is pretty simple and straightforward. There aren’t any docks in White Bay, so you essentially have to anchor in swim in, hence the soggy dollars.

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Well we spent our entire fifth day, the final full day of our trip, at the Soggy Dollar. It pretty much consisted of playing in the water, having drinks, playing the the water some more, some more drinks, dodging some rain by sitting in the water … well, I think you get the gist of what happens over at the Soggy Dollar.

We have pictures, but we thought it’d be best not to share them to protect the innocent 😉

We did have a celebrity sighting while we were over there though – St. John’s very own celebrity extraordinaire, Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters. (In case you missed it, we posted a video Thursday of the Soggy Dollar in which Captain Brandi made a cameo appearance. Click here to check that out.)

After playing in the water all day and hanging out with one of our favorite boat captains, it was time to swim back to the boat. We had yet another delicious dinner prepared for us by Captain Shane before hitting the hay. We woke up pretty early the next morning and sailed back to St. John.

sunset soggy

I have to say, our trip was pretty incredible. It was easily a 10 out of 10, and I have Captain Shane and Leila, his first mate, to thank for that. They were spectacular – super nice, super accommodating, super fun and great cooks.

shane leila

I highly recommend chartering on the Guiding Light. If you like to learn more, check out their website at www.SVGuidingLight.com. Happy sailing!


Charter Day Four: My New Favorite Place on Earth (that’s not on St. John)

b line water

First of all, a big thanks to all of you who are following us on our charter trip through the BVIs, and I appreciate all of you for not minding that we have taken a break from the “news of St. John” for a few days. No need to worry, we’ll be back up and running in just a few more days.

We didn’t really have an itinerary for day four of our charter. Instead it was simply a go with the flow kind of day. We woke up in North Sound at Virgin Gorda and the views were simply spectacular. We cruised in during sunset the night prior, so I didn’t really see the sheer beauty of this place until daybreak. Let’s just say that I’d definitely go back in a heartbeat. See for yourself…

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leaving saba

After having a delicious breakfast on the boat, we sailed down toward Tortola for a few hours. We made a brief stop at Monkey Point where me and Mr. News of St. John hopped in the water for a quick snorkel. It was all fun and games until I swam through a huge school of silver fish which eventually parted only to reveal seven ginormous tarpon! Needless to say, I freaked! Now I’m a water girl, and I love fish, turtles, octopus, even a shark here and there, but those tarpon scared the heck out of me! I made a beeline back to the boat and asked Captain Shane to take us to our next destination – Jost Van Dyke.

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Now any of you who follow Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters over on Facebook know that one of his new favorite spots is the B Line Bar on Little Jost Van Dyke. This awesome little spot opened up about six months ago and is, in my opinion, the quintessential beach bar. It’s basically a little hut on the beach with great music, great conversation, great views and an even greater bartender named Jerry.

Jerry - love him!
Jerry – love him!

One of the main reasons I fell in love with this place is its laid back vibe. For starters, all tabs are jotted down in a little red composition notebook and its almost an honor system of sorts. And another cool thing about it is that every time you order a bottled beer, you get a chance to toss the cap into a jar behind the bar. If you make it in, that drink is free. And guess who happened to be the only one to make it in yesterday … this girl!!

Free drink for Jenn - woohoo!
Free drink for Jenn – woohoo!

In addition to Jerry the fabulous bartender, the fun cap throw and great music, there’s also corn hole, a small swim platform and of course a gorgeous beach.

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beach platform

checkers

b line pano

After Jerry closed shop at 6 p.m. (He’s open Monday through Friday from about 9:30 a.m. to about 6 or 7 p.m.), we took the dinghy back to the boat and settled in for dinner. After only being on the boat for a few minutes, a man who we were hanging out with at the B Line earlier dinghied (is that a word?) over and handed us two big bottles of Cruzan Rum! Apparently he and his wife (who’ve been married for 32 years – kudos to them!) over provisioned and are heading home Wednesday, so we were the lucky takers! Only in the Caribbean folks … 🙂

Wednesday is looking a little Soggy for us. Stay tuned!


Soggy Dollar Webcam is Back!

Hey everyone, happy Saturday!

We’re so happy you that after months of being down, the Soggy Dollar Bar’s webcam is back up and running, and we just added it to our webcam page so you can check it out everyday.

Click the image below to see it … PS: It gets better as the day goes on 😉

soggy dollar webcam

Click here to see all of our webcams. Enjoy!

Ferry Boat to Serve New Purpose

John Brandi Red Hook 1
So as you all know, the situation with the new ferries has become laughable. The government essentially ordered them without ever consulting the current ferry operators. The current ferry operators own their own boats, so it makes no sense for them to lease them from the government. Delrise Varlack of Varlack Ventures, one of the current ferry boat operators, was even recently quoted as saying the government needed to “get serious” about contract terms.

Well it seems that someone has gotten serious – Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters.

“You know, I was just plain sick and tired of seeing those two beauties docked over there at the sub base in St. Thomas,” Captain John said recently. “So I made the government an offer they couldn’t refuse.”

What exactly was the offer Captain John made? Well beginning this Saturday, Red Hook 1 will be renamed Palm Tree Charters Express. You read that right – Palm Tree Charters has leased one of the ferry boats. How exciting is that?!

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“Now this is going to be good. Each Saturday and Sunday, I’m going to offer an express trip over to see Mick and the girls at the Soggy Dollar. Boy oh boy, I can’t wait,” Captain John said.

“The good thing is I can now transport 250 people at a time,” he continued. “The bad thing is that people will have to pack light because there’s barely any luggage space.”

Seriously, I can’t wait for the inaugural trip on Saturday.

Even the folks at the Soggy are excited. Here’s what they had to say Monday:

Trips aboard the Palm Tree Charters Express will depart each Saturday and Sunday from the National Park Dock. The cost is $50 per person roundtrip. You must be 18 and older to ride, so leave those kiddos at home.

Want to be among the first to ride on the Palm Tree Charters Express? Click here to visit Captain John’s website and to make a reservation.