Map copyright Bareboats BVI
Below is an overview of the main islands and stops, merely suggestions for your trip. There are so many other ‘stops along the way’, that it’s impossible to list them all. Once you have decided what activities you want to enjoy during your trip (hiking, diving, sleeping and sunbathing etc…) we will put together an itinerary to make the most of your time and desires. An article from Yachting Magazine in Oct 2010 might help give you some direction and thought material for your trip. You can also check out the Online Cruising Guide for ideas and suggestions.
JOST VAN DYKE
Jost Van Dyke is a legendary island, and my favorite by far! The slow easy pace, and fantastic people I call my friends, sum up the general feeling of the BVI. An easy 3 1/2 hour sail from Road Harbor (home port), White Bay makes for a great lunch stop that can easily turn in to an overnight stay. This is the home of Ivan’s and the best seaside burger I’ve had. Swimming, food and drink are all here, and then there’s Ivan. The man is a legend, a storyteller, and a great guy to hang out with. Kenny Chesney had no idea how lucky he was when he washed up at Ivan’s place! Soggy Dollar Bar and One Love at the opposite end of the bay are both worth seeing as well. And a painkiller at Soggy Dollar, the supposed birthplace of the concoction, is a must for sure. On any given day there will be someone playing live, and that is worth the trip.
At the other end of the island is Little Harbour, a much quieter mooring but several great places to enjoy, and around the point is Diamond Cay . Either is great for hanging out, swimming, and dining. When the tides are right, the Bubbly Pool is worth the short hike from Diamond Cay mooring to enjoy. This bay has some of the best bioluminescence I’ve seen, and if you’ve never had the experience of swimming in glowing light at night, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Finally, mid island is where you find Great Harbour and Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant. Known the world over, Foxy’s is worth seeing so you can say you’ve been there. And Foxy himself is well worth the trip! Several more shops and establishments are located in Great Harbour if ‘the main draw’ is not your speed. This harbour is normally crowded, and I tend to dingy over from whatever bay I tie up in.
Tortola is the main island in the BVI. On the northwest coast of Tortola is Cane Garden Bay. You might recognize the half moon shaped bay and palm trees from a postcard or poster.
Much food, drink, and nightlife can be found here, as well as the beautiful beach and sunsets. Shopping and a tour of the oldest working rum distillery in the islands are options too. Sailors Rest is located at the dingy dock, has a fantastic sunset view, not to mention some of the best drinks in the bay.
On the north coast of Tortola you will find Monkey Point, Guana Island, a great lunch and snorkle spot. The shore and sea life here makes it well worth the stop. While it is a private island (can be rented for $22k/day if interested) there is much to see for free. It is possible to over night here, but a short distance away is Marina Cay and Trellis Bay. If your trip will encompass a full moon, Trellis Bay has a party worth attending! Eclectic is the best way to describe Trellis Bay. The shops ashore are very cool, and all are welcome to ‘work’ in them. Bellamy Cay has The Last Resort, and for you pirate freaks, some history too. Located walking distance from the airport at Beef Island, it can also be the start /finish point of your sailing vacation.
Located across Sir Francis Drake Channel from Trellis Bay, is Virgin Gorda is the next biggest island in the BVI, and home of the world famous rock formation known as The Baths. A day stop, The Baths is one you must see. Moments away is Fallen Jerusalem to the south and Spanish Town to the north. Spanish Town is a good overnight stop, offering shopping and a nightlife. We can moor here and explore Virgin Gorda, or bypass it all together and head to Cooper and/or Salt Islands. Great snorkeling without a doubt, and a chance to get ashore for meals and drink. We can certainly do both places, allowing for more time in Spanish Town, from where you can taxi to The Baths for the day.
North Gorda Sound is a nice sail to the northwest or ‘up island’ from Spanish Town. Saba Rock is home to a great restaurant and watering hole. All sorts of activities are available here, and if the itch for land needs to be scratched, hiking on Moskito Island or Prickly Pear Island might be the answer. Shopping and wandering the waterfront are favorite past times at this stop.
Known as the ‘Drowned Island’, Anegada is roughly 14 nm north of Gorda Sound. A good sail and a fine lobster dinner ($50/pp) are the key selling points of this island. There are many natural sites to see on the island, beaches, salt ponds, flamingo’s, wildlife…. You can get a cab to the beaches (round trip) for $12/pp, or rent a truck for $85/day that carries 12 and see the island at your pace. A pub stroll along the beach where we moor can be done, and is a great way to meet the locals and get the flavor of the island. Being a distance from the rest of the islands, Anegada is truly a laid back place. If you you are on a long vacation the trip and time spent is worth it, otherwise, heading down island is a better plan.
Cooper Island (purported muse for Jimmy Buffett’s ‘Cheeseburger In Paradise’) is home to Cooper Island Beach Resort at Manchioneel Bay. Renovated in 2009 by new owners, it’s a great place to spend a day or two, especially if diving is your passion and desire. Cistern Point is a short dingy ride from our mooring, and offers a wide range of diving experiences. Just around the corner from Cistern Point are more snorkel/dive spots worth visiting, one being a wreck site with four ships. Great sunsets and the only rum bar in the northern Caribbean are strong points here. As of July ’14, they are in the process of building a micro brewery too.
Salt Island is right next to Cooper Island. The world famous Wreck of the Rhone is located here. Without a doubt, this is another ‘must do’ stop, and one to schedule in. Scuba or snorkel, the wreck is easily seen. Ashore are yet more treasures worth exploring, the settlement on the north shore, grave yards, salt ponds, and the quiet freedom of exploration on an island in the Caribbean. Salt Island is easily reached by dingy from Cooper Island or a day stop on the way to Peter or Norman Island.
Peter Island is a quiet place to spend the evening. A beach bar at Deadman’s Bay on the north end of the island, and a wonderful anchorage at Little Harbour are highlights for sure. Hiking ashore, a quiet anchorage, and high brow dining are available here. My favorite spot on the island is Ocean’s Seven Beach Club. Good people and service make it an easy call and mooring.
Norman Island. Either the place to start or finish your vacation! Legendary to say the least, history laden for sure, not to mention some of the best underwater sites in the BVI. The Bight is choice one for the evening, with Privateer Bay being next. We can get to Treasure Point and The Caves for exciting snorkeling from either location. The Bight is home to Pirates Bight, a beach bar/restaurant (a hiking trail starts behind the pub), and the famous Willie T. The Willie T. is a floating grill and bar, a VERY interesting place when the sun goes down to say the least. Should you want quiet and peace, Privateer Bay is our choice.
THE INDIANS AND PELICAN ISLAND
A short sail across the channel from Road Harbour, and 5 minutes from Norman Island, is one of the most magnificent dive sites in the BVI, The Indians. When the seas are cooperating, this is a fantastic site to say the least. Nearby is Pelican Island which provides its own underwater sights as well as hiking on the island.
Along the way you may discover other places you want to stop, and since it’s YOUR vacation, anything is possible!