Part 3: “Is that Treasure Island, Dad?”
By Capt. Ken Kreisler — October 2002
Morning finds me once again on scullery duty, and my caramel pancakes are a hit with all--amazing what a little butter and brown sugar can do. While I cook, Raycroft takes the wheel and makes for our berth at the Bitter End Yacht Club in Gorda Sound for a day of sailing, windsurfing, and snorkeling before a tasty dinner of freshly caught fish at the resort's restaurant.
The next day we set out for the famed South Gorda Baths. This extraordinary natural grouping of massive shoreside granite boulders forms large pools where the sea washes in, some open to the sky while others lie in cool shallow grottos hidden from sight yet dramatically lit from shafts of light filtering in between the stones. And the brilliantly white beaches offer us great swimming and snorkeling.
The morning slips by, and soon it is time to weigh anchor and head for Norman Island. With a 12-mile jaunt ahead of us, I motor across the Sir Francis Drake Channel at a leisurely 10 knots to give the kids a chance to chow down and relax until our next stop.
"Is that Treasure Island, Dad?" asks Sami as I nose in for a mooring ball. Just ahead of us loom the four caves of Norman Island. "Aye matey, thar' she be. Treasure Island!" Before Raycroft has us tied off, the kids are already on deck getting on their PFDs and snorkel gear. For the rest of the afternoon, we swim with schools of colorful fish, marvel at the coral formations, and even venture inside one of the caves. Judging by the animated chatter back on the boat, my crew of stalwart pirates has indeed found treasure.
We have time to move into the Norman Bight and visit Billy Bones' bar, where we say our goodbyes to Rohr and his family, who are due back in St. Thomas that evening. The kids promise to get together in the future for more plundering.
Our final night is spent on a mooring ball in Caneel Bay, St. John's. Our company is gone, dinner is done, Sami is asleep, and Linda and I are up on the bridge sharing the last of our wine while taking in the warm, calm night under a sea of constellations: Canis Minor, one of Orion's hunting dogs; Carina, the keel of Jason's ship Argo; Pyxis, Argo's compass box; and so many others so bright and clear, seemingly within an arm's length. "I'm going to check on Sami before we turn in," Linda says as she goes below.
Alone, I take it all in: the snorkeling, the laughter, the music, the dancing, the tangerine dawns, and dazzling sunsets. And just when I begin to think there is nothing left to this trip, Linda returns holding a folded piece of paper and something wrapped in a napkin. "Here, this is for you." I read the note: "For Capt. Ken from the crew of the Capt. Squid. Steven, Rachel, Zee, and Sami." I unwrap the object and hold a small shell in my palm. Written on the napkin, in my daughter's all-too-familiar hand, is, "Dad, you're the best." Yo ho ho.
Rates for the minimum five-day cruise for up to six people on Nautic Blue's 37-foot power catamaran are $610 per day and an extra $22 per person per day for the full provisioning package. Taxes are extra.
NauticBlue Phone: (800) 416-0224. Fax: (727) 530-9747. www.nauticblue.com.