Wednesday, July 29, 2015


It is time to head to the British Virgin Islands. I think I can throw a rock from St. John and hit Tortola, so don't think that this is going to be a long trip, it's just a chance to use our Passports.
The USIV & BIV combined on a map.

The US, Spanish and British, Virgin Islands are the ideal cruising grounds. There are 9 main islands and a hundred smaller ones. It is almost always just a short hop from one island to the protected waters! The travels are so easy that sometimes it's not even worth putting the sails up, just putt-putt over to the next anchorage. Oh, and speaking of anchoring, most areas have mooring balls available so that you don't even have to drop an anchor. Marie and Hadrian have gotten quite proficient at grabbing these moorings balls as I steer up to them. There are plenty of grocery stores with an ample variety of products. Unlike other areas where you have to be ever-so vigilant for shoal water, here the water is almost always deep enough. 
Derrick, Hadrian and Eva getting ready to pick up a mooring ball at Soper's Hole, Tortola.

The kids are eager to get a dog, so we want to visit the humane society on Tortola because they're the most difficult island to enter when it comes to having pets on-board, but if the pet came from their own island, well, what can they say?
Sailing just doesn't get any better than this!
We were able to get a slip at the Moorings Marina in Road Town. 
They're a bargain because they're in the charter business, and they just rent slips for a little side business, and the prices are the best. The Mirador kinda stands out among all the sharp new prissy charter boats, but I'll put my money on our boat any day. She's got some battle scars but she built tough, and robust. I would bet that you could build 2 of their boats with one Mirador.
Finding the Humane Society was difficult because it's not much more than a shack in a field, not a single sign. Once we did find it, the dogs available were not really so much a pet as they were financial liability, and none looked anywhere near a hypoallergenic breed. Coconut retrievers is what they call them, and they look like the stars of a fund raising campaign. We all agreed, our dog was not here.
We stayed at the Moorings marina a few more days before heading to Peter Island. When we got to Peter there were no moorings left. We tried to anchor, but it was just too deep. Left with no good options, We decided to go to Norman Island instead. We were able to get the absolute last mooring available at the Bight, but not before circling the Bight a couple of times, weaving our way around a hundred boats. Hadrian had made a friend at Normans Island on our previous visit, and he was eager to reunite.
Hadrian and his friend Jason at Norman Island dinghy dock.

We even spotted a mermaid!

Pirates Bight restaurant, what an incredible setting !
Happy hour!
With the wind coming straight out of the east (on the nose) we had to travel north and south because sailboats can't sail directly into the wind. We are headed to Trellis Bay on Beef Island just east of Tortola. They are so close to each other that some people don't even know they're on a different island. There artists shops and restaurants around the Bay that make for a cool environment. "Da Loose Mongoose" was our hangout. Kelly the bartender is quick to remember your name and your favorite cocktail. Just what you want in a social chemist.
There were free ferries to the resorts on neighboring islands so each day we would visit a resort. Scrub Island Resort had a great pool with a water bar. On Marina Cay (pronounced key) There was a Pussers store. They are the makers of the original "grog" or navy rum. 

Eva and Hadrian enjoying a hammock on Trellis Bay.

Trellis Bay.

Hadrian and Eva at the beach in Josiah's Bay, Tortola.
Without any urgency we sailed south across Drakes Channel to Cooper Island and picked up a mooring ball in Manchioneel Bay. We finished the day with cocktails at Cooper Island Beach Club. The next day we dove the reef at the south end of the bay. It was one of the prettiest reefs we have had the blessing of visiting.

Crossing Drakes Channel.

Cooper Island.

The Cooper Island Beach Club on Manchioneel Bay.

Caribbean squid are so cool to see!

Eva is really at home in the water.

Fire Coral! Talk about a burning sensation!

Eva is trying to angle in for a shot.

And she got it!
Our next stop will be the island of Virgin Gorda. The eastern most Island in the Royal archipelago. Our first stop will be Devils bay at the southwest end of the island. Just a few yards north of Devils Bay is the area called the Baths.
Natures cathedral.

Hadrian posing in a pool.

Beautiful spaces created between boulders.

Marie and Eva.

Derrick at the Baths

The park service has placed stairs at the more difficult areas to access.

Derrick, Hadrian and Eva on top of the world.

The kids found a whirlpool.
We took a slip at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor for a couple of days just to recover from all of the excitement. The Bitter End is our next destination. This area is comprised of about 9 bays, but it really feels like one big body of water. On the north end is Saba Rock, a very ambitious resort on very little real estate. The Bitter End Yacht Club is on the eastern side. It resembles a picturesque small village. To the southwest of the bay is Leverick Bay resort which is accessible by car. The area is a playground.
Here we are approaching Saba Rock.

Everyone's excited.

This is Prickly Pear Island. Nobody told us about the bug problem!

These bugs are everywhere!

Luckily they are very tasty.
We spent about a week exploring this side of Virgin Gorda. The ocean floor is covered in conch. They about 5 feet apart, and stretch for acres. 
Nice snappers were easy to catch right off the boat. I can play "Survivor" here. 
Well it's time to move on. Derrick needs to be in Puerto Rico in about 10 days, but the anxiety is starting to get to him. We'll start making our way to Josh Van Dyke. 
On our way to Jost Van Dyke, we're passing by Scrub Island.

Those are the Dog Island ahead us.

Approaching Jost Van Dyke.

The crew went exploring.

Hadrian and Derrick close to an are called the Bubbles.

Hadrian and Eva at the Bubbles.

Quite a few people have been carried away by the surf over the years.

I struggle for the words to that will do justice to the experience we have had. The British Virgin Island have been a great host. Exploring the area on by sailboat is the best way to see these islands. If these Islands are not on your bucket list, well then there is something wrong with your bucket.

1 comment:

  1. Sailing BVI in 2008 was my favorite vacation so far - your report is definitely an inspiration to visit again soon. Be aware of fish caught over the reef though; Amanda and I ate some Strawberry Grouper we caught and ended up with Ciguatera poisoning.