This is day 3 and 4 of sailing in The BVI with BVI Yacht Charters on a Lagoon 450.
DROP AND GIVE ME 20 yelled Jeff as we did mountain climbers, burpies, press ups and beach sprints for a morning workout. What a way to start a day and White Bay beach is the best for it. Imagine working out and jogging on this beach in the morning to work up a good sweat then just fall in the water at the end – now stop imagining and go there!
White Bay Beach, JVD, BVI
Sandy Cay was on our way to our next stop Cane Garden Bay. I’d never been to Sandy Cay before – always electing the much smaller Sandy Spit which is also very cool and not to be missed but Sandy Cay is pretty special too, now that I know. It has a most amazing white sandy beach with awesome swimming. We did a reenactment of Hallie Berry in the James Bond movie where he offered her a mojito as she came out of the water. But alas not as good as the original. Still, the model was great – biased option of course.
Mojito? On Sandy Cay!
Don’t miss the incredible sandy beach at Sandy Cay – usually you can have this beach to yourself. (not after this blog goes viral though).
Still with plenty of time in the day we decided to reverse direction a little and go see Bubbling Pools at the north east end of JVD (Jost Van Dyke); between JVD and Little JVD. Here the wash of the water rushes through some rocks and ends up in a little pool. Since the water has been roughed up through the rocks, it is like a little jacuzzi -fun.
To get there, you anchor or grab a mooring ball next to Foxy’s Taboo (Not Foxy’s) and walk north along the trail for about ½ a mile. Turn left as you climb a little knoll. With a Northerly swell, Bubbling Pools can be a lot of fun and depending on the size of the swell can border on dangerous. Anyway, it is great to see and well worth the walk. On the way, I walked past the Caribbean Manchineel poison apple tree and shot this video.
After Bubbling Pools we stopped at Foxy’s Taboo Restaurant. Of all the trips I’ve done to the BVI, this was the first time I had visited Foxy’s Taboo. Big mistake should have done it before because speaking of danger, they’ve got a few dangerous drinks which is dependant more on the swill than the swell.
Foxy’s Taboo Jost Van Dyke
“Friggin in the Riggin” drink was the most popular amongst the crew.
Back to the boat we set sails for Cane Garden Bay. The entrance into Cane Garden Bay is well marked with a green and red. Keep red to right.
Cane Garden Bay Entrance
This is one of my more favorite spots in the BVI – why? Don’t know – just is. There is a long beach that is populated with bars and restaurants. It’s a little touristy as it caters to the Cruise ship crowd taxi’d over from Road Town. Still, the bay is quaint and the locals are friendly. There are heaps of mooring balls and if they run out you can save $30 and anchor just beyond the most outer mooring which is still pretty close to the beach anyway. There is a decent grocery store, Bobby’s – well decent enough to pick up a few extras. They could up their game a little on the vegies.
Cane Garden Bay
To the north end of the bay is a large pier where you can get fuel, water and ice. The bay is open to the north and west so stay away if there is a big swell as you’ll get slammed against the pier wall. We stayed in CGB for 2 nights just because of its idyllic setting. They have lots of water sports on the beach and a giant swimming area.
A quick digress: A note about the bays and beaches anywhere you go in the world. While it may seem obvious to us all, but the Charter Companies would rather you dump out the head rather than send it into the tanks. They do this to not clog the tanks or get calls from clients saying they flushed something they should not have could you please come unblock it. BUT please, no matter what they say, close the seacocks when in a harbor. Then just remember to dump after you get out away from the shore 3 miles.
