There is magic in it, Herman Melville wrote of the sea, in 1851, and as the following pages affirm, that is still emphatically the case. This years swimsuit extravaganza cruises the Caribbean Sea and the Indian Ocean, with frequent stops ashore to sample the lush life that goes with benevolent sun, sparkling waters and alluring attire.
First comes a jaunt on Club Med 1 as it sails the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. The five-masted ship caters to the sports-minded and offers its passengers a variety of activities ranging from scuba diving to water-skiing to skeet-shooting. For more on Club Med 1, read the lively log of one sunshine sailor (page 134).
For a different kind of voyage, in a different part of the world, we packed our swimsuits, booked passage on the catamaran M/V Spice Islander and cruised to ports of call among the 13,677 islands of Indonesia.
There were stops at the picturesque isles of Lombok, Komodo, Sawu and, of course, the legendary Bali, where a culturally curious writer found unexpected adventure (page 142).
If you really want to get away from it all and do it on your own terms, charter a boat, as we did, and chart a course through the Caicos Islands, first discovered by Columbus in 1492 and still barely discovered by developers. Float free and dive deep in the crystalline waters, which lie but an hour and a half from Miami.
Even unregenerate landlubbers, of course, can enjoy the scenery afloat. To paraphrase a somewhat more contemporary artist than Melville, namely Frankie Ford, "Won't you let us take you on a sea cruise? Oooh-wee. Oooh-wee baby, oooh-wee."
Ahoy, and enjoy.
It is immediately clear that the Club Med 1 is no ordinary cruise snip. For one thing, it has sails. Seven of them. And when they are unfurled—by computer, natch—one can feel the powerful tug of the wind. At 617 feet, Club Med 1 is the largest sailing ship of its kind. It carries 386 passengers—usually a wide array of international types—and provides plenty of space for each one. And with its island-a-day itinerary (the selected ports vary with the season), Club Med 1 offers a bounty of beautiful settings for picture taking—not the least of which, as we discovered, was the ship herself.
ELLE MACPHERSON CASTS HER CARES TO THE WIND, IN A BIKINI BY LISA LOMAS FOR THE EXPRESS ($40) AND A ROBE BY MONIKA TILLEY ($120)
POOLSIDE ABOARD SHIP, RACHEL HUNTER STARS IN A SUIT ($80) AND CAP ($24) FROM KARLA COLLETTO
RISE AND SHINE, LUBBERS, AND JOIN ELLE FOR A DAY OF SEAFARING SPORT. THE SUIT IS FROM MOSSIMO ($52)
ELLE STRETCHES OUT ON A SUN-BLEACHED DECK CHAIR, HAPPILY GIVING HER SEA LEGS A REST. HER SUIT IS FROM DIVA ($78)
IN A BIKINI OF BRAZILIAN BREVITY BY DARLING RIO ($35), ROSHUMBA WILLIAMS WASHES ASHORE AT ST. BARTS
RACHEL BARES ECOLOGICAL CONCERNS IN A T-SHIRT AND SUSPENDER SUIT BY LISA LOMAS FOR THE EXPRESS ($35). ELLE SPLASHES DOWN AT TOBAGO CAY IN A BIKINI BY DARLING RIO ($45)
AT THE POOLSIDE BAR, ELLE CHECKS OUT HER SHIPMATES. THE CHANEL-INSPIRED SUIT WITH TROMPE L'OEIL CHAIN COMES FROM MOSCHINO ($190)
ON ST. BARTS, ROSHUMBA IS A PROFILE IN PURPLE IN HER FRINGED SUIT. MONICA BELLUCCI BLOSSOMS IN THE GARDEN OF THE TAIWANA HOTEL. SUITS ARE BY GIDEON OBERSON ($118 AND $112)
South Sea Idyll
Spice Islander is a 121-foot catamaran that departs from Bali to explore the other islands of Indonesia. It carries 42 passengers and travels mostly at night, leaving the daylight free for exploration—the most popular form of which is diving or snorkeling along the magnificent unspoiled coral reefs in this corner of the Indian Ocean. The itinerary of Spice Islander (and its sister ship, Island Explorer) changes from time to time, to discourage tourist commercialization at the ports of call. Cruises can be booked through Abercrombie & Kent in Chicago.
