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Old 16-11-2011, 20:39   #16
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

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Originally Posted by LifeJacket View Post
As an FYI, you will be sailing in relatively shallow water and would have to work to get to the shelf to do some real, bacteria free fishing (closest is south of the islands). You will catch stuff (small tuna, jack and baracuda) but make sure you have tested it prior to eating it. Would hate to end up paralyzed from the bacterial toxin prevalent in the shallow waters.

Have a great trip!
I presume you are talking about Ciguatera toxin. It is not a bacterial toxin. It is produced by dinoflagellates. Bacterial contamination causes food poisoning, usually by eating raw or undercooked fish or shellfish. Ciguatoxin is very different. It is a fat soluble toxin that builds up in fish that feed on the plankton, and moves up the food chain. Unfortunately, there is still no reliable test kit available to the public. The only reliable test is a bioassay using a neural cell line that responds to the toxin at very low concentrations. Not an easy test, even for a research lab. The Cigua-Check test kit has been shown to be unreilable, probably explaining their abrupt discontinuation of the kit. Actually, it is not just unreliable, it is completely useless: Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2011, 2, 594-598.

The Cigua Check test kit is based on immunologic detection of the toxin, similar to a pregnancy test kit. The problem is that it has been very difficult to produce antibodies against the molecule, which are crucial in developing a good test kit.

Ciguatoxin:




Hopefully someone will develop a kit that works soon, it is sorely needed. As others have said, avoid eating the large predators of reef fish like grouper, triggerfish, amberjack. Also avoid eating the head, visera, and roe as it concentrates in those areas.
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Old 25-11-2011, 17:51   #17
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

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Hello, I am going to be bareboat chartering a sailboat in the BVI December 10-17. We are just sleeping aboard the 10th, so we will have 6 nights to explore and sail. My travel partner is an experienced sailor but this is all new to me. Does anyone have any good 6 day itinerary recommendations for us? We snorkel but don't dive, but definitely plan to fish!
This thread elicited some helpful itinerary advice when we chartered for the first time last November:

First-Time Bareboater, BVI - Any Advice ?

You can find a ton of good recommendations simply by searching for BVI or "BVIs" within this forum.

I think many first-timers start at the southernmost and closest isle, Norman, then head north. As it's you're first charter I'd recommend a more relaxed pace. Don't try to bite off too much, and plan for extra time to make it back to base at the end of the charter. Plan well in advance for provisioning, based on whether you'll be mostly cooking aboard or going on shore. Plans are always flexible, but it's hard to find many provisions once you leave the base so preparation can save you hassles.

Just as a word of caution, be sure to check out every system on your boat and understand how each works (ie anchor windlass, stove, etc) before departure. We just returned from our second trip and were so eager to get going that we neglected to identify some buggy issues before leaving, which were not huge problems but rather annoyances (a working oven would have been nice).

Since it's your first charter, you will want to pay attention to the chart briefing and get your questions answered in detail, before setting off.
Have a great time!
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Old 19-12-2011, 09:34   #18
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

Hey all, I just wanted to send a quick thanks for all of your comments. We just got back from our trip and had an unbelievable time. We sort of "winged" the itinerary, deciding each night where we wanted to go next, and it worked out great. We are already planning our next trip!
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Old 19-12-2011, 09:45   #19
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

Glad you had a great time (I think you really have to try to have a bad time)!

How did the fishing work out?
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Old 19-12-2011, 09:46   #20
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

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Originally Posted by Jerry Woodward View Post
I presume you are talking about Ciguatera toxin. It is not a bacterial toxin. It is produced by dinoflagellates. Bacterial contamination causes food poisoning, usually by eating raw or undercooked fish or shellfish. Ciguatoxin is very different. It is a fat soluble toxin that builds up in fish that feed on the plankton, and moves up the food chain. Unfortunately, there is still no reliable test kit available to the public. The only reliable test is a bioassay using a neural cell line that responds to the toxin at very low concentrations. Not an easy test, even for a research lab. The Cigua-Check test kit has been shown to be unreilable, probably explaining their abrupt discontinuation of the kit. Actually, it is not just unreliable, it is completely useless: Food and Nutrition Sciences, 2011, 2, 594-598.

The Cigua Check test kit is based on immunologic detection of the toxin, similar to a pregnancy test kit. The problem is that it has been very difficult to produce antibodies against the molecule, which are crucial in developing a good test kit.

Ciguatoxin:




Hopefully someone will develop a kit that works soon, it is sorely needed. As others have said, avoid eating the large predators of reef fish like grouper, triggerfish, amberjack. Also avoid eating the head, visera, and roe as it concentrates in those areas.
Can we start a new thread on this, it would be good to have a discussion with the latest information.
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Old 19-12-2011, 09:50   #21
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

Fishing was interesting, next trip we would do it differently. We tried to "troll" between stops to try to catch some deep water fish, and we got nothing. We were told to use a pink lure, and that didn't work at all. Finally on night 2 or 3, we fished using some leftover salami in the bay we were staying in and caught a lot of smaller fish. We then used them to catch a bigger Jack, that we were under the impression was unsafe to eat, so we threw it back. What's interesting is that we talked to many locals afterwards, and they said they eat the Jacks and really all the other fish all the time - we saw lots of them fishing from the dinghy docks and they told us they eat whatever they get. We were joking that the rumors of the bacteria in the fish were deliberately spread to keep us eating in the restaurants In any event, we would definitely use this system next time and definitely eat the Jacks that we catch!
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Old 19-12-2011, 10:45   #22
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

A party of ten of us went ashore at Barreterre and had lunch there. Two of us (the lucky ones) had chicken. The rest fish. The owner said it was a jack but we think it may have been a barracuda. All eight had symptoms of ciguatera poisoning. It ranged from severe (upset stomachs etc. etc.)for some to just tingling in the legs to others. The odd thing was that it persisted for days, on and off. Not very nice. Stick with pelagic fish, lots of mahi-mahi out there. They like blue and green lures the best, just a simple cedar plug will do. Here's one caught on the cedar plug.
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Old 19-12-2011, 11:00   #23
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Re: Six-Night Itinerary for First-Time Visitor to BVI ?

A woman at a dive shop definitely told us not to eat the barracuda - she said the rest was safe, at least according to local lore. We ate a lot of conch at the local spots, some shrimp, and of course, a lobster Our charter company did tell us that bacteria poisoning will come and go though, so that is consistent with what your friends had. That must have been miserable for them.
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