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Historical Sailing Tours of Salt River Bay

Did you know that many infamous pirates sailed the waters of St. Croix? In fact, hundreds of years before Salt River Bay became a national park it was a favorite landing spot for many pirates, buccaneers and privateers like Jean Martel, Blackbeard, Sam Bellamy, and Black Ceasar. Now you can sail the same waters of Salt River Bay and learn about the golden age of piracy with Stanford Joines, author of The Eighth Flag (A history of the Caribbean 1493-1750), for a two-hour sailing adventure.

Eighth Flag Charters offers intimate tours for up to seven passengers, so you and your guests will make up the crew and have the boat and Captain Stan all to yourselves! As residents of St. Croix, we booked our sail with the goal of learning as much of the local pirate history as possible. Stan met us right across the the Salt River Marina office and we boarded his sailboat, Folly.

Stan passed around a 4 pound cannon ball found in Salt River Bay

Sailing Salt River Bay Aboard Folly

As we were leaving the marina, Stan blew his bugle while one of our guests hoisted the main sail, and we were off. Stan pointed out local wildlife like iguanas hanging from the mangrove branches, and egrets roosting in the trees along the banks. As a very seasoned sailor, and long time St. Croix resident, Stan easily maneuvered Folly all around Salt River Bay while telling us about the indigenous tribes that originally called “Cibugueria” (now St. Croix) home, the conquistadors and explores that landed here, and the golden age of piracy that followed.

We sailed near the point where the remains of the old pirate fort in Salt River was constructed, and Stan told us about the incredible battle between the 32-gun HMS Scarborough and Martel’s 22-gun John and Martha. We also learned that there are two shipwrecks in the Salt River Bay area, John and Martha and Renown. We even got to hear the story of how the wreck of John and Martha was found in 1977. What little remains of these wrecks after hundreds of years are mainly ballast stones and cannons that have been reclaimed by the reef.

Cannons from the John and Martha which wrecked in Salt River in the 1700s

Take the Eighth Flag Charters Tour

The beauty of Eighth Flag Charters is it’s a private tour, it’s budget-friendly, and you get to customize your experience. Like us, you can ask Stan to teach you all the interesting pirate history, you can learn about the ecology of the Salt River Bay area, or you can sit back, relax, and enjoy a beautiful sunset sail. This is a great tour for families or small groups, and if you ask Stan you may even get to take the tiller sail the boat! Folly carries water, beer and Coca-Cola, but you can also bring your favorite libation. For those not likely to turn green on the open water, Folly can sail out of the bay into the Caribbean Sea and along the beautiful north shore of Saint Croix.

Sailing in Salt River Bay under the pirate flag aboard Folly

About The Eighth Flag Book

I would also highly recommend reading Stanford Joines’ book if you find pirate or St. Croix history interesting. Over 10,000 copies have already been sold, and it get high ratings from hundreds of readers. The book covers the history of native islanders, conquistadors, buccaneers, privateers and pirates and their impact and influence on St. Croix. The Eighth Flag (A history of the Caribbean 1493-1750) can be found locally at Undercover Books & Gifts (sometimes you can even find an autographed copy!), at booksellers across the U.S., or online at

The Eighth Flag sailing tour enthralled me, as did the history and beauty of Salt River Bay. Stan’s love for sailing, passion for history and local knowledge makes this adventure one you’ll never forget! Book your own pirate history and sailing adventure online today!

-Editor, Jennie Ogden



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