Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 08-12-2012, 13:12   #1
Registered User
 
Pallykin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Boston, Mass.
Boat: Islander 34
Posts: 20
Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Hi -

We're going on a seven day charter to the BVIs out of Tortola. Looking for suggestions of things to do and see, places to go.

Any advice from the experienced BVI sailors out there much appreciated. We will in on a Lagoon 420.

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
Pallykin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 13:57   #2
Registered User
 
Cotemar's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2007
Boat: FP, Helia 44 Evo
Posts: 5,717
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Here is a list of all the anchorages that may help.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	BVI_map_markup.jpg
Views:	127
Size:	403.1 KB
ID:	50903  
Attached Files
File Type: pdf BVI anchorage maps and notes.pdf (575.4 KB, 73 views)
__________________

__________________
Cotemar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-12-2012, 14:09   #3
Registered User
 
Teknav's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Texas - USA
Boat: Twin Otter de Havilland Floatplane
Posts: 1,838
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

If you are a SCUBA diver, dive the shipwreck; Rhone (whatever is left of it). Visit the "Baths" in Virgin Gorda; huge boulders forming pools that you can swim/snorkel in. The beach at the Baths is a picture postcard; the movie "Captain Blood", with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland, was shot on location, in the 30s. If you want to dine in luxury, with steel band playing on weekends, make a reservation at the "Little Dix Bay Resort", in Virgin Gorda; a 5-star resort. There are beaches and caves to be explored. A visit to Norman Island; where the original "Treasure Island" was shot. Have fun!
__________________
Teknav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 10:37   #4
Registered User
 
Zanshin's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Caribbean
Boat: Jeanneau 57
Posts: 1,621
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

The BVI are wonderful, but you can't see all the highlights in 7 days and those who try are often disappointed, since much of the time is spent getting from A to B and trying to keep to a tight schedule. I've spent many months in the BVI and still have places I'd like to explore.

Where you go, and in what order, depends upon your priorities. A lagoon 420 will go pretty fast (when motoring/motorsailing) and unless your primary motivation is to sail you will be using your engines quite a bit. There are anecdotal stories of Sunsail boats coming back from a charter and it turns out that the main halyard was missing and the charterers hadn't noticed

Usually the first day gets started quite late and the best choice for the first night is the Bight on Norman Island. The whole bay is full of mooring balls so you will always get one. It is a short sail across the Sir Francis Drake channel from Road Town (Moorings, Sunsail, many others) and Nanny Cay as well as being easily reachable from points such as the West End (Soper's Hole) and Hodge's Creek. The Bight offers snorkeling at the Caves or at the Pelicans (there are about 10 mooring balls there for boats, as it is too far from the Bight to dinghy over, but the caves are a dinghy drive away from the anchorage). At night there is either Pirate's ashore or the infamous Willie T's; if you have any light sleepers aboard then I might recommend not taking a mooring ball close to or downwind of the Willie T as it might get load and stay loud until the wee morning hours.

Usually the charter companies recommend doing a clockwise circuit of Tortola; this allow the upwind legs to be in the protected waters of the Sir Francis Drake channel and the downwind leg to be in the open atlantic waters north of Tortola. Unless you want to bash upwind against the swells or are intrepid adventurists and want to go against the crowd, then I'd recommend doing it that way.

Thus from Norman Island you would head up the channel towards Virgin Gorda. The wreck of the Rhone is off Salt Island on the way, and just a bit further is Cooper Island with a nice beach, good food and great snorkeling off the point. If there is no north swell this makes a good overnight but even then I'd recommend going inshore as much as possible.

The Baths on Virgin Gorda are a great, but crowded, stop. You can do that on the second day in the afternoon or, if you stay at Cooper, then early on the second day. You might have to cruise up and down the rows of mooring balls to get one when it frees up as this is a very popular place and anchoring is prohibited there. If there are any flags up on the beach then give the Baths a pass - they are up for a reason and there are fatalities there every year from people who thought the flags were there just for decoration or believed their skills to be superior to mother nature's when it comes to swell and rip currents.

I love the North Sound, which would be you next stop unless you want to dock at Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda. If you sail up to the North Sound it will take a while as it is almost always upwind, but it can be fun to sail around the Dog Islands (or grab a mooring ball and go swimming, snorkeling or diving amongst them). Once in the North Sound there are many options. Immediately to the right after entering the channel (Even though your draft might allow it, I would highly recommend not taking the cut between Mosquito Island and Virgin Gorda as it can be tricky and you wouldn't want to ground on that hard coral) you have Leverick Bay with either a slip or mooring balls and entertainment ashore in the form of Michael Beans' and his pirate happy hour show as well as food downstairs or fine food upstairs.
Or you can bear slightly left and anchor of Prickly Pear or take a mooring ball at the beach. There is nothing ashore at night there - if that is what you want. Or you continue around the bend and take a mooring from either the Bitter End Yacht Club or Saba Rock. I recommend Saba's moorings - they entitle you to a water fill up and a bag of ice the next morning! Food and entertainment is offered in both locations.

