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Archive for the ‘Fun in the Sun’ Category

Annaberg Plantation, St. John

One of our favorite days while on charter is when we walk/hike to the Annaberg Plantaion. Set up on a small hill that over looks the surrounding beautiful turquoise bays is the remains of this old plantation. Here is some of it’s history:

The Annaberg Sugar MIll:

The diverse backgrounds of the inhabitants of the Danish West Indies are clearly evident in a list of Annaberg’s owners. The first deeded land holding in the area was taken up in 1721 by a French Huguenot refugee, Isaac Constantin; upon Constaantin’s death, ownership of the plantation passed to his son-in-law, a Dane, Mads Larsen; and in 1758 the property was purchased by Salomon Zeeger, a Dutch immigrant from the island of St. Eustatius. It was Zeeger who named the property Annaberg (meaning Anna’s Mountain) to honor his wife, Anna deWindt Zeeger.
In 1796, James Murphy, an Irish-born merchant and slave trader based on St. Thomas, purchased Annaberg along with a number of neighboring properties and combined them to form a single, vast sugar estate. Upon his acquisition of the property, Murphy set out to construct a new, state-of-the-art ‘sugar works’ and tower windmill on the site of the former Zeeger plantation, and a grand, estate house on a hilltop east of Water Lemon Bay. By his death in November 1808, James Murphy had become the single largest producer of sugar on St. John. His combined land holdings totaled nearly 1,300 acres, and 662 enslaved workers toiled on his properties.
Although some modifications associated with production downsizing were made to the Annaberg factory in the mid nineteenth century, it is the ruins of the sugar works built during James Murphy’s ownership that are encoutered on the site today.
~ National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Virgin Islands National Park, St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

There are many ruins there that show how the plantaion was run back in it’s day. Some of the sites you’ll see are:

– the Windmill tower; that processed the sugar cane on windy days:

– Oven; Where bread was baked for the enslaved workers:

– Boiling house; where the cane juice was boiled down into a thick syrup:

There is also:
– the curing House & overseers’ quarters.
– water cistern; where water was collected off the roof of the factory. It holds about 20,000 gallons.
– dungeon; Because desertions and worker resistance was common among other rebellions such as poisioning the overseer.
– Still House; Where the rum was made!
– Rum Still & Worm Cistern; used in the process of making rum
– Firing trench & furnace; where wood was fed to heat the coppers in the boiling house.
– the horse mill; on days that were not windy, the sugar cane was processed, crushed & juiced here.
– ox pound; where the work animals were kept

Also on the premises there is a garden filled with all kinds of local plants, fruits & herbs. Over all it’s a “Must See” when you visit the US Virgin Islands. It is steeped in history & surrounded by natural beauty!

Under the Sea

One of my most relaxing snorkels was right after breakfast one morning, in one of our favorite harbors, Honeymoon bay, Water Island. Yeah, there are snorkel spots with more coral & more color & bigger fish… we love those & frequent them often with our charters. But something about this day, in the early morning I saw this little harbor in a new light. When I stopped & just looked around I noticed that it was just teaming with life & fish… Beautiful colors & shapes:

Not a bad way to wake up & start the day that’s for sure!!! To give you a better taste of what it’s like to snorkel (for those of you who haven’t) Here are two videos from our snorkel that morning. Part 1:

Part 2 of our snorkel:

Honeymoon bay has so much to offer… Turtles are a regular sighting here, so are groupers! If you sit long enough & enjoy the sunset your always bound to see fish jumping out of the water putting on a show! And the water is warm!!!

Special Events Aboard

There’s nothing like a good party!!! That is one thing Jeff & I love doing is hosting a special event aboard.

There are variety of events we can host for you, such as an Anniversary celebration:


A wedding aboard is lovely! We have a sheet painted with “Just Married” that we hoist up on the main sail for a special touch.


Why…this one time, we even had a pool party! LOL!!!

From anniversaries, to weddings, to family reunions, to corporate events, to filming music videos (oh yes we did), to dance parties, Friends Charters is here to make your event truly unique, special & a good time had by all.

Sea Fever


Sea Fever:

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

~ John Masefield




You’re seeing right! Farkel!!!

No it’s nothing dirty. Nor is it a reference to a bodily function, as some of our charters have already joked, lol! It’s a dice game we love to play!!! Ha ha!

We’re always game to play a game here aboard “As you wish”. We have a small assortment of some of our favorites, one of which is this wacky dice game. So your probably wondering “how do you play?”. Well that’s what I’m here to share with you today… So you can brush up on the rules before you get here…

Overview of the Game:
It’s a high-score game in which players roll dice for points. You roll 6 dice, remove only the dice you want to use for points, then either re-roll the remaining dice for more points or pass the dice to the next player. Highest score over 10,000 wins.

Playing the Game

Determine the order of play by rolling one die. High number starts, low number keeps score for each player.

1. Each player must achieve 500 points in one turn to get into the game. First player rolls six dice and decides which dice they want to remove for score. Some scoring dice MUST be removed after each roll. See SCORING below. If they don’t roll any One’s or Fives, or some combination on any roll, their turn is over and they must pass the dice and try again later.

2. Only Ones and Fives count by themselves. All other dice will count ONLY in combinations.

3. Dice can only count for score once. After dice are removed for score they are out of play and cannot be re-rolled or added to previously-rolled dice to make a bigger score. However, if you can eventually make all six dice count for score in any number of rolls, you may pick them all up and keep rolling, adding to your score!

4. Some dice must be removed after every roll. You don’t have to remove every scoring die but some score must come out every time you roll.

