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“Great Sail and Snorkel Outing!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Island Girl Charters

Island Girl Charters
| Yacht Haven, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
1 (340) 344-4282
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Attraction details
Dacula, Georgia
1 review
“Great Sail and Snorkel Outing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2012

What a great trip we had with Capt Mike on the Island Girl! It was a beautiful day and it was windy, but it made for a fun ride to Buck Island and Turtle Cove. There were only 4 of us on the sailboat, which really makes it much more enjoyable. We saw sea turtles and lots of fish and realized that we were the last ones to leave, which was great because sometimes those larger groups make it more difficult to snorkle. Capt Mike was captain and crew all by himself and he took great care to make sure we had an enjoyable time. He provided beer, rum punch, crackers, cheese, and fruit! He will also give you an opportunity to steer! I would recommend the Island Girl and Capt Mike!

Visited February 2012
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  • English first
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English first
Carlisle, PA
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Not the best experience, and not a good value”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2012

Island Girl did not meet our expectations. We read reviews on here and elsewhere and read their website carefully before booking. Booking was fairly easy, and the e-mails were friendly enough. But the follow-through wasn't there. First, the boat is looking awfully run-down and not well kept, with things tossed around in the cabin area. It wasn't inviting or encouraging. The captain didn't seem as if he wanted to be doing this tour, and went through the motions of motoring out to Shipwreck Cove and getting us into the water. The one thing that was correct was they had good snorkeling gear and he was at least helpful with that, but we did not have a second crew person on board as expected to serve drinks/food and go in the water with us. The website says you will have a guide in the water, and we thought we were paying for that service and expected it. We were simply pointed toward the shore or to the shipwreck that was "over there." On the return sail, we were finally offered beverages, but no food (as arranged). On our return home, I e-mailed with our concerns and was given a number of excuses but no suggestion that they were willing to make it right. A second e-mail went unanswered. I cannot recommend this charter.

Visited January 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Michael S, Owner at Island Girl Charters, responded to this review, February 23, 2012
First let me say that I am the Owner/Captain of Island Girl and I enjoy doing the sailing/snorkeling tours and this is why I continue to do so. I am responding to the unfavorable review dated February 7, 2012 by Dominic D.
He states the boat is run down; Island Girl was fully repainted within the past year. He states that the Captain (myself) did not “seem as if he wanted to be doing this tour”.
On the contrary, I waited for Dominic’s ship which was late into port by an hour simply so they could enjoy their sail and snorkel tour which had been reserved in advance. The ship experienced unfavorable weather for their entire cruise, and the delay into the port of St. Thomas was due to these conditions.
Dominic then goes on to state that I went through the motions of motoring out to the Cove. We did not motor out! I put the mainsail up once we got out of the harbor of St. Thomas. The reason the motor was left on is due to the fact that the sea state was up due to the same conditions the ships had been contending with all week. On the way back from Buck Island I raised the mainsail as well as the headsail, the sea state was still unfavorable with next to no wind…so I left the motor on to motor/sail this again was the only way to make our destination into the port of St. Thomas in the timeframe allotted for the guests to make their ship in time for the all aboard still getting their 3.5-4 hour tour.
It rained a total of three times during their sail/snorkel tour. He makes reference to food being served. I had the food ready after the snorkel, however it began to rain, and crackers, cheese and apples do not fair well in rain…I held off serving these waiting for the weather to improve, Unfortunately the weather never really improved. As a matter of fact I speed-up Island Girl to get ahead of the 4th rain squall which would have been a torrential down-pour to keep the guests from getting soaked again then getting cold.

Since Dominic and his friend were up on the deck of the vessel throughout the entire tour, they may have felt left out. However, the helm is in the aft part of Island Girl with a shade cover, this is where the cockpit and the seating is located. All guests are told at the beginning of the tour upon reaching the boat that they can sit on the deck of the boat, or in the shaded cockpit. They could have moved to the cockpit at anytime during the sail. If they would have been on a catamaran tour with 40-80 guests they would not have had the pleasure of sitting alone on the deck though most of the tour.
He states that “we were simply pointed to shore or to the shipwreck that was “over there”. This is absolutely untrue; I always give a detailed briefing. All guests are asked if they if they can swim, if they have ever snorkeled before, and are offered snorkel vests.
At this point I give an extensive briefing on where I believe the best snorkeling is for whichever cove we are in, and what they can and cannot do. Such as “all turtles are protected species you may not touch or chase them”. They are told not to hold onto, stand, or walk on any rock or coral due to the fact they will hurt themselves or destroy the coral. However, I explain to them that this is where the fish are more than likely to be due to the fact that they like to eat the algae that is growing on the rocks and coral. If anyone needs assistance or is unable to find something they would like to see such as a turtle or the wreck I offer to get into the water and show them where these are. Ninety nine percent of the time guests wish to do their own thing, however I am always available to guide our guests if they would like this option.

