Ports of Call
Five mega-yacht enabled marinas reconfirm the Caribbean as an inexhaustible wonderland for boating.
Words by Scott Rose.
Whether you are an experienced yacht owner, a neophyte charterer or a general boating enthusiast, the Caribbean is an expansive, colourful and endlessly alluring playground. Boating culture has been handed down from generation to generation in the region, thus knowledgeable marina staff are impeccably prepared to cater to your every need. Join us now as we go on a lively armchair marina hop.
SCRUB ISLAND RESORT, SPA AND MARINA
A pristine paradise in BVI
Opened in March of 2010, Scrub Island Resort, Spa and Marina is the latest BVI offering providing a heady mix of lifestyle luxury and top-notch boating amenities. With 55 deepwater slips, 5 specifically for larger mega-yachts up to 150 feet in length, the marina on this untouched paradise is the perfect place to enjoy Mother Natures’ water wonders. Located in the heart of the resort, the marina is the jumping off point for diving and snorkel trips, sailing cruises and charter excursions, as well as fishing adventures in the famous “North Drop” where guests can go mano-amano with record-setting tuna and blue Marlin.
When ready for some land-loving, guests can head to Ixora Spa to indulge in exquisite pampering while perched above the cerulean sea. Or better yet, ask their hillside Villa’s personal butler to arrange for an ensuite massage on their wraparound verandah. Whether enjoying a hillside Villa or an exclusive Suite, all come complete with custom furnishings that tastefully blend classic Caribbean features with every desirable modern luxury and, of course, dramatic views of the surrounding islands. Guests can also nosh on contemporary cuisine at Caravela Restaurant, which offers delicacies such as Anegada lobster bisque and shaved conch salad, or meander down to One Shoe Bar, where they can revel in a more laidback atmosphere while feasting their senses on the pristine scene.
Soon to become the first Caribbean resort to join the heralded Marriott International’s Autograph Collection in early 2012, Scrub Island merits dropping anchor so one can enjoy its many exceptional treasures.
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina
Scrub Island, BVI
Phone: +1 (877) 890 7444
RODNEY BAY MARINA
A most gracious welcome in St Lucia
The full-service Rodney Bay Marina is situated in a secure hurricane hole basin at the north of St Lucia. This marina has space for 32 megayachts up to 250 feet long as well as for 200 smaller boats. The sun-kissed, whitesand- beach-lined Rodney Bay Laguna is just near Castries, birthplace of Derek Wolcott, who in 1992 became the first-ever Caribbean Nobel laureate. His enthralling epic poem Omeros, set on this incomparably lush island, features a narrator who often adventures upon the Atlantic Ocean. Fittingly then, Rodney Bay Marina is the finish line for the annual Atlantic Rally for Cruisers – over 230 sailboats depart from Las Palmas in the Canary Islands to make the 2,700 mile crossing. When the Rally starts in Las Palmas, a conch shell is blasted near Rodney Bay as local boating enthusiasts set sail in a symbolic flotilla.
The sportfishing in these environs is of course insuperable; in October, 2011 Rodney Bay Marina hosts the International Billfish Tournament. If you prefer to leave the actual fishing to others, you might enjoy Jacques Waterfront Dining in Vigie Cove in Castries or the sublimely romantic Rainforest Hideaway restaurant in nearby Marigot Bay, which offers such fare as a crab and coriander pancake with saffron ice cream.
Managed by the International Global Yachting company, the marina also hosts a popular Christmas-time flotilla when the grounds come to life with colourful island crafts for sale, cooking demonstrations and energetic, high-spirited steel drum performances. The marina consistently earns high praise for the warm hospitality of its capable staff.
Rodney Bay Marina Castries,
St Lucia, West Indies
Phone: +1 (758) 452 0324
YACHT HAVEN GRANDE
Upscale Sailing in St Thomas, USVI
Yacht Haven Grande’s fête d’ouverture – held in 2007 – heralded a new era of megayacht opulence in the Caribbean. Thanks to the harbour’s depth, and the facility’s cutting-edge technical sophistication, Yacht Haven Grande is able to accommodate many of the most majestic, imposing private ships on the oceans. The 452-foot long Lürssen-built motor yacht Rising Sun, for example, previously had to anchor offshore but now is able to berth in propinquity to the beguiling US Virgin Island capital of Charlotte Amalie. Owners and Captains alike appreciate the marina’s in-slip, high-speed refueling, and Dockwalk magazine ranked this marina number one in yacht provisioning.
