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Old 23-08-2012, 21:22   #1
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Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

We will have been to the BVI twice, and while it's awesome, we like exploring new places. Any recommendations as to where to try next? We're looking for somewhere without much open water sailing. A little is fine, but we prefer to just loiter close-in. A few good restaurants desired as well, but some alone time too.

Thanks in advance!

Claire
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Old 23-08-2012, 22:08   #2
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Re: Advice please! Next visit after the BVI

That leaves the field pretty wide open. How far are you willing to travel?

Similar distance, similar flavor, but somewhat different, the Grenadines. Not too much open water, a few restaurants here and there (not as many as BVI however).

Croatia or Turkey? A little longer travel. If you also like coral/snorkeling/diving then not so much, but otherwise fascinating.

Or, on the other side of the planet, Tonga? You'll find the restaurants fewer, but the Vava'u group provides lots of anchorages with protected sailing.

There are tons of other options, I'm sure someone will weigh in with more, if you give it little more detail on the things you like to do while not sailing it might help.

Wherever you go, fair winds, and welcome to the forum.
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Old 24-08-2012, 05:07   #3
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Claire.
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Old 24-08-2012, 06:36   #4
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

your boat or bare boat? If bare boat you really need to try the Whitsunday Islands in Australia. Great sailing and even greater people!!
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Old 24-08-2012, 10:32   #5
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

Thanks for the replies, sorry I should have been more specific. We are wanting to stay in North America. Bareboat charter. I am thinking Grenada, St. Vincent/Grenadine, or Abacos, but I'm not really sure the difference.
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Old 24-08-2012, 10:33   #6
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

Or maybe Belize? Seems like St. Martin might be too commercialized for us? We like the great mix of the BVI.
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Old 24-08-2012, 10:36   #7
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

We did St. Martin/St. Bart/Anguilla as our step up. I like it more than the BVI. It is more open water sailing, but land is always in site. The waves can get pretty big, but if you pick your time of year right that should help. April/May is much calmer than winter and you don't have as many storms as July/Aug.

You have to be comfortable anchoring.

Bahamas could be an excellent choice if you want more protected waters.
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Old 24-08-2012, 11:04   #8
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

Abaco is nice with lots of resturants, and stuff to do, but privacy and diving oppurtunties are more abundent in the Exumas. Many more anchorages and good sailing oppurtunities. I think there are Exumas charters out of Nassau, and Abacos has all the major charter company. Both places are fun, great water, and protecred or open ocean sailing options
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Old 24-08-2012, 12:08   #9
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

Tobago was for us on top of the list. And Dominica.
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Old 24-08-2012, 12:13   #10
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

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Originally Posted by Claire1000 View Post
Thanks for the replies, sorry I should have been more specific. We are wanting to stay in North America. Bareboat charter. I am thinking Grenada, St. Vincent/Grenadine, or Abacos, but I'm not really sure the difference.
If you truly want to stay in N America (...that being the USA & Canada) then the most common charter venues would be the Pacific Northwest (San Juan & Gulf Islands), New England, and Florida.
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Old 24-08-2012, 12:43   #11
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

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Or maybe Belize? Seems like St. Martin might be too commercialized for us? We like the great mix of the BVI.
Belize is a great cruising ground and there are several charter company options there: Moorings/Sunsail, TMM, Belize Sailing Vacations. I used to live in Belize and captain charters for all of them and will be happy to discuss each with you.

Regardless of which charter company you choose, below are a few suggestions:

Unlike the BVI, the waters of Belize are VERY complex with loads of opportunities to make ugly mistakes (...as at least a few bareboaters do each season). There are no charts of Belize which are entirely accurate. Therefore, there is no substitute for having local knowledge aboard. Hire a local captain or guide to help you navigate here -- it will make your vacation much more enjoyable. And, as a bonus, if you have a local captain aboard you can go places the other bareboat charters cannot -- like the offshore atolls -- which are the true jewels of Belizean waters.

Also unlike the BVI, Belize is not crowded or overdeveloped. If you stay off the beaten path here then you could easily spend a week or more cruising Belize and see very few other boats. If you want more shore side activities, then locations here like San Pedro, Caye Caulker, and Placencia may be more to your liking. But, it is quite easy to put together a charter itinerary that includes totally uninhabited islands where you may be the only boat and still be an easy day sail away from a more developed location.

Re protected waters. Belize has the second largest barrier reef on the planet. For most of the coast this reef runs about 20 miles offshore from the mainland. Inside the reef, which is the vast majority of the cruising ground (and 100% of where you are permitted bareboat), waters are relatively protected. If you are sailing the inner channel (near shore, inside the reef) then waters can develop a moderate to heavy chop when the full sea breeze kicks in late in the day. But inside the reef there are no open ocean swells (like you can get in some parts of the BVI or other Eastern Carib venues). Outside the reef of course you can get all of the above.

Best Time To Charter. Winter moths are the peak tourist season, but Spring offers the best consistent weather.


Be happy to discuss Belize further with you.
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Old 26-08-2012, 22:15   #12
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

I don't think we want a captain, so I suppose Belize is off limits. I looked at Sunsail's website and it says Grenada and St. Vincent are "expert." Any ideas why? Any other intermediate locations we can try next?
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Old 26-08-2012, 22:28   #13
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

We love the BVI's ... discovering so many new places here still ...
We believe the 'Spanish VI's' are awesome so want to make a turn there soon ...
Apparently a lot to explore there ...
Heading for the Bahamas (before our departure to the Pacific next yr) which I am told is fantastic but the authorities can be pretty petty about stirring up dirt with propellers ... huge fines ??? (cant say for sure but what I am being told)
We loved the French islands further down the chain Iles Des Saintes was terrific ... but all those islands require a bit of open water sailing!
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Old 27-08-2012, 10:56   #14
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

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I don't think we want a captain, so I suppose Belize is off limits. I looked at Sunsail's website and it says Grenada and St. Vincent are "expert." Any ideas why? Any other intermediate locations we can try next?

Claire, a captain is not required for Belize, but I do suggest that it is a good idea.
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Old 27-08-2012, 11:13   #15
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Re: Advice please! Next Visit After the BVI

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Originally Posted by Claire1000 View Post
Thanks for the replies, sorry I should have been more specific. We are wanting to stay in North America. Bareboat charter. I am thinking Grenada, St. Vincent/Grenadine, or Abacos, but I'm not really sure the difference.
Claire--

St. Vincent/Grenadines have some continuing crime issues I wouldn't want to deal with. Our favorite island is Matinique and particulary the area around St. Anne/Cul-de-Sac Marin on the southwest coast. It has really become a sailing center, if not "the" sailing center, of the south central islands. The folks are friendly and the foods--for foodies--are off the chart.

FWIW...
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