Back in Cane Garden Bay, the next morning we had a massive pig out breakfast with Bloody Mary’s to start the day. Then we went on a hunt for a set of flip flops for Jeff who blew out his flip flop (and stepped on a pop top) on the hike to Bubbling Pools yesterday. Seemingly the day flew by but not without some serious fun in the water, fun with the dinghy and fun with the sea kayak. There was a weak call for to check out the night life on shore but moment later the call was followed by snoring. Yet again – failing from the experience of yesterday, we went from Blue to black and back to blue Ducks again. I mean come on people. We neglected to secure the Sea Kayak. Some rotten
Yet again – failing to learn from the experience of yesterday, we went from Blue to black and back to blue Ducks again. I mean come on people. We neglected to secure the Sea Kayak. Some rotten soles in the middle of the night went joy riding on our kayak that was tied up behind. They left the kayak at someone else’s boat. We only found out about the joy ride part rather than theft by a keen eyed crew member spotting a dinghy driving around the harbor towing a red sea kayak and stopping at each boat. This happened just as we had resigned ourselves to paying the rental company for the Sea Kayak. So potential black again turned to only blue. Notes to self and Crew. Let’s secure the boat properly prior to going to bed.
This is Day 6 of sailing in the BVI with BVI Yacht Charters for 10 days on a Lagoon 45 Catamaran
In the morning we snorkeled the coral garden in the north east end of Savannah Bay for a second time. See day 5 for a quick underwater video of the coral. This area is by far the best snorkeling area we found in the BVI. It is about 10 feet deep with towering coral columns. Awesome.
While the crew fluffed their aura readying for the day, I took the opportunity to shoot some video of how to operate a dinghy. I’ve found over all our dozens of trips all over this awesome planet that it is important to have your crew members know how to properly operate a dinghy. It’s just a really good idea and you will avert disaster. For example, you might know but you crew won’t understand just what happens if you let your dinghy get sideways to the waves at the beach.
Here is the great training video we created that we will put into our coming Bareboat Charter Crew Course.
Next stop a snorkel at Seal Dog. There is only one mooring ball there which is reserved for commercial dive boats. This is a designated dive by dive operators in the BVI. The water was clear and the snorkel was refreshing. Nothing too much to write home about in regards to snorkeling however. Still, it was a picturesque stop with clear clear water.
North Sound Virgin Gorda here we come!
On the sail there we called ahead to Levereck Bay Resort and made reservations for the Pig Roast that evening. They set aside a nice table in the sand for 8. Awesome. Meanwhile, while in North Sound we decided to do a pub crawl of the bars to check them all out. Why not?
North Sound Virgin Gorda
Saba Rock is a really nice restaurant and bar. I mean really nice. It is well worth a drink stop if not for lunch or dinner. They have a nice boutique gift shop for a few good souvenirs as well. BVI Coffee cup for me so that I remember this trip every morning when I get back. It helps keep life in perspective. Sometimes we all get mixed up on what life really is about. Speaking of perspective, from Saba rock you have a nice view of Sir Richard Branson’s world famous resort, Necker Island. Once Sir Rich invites me over I’ll write a nice blog about his resort. Looking forward to that. I’ve read his inspiring autobiography, “Loosing My Virginity” about building his life and I once saw him on the dock in Monaco walking onto his boat the Virginian and my brother is a pilot for Virgin so I think all that qualifies me for an invite right? Hint Hint Sir Richard!
Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Saba Rock, Virgin Gorda, BVI
From Saba Rock we dinghied over to the famous Bitter End for afternoon cocktails. They have a new Tiki bar outside on the beach which makes a good hang out. The entire Bitter End Yacht Club is a must must stop for a trip to the BVI and in fact it is tempting to stop there for 2 nights. They have water sports, really nice rooms for a potential night off the boat, multiple restaurants, a pub bar, a resupply store, water hose for the boat, probably a hundred mooring balls and generally all around nice atmosphere and good staff.
Bitter End Yacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Bitter EndYacht Club, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Still, we needed to fulfill our pub crawl edict and so we pushed on over to the Fat Virgin Bar just around the corner in Biras Creek Bay.
At Fat Virgin, we enjoyed the most delicious Conch fritters and a few libations. Fat Virgin is a great little stop over and worth at least a drink and fritter. Now out of time, we pushed off and sailed back to Levereck Bay missing the last bar called Freddies Sand Box. Sorry Freddy – next time. Your place did look like a nice relaxing joint from the water however.
