Credit: Caribbean Buzz Helicopters
St Thomas, Virgin Islands: An Adventurers Paradise
The first true destination for this season of The Amazing Race took the teams to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). Located in the Caribbean Sea, St. Thomas is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful islands in the world. The US purchased the island, along with St. John and St. Croix, in 1917 and has been an unincorporated territory ever since. Many travelers to St. Thomas choose this location for its natural beauty. While there are a plethora of activities on the island, here are some options to experience the island like the Race contestants.
Touring from the Sky
The contestants signed up for a seaplane ride at local Vendors Plaza. While flying to their first challenge, the teams were able to take in the natural beauty of the island from the air. Many companies in the USVI do offer seaplane rides but these seem to be more for island hopping than for touring. The touring companies utilize helicopters. One of the local companies, Caribbean Buzz Helicopters, offers 30-minute tours of the island that they call their “Hello Sunshine” tour. This venture takes riders around St. Thomas and the surrounding islands. If romance is on your agenda, call ahead for a Full Moon tour. The company also offers Heli-Adventures blending their thrilling rides with eco-tourism. Check them out at Caribbean-Buzz.com! If you want to follow the same path as the racers, check out SeaborneAirlines.com and jump on a seaplane headed to Lovango Cay.
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To Scale or to Scuba, That is the Question
The teams arrived in Lovango Cay, another island in the USVI, and boarded a boat speeding toward Carvel Rock for a rock climbing and cliff diving challenge. Legend says that a colonial British sea captain mistook the large boulders on night for a Spanish caravelle, or ship. Wanting to protect their own ship, the captain gave orders for his men to open fire. As dawn arrived, he then discovered that their midnight foe was simply an unsinkable rock. Some divers in the area have attested to finding cannonballs around the crag to solidify the story.
The cliffs of Carvel rock are steep and there is no beach. For those of you who watched Episode 1 of this season, the contestants had to swim for their boats to a ledge where they geared up for the accent up the cliff face. There is no safe place for boats to dock. For this reason, Carvel Rock is actually not a popular climbing site but is also a diving site! Divers commonly come across green moray eels and lobsters hiding in the underwater crevices. Swimming by these hiding spots are barracuda and kingfish. Due to the strength of the current, it is highly recommended to dive with a licensed company for safety.