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Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.
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YV&C News Desk wrote: Who has never dreamt of being a pirate with an eye patch, a parrot on their shoulder and cutlasses at their hip; of desert islands with white sand and long-legged palm trees; secret coves, caves and treasure maps where X marks the spot And of the bursting treasure chest with jewel encrusted goblets and gold doubloons spilling out?
YV&C News Desk wrote: Who has never dreamt of being a pirate with an eye patch, a parrot on their shoulder and cutlasses at their hip; of desert islands with white sand and long-legged palm trees; secret coves, caves and treasure maps where X marks the spot And of the bursting treasure chest with jewel encrusted goblets and gold doubloons spilling out?
YV&C News Desk wrote: Who has never dreamt of being a pirate with an eye patch, a parrot on their shoulder and cutlasses at their hip; of desert islands with white sand and long-legged palm trees; secret coves, caves and treasure maps where X marks the spot And of the bursting treasure chest with jewel encrusted goblets and gold doubloons spilling out?


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Treasure Islands Yacht Charter
On the pirates' trail in the British Virgin Islands

Later in the evening you might hear the words of old Billy Bones’ favorite sea shanty echoing across the Bight from the Pirates beach bar:

“Fifteen men on the deadman’s chest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum.”

Next morning, as you sail past Dead Chest on your way between Peter Island and Salt Island, take a closer look. A deadman’s chest was his coffin and the peculiar rocks of Dead Chest are said to resemble a coffin – especially if you’ve had a few drinks the night before! More fanciful still is the legend that Blackbeard marooned fifteen mutinous sailors on it with nothing but a barrel of rum between them. Some time later, fourteen sets of bones were discovered there – the fifteenth set were found on a beach at nearby Peter Island, since named Deadman’s Bay in honour of the only swimmer amongst them. Presumably, they drank the rum!

They certainly would have enjoyed it. The Royal Navy, where many of them started their seafaring careers, issued a daily ration of ‘Pusser’s’ (a corruption of the word ‘Purser’ who was responsible for its distribution) to all sailors for more than 300 years. The initial ration was half a pint a day which was drunk neat. Before battle they got a double ration and after victory another double ration to celebrate. At 95.5% proof it’s amazing the cannonballs ever found their targets! In recognition of the difficulties caused by drunkenness, the ration was gradually reduced to a ‘tot’, or an eighth of a pint, and finally abandoned altogether in 1970. Until then, Pusser’s rum was never sold to the general public but it is now produced to the original recipe on Tortola.  So “splice the main brace” and award yourself a double ration. (Historically, the main brace was the largest and heaviest sail trimming line in the rigging and could measure up to 20 inches in diameter. Splicing it was one of the most difficult tasks aboard and clearly warranted the customary reward).

The island of Virgin Gorda is home to one of the most popular natural attractions in the BVIs, The Baths. Here, huge granite boulders tumble together to form a labyrinth of pools and grottoes ideal for aquatic hide and seek and, with the water temperature at about 83 degrees, it really does feel like taking a warm bath. At the opposite end of the island, the well hidden anchorage of North Sound lies inside Calquhoun Reef, surrounded by the islands of Prickly Pear, Mosquito and Eustasia. Here you’ll find the resorts of Biras Creek, which has an excellent restaurant (although you must reserve in advance as only one table is available to those not staying there), and the aptly named Bitter End Yacht Club. As you sip your rum ration blended into a ‘Painkiller’ cocktail with coconut, pineapple and orange juice, imagine the square riggers lying in wait in the Sound; it’s here that the most ‘respectable’ pirate of all concealed his fleet before attacking the Spanish.

Sir Francis Drake was a privateer, or state sanctioned pirate, whose backing came from the very top – Queen Elizabeth I. He was also one of the most profitable; Her Majesty got a return 47 times her investment following his circumnavigation and she knighted him on the deck of his ship the Golden Hind when he arrived back in Portsmouth in 1581. The entire trip had been a catalogue of plundering and it was typically the Spanish who were relieved of their gold, jewels, wine and silver. Pirates and privateers such as Drake and Henry Morgan actually played a key role in defeating the burgeoning Spanish empire in the New World - an interesting collaboration between state and private enterprise!

When giving chase, privateers generally sailed under their King’s colors. However, if the victims did not submit, a red flag (the ‘jolie rouge’, better known as the Jolly Roger) or a black flag would be raised in addition, indicating that no lives would be spared. Most pirates had customised versions of the black or red flags. Blackbeard’s for example had a full skeleton spearing a red heart, complete with droplets of blood. However, he was more of a colorful character with a taste for cruelty than a particularly successful pirate. When asked if his wife knew where he had buried his treasure he replied that only he and the Devil knew “...and the longest liver shall take all”. Given that he was slaughtered by the Royal Navy only two years into his career, one can suppose that either the Devil took it or maybe his fortune is still buried somewhere on the islands of Great and Little Thatch, named after his real name of Edward Teach - Thatch in old English.

The Dutch settler Jost Van Dyke was also reputed to have been a pirate but apparently gave it all up for a quiet life in the BVIs. The island named after him is particularly rugged and has perhaps the most stunning beach of all, White Bay, which ranks amongst the top ten in the world. But for the ultimate ‘desert island’ experience head over to nearby islands of Sandy Cay and it’s even smaller neighbour Sandy Spit, which is almost completely haloed by a white sand beach.

If you’re looking to make an escape from the stresses of the twenty first century, the British Virgin Islands continue to provide the perfect setting. Aboard a luxury sailing yacht there’s no better place to let your imagination run away with itself, as the rich natural environment, close proximity of the islands and constant gentle breezes make them ideally suited to the romance of sail. “...there is still treasure not yet lifted.” wrote Stevenson in the opening paragraph of Treasure Island and you’ll find it here in abundance.   

About Michelle Blore and Alan Oliver
Michelle Blore and Alan Oliver both quit successful careers in London to move to the French Riviera. They now run Dream Sailing (www.dreamsailing.com) a charter brokerage specializing in luxury crewed yachts, including their own sailing yacht, DreamCatcher of London. alanandmichelle@dreamsailing.com

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Who has never dreamt of being a pirate with an eye patch, a parrot on their shoulder and cutlasses at their hip; of desert islands with white sand and long-legged palm trees; secret coves, caves and treasure maps where X marks the spot And of the bursting treasure chest with jewel encrusted goblets and gold doubloons spilling out?

Who has never dreamt of being a pirate with an eye patch, a parrot on their shoulder and cutlasses at their hip; of desert islands with white sand and long-legged palm trees; secret coves, caves and treasure maps where X marks the spot And of the bursting treasure chest with jewel encrusted goblets and gold doubloons spilling out?

Who has never dreamt of being a pirate with an eye patch, a parrot on their shoulder and cutlasses at their hip; of desert islands with white sand and long-legged palm trees; secret coves, caves and treasure maps where X marks the spot And of the bursting treasure chest with jewel encrusted goblets and gold doubloons spilling out?


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