The next day you have a major choice - going to Anegada or not. I don't know if your charter company allows Anegada, but it is nice and quite different if you decide to go. Note that the chartplotter coordinates are off for Anegada and you should use the chart direction or go to bvipirate's site to get excellent entry directions. The Anegaga lobster is a delicacy and the two beach restaurants at the anchorage offer it (that's Potter's by the sea and The Anegada Reef Hotel).

If Anegada isn't in your plans then you have a couple of choices - head back towards the airport and spend the day at one of the Dog Islands and then spend the night on a mooring ball at either Trellis Bay or Marina Cay. Both have restaurants and bars. At Trellis I love the singing chef and food at The Last Resort or hang out where a lot of the liveaboards spend time at The Loose Mongoose; Marina Cay offers a great happy show and dining at Pusser's at night. If your wallet allows it, the new marina on Scrub Island comes very highly recommend, but it isn't for those on a budget.
If you continue past Marina Cay you can squeeze between Beef Island / Tortola and Guana Island or you can sail straight around the island from The North Sound to head towards either Cane Garden Bay or Jost van Dyke. This would be an open water sail and one of the longer legs on your trip.

Cane Garden Bay is an experience, but if the north swell is up the anchorage is quite uncomfortable, I'd call it untenable but I'm fussy. The alternative is the anchorage around Foxy's Taboo on Jost (I can't recall the name of the bay, just past Sandy Spit, but it is very sheltered and has both mooring balls and anchoring spots).

Either Sandy Spit or Sandy Cay are not to be missed. Wonderful islets with snorkeling and sand just exude the pleasures of the Caribbean!

Next would be Great Harbour on Jost. The holding is not good, but they've now put in quite a few moorings to keep boats in position at night. Ashore are several establishments - the famous Foxy's and where I get my favorite pizza - Corsair's.
Just around the bend, within dinghy distance if the seas aren't up, is White Bay and home of the Painkiller! This beach and the bars/restaurants can get quite crowded with daytrippers from St. Thomas and is a big party place and how can you not go to the Soggy Dollar Bar for a painkiller? There are also mooring balls in White Bay for overnight stays and your cat's depth is no issue - but be careful, boats have been lost there either going through the reef entrance or after breaking loose.

Next would be a fast downwind / wind a-beam trip to the West End and Soper's hole. I have had bad experiences there, so won't comment on the shoreside delights. After turning the bend at Soper's there is just an upwind leg to either Nanny Cay (docks only) or across back to The Bight on Norman for the last night before sailing from there to your charter base.

I didn't count the nights, but think I'm already past 7 and have just described the major points - there are so many more places to stay and visit...

p.s. I've got an interactive picture map with 232 BVI pictures if you are interested - see http://www.sv-zanshin.com/maps/mapall.php
__________________
-Zanshin (SV Zanshin)
Zanshin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 10:45   #5
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Santa Cruz
Boat: Boatless Again
Posts: 4,323
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Zanshin--nice guide! You should go into the guidebook business.
__________________
donradcliffe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 11:04   #6
Registered User
 
Stu Jackson's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Cowichan Bay, BC (Maple Bay Marina)
Posts: 6,386
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Zanshin--nice guide! You should go into the guidebook business.
Yes, very well put.

Cooper Island Beach Club is great.

Spanish Town is not worth it, too hot. We liked Leverick Bay better than Bitter End - quieter, nice pool, use the dinghy to find snorkeling places.
__________________
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
Stu Jackson is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 11:34   #7
LJH
Registered User

Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Nova Scotia
Boat: Wauquiez Centurion 42
Posts: 274
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Zashin,

Great guide!

Pallykin,

If you are going to be in the BVIs over a full moon there is usually a good full moon party in Trellis Bay. I love North Sound as well. Great painkillers at Saba Rock for happy hour.
__________________
LJH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 11:41   #8
Registered User
 
Teknav's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Texas - USA
Boat: Twin Otter de Havilland Floatplane
Posts: 1,838
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

"...and one more thing..." <Colombo> You have S-E-V-E-N days of sailing. Plan on ONLY visiting T-H-R-E-E sites. No need to cram so much, that you'll need a vacation to recover from your last vacation. I'd start sailing to my daily destination, no later than 8:00 AM to arrive by 1:00 PM at the latest. Afternoons are meant for a casual meal, snorkeling/SCUBA and beach/cove exploring. That should be your typical day; no need to rush anything. Just plan ahead your destinations so that you won't have to spend a lot of time, while on the boat, doing just that. Water sports/SCUBA dive shops can pick you up and drop you off while at anchor; call one on marine radio. The most powerful AM radio station that you can listen to, in the northern Caribbean, broadcasts in English from San Juan-PR; news and weather from ABC & CBS on WOSO 1300 AM dial. Let us know how your trip went; what worked and what didn't. Have fun!
__________________
Teknav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 12:36   #9
Registered User
 
