Assuming you've read the introduction
we can get on with the good stuff. You'll need a notebook to keep track of where you think you'd like to go because there are a lot of choices to make. Otherwise, you can bookmark the pages and you'll have the info readily available. You can't possibly see everything in just one week. I haven't managed to see it all in more than 20 years ... and I live here! From time to time, I still discover new things.
William Thornton Floating Bar
Charter Day 1 - Norman Island
Your bareboat vacation is finally happening and the British Virgin Islands
If well prepared and all goes well, you should get off the dock in Tortola
sometime between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm with enough time to make your way to The Bight
* on Norman Island
. Stop off at The Indians
or The Caves
for a leisurely snorkel or you may opt to head straight over to the William Thornton Floating Bar & Restaurant
or Pirate's Bight Restaurant
for a late lunch or a much needed refreshment.
Forewarned is forearmed. Keep the kids out of the Willy-T bar once things start rocking if you'd rather they didn't discover what a body shot might be.
Have a great evening and wind down from your travels. Tomorrow you'll be sailing! For a more family oriented experience, head over to Pirate's Bight.
There are some great hiking trails on Norman Island
and several wonderful places to snorkel and go scuba diving.
Charter Day 2 - Peter Island, Salt & Cooper Island
Ah Paradise! You've recovered from your travels, the sun is rising, the frigate birds are soaring overhead and hopefully you didn't overdo it last night. You are ready to start your sailing adventure!
If you haven't already been there and done that, first thing in the morning is the best time to snorkel The Indians or The Caves, before the crowds arrive. Then proceed on to Peter Island
. Once again, you will have several choices for anchoring or mooring ... but on your first visit, I recommend heading directly to Dead Man's Bay. It's gorgeous!
Dead Man's Bay Beach on Peter Island
Sprat Bay at Peter Island
Enjoy a lovely swim at this world class beach or partake in a sumptuous buffet lunch at Dead Man's Beach Bar & Grill. Its expensive by some standards, but well worth it if you bring a healthy appetite. Their deserts are a gastronomic delight!
Be aware that the anchorage can be subject to swells in the winter months making it rather uncomfortable for overnight stays. There are several other, more protected anchorages on Peter Island as well as the dock at the little marina in Sprat Bay, seen above.
If you opt not to stay here overnight, set sail for Salt Island
in the afternoon. There's a natural salt pond located inland where, until not that long ago, a tiny settlement of British Virgin Islanders used to collect sea salt. Unfortunately, Norwell Durant (the last remaining permanent resident) passed away in 2004.
Salt island, is home to the Wreck of the Rhone which is a favourite dive site. The Rhone was a British Royal Mail steamship which foundered during a hurricane in 1867. The British Virgin Islands and the Rhone were made famous in 1977 as the location for the movie, "The Deep". This is an interesting wreck and much of the Rhone can still be clearly identified.
For the evening, sail on to Cooper Island
and pick up a mooring ball. The Cooper Island Beach Club has a very nice restaurant and bar you'll want to visit. Try to get there early to ensure a mooring is available*. This is a popular spot and there's a limited supply of moorings. You'll find lots of turtle grass in this area. Anchoring in turtle grass is a major no no, so if bent on staying here, you'll have to find a suitable sandy patch to anchor if all moorings are taken.
Note: Many bareboat sailors who've attempted to anchor in turtle grass have found themselves adrift in the middle of the night due to hinkey wind shifts and really poor holding. If there are no moorings available and you don't feel like anchoring, sail on to Trellis Bay
, Marina Cay
or Scrub Island ... or any other nearby anchorage.
*Tips on mooring ball etiquette
BVI Folk Lore
When sailing past Peter and Salt Islands on your way to Cooper Island, you'll see a rather imposing and forbidding island to your starboard side called Dead Chest Island
. You may have heard the song, "15 men on a dead man's chest ... yo ho ho and a bottle of rum"
. Well there's a lot more to that story so click on the link above to find out more.
* Definition: "Bight" - Recess in a coastline or loop in a line.
Next: Day 3 and 4 of your sailing itinerary