Sailing Back to Virgin Gorda
from St. Martin
I had the good fortune to join Captain Charly Zahr and 1st Mate / Pastry Chef Carolina aboard his charter yacht CRYSTAL CLEAR on a delivery cruise. We were returning his yacht from St. Martin to its home base in Leverick Bay on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
CRYSTAL CLEAR was in St. Martin on a photo shoot I booked aboard her that took place in St. Barts in late November.
I caught up with Charly and Carolina aboard CRYSTAL CLEAR a day after the photo shoot took place. The yacht was docked on the wall in the Fort St. Louis Marina in Marigot. Originally the plans was to have a nice dinner at a find French restaurant in the Marigot Marina Royale complex to celebrate Charly’s birthday. The following morning, we planned to depart Marigot and head back to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
Well, Mother Nature had her way and changed our plans. The seas were running 9ft. after peaking at 13ft. when Charly first made landing in St. Barts days before. Charly decided to play it save. We would wait this weather system out. Everyone agreed that it will make our 12 hour – 90 mile run in comfort instead of beating ourselves to death.
Mad Man with a Credit Card
We spent the next three days Christmas shopping for things Charly could not find on Virgin Gorda. With time to kill Charly went on a spending spree. One hundred bottles of wine were purchase for the boat. In addition, Charly bought, hard to get boat parts, foul weather gear, toys for his son Valentin, and a Christmas tree complete with lights and ornaments.. He even bought a swivel chair for CRYSTAL CLEAR’s navigation station. The man was armed and dangerous with a credit card in hand.
In between shopping sprees, we ate well. Starting each morning with a stop at Sarafina’s Patisserie, which is a wonderful French outdoor café, for freshly baked Croissants. They had to pry me out of there.
In the Marigot Marina Royale harbour complex we ate at such fabulous French restaurants as Le Village and Le Chanteclair.
We came back to the boat on our last evening from another one of Charly’s Spending Spree just too tuckered out to go anywhere. Everyone agreed we should just stay-in and have dinner the boat. Well, good old Charly out did himself by whipping up some Mussels Marinara. I defy you to find better anywhere.
Departing St. Martin
Finally, on Sunday morning December 5th, Mother Nature smiled us providing a day with calm seas and a nice breeze in the direction we needed, so off we went sailing to Virgin Gorda.
Our crew consisted of Captain Charly, our Ship’s Pastry Chef Carolina, their two year old son Valentin, nicknamed the Little Admiral, along with the ship’s First Mate Tom Vannieuwenhuyse. Really! How’s that for a last name?
He we just Tom to me. Tom was a terrific young man. Tom was from Belgium. He studied Political and Social Sciences. He graduated with a Master’s in Sociology and spoke fluent Dutch, English, French, Portuguese, and Spanish. What did I tell you? The kid was amazing!
Our point of sail to Virgin Gorda was working out well. The sailing was smooth and relaxing. That is until a fishing reel sang out, “Fish On!”
Unbeknownst to me we had been dragging a line in the water since leaving Marigot. We were all stunned by the break in solitude. Charly immediately jumped up and grabbed the pole reeling in the most beautiful Mahi Mahi meal you have ever seen.
Now what to you do with a fighting mad fish on a sailboat? Well Charly is not a man of violence. He broke out a cheap bottle Gin and poured it down the fish’s gullet. This resulted in the fish dying instantly from being over served.
After the Mahi Mahi passed peacefully, Charly went down in the Galley and whipped up a fantastic fresh Mahi Mahi Appetizers.
With the mess of fishing incident over, Charly put his Chef’s cap again. This time he served us a roasted chicken with all the trimmings. Just like my grandma would serve on a Sunday afternoons!
Arrival in Virgin Gorda
It was 6:00 in the evening when we finally arrived back in Virgin Gorda. This was really one wonderful day and worth waiting for. Many thanks to Captain Charly and the Crew of CRYSTAL CLEAR for all their energy to make it possible.
Since this adventure a few years back, Charly and Carolina have changed ships and are currently the crew aboard the charter yacht VISION. A beautiful 57ft. catamaran.