Teknav's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Texas - USA
Boat: Twin Otter de Havilland Floatplane
Posts: 1,838
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Radio station WOSO San Juan-PR is on 1030 AM dial, NOT 1300 AM, as I previously posted. Sorry about that.
__________________
Teknav is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 13:06   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Some of my favorite memories of chartering in the BVIs:

Hike to the top of Gorda Peak. Try to arrive a little before sunset. The sound of the Bo Peep frogs is charming, and the view back towards Tortola from the top of the mountain is spectacular (the view was extra dramatic when we were there because a squall had just passed by). We rented a car to get to the trailhead.

Hike to the top of Norman Island. While you're there, say hello to the caretakers, the only permanent residents on the island.

Anchor in Key Bay off Peter Island. One of the few easily accessible places where you can still have a decent chance of being alone.

Of course, many of the standard items -- the Baths, the Indians, White Bay on Jost van Dyke, Sandy Spit -- are all great, but the above stops are my favorites.

Also, I was not impressed by the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. Too commercialized.

And here's one regret: I wish I'd gone around to Little Bay on the south side of Virgin Gorda. It looked very inviting (and totally empty) when we looked down on it from Gorda peak, but I didn't feel competent enough to enter that unmarked bay. The guys at the Bitter End did tell me, though, that it's often used as a hurricane hole and they even had charts of the bay showing a clear path in. Next time.
__________________
rtjohnso is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 13:36   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 260
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Get the "Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI": The Drinking Man's Guide to the BVI - Ultimate BVI Store - BVI Books, T-Shirts, Calendars, Postcards, Flags, Maps and much more!

There was a write up on it in one of the sailing magazines a few months ago and they had a blast with it. Free drinks!
__________________
jostalli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 14:45   #12
Registered User
 
JK n Smitty's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Hingham, MA
Boat: Catalina 310
Posts: 637
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

We just did 10 days on a Sunsails monohull in early November. Zanshin has given you great advice. Here are a couple things I would offer to what he said.

The Baths on Virgin Gorda. These are the single most must see IMO. This past trip was our second trip there and we could go back tomorrow and spend an entire day exploring the grottos or just hanging out on Devil's Bay. If the moorings are too crowded, get a slip in Gorda Yacht Haven (Spanish Town) and take a cab. Not as fun as the mooring but you still get to hike and explore the Baths.

Provisions. We went to the Bobby's near the Sunsail/Moorings marina. Most of the food was out of date and it was difficult to find "normal" things. We had one crew member that was really picky about wanting bread for sandwiches. White bread is just non-existent in most of the BVIs, as is quality hamburger meat. But if you are not that picky you can find flour tortillas, canned tuna, the best fresh fish, ect. easy. The best places to provision is the store in Spanish Town (1/2 hour free then $10 per hour for a slip at the marina and the literally walk off the dock into the store) or Sopper's Hole.

Also, I agree with others who have said there is just too much to see in 7 days. Don't try or you will miss out on all of the unplanned fun you can have. One of our best days was sailing from Virgin Gorda to Jost Van Dyke when we decided to stop at Monkey Point for a swim and then check out some other cool things we saw on the way.

Enjoy the trip and the Painkillers at Soggy Dollar are the Best (IMO).

Jesse
__________________
JK n Smitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 14:48   #13
Registered User
 
JK n Smitty's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Hingham, MA
Boat: Catalina 310
Posts: 637
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

Oh yeah, one more thing. Saba Rock has free ice and water if you stay on their mooring balls in North Sound.
__________________
JK n Smitty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 14:50   #14
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Re: Cruising the BVIs - Must sees?

While I was in the BVIs I asked a girl to strip naked for $10. She hit me!

But next night she jumped off the top deck of Willy Ts nude for one free drink.






Some would say thats a Must See.


__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2012, 16:32   #15
Nearly an old salt
 
goboatingnow's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 13,649
Images: 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ
While I was in the BVIs I asked a girl to strip naked for $10. She hit me!

But next night she jumped off the top deck of Willy Ts nude for one free drink.



Some would say thats a Must See.

God that brought back memories. .., thanks Mark

It's a good bucket list one that. I was there twice one was particularly zany!!!!

Dave
__________________

__________________
Check out my new blog on smart boat technology, networking and gadgets for the connected sailor! - http://smartboats.tumblr.com
goboatingnow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cruising

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off




Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:06.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.