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U.S. Virgin Islands

Curious what backpackers do on the U.S. Virgin Islands? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

Most traveled places in U.S. Virgin Islands:

  • Wind. Blustery breeze.

    Hunkering down under the aeroplanes in the flattest, most protected water available. Coincidently a very nice spot! We're playing it safe until with winds drop back down below 20kts, at least for now.

    We've picked up the princess, she's alive and buzzing at the warm weather and clear blue water. To top it off, our anchorage happened to be host to numerous families of turtles, who popped up all over the bay, and forced us into countless impulsive swims. We also got the windsurfer up and running over these two days. Believe it or not, everyone our boat can windsurf - how's that??!

    It was great to be waiting on the weather. In a nice location we just had time to burn. Everyone set their own clocks and did their activities as they pleased. Not that we were ever on a hectic schedule, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

    I'm going to take the liberty here to offer a little insight to the weather. Jump to the two paragraphs if you don't like weather. So I bet you're thinking we get sun all day and moon all night, right? Wrong. We're riddled with showers, all the time. Although the sun is shining for most of the day, it doesn't take good eyes to spot a darkening cloud on the horizon. Contrary to weather at home, these clouds arrive quickly and leave quickly, torrenting with rain. Squalls would be the best way to describe them, as the reliably bring wind, lot's of wind, and heavy downpours. Often, in less than a minute, they're gone. With five or six of these per day or per night, it's infuriating. Hatches open, washing out; hatches closed, washing in. And by washing I mean electronics. Close the hatches and the bot roasts. First world problems, I know.

    We're also sitting in the trades, so we reliably get easterly wind and swell. It makes for easy route planning. It also makes for easy guidebook writing, as authors need only provide guidance for one wind direction. And in the charting world, a western anchorage is a safe bet. With regard to the temperature. I've seen only 26 and 27 degrees since we got here. More consistency than Fraser's presence in class during his study in Otago (never).

    Yesterday we motored up to Great St James Island to get a better angle to attack St Croix in an Easterly breeze. During his evening anchor dive, Scott meandered over to a nearby rocky outcrop. With Felicity and I in tow, we stumbled across a massive crayfish in around 1m of water. The rest is history. Scott's appetite for hunting cray is enormous. No crack goes unsearched and no craycray goes unattacked (size pending of course). After wrestling this sucker out of it's (particularly small) hole, we realised that there was no other way back to the boat than swim. Furthermore, the shallow water was surging with the swell, and sea urchins littered the alcove. With both hands tied up with said fish, swimming was tough. Witnessing Scott get smashed on rocks, urchins and pricked by a fiesty crustacean was undoubtedly the highlight of my day. Felicity took her sweet time getting the dinghy as Scott's shallow injuries mounted. After an eternity she (the cray) was safe in the yacht and fed us four for dinner...with leftovers. A fantastic end to an otherwise uneventful day.

    As a little aside, who's reading my blog?? I literally have no idea who's reading this. A teacher, some time during my numerous years of education, told me I should tailor my words to my audience. Send us a like or a comment if you're reading and let me know what you want to read more about!!
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  • Biggest sail to date: 35nm.

    Perhaps the most hectic few days on the trip, St Croix has been a real roller coaster ride!

    The island itself pops up from the sea bed like a white man in tokyo square. The coastline is home to several stretches of underwater sheer cliffs, some over 2000 feet tall. The ocean floor is said to plummet to over 25000 feet, making it the second deepest body of water in the world. A diving spectacle not to be missed. Unfortunately for us, it was not to be. Here's why:

    The sail itself was rather entertaining. Apparently our crew is not overly accustomed to a rolling sea. Whist making breakfast, Jools decided to embrace the force of the ocean and tackle myself, his cereal bowl and a box of cornflakes from the galley into the head. Not anticipating the force of a grown man's tackle resulted in the both of us dangling off the bathroom door covered in a pool of cornflakes. Another loss for Jools in Jools vs Boat.

    Scott also provided further entertainment with the inevitable onset of seasickness. Forcing his cereal down over the space of around two hours, at a peak pace of 3 cheerios and two oats per spoonful, Scott couldn't help himself. The fire bucket quickly became the vomit bucket as Scott emptied the contents of his stomach repeatedly for the remainder of the voyage. These actions were cause for concern for the crew as we searched for a cool breeze and a steady horizon. Too late for the seasickness drugs...