Freddies Sand Box Bar
Levereck Bay in the west end of North sound is also a must stop. They provide everything you need: water at the dock, ice, reprovisioning store, giant restaurant, and resort.
Levereck Bay, North Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI
At 7, we dinghied ashore where our table was ready right next to Jumbies Bar in a gorgeous setting. The pig roast is a giant amazingly great quality buffet with more food than you can think of. The cost is $35 which albeit quite expensive – you might as well do it. You’re on vacation after all. What is really worth it is the band the followed. It was a reggae/pop/cover band if you can think what that is. Anyway they were so good that can turn any song into fun. Then the real fun started; the Jumbies. They are a group dressed in brightly colored clothing on about 7 foot stilts. Oh wow – they got the party started. On the stilts they dance and do tricks and whoop up the crowd into a frenzy. They really made the night! Thanks Jumbies!!!!
Just returned from our bareboat charter in BVI .We were there for 9 days.It was great,though the wind was light 5-10 knots for the last few days but was 30knots for the first couple ,a little much for us beginers we we did ok.I was glad to have used your site to familiarize myself with some things. There is nothing like hands on .
I will be looking through the site more ofeten as i will like to learn more bareboating secrets about provisioning the boat etc.I hope to do a larger cat next time.we did a 38 footer that was 11 years old ,it had some issues that we know to look for next time like the fridge seal did not seal at all on the hinge side. The dingy davit mounts were soft and the side lifting the stern of the dingy caved in. The dingy motor ran rough and would not rev high enough to plane off,which if i was not on vacation was a easy jetting fix im sure.We will look for a yacht with ice maker ac and generator next time and one without so many toe stubbers to get from room to room. Looks like a 44 footer or larger. Will this be a harder boat to handle?
You’ll really enjoy a 44 footer – I’m assuming you’re thinking of the Lagoon 4400. Very nice boat! We’ve chartered a 46 footer before and once you get to a 38 ft catamaran the step up is not that much difference. Just be aware of the momentum that’s all. But be prepared for all the extra room and living space on the back deck.
I’m noting your comments about chartering an older boat. If you’re going on a vacation it’s just better to spend the little extra money and get a nice newer boat.
Have you played the Cat NED sailing game?
You might consider joining us in Tonga at out Post Graduate Sailing Flotilla in August 2010.
Early to rise in Savannah Bay – and a swim to shore. Again, this morning we spent a few hours on the beach at Savannah bay snorkeling, playing beach bats, and strolling along the 750m long beach.
We then set sail for Spanish town again were we picked up more ice. We discovered a free wifi service in Spanish town and so a few or us down loaded emails for the weeks work to come.
Inside Spanish Town harbor, I spent about 10 minutes teaching catamaran maneuvering under power techniques to one of the crew who is going to charter a catamaran on a sailing vacation in Corsica in May next year. Under normal circumstances in Spanish Town Harbor this would be impossible but due to extremely light traffic in the summer months we were able to do this. The biggest difference that he learned was that when maneuvering a Catamaran, you don’t need water flowing over the rudder to gain maneuverability like a monohull. With a catamaran, the slower you go the better. And so the lesson was more about puling the throttles back and using the correct setting of the forward and reverse on the engines and to watch the relative movement of the boat and adjust the throttles to match what you want – always electing to reduce power (if possible) rather than to increase power on the opposing side. For more information on maneuvering a Catamaran under power see the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Clinic.
Additionally – early in November 2009 we’ll be releasing the NauticEd Catamaran Maneuvering Under Power Game. If you’re wanting to learn to sail a catamaran then this is the game for you – it’s fun.
Catamaran Maneuvering Under Power Game
We then exited the marina and set sails for Salt Island, the agreed upon rendezvous point with the other Catamaran Annie K. We had decided to go ashore there and collect some table salt from te salt ponds and enjoy the beach. The wind was cranking perfect at about 15 knots out of the east and so we enjoyed a really nice and fast broad reach to Salt Island.