IN THE GREEN GLOW OF DAWN, ROSIE SURVEYS THE RICE PADDIES OF BALI. HER SHIMMERING SUIT ($300) AND SARONG ($450) ARE BY GOTTEX
AT THE AMANDARI HOTEL IN BALI, ANGIE EVERHART DREAMS AND DRIFTS IN THE ELEVATED POOL. HER FLOWERED BIKINI IS BY DIVA ($88)
NEAR KOMODO, STEPHANIE SEYMOUR ENJOYS A LACY DAY IN SUIT ($240) AND SARONG ($750) BY GOTTEX. ON BALI, FRINGE BENEFITS ACCRUE TO ROSIE DE LA CRUZ, WHOSE BIKINI IS FROM JUICE BY HOT COLES ($48)
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE: STEPHANIE'S LYCRA SUIT BY GOTTEX ($94) IS POSITIVELY LIQUID, WHILE KATHY IRELAND WADES TO BOARD A BOAT OFF LOMBOK, IN A SUIT FROM DARLING RIO ($48)
BASHFUL BALINESE DANCERS POSE WITH ROSIE, WHOSE SEQUIN-EMBROIDERED SUIT IS FROM THE ANNE COLE COLLECTION ($300). PEEK-A-BOO, ANGIE'S IN THE BAMBOO, CLAD IN A SILKY SUIT FROM RALPH LAUREN ($85)
The Caicos Sol is a 51-foot ketch that we chartered in Providenciales (called Provo by its inhabitants), the main island For tourism—such as it is—in the Caicos. There are three marinas on Providenciales with boats available for charter, and a new marina and resort are being built on Parrot Cay. Provo has become a favorite stop for yachtsmen traveling the sea route from Florida through the Turks and Caicos, and on to Hispaniola and beyond. As we discovered on the Caicos Sol, island-hopping by sailboat doesn't get much better than this—the Turks and Caicos comprise 30 islands and cays, only six of which are inbabited.
ASHLEY MONTANA TAKES A BOW ON THE CAICOS SOL AT WATER CAY BAY. HER SUIT IS BY CONNIE BANKO FOR HALF MOON ($66)
AT WATER CAY, ASHLEY BLENDS WITH THE GOLDEN SANDSTONE CLIFFS. IN HER ANNE KLEIN SUIT ($68), THE CAMOUFLAGE ISN'T QUITE COMPLETE
ASHLEY DANCES OVER THE WATERS OF PARROT CAY, IN A SUIT FROM ADRIENNE VITTADINI ($62). JUDIT MASCO GLISTENS ON PROVO IN A SUIT ($70) AND PAREAU ($50) BY MACARENA GUTIERREZ
STARFISH ARE WHERE YOU FIND THEM AT WATER CAY. JUDIT'S TANK SUIT IS BY LISA LOMAS FOR THE EXPRESS ($35)
ASHLEY AND JUDIT, IN SUITS OF HARLEQUIN ($58) AND STRIPES($68) FROM ADRIENNE VITTADINI, KEEP AN EYE OUT FROM THEIR PERCH AT THE OCEAN CLUB IN PROVIDENCIALES
THE SUN SPOTLIGHTS ASHLEY (FAR LEFT) AS SHE BASKS IN AN ANNE KLEIN BIKINI ($62). AT PROVIDENCIALES, JUDIT OUT-BRIGITTES BARDOT IN A THREE-PIECE SET BY BETSEY JOHNSON ($90)
AS EVENING FALLS AT GRACE BAY, JUDIT REALIZES THAT ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END. HER STAR AND MOON APPLIQUE SUIT ($85) IS BY KEIKO