March 7, 2006 — The third time was a charm for the start of a new inter-island ferry service between St. Thomas and St. Croix. The Island Lynx Ferry Company set sail into the local market Monday with the first voyage of its 100-foot catamaran, Kaiso.
Principals for the company say they will provide inter-island transport between the Edward Blyden Terminal in Charlotte Amalie and Gallows Bay Dock near Christiansted at least twice a day, six days a week. They heralded Monday's launch of service as the start of new inter-island relations that are bound to enhance St. Croix's economy.
Island Lynx was initially promised to begin service in time for the Crucian Christmas Festival, then again for mid-February, in time to transport those attending the St. Croix Agriculture and Food Fair.
Company managers said they missed those marks because the Kaiso had to undergo some repairs as it traveled to the territory from New Jersey.
"During the trip from New Jersey, there was the requirement that it get some minor repairs done in Fort Lauderdale. There was also a requirement that some repairs be done over in St. Thomas, after the vessel's arrival in the Virgin Islands," said Kevin Rames, a St. Croix attorney and one of the partners in Island Lynx Ferry Company.
The Kaiso is a 100-ton ferry with triple-deck seating for 209. Operating manager Bob Siebengartner said the Kaiso will soon be joined in service by the Eid Travel, a 160-foot vessel designed to carry passengers as well as vehicles. "It's actually faster than the one that's here now," he said Tuesday.
When the second vessel starts its scheduled run, Rames said the company plans to hold a public ceremony as a belated inaugural. Seibengartner said the service will run on a six-day schedule, taking Tuesdays off for maintenance. Depending on weekend, holiday and special events traffic, he said more trips may appear on the schedule.
Among those looking forward to the new service is Alphonso Franklin of Our Town Frederiksted who said he's most hoping to see cruise ship passengers making day trips to the big island. "There's no question that traffic between the islands of St. Thomas and St. Croix helps our economy," he said Tuesday.
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