Unfortunately, upon arrival, Annie K waved us off reporting that the island had been inhabited by absolute pigs with broken glass all over the beach, fire pits everywhere, trash and polluted salt ponds. Almost like people living there did not want others to share in any island beauty and elected instead to spoil it for everyone inclusive of them selves. So – I guess they achieved success in that we did not drop anchor and instead moved over to the easterly neighboring island, Cooper Island.
Cooper Island BVI's
Manchioneel Bay Cooper Island is fantastic. Although in low season the restaurant is only open for lunch. However there are lots of mooring buoys there and a really nice little beach. The wind was out of the east and so the conditions were calm and protected.
Some of the guys (self inclusive) found a coconut and broke out into a game of modified touch rugby. After about an hour, with a few injuries sustained we all retired back to the boats.
We elected to spend the night in Manchioneel Bay because of the short 6 nautical mile sail in the morning back to Road Town.
Savannah Bay BVI: There is nothing like a swim ashore and a morning run on a white sandy beach and that is exactly what I did on Thursday morning. We’d anchored in about 15 ft of water which meant the boat was about 200 meters from shore which made for a nice swim. Then I ran 4 lengths of the beach. Ahhhh.
Savannah Bay BVI's. Makes for a really nice morning run.
After the run and fruit with yogurt for breakfast (which by the way is a really easy breakfast when you’re on a charter boat) a few of the others came ashore.
Savannah Bay BVI's
The weather was warm and the bay was very sheltered from the east. Plus the outer reef shelters the bay from any swells. Alexandra cam e ashore and we had some fun introducing her to small waves in the shallow beach.
Playing with Alexandra in the water in Savannah Bay
Granpa also had some fun.
Gramps and Alexandra
We bought the dinghy up onto the beach so that the waaves could not pull it back out in to the water and drift away. One way to stop this happening is to use the dinghy anchor and spike it into the sand. Under heavier waves we have in the past dug the anchor into the sand a little more to give extra holding power.
Using the Dinghy anchor to stop the dinghy from drifting away
And of course you need to pull the engine up out of the water to stop sand getting into the water intake and causing the engine to over heat. Tilting the engine up also protects the engine and the mounts and propeller etc. There is a tilt lever under the engine and behind the transom. It’s a bit difficult to operate when you first start using it but after a while you get familiar with its operation. To put the engine down you pull the lever again and it unclips the engine.
The Dinghy outboard tilts up and clips in with the tilt lever.
Savannah Bay was completely empty and it was a delight having such a beautiful place on the planet all to our selves. Then we pulled anchor and motored around to the other beaches in the bay. Very impressive! Around the corner to the east is another part to Savannah bay which is a little more inhabited with some cottages.
A few cottages on the east end of Savannah Bay
Another view looking west.
At the east end of Savannah Bay looking west.
To exit savannah Bay you must exit through the west end to clear the reef. But there is also another reef inside the reef that you must pay attention. The beauty of the bay may lull you into a false sense of safety so just read the guide and watch the charts, guide book and especially the depth sounder.
A short motor to the south on Virgin Gorda is Spanish Town where we topped up with ice for the cold drinks.
Filling up with water at Spanish Town.
At each place you have to pay for water and since we only had two days to go, we only filled one tank.
Spanish Town has a very nice marina with a full grocery store and chandlery. You can stay overnight in Spanish Town Marina if you like but it’s advisable in peak months to call ahead and make a reservation.
Empty marina in Spanish Town
However this time of the year the marina is almost completely empty. So we had our choice of spots. There is also an internet wifi in the marina which is free so you can down load email if you REALLY have to.
After a sort stop in Spanish town Marina we motored a mile south to The Baths were we spent the afternoon exploring the cave and swimming.
