You can feel it even today. As you gaze out over the crystal blue waters off the US Virgin Islands, it's not hard to imagine seeing a pirate ship, with its black flag flapping in the breeze, firing a warning shot across the bow of a passing merchant vessel. The same breeze that powers modern sailboats into the harbor at St. Thomas' Charlotte Amalie, once filled the canvas of square-rigged wooden tall ships that carried brigands and freebooters and their overflowing wealth of looted goods. Pirate stories and mystery oozes from these islands. Tales of lost treasure ride the winds through every corner, shadow and cove. If you listen closely you may hear a raspy, ghostly whisper of Blackbeard or Black Sam Bellamy whose ghosts inhabit our romantic illusions. And at one time, the governors of St. Thomas even welcomed pirates into the fold to bring trade and business to the same narrow alleyways that now lure tourists to part with their hard-earned money in the most famous duty-free market in the Caribbean. There's hardly a beach or private cove on St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix, now all known for their perfect escapist beauty, that hasn't felt the anchor and trod of a buccaneer hiding out from the law.
The U.S.V.I is a place where it's easy to step back in time, and with the pirates now long gone, the time has come to shiver the timbers with some good, clean (maybe a little decadent, too) peg-leg and eye-patch revelry. And you can celebrate the buccaneer life during the first annual Pirate Fest. Only this time you'll scour the seas with cameras instead of cannon and search for the treasures of the deep. You see, the pirates missed the booty divers are after. Sapphire blue waters embracing reefs festooned with bright orange sponges guarded by legions of fish. The silvery flash of Tarpon. The gold and blue of French grunts.
But when pirates, like divers, step on land don't expect to sleep. It wouldn't be a Pirate Fest, me hearties, without plans for wild nights of carousing and perhaps even some self-indulgent behavior as, you see, no self-respecting brigand would pass up a flagon of grog, a chance to party or free prizes. And they'll be chests full of prizes, matey.
So if the creek and groan of a wooden deck, outrageous nights and divers booty drives your desire to experience and explore the undersea world, come join us at the First Annual Pirate Fest. Who knows. You may even see your notorious, scowling mug, caught red-handed in the act of modern piracy, in the pages of Sport Diver magazine.
Come to the United States Virgin Islands this summer for the first annual Pirate Fest from July 24th - August 9th and receive special discounts on airfare, hotels, diving and more. Spend time on each of our beautiful islands during your trip. In addition to fabulous diving, each of our islands have their own special flavor and are only a short ferry or plane ride apart. St Thomas has fantastic shopping, restaurants and nightlife while St. John with its charming, secluded beaches and quaint atmosphere is more of a quite vacation hideaway. Then there's, St Croix . Rich in history and culture that will capture any adventurer's soul.
If you dive all three islands on your trip, you are eligible for the Grand Prize, 2 return tickets to the USVI on US Airways! Plus, just by being there vacationing and diving, you are eligible to win other fantastic prizes. Prizes include new dive gear, like a Seaquest BC, a four night stay at the Hotel Caravelle, a three night stay at Secret Harbour Beach Resort and a week's stay at Gallow's Point Resort for two, dinners, T-shirts and more. Plus several of the local shops, restaurants, car rental agencies and bars will all be offering special discounts to all Pirate Fest travelers. Prizes and sponsors will be continually updated so check back frequently. For official rules, participating hotels and dive operators and details on Pirate Fest, visit www.visra.info and to book your trip now, contact Caradonna Caribbean Tours at 1-800-328-2288 or go to www.caradonna.com.