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Old 17-12-2012, 17:06   #1
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Chartering in the BVI's

I was really impressed with the response I received to my inquiry about navigating in the BVI's! I think I should have joined this forum sooner!
I've reserved abareboat charter for a 37' Powercat for 4 days from the Moorings in Tortola, BVI's in mid April, 2013, with my wife and another couple. (We've also booked an all inclusive resort in St. Thomas for the first 3 days of our vacation.)
We're thinking of tying up to a slip the first night, fairly close to Tortola (since, I'm new to the boat and the BVI's), and proceeding elsewhere the following day. Any suggestions on where we should tie up the first night, and of course trip suggestions for the remaining 3 days are always welcome....
We've received a couple of suggestions on outfitting with supplies, but again, I'm eager to hear other views or suggestions of what and where to buy provisions in Tortola.
Since this is my first time in the BVI's, I also welcome any other advice anyone is prepared to offer on what to do, watch out for, go etc.. Or, advice on taking the ferry from and to St. Thomas to Tortola and return, and any comments anyone wishes to offer about the Moorings also.
I hope I'm not asking too much.....
Thanks
Dave
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Old 17-12-2012, 17:11   #2
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

Dave,

Blow off the whole "tie up" thing. Seriously, there are moorings everywhere, and it's just not that difficult - easier than putting it on a pier. Scoot across to Norman Island for your first night, and snag one.
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Old 17-12-2012, 17:16   #3
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Just get in early in the day to get one , otherwise you can be anchoring very far away in the slop


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Old 17-12-2012, 17:51   #4
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

Buy "Frommer's Caribbean - 2012" from Amazon.com, for around $20. This travel guide will give you details on places that you "must visit" with actual cost for everything in local transportation, accommodations, leisure/sports/activities and short trips; a very valuable guide. The 2013 edition is not out yet. Enjoy!
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Old 17-12-2012, 19:28   #5
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Dave,

Blow off the whole "tie up" thing. Seriously, there are moorings everywhere, and it's just not that difficult - easier than putting it on a pier. Scoot across to Norman Island for your first night, and snag one.
Thanks Bill!
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Old 17-12-2012, 19:30   #6
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

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Originally Posted by bstreep View Post
Dave,

Blow off the whole "tie up" thing. Seriously, there are moorings everywhere, and it's just not that difficult - easier than putting it on a pier. Scoot across to Norman Island for your first night, and snag one.
I totally agree with that...you are only 20-25 minutes away from Norman Island from the Moorings base. Maybe 15 if your scoot real fast. They have like 150 moorings. Do yourself a favor and stay well away from the willie T when you select a mooring.

Late April is a great time to be there - start of shoulder season. Still cool and the winter swell has started to die down. Bring your wetsuits if you are planing on scuba diving a lot. Even in summer I can get chilled after 2-3 days of straight diving. There is a great dive site around the corner from Norman called "Brown Pants". Its open to the caribbean ocean and brings in a lot of pelagics.
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Old 17-12-2012, 20:03   #7
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

Thanks for the advice. We were originally thinking of the Bight, and will try to get a mooring away from the Willy T, as well as the Pirate's Bight.

Dave
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Old 18-12-2012, 09:16   #8
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

If you really want to get away from the noise of the Willy T, get a mooring in Kelly's Cove, just sort of up and around the corner from The Bight. That's where my wife and I picked up our first mooring when we were there in November. Call us stick-in-the-muds, but we're not really into the sort of rowdiness that the Willy T is known for.

Be aware that at this time of year, almost any restaurant that you might want to eat at is going to require reservations.

Cooper Island Beach Club is a very nice, and there are moorings there in Manchioneel Bay.

When we visited The Baths all the moorings were full, and boats were waiting. So we headed up to Spanish Town. All the moorings were full outside the marina and the wind was such that we didn't want to anchor there, so we took a slip in the marina. Price was very fair and the facilities were decent. From there we took a cab down to The Baths in the afternoon. By then it wasn't so crowded and we enjoyed dinner at The Top of The Baths. As dinner was winding down our waitress called a cab for us and it was there and ready to take us back to the marina for the night.

Gorda Sound is also worth a visit. There's Saba Rock, Bitter End, and Leverick Bay. All have moorings. The food at Saba Rock is excellent, and fairly priced. Bitter End is also very good, and there is more to do ashore there--shops, grocery store, etc. Of course, you can moor at any of the three and dinghy to the others--this time we shopped at Bitter End, even though we moored at Saba Rock.

