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Thanks for visiting Sauce du Jour. Feel free to share a great recipe, leave a comment, or make me dinner. I'll bring hors d' oeuvres and the wine! To visit my website go to Thanks for visiting the Sauce ~Tammi

Jul 19, 2010

Free Ingwe: The What's Not To ♥ Boat!

It was raining, I was tired and The Big Guy said, "watch your step honey,” which immediately put a hex on me. I swear that I wasn't drinking (well, maybe one); I just didn’t have my sea legs yet. Anyhow, I slipped and fell on my keester as I was getting off the ferry in St.John. Mr. Big and I, the Lexuses and the Langfield’s had barely stepped off the red-eye from Denver, when I decided to show a bunch of strangers just how uncool I am. Hey, I didn’t really need that tailbone anyway. I picked up what was left of my dignity, my dog and my Bushwacker and headed off in the general direction of the Tamarind Court. Because my honey and my friends love me, they fussed over my aching butt and grimaced appropriately over the bruise that was definitely going to interfere with my tan lines. We took the edge off my hurt with a Painkiller before we headed to Rhumb Lines to have dinner. (order the Pad Thai or the salmon)
    The next day was the beginning of our week long charter on board Free Ingwe, a 45' catamaran, owned and operated by Matt and Mel Neidlinger, THEE best Captain and Chef in the entire Virgin Islands. We know this to be a fact, because The Big Guy said so. We settled in, then had a tasty lunch of tropical chicken salad, before going to Tortola to clear customs. The Brits had been forewarned that Elvis was "in the building" and for ten bucks, Matt bought their silence. We then had a nice, relaxing sail to Norman Island, where we tied up for the night and enjoyed Mels to-freaking-die-for Coconut Crusted Basa with Mango-Lime Ailoi.
Matt wanted to see what we were made of, so he took us to Willy T’s, a floating bar forever moored in a cove known as The Bight. Island music blared; white dudes bit their lower lips and mimicked the moves of the brothers, who grinded up against the whites dude’s women. We learned about “the posh-in” from a local, who was channeling Dr. Phil, and who definitely was not practicing what he preached. Being the fun-haters that our men are, they declined to partake in the body shots, which looked more like a free-for-all-booby-buffet. To whoops and hollers, us girls may/or may not have hiked up our skirts and/or pulled down our tops for a pirate tattoo, given by the bartender. We partied like rock stars on that rickety old boat! Thank God the kids (what kids?) were home in bed. 
    The next morning, as we were headed to Angelfish Reef for a dive, we got into an actual game of chicken with another boat that was trying to take a mooring ball that we had been waiting on. As we both raced towards it, it became clear that we were on a collision course. Our Captain was ready to open up a can of whoop-ass, as he told the other guy, in no uncertain terms, exactly where he was going to put that boat hook if he tried to steal our mooring ball! We cheered Matt on, and I can say that I personally shot my best stink eye at the Losers while the rest of the Free Ingwe crew smugly gave their adult best, “Our Captain Can Beat Up Your Captain” look. This exciting encounter gave new meaning to “Chicken of the Seas”!
    After all this excitement we just needed to do some chillin. A spa treatment at Peter Island Resort was just what the doctor ordered, so Mrs. Lexus, the Langfields and I had a relaxing afternoon being rubbed, scrubbed and wrapped. Big, Dr. Lexus, Elvis, Matt and Mel, all sailed over to Trellis Bay to look at a catamaran that was for sale. It was more than our combined credit card limit, so at the end of the day, we were still all one, big happy family on Free Ingwe.
    The next day Matt took us on a dive of the RMS Rhone, a 310’ mail steam ship that sank during a hurricane in 1867. It was a thrilling dive with stunning sea life and abundant coral. As we entered the hull of the ship a giant sea turtle swam right past each one of us, and inside, schools of fish danced to the rhythm of our flashlights. We saw Fang, the giant killer barracuda (you shhhish, Matt) who lives on the Rhone, and finally we rubbed the porthole of the stateroom of the only surviving passenger. That afternoon we sailed to Virgin Gorda, where we snorkeled and hiked The Baths.
    The next day we dropped anchor at Great Camanoe and dingy-ed over to Litttle Camanoe Island where the Langfield’s became unlawfully wedded by Captain Matt. Big and I stood beside the happy couple and served as Matron of Honor and Best Man. Mr. Lexus wore a smart twinset (and was dapper, I might add—in an Old-Folks-Home-kind-of-way) when he walked the bride down the sandy isle. And speaking of the bride—she was positively pure looking (wink, wink) in white. The groom was handsome in a white linen shirt and bright red sunburn. Mrs. Lexus, always a bridesmaid and always a fashionista, was stylish as ever in her floral cover up and a 1980's sun visor. Mel snapped pictures and popped open the bubbly. We left the newlyweds to, ahem, honeymoon and us old folks went back to the boat where Mrs. Lexus wowed us with her water skiing abilities. Who knew? We had her pegged for a snow bunny.
    The rest of our week was filled with more great food and wine, picture postcard sunsets, awesome diving, smooth sailing, fun in the sun, and relaxing with great friends. Matt and Mel spoiled us in a manner that we could have become accustomed to! Mel put her Dive Instructor skills to good use and got the Langfields certified while on the trip, allowing us all to do a dive together at The Playground, a site just off Jost Van Dyke. It was a spectacular dive and we saw a huge shark! (Mel-you shhhish!)
     And speaking of JVD, we had lunch at Foxy's, a Painkiller at the Soggy Dollar Bar, and then spent the evening sipping one of Matt's famous concoctions while in absolute heaven over Mel’s dinner of Pork Tenderloin with Sweet Potato and Plantain Mash. (This trip she had the foresight to hide the plantains from The Big Guy, lest he mistake them for bad bananas again.)
    On our final night we had a drinks and dinner at Havana Blue on St.Thomas, one of my favorite dining spots in the Caribbean.
     The following day we were sad to leave Free Ingwe, but we were taking with us memories that would last a lifetime. As we walked out on the tarmac at the St.Thomas airport and began to board the plane, I was feeling pretty good. I mean, I had a decent tan, a cute sundress, new earrings from H. Stern and barely a bruise left on my butt. Feeling pretty good about myself that is, until The Big Guy said, “honey, watch your step.”

This is part 2 of 2, of a post about Free Ingwe--the trip of a lifetime. So, what are you waiting for? Book a trip with Matt & Mel this fall. The offer for the free Willy T tattoo is still good, if you drop my name (see Part 1). And just to tempt you, Mel is sharing her recipe for Coconut Crusted Basa with Mango-Lime Aioli. Go to the "Seafood" tab at the top of this page to view it, then go directly to the Free Ingwe website to book your trip. You'll thank me later! 
(Above right: Elvis, looking longingly at Free Ingwe)

1 comment:

  1. Dear 2nd biggest fan: Really? Dr. Lexus? I love that guy too but find him to be somewhat of a bore. I always try to keep the reader happy, so I will be sure to include more about him in the future. You won't mind if I have to embelish a little will you, just to make him more interesting? Thanx for reading SdJ.
    ♥ ya Dr. L!