The upland shopping esplanade includes such irresistible venues as Salvatore Ferragamo, Bulgari, Coach, and Southern Trades Yacht Sales. The charming, historic Charlotte Amalie city centre, meanwhile, abounds with connections to intriguing sea lore. The famous 99 Steps were built in the mid-1700s – out of ships’ ballast bricks, and the Hotel 1829 was constructed by a prominent ship’s Captain, Alexander Lavallete, for his bride. Art connoisseurs can enjoy exhibits at the Haagensen House, which shows Impressionist paintings by St Thomas native Camille Pissarro. Back at Yacht Haven Grande, The Residences overlooking the beckoning marina are luxuriously appointed – each master bedroom has a balcony with a custom-built plunge pool – and are a world-class yacht spotter’s dream come true.
Yacht Haven Grande St Thomas
St. Thomas, USVI 00802
Phone: +1 (340) 774 9500
ERROL FLYNN MARINA
Iconic anchoring in Port Antonio, Jamaica
Hollywood icon Errol Flynn conducted a mad, passionate affair with the picturesque Port Antonio area of Jamaica. Here in his namesake marina, his love for the sea lives on today. For all that this marina is relatively intimate in scale, with just 32 fixed dockage berths, but its gigayacht dock accepts ships up to 600- feet long. The awe-inspiring Sea Cloud II – a three-masted windjammer – has graced the marina, as has the 301-foot, Tim Heywood-designed Mayan Queen IV. The Clipper ‘Round the World Yacht Race and the Transcaraibes Rally are just two of the boating events recently to have made stops at Errol Flynn. The marina also has served as a base for the Annual Port Antonio Marlin Tournament; the largest fish landed during the 2010 event weighed a solid 338 pounds. Flynn popularised moonlight and torch-lit bamboo raft races down the nearby Rio Grande, but you can take a more laid-back ride through paradise with an experienced captain guiding your raft downriver during the day while he identifies the bounteous flora and fauna on the fern-shrouded banks. Nestled on the edge of the Port Antonio, the marina offers immediate access this charming town where culinary delights like jerk chicken can be enjoyed, as well as being a short ride by car to the famous Blue Lagoon. The Errol Flynn Marina has the distinction of being the only Caribbean marina with its own lighthouse. Yet guests may also arrive and depart by air – the marina’s designated helicopter landing area accommodates up to four rotorcrafts. Flynn’s erstwhile schooner, Zaca, now berthed in the Mediterranean, was said to be haunted by his ghost; true believers claim to have seen his phantasm anxiously pacing the deck while the raucous cacophony of drunken party-goers issued from within. However that may be, each year in the autumn, this marina hosts the Errol Flynn Charitable Ball – where Port Antonio-loving yachties have a great time while also giving back to the community.
Errol Flynn Marina
Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica
Phone: +1 (876) 715 6044 +1 (876) 993 3209
JOLLY HARBOUR MARINA
Heavenly boating near St John’s, Antigua
Imagine relaxing on the teak-soled aft-deck of a sleekly-styled yacht in Jolly Harbour Marina – reading Jules Verne’s novel Le Rayon Vert – and looking up to see the emerald luminosity of an actual ‘green flash’ where the sun is setting into the water at a poetic distance on the horizon. Everything about this magical realm on the leeward side of Antigua is imbued with an aura of multiple fantasies come true. The adjacent Jolly Harbour Golf Club – designed by Karl Litton, par 71, 18- holes – is in itself a glamorous destination spot. Then too, because of its sheltered position on Antigua, Jolly Harbour Marina is able to stay open 365 days per year. Coincidentally, Antigua has 365 beaches. Within the last two years, new dockage has been installed throughout this facility, which boasts of space for 140 boats, including 9 mega yachts up to 200 feet in length. Annually, at the end of April, Jolly Harbour is one of the featured marinas for Antigua Sailing Week. If you do not join the Regatta yourself, you can charter a yacht to observe the spirited event from the water.
Guided dives available through Jolly Dive on the beach will take you beneath local waters for privileged viewing of vibrant corals, sea turtles, trigger fish, octopi and other astonishing Antiguan beauties. Further offerings include dining at local hot spot Carmichael's, Sugar Ridge's contemporary fusion restaurant which overlooks the sea and offers exotic delicacies like Antiguan spiny lobster cocktail and jerk pork tenderloin.
At the end of Verne’s Le Rayon Vert, the two protagonists miss seeing a ‘green flash’ because they are lost in a romantic kiss. Who can say how many couples have met that same fate aboard their yachts in the enchanted Jolly Harbour Marina?
Jolly Harbour Marina
Saint John’s, Antigua
Phone: +1 (268) 462 6042
Beyond having a definable latitude and longitude, each Caribbean marina is a place of the heart. If our round-up has left you longing to be marina hopping, just remember Paul Carvel’s poetic insight;
A person contemplating the sea is already sailing a little.
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