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HomeNewsLocal governmentTerritory Celebrates ‘Nicole Robin Day’ in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Territory Celebrates ‘Nicole Robin Day’ in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Boats at anchor in Francis Bay on St. John. (Source photo by Amy H. Roberts)

Friday, Aug. 4 is “Nicole Robin Day” in the U.S. Virgin Islands, celebrating the courage and bravery exhibited in 1973 by the late Capt. Loredon Boynes Sr. and his crew.

“Nicole Robin Day” commemorates the history of a voyage that began on July 13, 1973, when Captain Loredon Boynes Sr. of St. John and a crew of five left Key West, Fla., on what was anticipated to be a five-day journey back to St. John in a new 60-ft. boat christened the Nicole Robin.

On July 21, 1973, the U.S. Coast Guard was notified that the Nicole Robin was missing at sea and on July 25, 1973, the Nicole Robin was reported to be in Cuba with all aboard safe and in good health. Negotiations for the release of the boat and crew were initiated immediately by the State Department, but the release didn’t occur until 19 days later, during which time Captain Boynes and the rest of his crew were imprisoned in separate jail cells and forced to subsist on rice, bread and water.

The Nicole Robin departed Cuban waters on August 2, 1973, with crew members somewhat thinner and considerably poorer, as Cuban authorities had assessed a fine against the Nicole Robin of $850.52, representing every penny in the possession of the Nicole Robin crew.

The Nicole Robin’s haggard but happy crew arrived in Cruz Bay, St. John, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4, 1973, to what could only be described as a jubilant throng of much-relieved relatives and friends who jammed the Cruz Bay dock and pier in a spontaneous ceremony and welcome-back celebration, thereby ending a harrowing 23-day experience

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