Re: First time chartering in BVI flotilla with kids
Just got back last week from our second trip to the BVI with Sunsail. Both trips were fantastic and I think you will like Sunsail. Their boats are clean and in good shape, although equipped with a minimal yacht inventory. Check the list, because if their is anything that you use that is not on the list, be sure to bring it.
You don't have to bring snorkeling gear, they provide it and there is plenty to choose from. We found the best snorkeling was a Monkey Point on Guana Island (p. 127 "Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands") but get there early as the mooring balls are few and it's a popular spot. Other good spots were the Indians and the Caves near the Bight on Norman Island, and the Dogs.
As far as kayaks, well let's just say that we rented a two man kayak, but never got it off the boat because it was too heavy to manually lift aboard, and raising it with the mainsail halyard each time would be a pain in the neck since we were on the go so much. You may consider two singles instead, unless you have lots of musclepower aboard, which we didn't.
For provisioning, we walked to the market which is only a few blocks from the dock and then took a taxi back. It's called "RiteWay" Liked the idea of picking out our own fresh fruits and veggies, instead of ordering online and having it delivered. I asked about the free taxi to Bobby's if you order at least $150, but the receptionist at Sunsail said that the store was not stocked very well, going downhill. Not sure if that is true, but we decided not to test it. Of course we had time to kill until our 6:00 PM check-in. If you don't have the time it's best to order online and fill in as you travel. There are ton's of small markets on the islands, however they are very expensive. We just bought enough for two daily meals on the boat; breakfast and lunch or dinner, depending on when we ate ashore. With kids you may want to limit your meals onshore because they are not cheap!
I think you will enjoy the flotilla. A good way to meet other couples, and possibly find some playmates for the kids. We met several couples that were on Sunsail Flotillas and they were all having a great time.
I agree with the others that you may consider spending more vacation time on the boat, a week may not be enough to see it all. But with kids, they may also enjoy what the resorts have to offer.
Be sure to take them to the "Bubbly Pool" on JVD, near Foxy's Taboo (p. 256) They will love it. The mooring area there is one of the most beautiful on the islands, and near Sandy Spit where the kids can frolic in the sand on their own little "island". If the flotilla doesn't go there you may want to take your own sojourn one day. Have a great time!