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Old 15-11-2010, 12:08   #1
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Upcoming Five Day Charter with Sunsail BVIs - Any Itinerary Recommendations ?

We (a couple) are chartering with Sunsail out of Wickham's Cay in a week, for 5 days. It is our first bareboat charter, so I would appreciate any recommendations you can provide as well as suggestions on making the most of our itinerary. Based on a friend's recommendation from his experience there, we are thinking that day one will take us to either Norman Island or Peter Island, then we will head towards Virgin Gorda.

Itinerary:
My boyfriend is determined to find the best protected moorings and wants to plan to stop early (around 3 PM each day) to ensure we are hooked on in a good spot. Would love your recommendations for mooring locations.

Scuba:

We also plan to scuba off the boat (less than 50' fsw), so any suggestions for spots and air fill locations are welcome. Also - are there some moorings you can stay overnight that are also good locations with respect to diving and snorkeling?

Provisioning/Meals:

We plan to cook most of our meals (BBQing). Any suggestions for the best provisioning shops especially based on quality of meat and fresh veggies? We will be arriving around 2 PM before checking into the boat at 6:30 so we will have some time to stock up and will not have to rely on Sunsail or the provisioning companies.

Items to bring:

Since it is our first time, I am trying to anticipate the items we should bring with us, besides the obvious... I bought an FM transmitter for the Iphone and Ipod. I see that Sunsail only provides one towel per person, so I'll bring extras. I'll bring spices and coffee as they seem to be very expensive there. Any other thoughts?

THANKS for any help you can provide.
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:44   #2
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With only 5 days, keep in mind that you will miss a lot and will need to make another trip in the future (that's a good thing!)

Do you plan on multiple dives a day or just a single dive a day?

I'd suggest starting at Norman Island. Anglefish reef is on the SW corner of it. There's two yellow mooring balls. This is a 65' dive, however you can stay shallower by navigating on top of the reef. When we did it we went along where the reef met the sand in about 65'. We saw a nurse shark, eel, spotted eagle ray and a turtle as well as lots of other life. After that you could head over to The Indians for a 2nd dive. (45' max)

Spend the night at Norman Island and head to Soper's hole the next day to fill up the tanks. Then head to Jost Van Dyke. There's a dive in the NE corner called The Playground. You can then spend some time at Jost Van Dyke.

Cooper Island would be another nice spot to spend the night and could be your next stop after JVD. You could also start at JVD and then move to Norman and then cooper - I think you can fill up tanks at Peter Island. There's at least 4 dive spots right near cooper. We did Wreck Alley and Thumb rock our last day of our trip last month. Wreck Alley is deep though - 85' was our deepest depth. Thumb rock was 57' at our deepest. I think one of the other sites is shallower.

From there, you could move on towards the Bath's. Fallen Jerusalem is a great spot for a snorkel. You could dive too, but its shallow enough that snorkeling is really just fine. After Fallen Jerusalem you could hit the bath's to walk through and see them - snorkeling won't really be much fun after snorkeling Fallen Jerusalem.

For a spot to spend the night, you could go to Marina Cay (one of our favorite spots) and the next day head to the dogs. The Chimney is a great dive there and as is Bronco Billy.

And I guess that would leave you one more day to re-visit anything or re-do a dive. After we did Bronco Billy and had a chance to review the diagram we had, I wish we had done it again - we missed part of it. So make sure you get a good guide book - that is key!

As far as what to bring, extra towels are always good to have. If Sunsail is as giving as the moorings, you will be able to get extras. There's not much else you need aside from bathing suits and some clothes to wear in the evening. Sunscreen would really be the only other thing to make sure you have plenty of. A hat doesn't hurt either.

I'm sure you'll have a great time. And the moorings I listed are all quite protected - Jost Van Dyke is the only spot I didn't list a mooring for - Great Harbor might be your best bet. There are 10 mooring balls as I understand it that would be protected. The other option would be on the NE side near little Jost. I believe there are mooring balls there as well. You could also make a land trip to see the bubbling pools.