The Baths: One of the high lights of the BVI's
The Baths are NOT to be missed. Even with 6 visits to The Baths now I would still return. It is a giant rock field all tumbled on top of each other creating strange shaped walk throughs and fun sea water pools.
You can spend hours there exploring the caves created from the giant rocks piled on top of each other.
You can even be silly (Deb and Susan) and pretend to hold the rocks up.
Holding rocks up in the Baths on a yacht charter trip to the BVI's
And of course, the swimming is awesome to.
Swimming at The Baths in the BVI's
Here are some other random shots of The Baths – just for proof that they are not to be missed.
Get the picture?
Also not to be missed is snorkeling at the south end of the baths. The rocks continue into the water where coral has grown onto them populated by the most amazing colored fish life. In one place we found a small swim through under the rocks which was about 30 feet long also completely populated by fish.
Having spent an incredible day in The Baths, and having enjoyed Savanna Bay so much we elected to return there for the evening. A most spectacular sunset gave us an awesome end to another day in the BVI’s.
Bath time on a catamaran is pretty easy and fun for the little one. The catamaran galley is so big that there is plenty of room and the sinks are big. Consequently, Alexandra loved this time of day.
Alexandra Loves Her Catamaran Bathtub
The crew set out in the dinghy to explore the rocky coastline and came back quite impressed. Lee Bay is certainly a nice stop for overnight or an exploring lunch, not with a Northerly or Westerly Swell however.
We then motored through the Cut between Little Camanoe and Great Camanoe through to Marina Cay to meet up with the other Catamaran in our fleet. They had spent the night in the lee of Marina Cay and reported a very flat sea due to it’s protection from Scrub, Camanoe and Beef Islands.
Marina Cay in the BVI's provides a very sheltered mooring
We sent the dinghy ashore to grab a few bags of Ice at Marina Cay and then we moved 4 miles North East over to Great Dog Island were we had lunch and a swim.While waiting for the Ice, Kay tried her hand at maneuvering the Catamaran in amongst the buoys. She did well and got the hang of the dual engines and how maneuverable the catamaran is. NauticEd is currently building a flash interactive Catamaran maneuvering game which should be released by Oct 25th 2009. It will be embedded into the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Course.
Great Dog Island - British Virgin Islands
We then moved over to George Dog island where the snorkeling is reported to be great and we were not let down. The BVI parks provide two mooring buoys on the south west of George Dog.
Excellent snorkeling at George Dog in the BVI's
We then snorkeled around the point to the North West of Kitchen point. We’d highly recommend the snorkeling here. There was lots of coral and colored fish. Other boats reported that the snorkeling off Kitchen point was also impressive. Some of the crew also found some impressive rock cliffs to jump off into the sea. If you’re chartering a yacht on a sailing vacation in the BVI’s do not miss The Dogs.
Excellent Snorkelling at George Dog inthe BVI's
Jumping from a cliff on George Dog BVI's
West Dog - The Dogs BVI's
After a very fun day at the Dogs we set sail for Savanna Bay on Virgin Gorda 2 miles South East of The Dogs. Savanna Bay entrance is not too tricky but you must follow the directions in the Cruising Guide as there are several reefs to miss.
Savannah Bay British Virgin Islands is truly awesome
However, once inside, wow, it’s a spectacular bay with three long beaches and clear water. Again with a swell from the north or North West this would be not advisable because it is completely open to those directions. If the weather conditions are right, Savanna Bay should not be missed. Several thatched shades are set up on the middle beach which is about 500 yards long. You can anchor about 200 yards off shore in about 15 feet of water.
At the end of the day we were rewarded with a stunning sunset. This picture was taken through the lens of sunglasses. Savannah Bay was one of the high lights of our sailing vacation.
A classic yacht chartering blunder was made on Monday. Instead of filling the tanks with water when the conditions were calm at the east end of Cane Garden Bay we elected to do it Tuesday morning because we were having so much fun on Monday. Overnight, a swell began running out of the North which made the water surge next to the dock. This created a very uncomfortable situation for refilling the water tanks. Even with spring lines, the boat was moving around quite a lot and created potentially dangerous situation. The lesson there was – when conditions are right do what you need to do.