Dominic states “on the return, sail we were finally offered beverages”. This is incorrect, all guests are offered water and soda upon boarding Island Girl, Alcohol is not offered until swimming/snorkeling is finished. He also states “we did not have a second crew person onboard as expected to serve drinks/food and go in the water with us”.
No where do we state that there will be a second crew member aboard, nor does the U.S. Coast Guard require a 6-pax vessel to have crew. In the past we have had crew, at this point in time it seems to be very difficult to find qualified crew that shows-up in a timely matter. So, we have chosen to have Casper our friendly auto-pilot assist more, and he does not seem to mind.
I’m totally confused as to why Dominic and his friend would give me a $20.00 tip if they felt neglected, I might also mention there was another couple aboard during their sail that they tipped me as well. They said they had a great time as they were leaving.
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Houston, Texas
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great sailing with a small group atmosphere.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2012

We sailed on the Island Girl in December 2011 while on our Caribbean Cruise. We had a great time with Captain Mike and greatly enjoyed the limited guests (3 of us + 2 hotel guests). It was a wonderful relaxing sail, and we enjoyed the snorkeling. The water was a tad murky, but we had plenty of room to stay away from the other snorkeling groups there that day which meant that you weren't constantly being kicked by other snorkelers. On the sail back to the downtown area, we enjoyed rum punch / beer and some light snacks; non-alcoholic drinks and water were also readily available. Overall, we had a wonderful time on the Island Girl and would definitely sail with Mike again!

Thanks for a great time! :)

Visited December 2011
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NJ
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Island Girl Charter comes thruough”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

We were originally booked on a private excursion with another company that emailed me at the port prior to St. Thomas to say tough luck their ship had been sold and they'd send me my $150 back. After much pressuring because I could not get a wifi signal I insisted they call another charter. Later in the evening I got a call that Mike from Island Girl would take care of us - and accept the payment we had made to this other charter company!!!! Island Girl was a great little ship and we were with 2 other couples from our cruise ship that we did not know. He can take 6 snorkeling. He met us at the end of the cruise ship dock and picked us up in his rubber dinghy and shuttled us to the sailboat. We headed out to shipwreck cove for snorkeling. Unfortunately he can't control the weather and it wasn't that good so snorkeling with iffy and got to see some fish but nothing that I expected. Then he provided complimentary snacks and alcohol and soft drinks after snorkeling. Overall, it was a nice relaxing trip with a good captain and he was knowledgeable about the island and water and it was very pleasant. Thanks for coming through for us Captain Mike.

Visited December 2011
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Sailing was fine, very disappointed in snorkelling”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 31, 2011

My boyfriend and I visited St. Thomas on a cruise. When we arrived, we found out that the sailboat we booked was sold and our sail was cancelled. (You can read my review on Jolly Mon.) We were lucky that Captain Mike had room for us that morning and he took us out.
We had a nice time, but sailing is probably just not our kind of thing. We were very disappointed in the snorkelling....
We were taken out from the dock to the boat on a dinghy, then climbed a ladder onto the boat. Captain Mike is very experienced and ran the boat by himself. We sailed out to Buck Island. We were really looking forward to seeing turtles at Turtle Cove - that would have been the highlight! But I guess the waters were not ideal that day so we did not moor there. We only saw the Cartanza shipwreck, which was nothing amazing. There is not much coral at all, mostly rocks. Not one turtle or anything other than the usual Caribbean fish.
Snacks after snorkelling were cheese and crackers and apple slices. We were also offered beer, pop, or water.
If you are considering this sail for snorkelling, I would recommend you look for something else. If you mainly want to sail, then you will probably enjoy this.

Visited December 2011
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