Have fun! What kind of boat will you be on?
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Old 15-11-2010, 12:50   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seahorseFL View Post
Provisioning/Meals:

We plan to cook most of our meals (BBQing). Any suggestions for the best provisioning shops especially based on quality of meat and fresh veggies? We will be arriving around 2 PM before checking into the boat at 6:30 so we will have some time to stock up and will not have to rely on Sunsail or the provisioning companies.
We visited every grocery in Road Town when we were there in March. For fresh fruits and veggies, the best is (I think) OneMart (take a right on Waterfront Drive as you leave the Sunsail/Moorings base, it is a couple blocks away, within walking distance). You will find a decent grocery right next to the marina in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. There is a small grocery at Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda.
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Old 15-11-2010, 14:39   #4
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Five days is too short! Even a week is too short given the checking out and checking in/fueling time. We found that 10 day bare boat charters were the minimum to really get out there, get to know the boat, and start enjoying yourself.
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Old 15-11-2010, 14:45   #5
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I absolutely agree that 10 days is the minimum. I once charted 10 days, and was left feeling cheated. Years later I passed through, and spent a month on my own boat. I felt like I was just getting started.........i2f
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Old 15-11-2010, 15:14   #6
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I agree that 5 days is too short, but I also understand sometimes you don't have any other choice. I'd take 5 days over 0 anytime myself.

And is it a 5 day charter? Meaning you Start Sat and would be done Wed? That's really only 3 full days, so if at all possible I would consider extended. If you do sleep aboard and request for an early boat briefing (7am) then you'll at least be closer to 4 full days. Definetely do the chart briefing the night before and also inquire about the boat briefing that first night.

Either way, you will have a fun time but you will find its over way too soon. I think a solid week (preferably 8 days - Arrival Sat and Departing Sunday is the best way to do it for many. More is certainly better). Our first trip was 7 days and I was annoyed that we didn't extend it one moer day since we were just sitting at home that Sunday. This past trip was 10 Full days and it still felt too short. The first week back home felt like a month!

Can't wait to get down again soon!
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:17   #7
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In response to the questions:

The boat is the Sunsail 32i (Jenneau 32i). And yes, I only wish we were able to go longer (sigh...) But it is better than nothing. We live in South Florida so at least our air travel to/from BVI is not too lengthy. And, as mentioned, we arrive Tues. afternoon around 1:30 or so, allowing us sufficient time to stock up on provisions before checking into the boat and getting unpacked.

Then, we'll have the boat from Weds. through Sunday morning (5 day charter). I will ask about the early briefing so we can hopefully depart early on Weds., thanks for the tip Maytrix.

As for our dive schedule, it's flexible depending on where we are and conditions. If we end up at a great site we could double dip. We intend to start the charter with 2 full tanks per person, and then refill at Virgin Gorda.


Thanks for the advice!
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Old 15-11-2010, 16:20   #8
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You'll have a great time and then when you get home can start planning your next trip

I know you can also fill up tanks at Soper's hole (west end of tortola) and I think at Peter Island as well. Spanish Town is the place to fill up on Virgin Gorda. Dive BVI is a great operation and if you want to do a guided dive, they're the ones to call - the guided dives are nice since you don't need to worry about navigation and tend to see the entire site.
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Old 15-11-2010, 18:37   #9
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I like a challenge, so

1) Get out of Wickhams Cay as early as possible.
2) Head South to he Indians/Pelican Island - snorkel or dive the Indians
3) Head to Norman Island and grab a mooring - then head to The Caves for an afternoon snorkel and some fish feeding
4) Don't eat, but do drink at party at the Willy T - wear your bathing suit and if you're adventurous, you can do a bit of nude diving from the second deck for a free drink; or watch the others do it. Note that the Willy T can get more than roudy (and loud) at night, so grabbing a mooring close is not for those who want to sleep or protect their hearing.

5) Head to Salt Island and check out what has to be the last salt water evaporation businesses in the world.
6) Head to the reef between Salt and Cooper for some nice diving (if you've got the tanks)
7) Head to Cooper Island for the night - get there early because the mooring balls and anchorage fills up fast. A nice quite place with some of the best conch fritters in the BVIs.

8) Next morning with filled tanks either head to the Dogs or Cockroach Islands off Virgin Gorda to do some diving. If you want a day off from diving, see if you can anchor hear the Baths and spend some time exploring and working up an appetite
9) Shortly after noon, head for Virgin Gorda Sound, one of the great anchorages. You can get tanks filled there, hit the volleyball beach, do some shopping get a great massage, lie in the fresh water pool and pose as millionaires, or indulge in some adult beverages. Biras Creek at sunset is spectacular, and so is the food. The Bitter End Yacht Club also has diving excursions there.

