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ShowBoats Int'l. - July 2008 - Not Desperate...and Not All Housewives

Written by Jill Bobrow

Very capable first mate Daniela was the designated person to get us safely back from Duffy's to the boat. In fact, our crew was constantly game and helpful throughout the trip. It's nice to be taken care of. We women are so often the caretakers.

Day Two we pulled out of St. Thomas, leaving behind Larry Ellison's 450-foot Rising Sun and John Williams' beautiful modern J-Class Ranger, among others, and headed for Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgins, about 15 miles away. The intermittently sunny and rainy weather had us vacillating between the outside bridge deck and the pilothouse.

Cruising in this part of the Caribbean offers great visuals. The islands are close together, limiting time spent on blue-water passages, and you're never out of sight of land. The passing landscape is filled with hills, rocks and startlingly beautiful water. You can stop for lunch in one bay and have dinner in another, which was exactly our plan.

We anchored in Great Harbour off the famous Foxy's bar for Captain Blurge to clear customs. Rather than pull up anchor, we tendered over to the next harbor, White Bay. Presented with a strip of sandy beach proffering one local establishment after another, our first stop was Soggy Dollar Bar for a rum-and-coconut cocktail called a "painkiller." Some sunning, swimming and then a stroll down the beach brought us to One Love Bar and Grill, a festive affair festooned with buoys, shells, fishnets, fenders and other flotsam and jetsam. On the menu was a foil-wrapped steamed whole snapper, caught minutes before-a true localvore gourmet delight. Owner Seddy Callwood, a colorful Rastafarian, entertained us with some magic tricks as we knocked back a few more painkillers. Our intrepid crew finally found us after scouring the shoreside bars and ushered us back to Kelly Sea.

In the late afternoon, we motored 23 miles through North Sound to Bitter End Yacht Club, an oasis at the end of the sound. The first establishment here was a camp with a pub and a handful of rustic cottages built in the 1950s by Basil Symonette, a pioneer Virgin Island yachtsman. He sold the place in the early seventies to the Hokin family of Chicago as a family retreat. Today it is still family owned, but it has morphed into a first-class watersports resort.

We berthed at the yacht club's dock and wandered around the property. The villas all have great views and hammocks from which to view the views. There is a spa, but no tennis courts and no golf course. Boating is the name of the game here. There is a fleet of more than 100 boats. You take your pick of skiffs, daysailers, Lasers, Hobie cats, kayaks. You can go scuba diving, kite boarding, rowing or windsurfing. We visited the pub, and then back on board we rocked the dock with our girls' trip iPod playlist. (My teenage daughter would have been mortified.) "Girls just wanna have fun," and we certainly did everywhere we went.

The next morning, we went back to the pub (no, not for "greenies"-that would have been a man thing) to dutifully take advantage of the Wi-Fi Internet access before departing for our next adventure. (Women always have a responsible gene crammed in the pocket of their jeans.)

Day Three, Kelly Sea zipped eight miles from the Bitter End to the famous Baths at the southern end of Virgin Gorda. We came to love the short hops. In a half-hour, you go from ritzy resort to God's creation. The Baths are a must-see in the British Virgin Islands. They are not the Continental Baths, the Russian Baths nor the Korean Baths, where men sit in togas or less in steam rooms. These Baths are a geological wonder-something out of the land of the Brobdignagians in Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." Massive granite boulders are piled one on top of another, producing caves and grottos with splendid shafts of light filtering down among them.

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