Yacht Charters: So, you have decided to charter a yacht and cruise the Caribbean. Congratulations, the first step toward experiencing a getaway like no other has been taken. You have total control over where to go, where to stop, what to do and for how long to do it for an entire vacation. Wake up every morning to new scenery and be pampered by a crew that includes a top-notch chef. This is freedom at its tropical finest, as the day's itinerary and your desires are always in sync.
Whether you are idly passing time on the sundeck, scuba diving off aft deck, swimming with dolphins, or bopping around the islands on the dinghy, there is no time like island time.
The Caribbean islands are scenic, diverse, and an oasis for lovers of various activities that range from highly adventurous to barely moving a muscle except to properly affix the lip to the glass before sipping a drink. It also is a multicultural affair with African, American, British, Dutch, French, and Spanish influences.
Here are a few tips and suggestions on getting around we gathered that you might want to pack along with the sunglasses, the sun block, the sandals, and the swimming trunks.
Select a Reputable Broker
First, let's begin with what is most important. It should go without saying but do be careful to charter a yacht from a reputable firm.
Tim Nelson of Seven Seas Yacht Charters, a firm that specializes in 100-foot yachts worldwide, conveyed, "All charter brokers can book charters on any yacht available. Nobody really has any "exclusives," and the pricing is the same no matter which one you choose. However, you want to make sure the broker has experience working with the kind of yacht you are looking to charter."
A charter company is going to ensure that a client is capable of paying. So, it makes sense that customers make sure they are to get their money's worth too. Most reputable brokers belong to boating associations. Members of these are required to abide by a code of ethics to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation or unethical practices. Examples of such associations include the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, the Mediterranean Yacht Brokers Association, the Charter Yacht Brokers Association, and the California Yacht Charter Brokers Association.
Let's move on to some fun stuff!
Golf on the Islands
Just because you are staying on a boat does not mean playing a few rounds of golf is out of the question. Although some islands do not have any golf courses, or much else, there are plenty of places to play. Bring your clubs if you must, however, most courses do have equipment for rent.
In Anguilla, the Temenos Golf Club in Anguilla is a 7,100-yard example of how well nature and man can work together. The 18-hole Greg Norman-designed course is as engaging as it is challenging. Road Bay is the port of entry. The Sandy Resort in St. James, Barbados has two 18-hole courses and a 9-hole course. Tom Fazio designed the Green Monkey course. The par-72 course played host to the 2006 World Cup. The small greens and tight fairways on the Old Nine course make it interesting for players of all levels. Although Nevis Island is not as popular with vacationers as its sister island St. Kitts, Nevis has one of the best golf courses in the West Indies at the Four Seasons Resort. The 18-hole par-71 course, which was designed by Robert Trent Jones II, is open to the public at slightly higher green fees than for guests. There is an 18-hole championship golf course at the Mullet Bay Resort on Dutch Sint Maarten, surrounded by water and palm trees. The golf course is located between the Simpson Bay Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. Slip into the Jolly Harbour Marina and head for the par-71, 18-hole Jolly Harbour Golf Club.
Gettin' Wet & More!
The British Virgin Islands are among the best areas for sailing, snorkeling and diving. There are more than 60 charted dive sites throughout the BVI. Buttonwood Bay, which is located on the western end of great Harbour, St. Peter, has snorkeling spots about 20 yards offshore. The area is secluded and overnight anchorage is available. Cooper Island is approximately 1.5 miles long by one-half mile wide. It is about five miles south of Tortola, the largest island in the British Virgin Islands. Manchioneel Bay, which is a good overnight anchorage, is on the northwest shore of Cooper Island. Boats can be anchored overnight at the Cooper Island Beach Club. It is as primitive as can be with no roads or cars, no nightclubs or casinos, and no malls or fast-food stops. However, no one complains about filling up a day sunbathing, swimming, eating, and relaxing.
A good area for beginners is the Virgin Islands National Park on the Caribbean island of St. John. It offers one of the world's first underwater snorkel trails. This complex and fragile community of plants and animals forms an exquisite and dynamic underwater reef ecosystem. The self-guided trail in Trunk Bay is in well-protected water of 15 feet deep or less. Other good spots nearby include Waterlemon Cay, Haulover Bay, Saltpond Bay, and Tektite. Divers can encounter vertical walls, underwater pinnacles, coral reefs, caverns, and shipwrecks. Many of the diving sites are controlled by the national-park system.
St. Martin /Sint Maarten is shared by the French and the Dutch, with the French to the north and the Dutch to the south. Although the area does not have as many snorkeling and scuba diving locations, there are several spots, such as Proselyte Reef, Simpson Bay Bridge, and Split Rock, and Cable Reef. Proselyte Reef.
Horseback riding is available on both the French and Dutch sections. Le Galion Beach has an equestrian center with trails that go through the marine reserve along the shore. Cape Bay (Dutch) also offers horseback riding. It is one of the few areas on the island that remains as it was 50 years ago.
A Tough Job
It is impossible to thoroughly canvass the plethora of choices available to enjoy while cruising through the Caribbean in one report. So, rest assured in knowing that more reports are forthcoming as soon as we can find a few brave staff writers willing to tackle such an arduous assignment.
The line forms to the right-directly behind the existing staff angling to be first!