10) Head out for a nice sail to Marina Key. You can hit the Dogs or Cockroach again if you want. Anchor in Marina Cay and spend your last night partying late, savoring the sunset, and hobnobbing with the celebrities.

11) A bit of a sleep in as Wickhams is only a couple hours from Marina Cay. Turn the boat back in, and next time vow to stay longer.
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Old 25-11-2010, 17:23   #10
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Just 5 days

We found 10 wasn't enough You will have to go back that's all

"Must see's" - Willy T (Caves, Indians), Soggy Dollar and Foxy's on JVD, Sopers Hole, Cane Garden Bay, the Baths, North Sound, Trellis, Anegada...

Here is our actual itinerary..YMMV

WED - briefing and sail by 2 PM latest (after picking up provisions etc). Sail to Cooper Beach club for dinner (awesome, awesome restaurant).

THU – Sail to Scrub, maybe Guana and the Dogs then dinner in North Sound/SABA/BEYC

FRI – Quick sail to VGYH (slip or ball? 495-5500 http://www.virgingordayachtharbour.com/vgyh/default.aspx ) rent car - the baths (snorkel) tour VG, Spanish Town/copper mine – The Sea Dog Pub- Why not satisfy that burger craving?

SAT - Sail to Trellis/Marina Cay via North Sound (lunch at SABA) - FULL MOON PARTY!!

SUN - Trellis to JVD - RUBEN CHINNERY plays at Soggy Dollar (495-9999) between 2PM-4PM then Foxy's for dinner?

MON – Sandy Spit/Cay & Brewers Bay and arrive CGB at about 4 PM – pick up car. Drive to Soper’s for dinner at Jolly Roger? Check out the night life in CGB. Cocktails on the boat. Walk on beach?

TUE - CGB – Tour Tortola all day, drop off car at 5, eat at Quito’s and Quito (495-9051) sings for first time of the season!

WED – CGB to Soper’s for lunch at Pussers then shopping then sail to Norman - Bight - Willy T

THU - Norman - Nanny Cay - fly back to SJU and home.
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Old 25-11-2010, 19:12   #11
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I had provisions delivered to the boat, based on an excel spreadsheet we emailed, by Bobby's Market on my charter in 2006, much easier than the trip in 99 where we had to haul everything back to the boat from the grocery store. Did some diving at the Dogs as well as Rhone and Chikuzen. Blog details of the trips, if you're interested, is at Caribbean Bareboat Adventures
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Old 25-11-2010, 19:31   #12
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Enjoy every minute!!


Provisioning/Meals:

We plan to cook most of our meals (BBQing). Any suggestions for the best provisioning shops especially based on quality of meat and fresh veggies? We will be arriving around 2 PM before checking into the boat at 6:30 so we will have some time to stock up and will not have to rely on Sunsail or the provisioning companies.

Items to bring:

Since it is our first time, I am trying to anticipate the items we should bring with us, besides the obvious... I bought an FM transmitter for the Iphone and Ipod. I see that Sunsail only provides one towel per person, so I'll bring extras. I'll bring spices and coffee as they seem to be very expensive there. Any other thoughts?


Spices are easy and flat to bring with you in Zip lock bags...if you have room, they are flat and light weight put a few garbage bags in as well... I brought energy breakfast bars...helps between meals...

We did not BBQ...but probably will next time...I found good meats & Veggies hard to find...The nicest market we visited was Rite Way Harbour Market in Soper's Hole...it also has an awesome deli...

I heard there is a huge Rite Way Supermarket as well...not sure exactly where...

here is the link: Home

Enjoy every minute!!!
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Old 26-11-2010, 14:46   #13
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Be sure to go to Jost if you can. Little Bay is very peaceful. If you are there on a Sunday be sure to walk up the hill and go to the church. It's a great way to meet the locals.

By the way has anyone been up to Anegas since the hurricane? we want to snorkel Loblolly of Flash of Beauty on the north side but I am wondering what damage happened to the reefs.
thanks
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Old 26-11-2010, 14:47   #14
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Sorry I meant Anegada
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Old 26-11-2010, 15:13   #15
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The reefs seemed in good shape when we were there. Snorkeling was nice although there was some surf the day we were there.
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