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Saturday, July 20, 2024


Sept. 1, 2002 — Calypso I, the Mermaid Fast Ferries' 135-foot, 357-passenger catamaran, finally glided into Charlotte Amalie harbor Sunday. Though it's only a 40-mile journey, the ferry has been trying since April to make the trip.
It arrived without passengers, but that was fine with Joe Thayer, Mermaid general manager. "We didn't intend to bring passengers," he said, "we came to put the ramp up and get things set on St. Thomas."
Though the ferry will make its first official trip Monday morning, Thayer said Calypso I took passengers on its run back to St. Croix Sunday afternoon. Since the coconut telegraph is quite effective, and word travels fast, passengers were waiting when the Calypso I sailed in. "We weren't really expecting to carry any passengers back, but we did take a few," Thayer said.
U. S. Coast Guard inspections, government hurdles and maintenance have hindered the ferry's launch, Thayer said. The Coast Guard certified the vessel Saturday night.
The ferry's official maiden voyage will leave Gallows Bay, St. Croix, at 8 a.m. Monday. For Labor Day only, it will depart St. Croix again at 7 p.m. to accommodate the crowd from the races at Randall "Doc" James racetrack. It will depart St. Thomas at 10:45 a.m. and at 9:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, the ferry begins its regular fall schedule with two round trips a day, leaving St. Croix at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. It will depart St. Thomas daily at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. from the Edward Wilmoth Blyden IV Terminal.
The vessel is owned by a small investment group of St. Croix residents, headed by Meg and Chris Elliott.
Boston Harbor Cruises operated a fast ferry locally during the 2001-2002 season and is scheduled to return for the coming season. The Calypso I will operate year 'round.
Chris Elliott said the new ferry will offer more amenities than the competition has, including movies, occasional live music, bars and light food service on the Admiral deck. "I think you will see our vessel is much more like … a cruise ship. They are going to call us the fun ferry."
The Mermaid ferry charges the same price for local or tourist passengers. The round-trip fare is $50 for adults and $40 for children three to 12 years old on the Ensign deck. There is no charge for children younger than three years. On the Admiral deck, it's $65 for everyone.
For further information, call 719-2880.
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