5. Once you are in a game, you may continue rolling as long as you can roll points, or stop at any time, take your score and pass the dice. However, if you roll no scoring dice, your turn is over, you must pass the dice and you lose any points rolled on that turn.

6. Rolling any dice off the table means you must re-roll all eligible dice again.

7. When one player reached 10,000 or more points, all other players get one more turn to try to beat them. Highest score over 10,000 WINS the game.


Ones = 100 pts ea.
Fives = 50 pts ea.
3 Ones = 300 pts
3 Twos = 200 pts
3 Threes = 300 pts
3 Fours = 400 pts
3 Fives = 500 pts
3 Sixes = 600 pts
4 of a kind = 1000 pts
5 of a kind = 2000 pts
6 of a kind = 3000 pts
3 Pairs = 1500 pts
2 Triplets = 2500 pts
1-6 Straight 1500 pts
*Scoring note: Four-of-a-kind & pair = Three pairs

I grew up on this game, and this is how I have played my whole life. There are other variations. I’ve heard of some versions having two special colored dice that when thrown will either add or subtract from your score. There is also a “high stakes” version where the next person can roll your unused die. It’s really a fun, simple, yet versatile game!

There’s even a pirate version!!! Arggg…


We hope you enjoy playing it as much as we do!

A Day Sail with Dolphins


Romance with a View

Waterlemon Key is a stunningly beautiful harbor surrounded by sweeping hills and beautiful waters. The surrounding hills hold the ruins of the Annaberg plantation. The waters host an array of tropical life & coral that is just a snorkels length away from the boat moorings. In the photo below you’ll see a lovely little island that is just a swims length away from the boats, a habitat to stunning tropical fish.








From the beach there are two hiking trails. To the right is an easy, fairly level walk to the Annaberg Plantation itself, where you can see old slave quarters, the windmill, a prison cell and the places where they worked to produce molasses & rum.

To the left is another hiking trail… our personal favorite…









This trail leads up to the left up the hill, about halfway up there is the ruins of a house that was used as a “look out” to spot slaves trying to escape to the British Islands where they could be free.








Pictures of the Annaberg plantation, the “look out” house ruins and the hike I will share with you soon…

All the photos shown here are of my favorite place. The plantation owners home, they knew what they were doing when they build a house here!!! These are some of the best views that I have seen of the Islands yet! Pictures cannot do it justice, it’s a stunning 360 deg view!











From the coral below to the British Islands next door to the vast ocean…

You can see it all uninterrupted vantage point & sweeping panorama.









One of the advantages of cruising with us is that we cater the trip to you. Perhaps you want this to be a quiet romantic trip for two? We can accommodate that… How about surprising your mate with a romantic dinner for two at the end of “a short hike before dinner”? Perhaps it’s an anniversary trip? or maybe you want an anniversary to celebrate… so you want to propose marriage? This is the place to do it!!!

We can plan on having an early dinner ready and waiting for you atop the hill, complete with music & drinks… Romance is but a short hike away with a view of your privately chartered yacht, turquoise waters, and the islands.


Gone snorkeling…

Well we have a new toy, a Kodak play sport!!! So we have been taking lots of underwater photos and videos! 

Sadly tho both of our computers are down =( hence why I haven’t been posting a weekly blog post for a bit now. Jeff’s computer died again and mine’s hard-drive is so over loaded with itself that it won’t even open a photo. Sad, very sad. 

But the sunny side of this is that I did get one snorkel video posted online before everything went postal! 

So here it is, my first recorded snorkeling video: 

I hope you enjoyed it! There will be more to come shortly! I have been practicing staying steadier and moving slower. I also have some beautiful under water photos!!! See ya soon!!!! ~ K

The Grand Finale of RUM

The Legendary “skull & bones” flag was designed to be scary. Some pirates, like black beard, had their own personally designed flag.


2 oz Rum

3 oz Passion Fruit Juice

3 oz Mango Juice

2 oz Sweet & Sour Mix

Pour over ice & garnish with a lime wheel.

Now here you are making all these Caribbean Rum drinks, now you need to make some Caribbean food to go with it!!! May I suggest my recipe for Jerk Chicken!!!

The other day I was visiting a plantation on St. John (i’ll talk about this soon), and a local woman was set up in an old kitchen with local food & drink. She was kind enough to give me the recipe for a true classic: Johnny Cakes! Their a bit like fried dough… very tasty! Here’s the recipe she gave me:

Local Island Johnny Cakes

2 Cups Flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp Sugar

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp butter

1/3 Cup warm water

Oil – for deep frying

Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and mix until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs. Add water and mix until a stiff dough forms. Knead thoroughly but lightly until all lumps have disappeared. Place dough on a floured board and cover with a damp towel for 30 mins. Add 3-4 inches of oil to a sauce pan and heat. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and flatten before frying on both sides. Serve hot.

and now for the last but certainly not least Rum Recipe, the most requested recipe, the one everyone has been waiting for….



2, 3 or 4 oz RUM (preferably pussers rum)

1 oz Cream of Coconut

4 oz Pineapple Juice

1 oz Orange Juice

Pour over ice and sprinkle with fresh grated nutmeg.

The beauty of this recipe is that you can make it up in bulk ahead of time for a party! So instead of “ounces” subsitute the word “parts”… 2 parts rum, 1 part cream of coconut, etc… easy breezy and always a crowd pleaser!!!

Check out all the weeks of Rum for all the Fun:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Under the sea

We finally made it!!! LoL…

Captain Jeff & I went for a walk one afternoon. We found ourselves over by yacht haven and pretended to be a tourists on a cruise ship. Needless to say we had fun and no we don’t take ourselves too seriously…

Yeah… That’s right, Jeff is pretending to be under water.

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