Phenomenal private day charter with Pyratz was the highlight of our trip - by FAR!!!
Our day (8:15am-5:15pm) with Pyratz was definitely the highlight of our trip (and the whole trip was amazing so that is saying a lot!). My husband and I shared the private catamaran day trip with a couple friend of ours. This was a bit of a splurge for us but WELL WORTH IT (especially in comparison to what we've spent on 1 hour helicopter rides!). We were pampered all day by both our Captain (Garin) and First Mate (Tess)! They were a great pair (not a couple though – LOL!) Based on our interests, they suggested wonderful stops including Creole Rock, Petit Plage, Happy Bay, Baie Rogue and Long Bay. (They noted that generally they only have time for 3 stops but somehow we were able to fit all 5 stops in comfortably.) Upon boarding, they provided a very tasty continental breakfast and mimosas (or any other cocktail or drink we requested.). We really liked that we were able to "blue-tooth"our own tunes throughout the day. Signature cocktails, wine, beer or any other type of drink you can imagine were offered all day long. Our favorites were the French Kiss (vodka infused with cinnamon and pink pepper, lemon juice, strawberry, soy milk and lemon grass syrup) and the Special Margarita (tequilla, chartreuse, and lime juice, with large jalapeno and cilantro ice cubes. The drink gets spicier as the ice cube melts!) Our first stop was Creole Rock, with spetacular snorkeling. We saw a spotted eagle ray (just gorgeous – black with white polka dots), hawk’s bill sea turtles, lionfish, trumpetfish, queen tigerfish, queen angelfish, long spined sea urchins and French gruntfish among many others. There was also plenty of beautiful coral reef including yellow tube sponge, west Indian sea egg, barrel sponge, common sea fan, and coral reef brain. After a nice swim there (maybe 45 mins?), we were served homemade tortilla chips with three savory dips (smoked paprika hummus, wasabi & lime guacamole, and Mexican corn salsa) on our way to Petit Plage. After a short stop at Petite Place, we headed to Happy Bay for our gourmet lunch that consisted of a starters trilogy (fish terrine cucumber roll with mint yogurt and citrus salsa, green papaya and mango salad with spicy lime vinaigrette and crushed peanuts, and a watermelon and chorizo gazpacho.) Everyone’s favorite was the papaya and mango salad though all were VERY good! This was followed by a seared catch of the day filet (Mahi Mahi for us) with a shaved fennel and pomegranate salad and side of sweet potato mash. (Other options for the main course included Fresh Grilled Lobster, Chicken Supreme or their vegetarian dish - Chickpea Croquetas.) Our friends swam ashore there but we chose to stay on the catamaran and lounge on the trampolines with large bean bags. After lunch we headed to Devil’s Hole/Devil's Arch near Baie Rouge. Garin/Tess dropped anchor and then taxi’ed us as close to Devil’s Hole as possible on the motorized dinghy. (They were excited as they said it was the first time they’d done this.) So much fun!! At our last stop (Long Bay), we enjoyed the delicious dessert - vanilla ice cream with almonds and chocolate sauce served on top of a carmelized apple slice before settling our stomachs with a shot of Gouverneur’s Rhum. As an added bonus, Garin (from South Africa) also provided us with wonderful recommendations for a trip to Africa we are planning to take in a few years. Finally, he made dinner reservations for us at his favorite restaurant – “The Palms” on airport road that night. Before dinner, we had a $1 beer at Happy Hour at the Soggy Dollar (another suggestion of Garin’s.) All of his recommendations for the Palms (the drunken ribs, mushroom chicken and carrot cake) were spectacular!!We can’t say enough good things about the entire Pyratz experience!! The catamaran and its amenities, the gourmet dining and drinks, all of the wonderful stops along the way and especially our hosts - Garin and Tess!! We will definitely return many times; we are planning a 2.5 day trip to Anguilla and St. Barts following our next visit to SXM.