The swell did create some fun waves over the reef and so on Tuesday morning we took the sea kayaks into the waves to play.
After refilling with water, we needed to get away from the dock safely. Simply engaging reverse would have sent us side scrapping the boat along the dock all the way back with the swell surge slamming us in. Not good!
Using a spring line to get off the dock with a catamaran
We used a classic spring line – reverse out method. We left the spring line running from the forward cleat aft to the dock and released all others. We positioned a buoy between the dock and forward hull, turned the wheel towards the dock and engaged forward on the engine opposite the dock. When the spring line was taught, the aft end of the boat begun rotating away from the dock due to the opposing forces creating a turning moment. We helped this with a little reverse on the dock side engine all the while keeping the buoy between the hull and dock and spring line taught. When the aft of the boat had rotated sufficiently away from the dock we engaged reverse on both engines, released the spring line and back quickly away from the dock.
This and more is described in the Catamaran Sailing Confidence Clinic
Clear, we then pulled the dinghy up on the dinghy davit and set sail for White Bay on Guana Island next to Monkey point. Using the dinghy davit is usually a good idea. It reduces drap on the boat and thus increases speed, reduces wear on the dinghy and boat cleats and reduces the jerking on the painter line as the swells pass. A Catamaran is well suited for raising the dinghy on the davits because the catamaran is so wide and having a dingy of the back presents no interference.
Dinghy Davit on a catamaran
The winds to Guana Island were 15 knots out of the east and just below the reefing threshold. It’s important to reef a catamaran at the designated wind speeds because since the boat does not heel over, the full area of the sail is always presented to the wind. More about this in the NauticEd Catamaran Sailing Confidence course.
We set out the two fishing rods and trolled for a yummy Tuna which I have caught on many previous trips to the BVI. Alas, we were skunked for the whole week on any fish. Not even a Baracuda!
White Bay on Guana Island
The sand on White Bay, Guana Island is so soft and almost silky like. Guana Island is a private island and so you can go on to the beach but not too much further. However White Bay made for a very nice stop for a long lunch. Unfortunately due to time we missed the snorkeling at Monkey point which has been very impressive on previous trips to the BVI where two mooring balls are provided for day mooring.
We then made tracks under power to Lee Bay on Great Camanoe Island. Lee bay is a small bay with a rocky beach.
Lee Bay on Camanoe Island
The rocky cliffs on each side are impressive and the swell was creating a blow hole into a cave next to our anchor point that made a very ominous whooshing sound with a shooting high blow of water. Its obvious that a swell out of the North could make this bay uncomfortable, however today it was slightly North west and laying down. We therefore elected to stay the night in Lee Bay.
We took the dinghy ashore so that we could walk across the low saddle of the island to Cam Bay on the other side. The waves on the beach made for an interesting landing onto the beach with the dinghy. We had to wait for the swell surge then ride it in slightly behind the wave. We pulled up onto the beach and tied off around a large rock. Cam Bay was relatively unimpressive with washed up seaweed and some trash on the beach so we didn’t stay to long. There were some very impressive homes overlooking Cam Bay. The night produced a heavy but short lived thunderstorm and so there was a great scramble to close all the hatches about 3am.
On Monday morning the wind was out of the east. We left the beautiful White Bay on Jost Van Dyke and set sails for Sandy Spit which took about 2 tacks on a beat into the wind.
Sandy Spit at the East end of Little Jost Van Dyke
Sandy Spit is located at the east end of Little Jost Van Dyke and is a little sandy island all the way around with a few palm trees and scrub trees in the middle. Don’t confuse Sandy Spit with Sandy Cay which is much bigger and to the south. The guys challenged each other to a sprint run race around the island. It took about 90 seconds sprinting in the sand which was not easy. A cool dip off in the clear clear water was welcomed afterward. You can easily anchor at sandy spit on the west side in about 20 feet of water although be careful if there is a swell running. Sandy Spit is well worth a visit because of the sand and the clear water next to it.
