Boat Charters On The Rise As Travelers Tire Of Being "Tourists"

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Virgin Island natives reveal the best of what resorts miss

People are starting to feel trapped and bored at resorts, and I don't blame them.

The Virgin Islands' brisk tourist trade is well deserved; gorgeous beaches, pleasant weather, calm seas, and a rich history easily draw crowds of visitors, especially as the colder months set in up north. But with popularity has come familiarity, and worse, predictability. Tourists tire of the same resorts, the same beaches, the same spas.

But Captain Travis Lindberg of the Pentesilea II disagrees that travelers are seeing the best of the small section of Caribbean he calls home: "People are starting to feel trapped and bored at resorts, and I don't blame them."

Lindberg is part of a swiftly growing industry that shares with guests the hidden side of the Virgin Islands that usually only locals have access to - boat charter. "By chartering out my boat to groups of travelers I not only get to make a living doing exactly what I love, but I can share the magic of these islands with others."

By magic, Lindberg is referring to his handpicked favorite dives, hikes, food, local bars, and slices of Caribbean history - all of which don't generally make an appearance on a travel agent's brochure or on the activity list at a resort.

With a bit of persuasion Lindberg parted with a few insider tips:

  •     Dive the Chukuzen wreck. - Most dive trips avoid the spot because it's a bit farther out, but it's absolutely worth the trip. Large schools of fish and the pelagic fish tend to avoid the inner reefs, but can be found here aplenty.
  •     Camp out at White Bay. - Some tours will drop by for lunch or happy hour on this roguish strip of beach bars and eateries, but the locals settle in and hang out well into the evening. To get a taste of the real Virgin Islands, find a chair you like and chat up the charter captains and bar maids who make this spot a welcoming watering hole.
  •     Explore the uninhabited/deserted islands. - In the Virgin Islands chain uninhabited islands abound, each offering a special opportunity. Not many resorts let you pick out which empty beach you'd like to claim as your own for an afternoon stroll, or set you loose to hike up a mountain that you'll share only with goats and iguanas.
  •     Phosperescent plankton - After dinner, drop off the side of the boat to experience the thrill of night diving and swim with the phosphorescent plankton that illuminates the seas. Explore the reefs' fascinating nocturnal marine life and revel in your adventures scuba diving in the dark.

"The best part about chartering a boat is that you actually get to live like the locals around here do," explains Lindberg. His wife, and First Mate, Rosemary agrees, "When you're with us on the boat you can see everything without packing or unpacking. Just like Travis and I will decide when we wake up that we want to go hiking on Norman Island or dive the Horseshoe Barrier reefs, our guests get to make those same relaxed and spur-of-the-moment decisions." Rosemary continues, "Having the luxury of choosing between one chunk of paradise and another is what the Virgin Islands is all about."

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Amelia Meadows

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