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Old 09-05-2014, 15:18   #1
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Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

We are heading to BVI in a couple weeks for an 8-day sailing trip. The plan is to sail, dive, party and relax. We are leaving from Tortola and would appreciate any suggestions for routes and must-see anchorages. Some party spots and some secluded postcard spots would be great. We are experienced and have sailed several times in the Leeward Islands so we are up for anything. Thanks for the help!
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Old 09-05-2014, 15:30   #2
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

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Originally Posted by luv2 View Post
We are heading to BVI in a couple weeks for an 8-day sailing trip. The plan is to sail, dive, party and relax. We are leaving from Tortola and would appreciate any suggestions for routes and must-see anchorages. Some party spots and some secluded postcard spots would be great. We are experienced and have sailed several times in the Leeward Islands so we are up for anything. Thanks for the help!
This question comes up frequently on the website traveltalkonline.com. Volumes have been written there.

My favorites are the North Sound, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke and Anegada.


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Old 10-05-2014, 12:19   #3
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

The traveltalk online suggestion is a good one as there are many experienced charterers there who love to give good suggestions.

8 days is a good trip length, enough to let you stay in a place should you really like it, and to travel to Anegada if that is the type of destination you want as well (and if your charter company allows it). The BVI is a "piece of cake" destination compared to the other Greater and Lesser Antilles islands. Anchorages are usually well-protected and most will allow you to choose between $30 per night mooring balls or to anchor. There are a couple of exceptions to that, "The Bight" at Norman is so full of mooring balls that it is difficult to find a place to anchor unless you have enough chain for 50 feet of water; and the holding at Great Harbour on Jost van Dyke is so unreliable that it is worth the $30 for peace of mind.

Most anchorages have at least one eating and drinking establishment ashore, so you needn't provision the way you would in some of the other islands where cooking aboard is commonplace.

The most common advice is to bring half the amount of clothing and double the amount of money. While that applies, I would also recommend not overplanning your itinerary since such things as the weather and hangovers have a serious impact on your plans.

This message comes to you while I'm anchored off Prickly Pear island in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. It has been raining since the early hours of the morning and I've washed the salt off the decks twice but am eagerly awaiting the sun to come out again... my hard-earned tan is fading rapidly. But in 3 hours I'll head over to Saba Rock and get some happy-hour drinks from Josie behind the bar. This is one of my favorite locations, the wind has been gusting to above 25 knots but all I get are ripples on the water and the deep sand next to the island gives me great holding. Plus I can get excellent internet here, as well.
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Old 10-05-2014, 12:56   #4
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

Don't try to do too much.
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Old 14-05-2014, 08:16   #5
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

We're just back from a first-time visit to the BVIs. We had a wonderful time, and it is definitely one of the nicer places we've sailed. We've sailed in many places including the Windwards, Croatia, Turkey etc and I'd put the BVIs up there with Turkey. We've enjoyed ourselves everywhere:-)

Where would I not miss? Marina Cay is very pretty and Pussers is worth a visit.

Cooper Island Beach Club is a fabulous place to go. If you want to get brownie points with the Admirals, spend two nights there. Maybe one night on the way out and one on the way back?

Great Harbour at Jost van Dyke. We ate at Foxy's and very much enjoyed ourselves. Snuck over to the Soggy Dollar during the afternoon for a couple of very welcome Painkillers.

Virgin Gorda is lovely. We moored near the Bitter End Yacht Club. It's a bit crowded. I'd moor at Leverick Bay the next time, after a quick visit to the Bitter End/Saba Rock area.

We didn't make it to Cane Garden Bay. I'd have liked to but time didn't allow this time.

Enjoy yourselves
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Old 14-05-2014, 12:09   #6
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

Out of curiousity, are there pump out facilities around these area's, or more of pump out on your own 3 miles out?
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Old 14-05-2014, 12:16   #7
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pirate Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

It's more like pump where you are and look out where you swim.
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Old 14-05-2014, 13:29   #8
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

We were there a couple weeks ago, and our boat had a new sticker on it: not supposed to pump out within 1000 yards of land. Most charter boats don't have holding tanks, so do everyone a favor and wait until you leave the anchorage to pump out.

