Of all the European nations busy colonizing the Caribbean during the golden age of sail; Denmark is the least likely to pop up in the mind of present-day sailors. The Danes, however, started colonies on St. Thomas in 1665 and St. John in 1683. West Indian sugar was the driving force behind colonization then. Slave labor planted and harvested sugar cane. A triangular trade developed where Danish merchants traded African slaves for loaves of brown sugar that were sent across the Atlantic to sweeten the tables in Danish homes. In 1733, France sold St. Croix to Denmark, and from that time on the three Scandinavian-owned islands were called the Danish West Indies. For the sum of $25 million, in 1917, the United States purchased St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix from Denmark. The new United States Virgin Islands became a territory, much like Puerto Rico. That was a good investment by the U.S. government, since today USVI directly generates a half billion dollars annually from travel and tourism. And that is great news for boaters because it has helped USVI develop into a very friendly destination for cruising.
Charlotte Amalie is most well known for its extensive cruise ship port and great shopping. It is all that and more. Once your boat is provisioned and all necessary supplies are onboard, spend a fun day shopping before the dock lines are slipped. There's a great selection of gold, pearls, diamonds, hand crafted jewelry and local artwork. And don't forget an extra bathing suit or two.
Lunch Stop - Estimated Mileage: 7 Christmas Cove, Great St. James Island. Pick up a mooring ball or anchor. Dinghy to the southern tip of the island for good snorkeling.
Overnight Stop: There is only one reason to stop in Red Hook overnight, and that is the original Duffy's Love Shack! Billed as the best parking lot bar in the world, and it is. Just walk across the street from American Yacht Harbor and enjoy the cocktails, the food and the fun. You won't be disappointed. And don't forget to buy a T-shirt!
Lunch Stop - Estimated Mileage: 5 Coconut Bay, Hans Lollick Island Anchor at this bay on the south side of the island, and snorkel on White Horse Reef.
Overnight Stop: Tuck into the northeast corner of the bay and anchor in sand just off Magens Beach. The beach is a mile long strip of white sand, and one of the most popular beaches in the Caribbean.
Overnight Stop: Pick up a National Park Service mooring ball. Go ashore and visit the old plantation ruins at the Caneel bay Resort, and have a cocktail there as well.
Lunch Stop - Estimated Mileage: 3 Trunk Bay, St. John. Pick up a National Park Service mooring ball. Try the underwater snorkeling trail around Trunk Cay.
Overnight Stop: Pick up a National Park Service mooring ball. Dinghy ashore and take the short hike to the ruins of the Annenberg Sugar Mill, which has been restored by the National Park Service.
Lunch Stop - Estimated Mileage: 9 Hurricane Hole, St. John. Pick up a National Park Service mooring ball. Hurricane Hole is part of the Coral Reef National Monument.
Overnight Stop: Drop anchor at this popular destination for live aboard cruisers. Try the popular Skinny Legs Bar and Grill. And the Jolly Dog Island Outpost has the stuff you want.
Overnight Stop: Depart the eastern end of St. John early in the morning to make sure you arrive at Christiansted Harbor during daylight. Christiansted is considered one of the most beautiful towns in the Caribbean.
Lunch Stop - Estimated Mileage: 6 Buck Island, St. Croix. Anchor off West Beach at the Buck Island Reef National Monument. Dinghy to the lagoon and snorkel the underwater trail.
Overnight Stop: Take a taxi tour in the morning to Frederiksted on the western end of St. Croix. Frederiksted is a quaint and charming town with a mix of Danish Colonial and Victorian architecture.
Capt. Jeff Werner has been in the yachting industry for over 25 years. In addition to working as a captain on private and charter yachts, both sail and power, he is a certified instructor for the USCG, US Sailing, RYA and the MCA. He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your yacht's fuel in optimal condition for peak performance. For more information, call 239-246-6810, or visit MyDieselDoctor.com. All Marinalife members receive a 10% discount on purchases of equipment, products and supplies from Diesel Doctor.