    Christiansted Harbour is tucked in behind a reef providing a safe haven for boats. Shallow draft boats only it would seem. After scraping through the channels and narrowly avoiding unmarked shipwrecks, we finally found a spot to anchor. Flirting with the bottom seems to be a national passtime here - so many charted anchorages leave you less than three feet clear.

    Upon anchoring we discovered a major problem. A weld in our forestay bracket had sheared in the trip over. This had caused the deck of the boat to begin to tear from the hull, and effectively turn the front of the boat into a crocodile's mouth. Major problem. In fact, we were lucky to still have mast!

    As the sun set and we mulled our problem over with beer and sunset on the waterfront, our fate sunk in. Prior to even getting an inspection we could tell this was a major. We also began a fruitless search of alternative transport off the island. Literally, the only commercial transport off the island was by seaplane, which only allowed one carry on bag per person. I needn't remind you how much gear we have. We were screwed.

    The next morning the admin began. After a myriad of phone calls and internet searches we finally found someone to take a look at the boat. A bloke named George at a nearby marina was a saving grace. Now George had just been shot after an altercation over an outstanding bill, and was currently operating on just three hours sleep, as he had us know. He seemed short fused so we treaded carefully. Eventually, Jools found some common ground, literally, in Scotland and got George on our side.

    He made room for us on the fuel dock and inspected the boat immediately. Unsailable. Great. We consulted with the charter company and it was agreed the boat would be taken out and fixed in St Croix and will be ready in the new year...not good.

    We still had the option of getting Windseeker back - we were assured she was fixed - but she was in Tortola and we were about as far from Tortola as you can get. Not even the same country.

    We spent the whole day trying to resolve this problem. Eveeyone on the island was friendly but nobody had a clue what they were talking about. Ferries do exist, ferries don't exist. Planes leave all the time, planes never leave. Try this place, this place has closed. How confusing.

    Just before dark we had all had our wits end. Seriously stumped our only option was to fly two people back to St Thomas. Clear customs, check into BVI by ferry, taxi to the boat, stock her up, wait three days for the wind to settle down, sail six hours to St Croix, reclear US customs, pick up the other two with all the gear, check out and sail back to BVI. Probably five days worth of travel and transport.

    As we sat there and prepared for the worst, a bloke walked down our dock, notably lost. We sparked a conversation and discovered he was sailing his boat to Tortola at 8.30am the next day. Furthermore he insisted we join him and his crew for the journey and that all of our stuff wouldn't be a problem. Utterly dumbfounded at the perfect convenience of the opportunity, we gratefully accepted. What a stroke of luck (at last)!

    Craig and his boat Cheeky Monkey would be our ticket out. Funnily enough, Cheeky Monkey is also the name of Lou's old boat in Oconomowoc. Coincidence?

    Panic mode ensued as we frantically tried to pack up the boat, all the gear, all the food, reload Cheeky Monkey, clear customs and make arrangements for Anne's turn.

    More to come. Watch this space....and here it is:

    We ferried gear to Cheeky Monkey that night and got to know the crew over a beer or two. They were in the process of rigging brand new sails, and were headed to Tortola for a yacht race on the Saturday. To make the situation even more ridiculous, they were short of crew, I had recent experience in racing 40 footers and all of us happened to be willing to race. Furthermore, they were headed first to customs and planned on spending the next night in Nanny Cay, a short dinghy ride from where Windseeker was currently berthed. So the deal was sealed and we were all very excited for what the next few days would bring. I am still struggling to find words to describe the astoundingly bittersweet contrast of this situation, and how luckily it came about.

    Up at the crack the next morning, we devoured the remainder of our refridgerated goods; ham, egg, avo, cheese and onion wraps. After faffing around at customs and dropping off Anne's Turn, we headed out to Cheeky Monkey and began our voyage home - grateful to be leaving our problems behind. The voyage was fantastic! A motley crew from all walks - a pilot, a mechanic, and two nurses - all ending up in St Croix for the island lifestyle. The beers and rum flowed and the tales of diving, fishing and sailing escalated as the boat ploughed onward. We even got a visit from the local dolphins. Later in the afternoon, Jason caught a fairly decent sized Wahu on the troll and painted the cockpit red with blood. The happiest man I've seen in a while! I should mention we were carrying a full rig in around 20 kts (a hefty heel) and the bloke was half cut filleting a fish. What a legend. As we arrived in calmer waters, the boat was heading for disarray: seasickness had painted the stern, rum and ginger lined the cabin and cockpit and a few of the boys were heading downhill at the mercy of the dreaded 'boat pour'.

    Tortola brought another ordeal with customs, eventually resolved with nothing but a smile and some warm words.

