Thank you Taylor and Margaret for welcoming us back and hosting an amazing vacation.
Whereas last year we split time between BVI and the US Virgin Islands, this year we spent trip in the USVI. It is amazing just how much there is to do and to see among the Islands. While St. Thomas, St. John & St. Croix are the three primary islands of the USVI there are dozens of minor Islands many of which offer beautiful beaches and amazing snorkeling and watersport opportunities.
One of the most relaxing aspects of this vacation was the relative lack of COVID infections in the USVI. A negative test is required prior to entry and we found the population in general to be careful in following safety protocols. This combined with a preponderance of outdoor dining opportunities resulted in a situation in which the entire USVI had 0 reported cases 12 of 14 days we were in the Islands (9 nights on Island Hoppin). Because of this we could truly relax without the fear we face in our home state of Arizona of possible infection when we venture out.
As we knew from prior trips, the boat itself is amazing, equipped with about every upgrade available to a catamaran of that size. Margaret’s cuisine as always was incredible and beautifully presented. We had opted for a generally more healthy menu which Margaret provided with a real exotic flair. Fresh sushi and additional dishes Margaret made from the King mackerel we caught from the boat was an added bonus.
We started our time on the boat first enjoying the beautiful Maegen’s Bay and on the second night Lovango Cay. Both were great places to paddle board and/or swim. Additionally Lovango Cay has a new high end outdoor restaurant that we took the opportunity to visit.
The sail to St Croix was relaxing and a nice way to unwind. We had the enormous pleasure of being joined by a pod of dolphins that joyfully performed acrobatics around the boat as we sailed. I guess that doesn’t occur very often. It was one of the most magical moments we have ever experienced.
Buck Island, St. Croix where we anchored overnight is an island is designated a U.S. national monument. The snorkeling in its protected waters was absolutely amazing. The reef had some of the most interesting coral we have seen anywhere with abundant fish life including the largest Caribbean Lobsters we have personally seen.
This was our third trip on Island Hoppin, but the first trip to St Croix. We took an open taxi tour of the island which included a stop to see crazy beer drinking pigs and one at the eastern most point of the United States. The diving in St. Croix is amazing. After diving Cane Bay, we overnighted at Salt River. One of the most unique experiences on any trip was a night excursion into the bioluminescent Bay at Salt River. With each paddle stroke the bioluminescent plankton exploded with light. We would highly recommend wearing your swimming suit because swimming in this bay at night surrounds one with light, a truly unforgettable experience!
The next day we moved to Fredricksted St. Croix were we dove the “Swirling Reef of Death” (a personal deepest dive of 80 feet) which featured beautiful coral and amazing fish life (but no real life threatening events).
We had another relaxing sail back to overnight at St Thomas’ Buck Island. We then overnighted at Christmas Cove where we dove Fish Key before moving on to one of our favorite places, MAHO Bay. We dove MAHO Bay’s Whistling Key and some had great snorkeling opportunities in the Bay. The highlight of MAHO snorkeling is definitely the turtles, but the highlight of the dive was seeing the large nurse shark and hawksbill turtle.
We love the addition of the subwing board to the boat’s toys. What a great way to see the reef life. Joe even had a spotted Eagle ray that follow along while he was being pulled on the subwing.
Thanks for making our third trip just as new and exciting as the previous trips. The USVI does a great job of keeping everyone safe during COVID. We can’t wait for our next adventure with you on Island Hoppin. Until next time…