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The Curious Case of Water IslandJune 17, 2009 By: Joe Pike
WATER ISLAND, U.S. Virgin Islands— I love when I find places in the Caribbean people have rarely heard of, but that’s usually as hard as trying to find a late ‘90’s baseball player who didn’t take a needle in the butt cheek by Jose Canseco. This morning in the U.S. Virgin Islands was the exception.
Sure, agents and travelers have heard of the big three in the U.S. V.I – St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas, but who heard of Water Island? I sure as heck didn’t. When I heard about it, I thought it was some Six Flags slip ‘n slide ride or something where I’m going to be the creepy old guy splashing around with a bunch of kids. Oh no. Water Island is actually the fourth and most recently acquired island in the USVI . And if you probably haven’t heard of it because it’s only roughly 500 acres and there are zero hotels there.
But there is campground called Virgin Islands Campground, Inc. Now, it’s not a campground as we know it with tents and creeks and “Beware of the Bears” (still haven’t been attacked by a bear, yet) signs. This is more of an eco-friendly spot with seven cabins, all of which can sleep four people. The owner, Paul (yep, the award-winning writer over here never got his last name) picked me up on his little, 16-foot Wahoo boat at the Yacht Haven Grande marina in St. Thomas and took me on an absolutely beautiful, yet way too short, ride to the island he has lived on for the last 35 years.
Now, there isn’t exactly much to do here, but that’s the point. You come here to get away from the sometimes annoying tourist scene on St. Thomas and escape to nothing. Well, not entirely nothing. There’s the beautiful Honeymoon Beach where Brad Pitt visited to film the hurricane scene in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Heidi’s Honeymoon Grill is the hip, little beach hangout where you can grab a coldy or a bite to eat. And frankly, that’s really all I need and probably all any couple visiting the Caribbean really needs.
Now, if you really want to break a sweat and actually, physically do something, there is a cool bike tour offered by Water Island Adventures. The tours are about $60 for a five-mile ride. Give owners Susan Miller and Agnes Rampino a shout at 340-714-2186 if you’re interested. And if you want to shack up at one of my man Paul’s cabins, they’ll run you just under a C-note for the night. Give him a holla at 340-776-5488 if you want to book one of these puppies in advance.
Getting there is a piece of cake, too. It’s just a $4 water tax ride from right near where I left. When I toured, I ran into two beautiful women from New York but they looked so relaxed and so happy to be alone that I wasn’t about to try the old “let me give you one my business cards” trick. And that’s why you come here, so you don’t have to be harassed by a one-track-minded reporter from New York. Better yet, there are no cops here. Enough said. Maybe this is why old Benjamin Button aged so well.