    An invitation was extended our way for dinner (said Wahu) and a race brief, so we hurridly dinghied our gear from boat to boat. Unable to get a cab to the restaurant, the right thumb scored us a ride in another mariner's car - another stroke of luck. Jason had found a restaurant and traded half his fish if they would serve us the other half. It was well and truely up there with the most delicious fish I've ever had. It was even good enough to stop us arguing the exorbitant price we paid for our own fish.

    Race day morning and our motley crew looked just that. Sifting around for bacon and gatorade, it was clear that having fun was going to be the priority on the water. The wind was, again blowing a solid 20+ with squalls getting up over 25 kts on a regular basis. Craig, backing up the tales of the previous day, again carried a full rig - and a full glass.

    It quickly be came evident that only four people on the boat knew how to sail (myself and felicity included), and perhaps one who knew how to race. We also discovered, post start, that no one knew the course or the rules. Assuringly, they also didn't know how to worry, and with that, we were set.

    The race weaved around the 'Drakes' - islands adjacent the Sir Francis Drake Channel and threw hell at us. Squalls came and went like a horse on a carousel bringing stinging rain, powerful breeze and almost zero visibility. Testing conditions. On our approach to the final mark, a small tear in the headsail exploded, ripping leech to luff along the seam of a brand new sail. With no spare headsails aboard we were finished. A really gutting finish to such a fun race.
    Dwelling in our misery was not an acceptable approach. We pick up our heads, cracked a beer and headed back to port.

    The afternoon was spend getting Windseeker ship shape. This didn't take long and we were soon on our way back to Norman Island for the night. We wined and dined aboard like old times sake before rejoining Cheeky Monkey at Willy T's - a floating bar in the anchorage. It got rowdy at a rate of knots and before we knew it we were bombing off the top deck. The next bright idea involved putting 8 people in a dinghy and going to explore the nearby caves under the moonlit sky. Phosphlouresence glowed in the wake of the dinghy, before plunging into darkness inside the caves. Moving inward with our hands on the walls was cause for hilarity - coordination was impossible.
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  • We're now four and although Dave will be missed, you and I both know the world is designed for fours. I'm feeling some heated rivalry of cards and dice coming up. This boat's nay short on competition!

    The boys are currently below the boat diving Santa Monica rocks - lots of speak of dinner, lets hope they walk the talk! We've got plans for St John and St Croix but the weather turns wild tomorrow and I'm not sure we want more forestay drama just yet.

    We've also booked Cuba for the end of January and our return flight is to Mexico, where we'll look to mosy south as far as dollar (or peso) allows. If you fancy a charity donation I take cash, card or bookings in my name! In the meantime, we'll turn the page on the Pirate phrasebook and pick up a Spanish one. Hola Senõr!


    The swell has come in strongly and is battering exposed north and east coasts. The worst of the wind has passed but there's said to be more to come... We're holed up in St John, looking forward to some land based exploring and top notch snorkelling. Last night's anchor-dive-turned-crayfish-hunt proved successful and forced us to alter our dinner plans. I will never forget Scott with two arms clamped on a crusty under a rock. Looking for assistance, but unable to signal, Jools read his mind, swam down, and tugged him out by his chest, cray in hand. Hysterical tomfoolery at the ocean floor.

    Customs are again playing games with us. Hopefully I can extend my Visa to get off these islands!

    Second update: Terry's bay Crayfish Massacre

    That evening's underwater shenanigans were the start of many more in Rendezvous Bay. Combined efforts of boys and girl saw crayfish for dinner four nights in a row - an underwater massacre instigated by none other than Scottfish himself. By the time the fourth night rolled around, the infamous canned chicken was looking like a roast bird on Christmas day!

    But the treats did not come without consequence. We were hunting in terrain rich with spiny urchins (you know the black ones? Super spiny!). All four of us were spined (some more than others) at various underwater locations (remember we're just wearing shorts and gloves). The worst off was undoubtedly Jools who, after staking out an urchin free hole, was duly surprised when his decent sized catch dragged him through a nearby bed of the spiny buggers! His wounds were a sight to behold. That evening was spent with a pair of tweasers and two bowls of warm vinegar. The next day Jools tried to avoid further injury by sticking to windsurfing, only to return to the boat with more blood - nobody was surprised. Meanwhile, I was dropping catches left, right and center as we had crays swimming backwards for their lives as we got increasingly creative in our hunting methods - even so far as to incorporate the boat oars! All of our dives took place on the same stretch of coast (south of St John), over no more than 2nm of it...and only one dive was with SCUBA. The thrill of the hunt has us hooked, but we're still playing by the rules and there's been an increasing number of catch and releases as we mature as hunters. Scott however, won't pass a bug without giving it a cheeky tug on the antler...child...