As for the ferries, the one piece of advice that I see over and over, and that we followed and I'm glad we did, is this: don't make reservations and don't buy tickets in advance; just go to the ferry terminal and get on the next ferry available that's going to your destination.

By the way, the facilities at the Moorings base are very nice. A couple of good restaurants and bars, and the bathrooms and showers were the cleanest that we found anywhere.

Have fun! (I'm sure you will.)
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Old 18-12-2012, 09:22   #9
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

It's been a few years since we chartered from the Moorings, but they used to let you stay onboard the night before your charter for a pretty reasonable price. We did it a couple of times. It was a very relaxed way to get everything stowed, learn our way around the boat and be ready to shove off first thing in the AM. If it's still an option, it's something to consider.
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Old 18-12-2012, 10:34   #10
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

Hi would second what denverD0n said... but shortcut it a bit more... you only have 4 days! I would head right to leverick on virgin gorda and rent a car. What they do is leave the rental cars at the hotel; you take the car and drive it halfway over the island (you are going that way anyhow) and complete the paperwork. Easy peasey. Then you can spend a leisurely day seeing all the sites before heading back to your boat.
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Old 18-12-2012, 10:36   #11
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

There's two flaws I see with your plan.

1) No need to dock. Only reason to dock is if you want A/C and don't have a genset and therefore need shore power. You have a genset so there's no need to dock at all your entire trip (unless you go to Leverick bay and make use of the TTOL discount they offer - check Traveltalkonline)

2) 4 days. Not enough time. I've stayed on St. Thomas. I've chartered many times in the BVI. I'd trade those 3 days on St. Thomas for 3 more days on the boat in a second.

Otherwise as suggested, go to Norman Island your first night. You probably won't get off the dock until 1 or 2 if doing a Noon start (vs. sleep aboard) and Norman is a nice quick trip.

If you are going to visit Cooper, make sure to get there very early - moorings can fill up quickly. We tend to get in by 2pm at the latest these days and just enjoy the snorkeling/diving there and relax and then have dinner ashore.

Just know, with 4 days (full days? or 4 nights?) you'll be missing a lot - not a bad thing, as you'll always miss something, but you'll need to keep your expectations - I wouldn't try to cover all the major areas.
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Old 18-12-2012, 16:25   #12
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

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2) 4 days. Not enough time. I've stayed on St. Thomas. I've chartered many times in the BVI. I'd trade those 3 days on St. Thomas for 3 more days on the boat in a second.
He is right but I didn't want to be the first to say so - its your vacation...

But... since the cat is out of the bag...

You are wasting your time in St. Thomas. If you really want to see St. Thomas you can see everything worthwhile in about one full day.
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Old 18-12-2012, 17:13   #13
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

The BVI has had Dengue (mosquito borne) for a few years so if you're close to shore or ashore wear long-sleeves and pants and/or wear DEET flavored mosquito repellant. I've also found Acheson and Meyers "Best of the Virgin islands" to be an excellent cruising guide though I'd check Amazon for what's newer/better. I second the motion that four days ain't enough in the BV and three is two (or three) too many in St. Thomas (unless you like cruise ship passengers). And hey, watching bodyshots (or participating in 'em) at the Willy T is an interesting way to while away a few minutes.
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Old 18-12-2012, 18:44   #14
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

I agree with those who've advised that four days on the boat isn't enough . . . and three days in St.Thomas is about 2 7/8 days too many.

On our first trip to the BVIs, we flew in a small plane from Charlotte Amalie to Beef Island airport, and found the early-morning flight to be one of the real highlights of our trip. If it suits all of those in your party, I think you'll enjoy the flight much more than the ferry.

One of our favorite stops in the BVIs is Peter Island. It has a small, protected harbor if you really want to tie up for one evening . . . plus, it makes for an easy stroll to the excellent dining facilities if you don't want to prepare all of your own meals. Even if you choose to skip the fancy resort amenities, you should at least anchor off Deadman's Beach for a few hours to enjoy the beach, the water, the view . . . maybe dinghy ashore for lunch at Deadman's Beach Bar & Grill.

Four days aboard are only going to whet your appetite for more, i'm afraid, so if it isn't too late to alter your plans, you might want to look into it.

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Old 18-12-2012, 19:09   #15
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Re: Chartering in the BVI's

Four days is very short, but you will enjoy the 37 Powercat. Very easy boat to drive and it turns on a dime.
Norman, Peter or Cooper islands are very close, so go for a mooring for your first night.

We chartered the 47 Powercat in Feb. for 10 days and had a blast.
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