BVI 2010- November 26 to December 4

The only place I return to again and again; obviously, I like it here, so here's a second opinion:
"(BVI) : Without doubt the best way to discover Tortola and the surrounding islands is during a yacht charter.  It is one of the finest and safest yacht charter areas in the world with steady trade winds, plenty of sunshine year round and numerous sheltered harbors.
The quiet coves where Drake, Columbus and Blackbeard used to anchor are once more havens for fleets of sailing vessels and the modern adventurers who come to explore the Virgin Islands. For those seeking to get away from it all, this is the place: there is no golf, no gambling, no major entertainment center, only sailing in the water with others seeking the same relaxing enjoyment, with charming local bars and restaurants on the various islands to share the passion. There is a deep sense of peace in the Virgin Islands one finds hard to forget, which keeps bringing the same people back over and over again. The waters are superb for swimming, snorkelling, diving and yacht charter. Most of the Virgin islands have a volcanic origin which gives character to the terrain.
Diving :
The Virgin Islands are recognized as one of the world's top diving and snorkelling spots with a vast array of colourful tropical fish at every anchorage and the wreck of the R.M.S. Rhone regarded by many as the best wreck dive in the western hemisphere.
Many professional dive shops provide complete services from equipment rental and air tank refills, to tours and instruction."
 As he points out, what differentiates the BVI is what's not there is as much as what is, including crime.  You may have heard of some recent murders in St. Thomas, including a tourist.  But, as the virgin islands guide wrote, "On the British Virgin Islands, crime is virtually non-existent."
            This picture shows how close the islands are.                        Loblolly Beach, Anegada- the beach is always this deserted;
                                                                                                                     you can see the surf breaking on the reef- great snorkeling.
This trip will be all about the WATER.  One popular bar is called The Soggy Dollar; I'm sure you can guess why.  There are some good restaurants ashore, so bring a pair of pants, but most of the time you'll be in a bathing suit.   The longest distance is 13 miles (to Anegada); most islands are 2-3 miles apart, and we sail at least 6 kts., or the equivalent of 7 mph, SOG (speed over ground), so short sail hops.  The scale on the bottom right of the map only goes to 8 miles.  Besides short sails, having so many islands close together creates sheltered, calm seas, ideal for non-sailors.  Unbelievably clear, calm waters, deserted beaches and perhaps the best snorkelling/diving in the Caribbean.  

I've drawn the probable itinerary on the Map in red, with distances per day written nearby in black (the thin dashed lines are ferry runs).  St. Thomas, where the most flights go to, is just off the map to the left of St. John.  The definite/"must see" stops are The Baths (I'd have a mutiny if we skipped this), the wreck of the RMS Rhone, Jost van Dyke, and Anegada.  Some details below:


        Day 1.- Friday- Sail to airport on Trellis Bay, p/u rest of crew (you can walk to the yacht from the airport).
                     Visit The Last Resort, and Marina Cay.
        Day 2.- The Baths, The Dogs.  You've seen the Baths, even if you didn't realize it, in countless photos and
giant boulders that you can walk through in shallow pools.  The Dogs are also a National Park
                     site: uninhabited islands with great snorkeling/diving.
        Day 3.- Anegada.  A coral atoll (all the others are volcanic) with only 300 residents, and about the same
                     number of flamingos and shipwrecks.  Every time I've visited the beaches here, we were the only
                     ones.  Part of the 2nd largest reef in the Caribbean.
        Day 4.- Guana and CGB.  A stop at the Chikuzen wreck, then on to Guana, considered to be the most
                     biodiverse island in the w. hemisphere, after Galapagos.  5' iguanas, multitudes of birds, and
                     amazing snorkeling-- I've seen 4' tarpon, rays, and barracuda right off the beach in 15' of water.
                     We'll spend
the night in Cane Garden Bay, of Jimmy Buffett fame, and home to many music venues.
        Day 5.- Jost van Dyke. Great hiking, beaches, bars, even a natural jacuzzi.
        Day 6.- The Indians/Norman.  Inspiration for RLS's Treasure Island, famous for it's caves and former ship
                     now floating bar, the Willie T.  There's one property on the island-- Pirates restaurant.
        Day 7.- Salt/Cooper.  If you've seen The Deep, you've seen the Rhone.  The 15' propeller is in 20' of water
                     with 100'+ of visibility, making this one of the rare wrecks that's also great for snorkeling.

        Day 8.- Return to Tortola.

You may have noticed I left off one day.  I like to leave a little flexibility so we can spend more time wherever we're having the most fun without feeling rushed.  Here is a sample itinerary from a charter broker, with good pictures, better descriptions (notice she did not include Anegada):

BVI Webpage:

$1050 per person, for nine days-- Friday, November 26, to Saturday, December 4.  You can even stay on board on Thursday night, if you want (I go in a day ahead to expedite the sailing).  Rate includes all chartering and operating expenses, most meals (although we'll eat about half the dinners ashore), drinks, insurance, fees and taxes.  There is also a refundable security deposit of $100 required against boat damage (in 14 years, I've never had to pay for any damage, but the deductibles have gone way up).  Eight people, first come first served based on deposits received, which is $450.  You'll then have until October 1st for a full refund.  If you need to cancel after that, I'll keep $225 only if I have no one waiting to fill your spot.
A 43' catamaran with an en suite head for each double cabin.  The width of a catamaran provides a more stable platform as well as more deck space and interior room.  It also offers a little more privacy as the cabins are all
separated.  The step down back of the hulls allow easy access to the water.



The fares to here are better than to most islands: less than $300 from MIA or D.C.; $400 from Orlando, or ATL; $500 from RDU or BHM.  It used to be that we would just fly directly into Tortola (Beef Island, EIS), but fares to nearby St. Thomas (STT) are usually substantially less, and only a $30, 45 minute ferry ride away.  Depending on your originating city, it's probably less flying time/fewer connections, too.  You will want to arrive by 3:30 p.m., however, to catch the 4:15 ferry (see FERRIES, below).  Many people feel the convenience of EIS is worth the additional fare; I think you would need to save at least $100 p.p. to choose STT.  It will depend on your flight options and preferences.  You almost always have to connect to a turboprop in San Juan to fly to EIS, but it's a great view and you can walk right to the dinghy dock where I'll pick you up.  Remember, the best time to look for airfares is Monday night or Tuesday.  I'll post updates on airfare on this site over the next few weeks.

Road Town Fast Ferry is the fastest, as it is non-stop to Road Town from Charlotte Amalie (RT and CA on ferry schedules), which is 10 mins. from the airport.  You'll see that last year they ran a 9 p.m. ferry from Red Hook (RH) that starts up when they season begins and should be available when we arrive, although they could not confirm when I called (a phenomenon known as "island time").  Red Hook is the east end of STT, so allow for a longer taxi ride.  Fares are very reasonable.

This site has a list of other ferries (read carefully):

Edward Laucella


Edward Laucella
1118 Winona Ave., SW
Roanoke, VA  24015,  or PayPal