    Rendezvous bay had more to offer than just food. Having really just stumbled across the place, we were delighted in what it offered. The water was flat, super flat. The bay was largely deserted, save for the odd day trip charter. The anchorage was free (few and far between on St John). The water was clear, I'm talking at least 20m vis on the good days. And the snorkelling was epic; we made friends with the resident turtle, Terry, whom we literally watched eat breakfast every morning - same spot, same time. Eddy and Elma the eagle rays also made regular appearances, along with Steve the stingray and his parasitic fish friends and of course, the many members of Terry's family. Quite the underwater zoo! Oh, and if you think I've gone crazy by naming all my aquatic friends, you're right. But you should hear me talking to them!

    Now you can see why our accidental night at Rendezvous turned into four. The only drawback was frequent, heavy and frustratingly short downpours which kept the hatches closed and boat hot.

    We ventured along the coast during a few of the days to explore the National Park that is, largely, St John. A 'top five things to do' list had us hiking the Reef Bay Trail on a blustery day. After ascending for a good few sweaty hours, we reached the top of the trail. Unfortunately for us, the top of the trail finished a few hundred yards short of the peak of the island. Somewhat dumbfounded we asked around and discovered there was no way to get to the peak, or any nearby peaks, and our best bet was to get on a bus and go climb a headland. It was impossible to see the ocean from anywhere, save for a glimpse from atop a brick wall. National Park you say.

    Bitterly, and in denial, we continued to ask around. A local assured us of "Great views" on an alternative route back to the boat. We followed it and arrived at the beach, again with little more than a glimpse of the ocean. We loitered through a mosquito infestation and had our packed lunch on the beach in the pouring rain. Not quite how we planned it, and thoroughly disappointed, but it's hard to make us unhappy when we're eating orzo pasta.
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  • One of the most popular cruise ports actually holds lots of great things to experience. We are the less tourist travelers and that may be hard to find here, but not impossible. Coki Beach was a great place to get away from it all. The beach is cluttered with locals and the water is crystal clear. We even got some great vegetarian eats! Another amazing spot, which I think will become much more touristy in the near future, is Secret Harbor Beach. With a bar just steps from the sand, it's hard to beat.Read more

  • We landed. The kids are super excited!

    Our taxi driver likes to run red lights. 5 minutes out of the airport. Kids meet the St croix police. This was not quick stop either, he couldn't find his registration at all. Plus he wanted us to say the light was yellow. It was sooo red.

  • We went to c'sted for dinner before heading back to our hotel for the moko jumbies. We saw giant tarpon along the boardwalk.

    Major and Evie enjoyed the moko jumbies. They also enjoyed the fire eater/glass walker. The kids got to limbo with the fire eater.

  • We walked around c'sted. Kids love feeding the aggressive Tarpon. Of course they have a favorite dog that they see everytime. I bought my cruzan hook bracelet. The store also sells hurricane bracelets. Each bracelet is different, like each hurricane that has hit. The Katrina one is crazy looking. Hugo was pretty cool. I really really liked them.

    First time I have been to a place with a menu in Danish. The food was excellent. The kids danced. And the kids danced with the house cat. The waiter said it is the first time they have ever seen someone try and dance with their wild cat. Thankfully, Evie, did not get scratched.Read more

  • We were in the ocean the entire day. No pool, just ocean. The kids are relaxed and settling in.

    Dave and Greg went fishing and Dave caught 2 fish! They may have been 3 inches but totally worth the sea sickness he got to get them. Poor Dave. On another note their captain is moving to Tampa bc the airport got 2 billion and he is running the flight operations so he sold his business. Dave had only eaten a banana and all the captain would talk about was Bern steakhouse and Ted Peters, Dave was not happy.

    Dave came back and took a nap on the beach and a random paddleboat with local school kids ran into him. It was very funny

    We ran into an Irish woman who has lived here 30 years. She looked at evie and asked if she is Irish and said Major looks Scandinavian. She thoroughly enjoyed Evie having Kathleen as her middle name. She also said Major would looks so very Scandinavian which made him smile.