My favorites list:
Anegada- Loblolly and Cow Wreck beachs
North Sound- Sand Bar on Prickly Pear, Saba Rock for happy hour as mentioned, Bitter End for pizza, Fat Virgin for excellent lunch
Cooper Island- Manchionell Bay and Cistern Point
Guana Island- Monkey Point
Norman Island- Indians, Caves and Willy T
Jost- Sandy Cay, Great Harbour- Corsairs for dinner, Little Harbour
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Old 15-05-2014, 05:45   #9
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

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Originally Posted by azsailor12 View Post
We were there a couple weeks ago, and our boat had a new sticker on it: not supposed to pump out within 1000 yards of land. Most charter boats don't have holding tanks, so do everyone a favor and wait until you leave the anchorage to pump out.

My favorites list:
Anegada- Loblolly and Cow Wreck beachs
North Sound- Sand Bar on Prickly Pear, Saba Rock for happy hour as mentioned, Bitter End for pizza, Fat Virgin for excellent lunch
Cooper Island- Manchionell Bay and Cistern Point
Guana Island- Monkey Point
Norman Island- Indians, Caves and Willy T
Jost- Sandy Cay, Great Harbour- Corsairs for dinner, Little Harbour

Could you elaborate as to which charter companies do not have holding tanks on their boats?
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Old 15-05-2014, 06:35   #10
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

Never heard this discussed in regards to the the tropical area's, I know New England where I'm from it's common place for pump out stations and pump out boats.

"Most charter boats don't have holding tanks, so do everyone a favor and wait until you leave the anchorage to pump out."
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Old 15-05-2014, 06:40   #11
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

I wasn't very clear. The boats have tanks but are set to pump directly overboard. There are very few pump out stations in BVI, so they don't want you filling up the tank and bringing it back to the dock. I know there is pressure on the BVI to change this, thus a couple pump out stations have been built, and the new sticker. Sorry don't know the locations. I don't have personal experience with all the charter companies, but this is what I've been told. I have been on an older Moorings boat that was plumbed directly overboard.
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Old 15-05-2014, 08:08   #12
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

I don't believe that there are any pump-out stations extant at this time. Although I don't charter, I have heard that the valves on the charter boats are set to go overboard and are plastic wire-tied to ensure that the switch isn't changed. The reason given to me, from an ex-Sunsail employee, was that they would overflow badly and the charter company ends up having to clean up the mess.
There are plans on pumpout stations and pumpout boats but those have not come fruition yet, and I believe one of the proposed stopgap measures is the "dilution is the solution" method of releasing the tanks while underway - but since charter boats rarely go far enough offshore to satisfy MARPOL regulations they've opted for the 1000 feet (which was news to me).

Be that as it may, I will wait until after 11AM before I go swimming in an anchorage in the BVI.
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Old 15-05-2014, 08:34   #13
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Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

There have been long running threads on another forum regarding how sewage is handled around the BVI. I'll not get into it.

Azsailor sailor mentions an old Moorings boat. Moorings boats are a maximum of 5 years old before they leave the fleet. I'm doubtful that there is a 2008 boat in their fleet that doesn't have a holding tank system. If it's an exMoorings boat then who knows how the next owner modified it. What's wrong with having plumbing so that a boat can discharge directly overboard? You don't think people cross oceans with all that good stuff onboard, do you? :-)

It seems the common best practice for charters is to close the holding tank valve when in an anchorage and then dump the tank when out away from the anchorage. We can debate endlessly better ways of handling waste but the infrastructure simply is not currently in place to do so in the BVI.

Zanshin, what changes between 10am and 11am that makes the swimming better for you?
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Old 15-05-2014, 09:25   #14
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

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...Zanshin, what changes between 10am and 11am that makes the swimming better for you?
Most people will have finished their morning's ablutions and trips to the head, or left the anchorage by that time. Thus the chances of an "encounter" with floating objects is lessened around that time
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Old 15-05-2014, 09:26   #15
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Re: Suggestions for first-timers to BVI

Good enough logic for me!
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