Michael drinking underwater at Sandy Spit BVI
Next our friend Arun texted us to say that he had arrived and was waiting for us at our prearranged meeting place in Cane Garden Bay 2.5 miles to the South East of Sandy Spit with a fishing License in hand – yah!
Cane Garden Bay BVI
Cane Garden Bay is a really beautiful spot with a long beach and lots of nice vacation homes dotted up the steep hill behind. There is a grocery store, post office and lots of restaurants. The Bay is fairly well protected but if a swell is running from the north the swell can wrap into the bay. We picked up Arun, his wife Jo and their 2 1/2 year old daughter to add to our 1 year old.
The girls on the Catamaran trampoline in Cane Garden Bay
Annie K joined us a few hours later and we all spent the afternoon and night in the wide bay. The afternoon was spent playing in the warm Caribbean water.
Swimming in Cane Garden bay BVI
Only two other boats were moored in the whole bay. This is very different from high season where dozens (and dozens) of boats stay over night there. We highly recommend a stay in Cane Garden Bay (especially in low season).
For Dinner on Bobcat, Vanessa whipped up an incredible Mediterranean Tuna Salad which is a highly recommended staple to the yacht chartering lifestyle.
To follow over the next week, are the chronicles of this year’s yacht charter sailing vacation trip by NauticEd staff and friends. Although we’ve sailed through out the Caribbean and Mediterranean, once again we elected the BVI. Mostly because this year we were bringing along many new comers who’d not visited the BVI’s before and this is a place not to be missed.
The beautiful beach of Savannah Bay in the BVI
September in the BVI’s is considered totally out of season. Most of the restaurants are closed and charter companies are down to skeleton crews. However we were looking this year for a quiet, out-of-the-way trip with few other boats to deal with and so despite being in the middle of hurricane season, this was an appealing location.
In the BVI’s there are many charter companies. This year we elected to charter with Sunsail. We have chartered 2 Catamarans. One Leopard 43 named “Bobcat” and one Lagoon 41 named “Annie K”. Our crew consists of 16 friends and family from Austin, San Antonio and South Africa. Included are our 1 year old daughter and a friend’s 2 year old daughter.
Friday September 25th 2009
Traditionally we have flown into Beef Island (Tortolla airport) via Puerto Rico which works well but if you do this you have to make sure that you have sufficient turn around time for your luggage. I’m not sure but I don’t think there has been 1 time that all bags have arrived.
This time however because of airline schedules we flew into St Thomas on the USVI, stayed the night at the Marriot Frenchmans Reef and Morning Star Resort with the ntension of taking the ferry from Charlotte Amarlie to Road Town on the British Virgin Islands main island -Tortolla.
The Marriot is about 15 minutes from the St Thomas Airport. The resort is very nice for a quick stay over. It has a lovely beach, a swimming pool and a tennis court. But we’re more excited about getting on our boats and setting sails tomorrow.
Beach at the Marriot Frenchmans Reef on USVI
There are a few strange creatures on the USVI.
Follow our week long BVI blog series posted every day for the next week.
As we prepare for our yacht charter sailing vacation to the British Virgin Islands this month, I want to post a few emails that we are sending out to the group that is going. Below is one from my wife discussing provisioning. The name of our trip every year is called Bonga Bonga. Some years we do tee shirts. I’ve got one dating back to 1997 when we went to St. Maarten.
SUBJ: Bonga Bonga 2009
Here are a few tips we have picked up during our charter sailing trips – thought I would share.
Towels – you get two towels per person for the week – that is for swimming and showering – I take a few cheap hand towels along, very nice to have later in the week when you towel is yuck. Some people take a beach towel along – numerous smaller ones seem to be a better bet.