    We picked up our jeep and went to the famous La Riene's Chicken Shack where we ran into friends from the plane. The chicken is very, very good. Tomorrow we head out for an all day event.
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  • The eastern part of the island is very, very beautiful. We started our morning with a drive to Isaacs Bay. You hike 10-15min down to the beach. There is no amenities, and no one around. The water had coral growing straight to the top of the water. The fish were larger. The rays were very large here. The hike back was a little hot but easy with little incline. Easily Daves fav part of the trip. I would have to agree. It was amazing.Read more

  • Wow. I really love Frederiksted. The old dutch archways on the buildings and the main street that goes along the ocean with the old park, was absolutely stunning. I wish we had taken pictures. We snorkeled the pier and it was pretty neat. Knife fish etc. Lots of grasses under the pier. A turtle. Pretty cool.

    Rhythms at Rainbow Beach was quite nice. Great beach bar. Decent food. Good swimming beach. Could easily go there again. My fb live video was there.Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Virgin Islands of the United States, Amerikanische Jungferninseln, U.S. Virgin Islands, V.S. Maagde-eilande, Amɛrika Virgin Islands, የአሜሪካ ቨርጂን ደሴቶች, جزر فرجين الأمريكية, ABŞ Virqin Adaları, Віргінскія астравы, ЗША, САЩ, Вирджински острови, Ameriki ka Sungurunnin Gun, মার্কিন ভার্জিন দ্বীপপুঞ্জ, Inizi Gwercʼh ar Stadoù-Unanet, S.A.D. Devičanska Ostrva, Illes Verges nord-americanes, Americké Panenské ostrovy, Ynysoedd Americanaidd y Wyryf, De amerikanske jomfruøer, U.S. Vɛrgin ƒudomekpowo nutome, Αμερικανικές Παρθένοι Νήσοι, Usonaj Virgulininsuloj, Islas Vírgenes de los Estados Unidos, USA Neitsisaared, Birjina uharte amerikarrak, جزایر ویرجین ایالات متحده, Duuɗe Kecce Amerik, Yhdysvaltain Neitsytsaaret, Sambandsríki Amerikas Jómfrúoyggjarnar, Îles Vierges des États-Unis, Oileáin na Maighdean S.A.M., Illas Virxes Estadounidenses, યુ.એસ વર્જિન આઇલેન્ડ, Tsibiran Birjin Ta Amurka, איי הבתולה האמריקניים, अमेरिकी वर्जिन टापू, Američki Djevičanski Otoci, Amerikai Virgin-szigetek, Kepulauan U.S. Virgin, Bandarísku jómfrúaeyjar, Isole Vergini Americane, 米領ヴァージン諸島, Visiwa vya Virgin vya Marekani, ಯು.ಎಸ್. ವರ್ಜಿನ್ ದ್ವೀಪಗಳು, 미국령 버진 아일랜드, Bizinga bya Virigini eby'Amerika, Bisanga bya Vierzi ya Ameriki, ຢູເອສເວີຈິນໄອແລນ, Mergelių salos (JAV), Lutanda lua Vierzi wa Ameriki, ASV Virdžīnas, Nosy Virijiny Etazonia, Девствени Острови на САД, യു.എസ്. വെര്‍ജിന്‍ ദ്വീപുകള്‍, यू.एस. व्हर्जिन बेटे, ယူအက်စ် ဗာဂျင်း ကျွန်းစု, De amerikanske jomfruøyene, संयुक्त राज्य भर्जिन टापु, Amerikaanse Maagdeneilanden, Dei amerikanske jomfruøyane, ୟୁଏସ୍ ଭର୍ଜିନ୍ ଦ୍ବୀପପୁଞ୍ଜ, Wyspy Dziewicze Stanów Zjednoczonych, Ilhas Virgens dos EUA, Inslas Verginas Americanas, Amazinga y'Isugi y'Abanyamerika, Insulele Virgine S.U.A., Виргинские о-ва (США), Âzûâ Virîgo tî Amerîka, ඇමරිකානු වර්ජින් දූපත්, Panenské ostrovy - USA, Ameriški Deviški otoki, Zvitsuwa zveAmerika, С.А.Д. Девичанска Острва, Amerikanska Jungfruöarna, யூ.எஸ் கன்னித் தீவுகள், యు.ఎస్. వర్జిన్ దీవులు, หมู่เกาะยูเอสเวอร์จิน, ʻOtumotu Vilikini fakaʻamelika, ABD Virgin Adaları, Віргінські острови США, امریکی ورجن آئلینڈز, Quần đảo Virgin, Mỹ, Orílẹ́ède Etikun Fagini ti Amẹrika, 美属维京群岛, i-U.S. Virgin Islands