From Culebrita, Puerto Rico’s last island to the east, we cross over to St. Thomas, the biggest of the U.S. Virgin islands, less than 20 NM of sailing.
The Danish West Indian Company established control over the island in the 1660s and begun a massive sugar cane production using slave labor. For a period the largest slave auctions in the world were held here.
St Thomas fine natural harbor became a popular pit stop for sailors with its many drinking establishments ‘tap hus’ or rum shops.
We anchor near Water Island for a few days and briefly visit Charlotte Amalie, the capital and largest city in the U.S. Virgin Islands, named after the wife of Denmark’s King Christian V.
Established in 1691 Charlotte Amalie is St. Thomas primary settlement declared a ‘free port’ where ships from all corners of the world would bring their cargo to be stored in large warehouses and distributed further to other New World colonies. The town became a busy commercial port with a growing share of the West Indian trade passing through.
Today the old warehouses are housing shops, galleries and restaurants in the hearth of the town, seducing visitors with their massive stone walls, heavy doors and narrow streets.
The best way to see the island is by taking a long ride on a small local bus which passes every 5 minutes and costs $1 per person from one end to the other.
You can hop on and off anywhere, the price is the same. And don’t be surprised, the cars here still drive on the wrong side of the road, even though St Thomas is now a territory of the USA after United States purchased the island for 24 million dollars in 1917.Share