Daily I give the floor in the salon a wipe down – gets rid of the hair, crumbs and sand – best for this is wipes – either Clorox or Baby wipes, great for cleaning the counters too. We have been taking baby wipes along for years and swear by them. My used hand towel then becomes the door mat – helps tremendously with keeping the interior clean.
Toilets – if even one toilet stinks the entire boat stinks – hang a toilet freshener in the bowl from day one and the problem is solved.
Liquid body wash or soap – bar soap slips and slides all over your bathroom and when showering on deck it generally lands in the sea!
BONINE – the very best motion sickness tablet – no side effects, you can drink etc. Don’t be tough and be uncomfortable – be a woosy and have fun – take a tab on day one and then if the weather gets rough you’ll be ok! Otherwise since we have a catamaran if you’re not too susceptible then you should not get sick.
Floaties – up until our last trip you could still not buy Noodles for a reasonable price. It’s nice to have something to float on other than the boat fenders. So consider squeezing one in or a cheep blow up floatee. Vacuum suck the air out before packing since the airline will nail you for baggage these days.
Sippy Cups – although your drink is safer on a Cat, the best bet is a sippy cup for less spills – bring the most outrageous cup – win award!
Sunscreen – need I remind you.
Snorkeling gear – there is gear at the charter base, so not worries borrowing any if you don’t already own.
Zip lock bags – there is no Tupperware on the boat – zip locks are the easiest for food storage – left overs / cheeses etc. Only once have we been able to buy zip lock bags in the islands – so just in case I suggest taking them along.
PROVISIONS – couple of take alongs – sometimes hard or impossible to get in the islands.
Wasabi – I have bought 2 tubes as I have full confidence in my fisherman!
Soy Sauce – for the endless sashimi
Coffee – if you are fussy the coffee there is poor to pathetic – take your java along. We drink decaf, so we take an extra plunger as not to hog the coffee pot.
Benadryl for any bites and /or itch ease. (Stingrays / eels – only kidding! Mosquitos/jellyfish)
Cloth shopping bags. Use these for the freezer. Put similar things together so that you cn pull out and not find all the stuff in the bottom of the freezer at the end of the week.
Provisioning in Tortola
Don’t over stock, there are places along the way to pick up supplies.
Whenever we have bought beef – it has been the biggest disappointment – don’t waste your time. Eat fish – last trip we could not eat all G caught, and cold meats are great for lunch. But forget the steak, unless you get very lucky – then invite us over!
Chicken – the only time I am interested is if I can buy an already roasted chicken – great for salads / sandwiches – to cook on the boat takes to long, hot.
Pasta Sauce – a couple times during the week it is great to just whip up an easy pasta dish – I might take a fabulous pesto or two along in the suitcase.
We always seem to eat the most at cocktail hour, one days sample menu just to get your juices flowing.
Breakfast – FRUIT, yogurt, sometimes eggs and toast, cereal.
Snacks – chips and cookies
Lunch – Salad Nicoise
Sundowners – cheese and crackers, salmon, dips etc. (fresh bread is not easy to find – crackers rule)
Dinner – Artichoke pasta and Caprese salad. Chocolate!! Port!!
ICE is the big score every day – we go in search of it…..
Other than alcohol, nice to have iced tea and fruit juice along with lots of water. Grant is the world’s expert on making tasty rum drinks. Rum, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, mango, passion. – ouch!
We always land up drinking wine with dinner – so stock up.
Fishing gear – we need one more Reel – anyone got a fishing reel – pls let us know.
Can’t wait – see you all in a couple of weeks. And – you all should really take NauticEd’s bareboat charter course and catamaran sailing course. It’ll make the trip much more fun for everyone.
Hotel reservations to follow..
Chartering a sailing boat on a sailing vacation? Take the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Clinic
Bareboat Charter sailing Course
Chartering a catamaran on a sailing vacation? Take the NauticEd Catamaran Sailing Confidence course.
Learn to sail, handle and maneuver a catamaran with confidence