SV Sognare June 14-21, 2015
Allan and I are many-time repeat visitors to Jost Van Dyke, always land based. This summer we took our first ever sailing charter, along with two other couples.
We chose a crewed charter on Sognare, through Charter House. Our captain, Marcus McClain and first mate, Risa Chu were both exceptional at their jobs.
We started out of St. Thomas on a Sunday afternoon and checked in at Soper’s Hole, then on to anchor nearby the Willy-T for the night. Two of our crew were new to the islands and I wanted them to get the full experience. We headed to the Willy-T while Risa prepared our dinner. There was plenty of naked jumping going on, so I think our friends got their money’s worth.
The next morning we were up early and moved to the Indians for some snorkeling before heading off to Virgin Gorda and the Baths. Once we arrived, we climbed up the blazing hot trail (barefoot) and had lunch at the Top of the Baths. Then I took the newbies through about half of the Baths, while hubby and the other couple hung out on the beach.
After settling back in on the boat, we headed to Leverick Bay where we had dinner aboard and then went ashore for a couple of drinks.
The following morning we had a nice sail to Anegada. First things first, we immediately made dinner reservations at The Wonky Dog. Then we rented a truck for the day to drive around the island. We immediately got “lost” but you can’t get too lost on Anegada. We managed to hit Big Bamboo, Anegada Beach Club and Cow Wreck Beach all in one day. So many beautiful beaches on this Island. I believe I need at least a week here someday just to disconnect from everything.
While our chef, Risa provided restaurant quality meals every day, I have to say the best meal I had on this trip was at The Wonky Dog. Our captain had recommended the lamb shank and I went with that. It was spectacular! I also got the foie gras appetizer and although it was good, it wasn’t the best I’ve ever had. But still, foie gras on the beach…hard to beat. If you have a chance to have dinner here – do it!
After breakfast the next day, we had a nice sail to the Dogs where we attempted to snorkel. The jellies were thick here and I only lasted about a minute. My husband lasted a while longer but got into a swarm of them and headed back after just a short while. We then moved over near Scrub to try our luck there and were hit pretty hard with jellies again.
We gave up on snorkeling and decided on lunch at Marina Cay.
Once we were all stuffed on those huge deep fried hot dogs, we headed over to Monkey Point to try our hand at snorkeling again. Luckily no jellies to speak of here (maybe two or three stings), but I was shocked by how dead the reef is. We had snorkeled this about two years ago, maybe three, and the difference was astounding. There were plenty of fish in the healthiest part of the reef, and we had fun watching a fairly large puffer fish watch us for quite a while, but it is sad to see so much dead coral.
We overnighted here at Monkey Point and took out for Cane Garden Bay the next day after breakfast. This being my first CGB experience, I was underwhelmed. Perhaps because it’s off season, but it just seemed kind of boring to me.
We did, however, get a real treat just before we pulled into CGB. The captain caught a nice size Wahoo! He cleaned it and handed it over to Risa, who made us a delicious lunch of ceviche, sashimi and a couple other things, of which I cannot recall the names. After lunch we lounged around and a few of us swam while the Captain tended to a few items on the boat.
We headed to Little Harbor JVD for the evening, and went ashore for dinner at Abe’s by the Sea. The lobsters are always delicious here. The staff and service are always great. And Abe, as usual, was sitting on the sidewalk chatting with friends. This was a first time experience for our newbies at an honor bar; kind of a novelty if you’ve never seen one. We invited our captain to join us for dinner, as he had never eaten at Abe’s before – only Sydney’s and Harris’ place. He seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.
Overnight in Little Harbor and then up the next day to move over to Sandy Spit for some snorkeling. We encountered jellies here too, but they were not quite so thick here. Managed a decent snorkel and only a few stings. Afterward we moved over to closer to Foxy’s Taboo. We made the walk to the Bubbly Pool, which was not bubbly in the least, but our friends can now say they’ve been there/seen it.
Lunch at Foxy’s Taboo, a little shopping and we were off to check out B-Line Bar. This place is just awesome - so laid back and relaxing. Plenty of games if you don’t want to just sit around. It felt good to get in some activity in an uncrowded environment. I hope this place stays just the way it is!
Toward mid-afternoon we moved over to White Bay. Of course we swam in for a painkiller or two, said hello to some of our island friends and then back aboard for dinner. It was a lovely, quiet night in White Bay after the day trippers left.
The next day was spent ashore on White Bay. I was happy to get to see some of my Island friends and get a few hugs. Chatted with Jewel, while sharing a hot dog with my husband. (We skipped lunch aboard in lieu of our favorite White Bay snacks.) We moved down to One Love to hear Reuben play and share a lobster quesadilla and some bushwhackers. The rest of our crew wandered down after their lunch and listened to Reuben for a while.
Late in the afternoon we moved to Great Harbor. We had some mechanical problems and quite a mess trying to getting anchored. One engine was out, due to some sort of cable needing to be replaced. Captain Marcus handled it quite well, with one of our crew assisting by nudging the hull with the dingy as Marcus directed him. He couldn’t manage to get anchored so ended up on a ball. We cleaned up and went to dinner at Corsair’s for our final dinner of the trip. Both the captain and first mate joined us, and we all had a great meal together. I managed to see another one of my Island friends and a quick hello with him as we headed back to the boat.
Up the next morning and over to St. John, with more tricky maneuvering by the captain and one of our crew in the dingy to get us tied to the dock at Customs. Checked back in and headed to St. Thomas to disembark. Said our goodbyes to Marcus and Risa, and headed off for a cheeseburger at Tap & Still to cap off the trip.
All in all a great trip. If I had any criticism it would be of the state of the boat. The owners need to commit some dollars to updating (cosmetic) and maintaining things (mechanical). Marcus and Risa work hard to keep it clean and running, though, so no fault to them whatsoever. They are a great crew and I would love to sail with them again.