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  #1  
Old 08-21-2009
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First Time Bareboat - Belize, Abacos or BVI?

Hi all, I am getting ready to book a bareboat charter in late June of next year. I have a couple of questions for those of you who have done this before.

First, I want this to be a great vacation with no real hiccups. I expect to pay more for newer boats and equipment. With that in mind, what would be the best "first timer" location? We all love to snorkel, fish and scuba. Long sailing legs, maybe not this time.

Second, I have a family of four, but would like to include several other guests. They are relatives that we actually like Good or bad idea? I think the more the merrier, but who knows?

Last I guess, would be some of your favorite spots in the destination(s) that you recommend, bars and restaurants included.

Oh yeah, charter companies that you love.

Thanks, Bill
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Old 08-21-2009
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I vote BVI

BVI, because it is better set up for Charters (easy provisioning, lots of charter choices, line of sight sailing, lots of land based things to do if your guests need a break from sailing....)

We've chartered multiple times in BVI, most recently this July. We've used SunSail, The Catamaran Company and Voyage Charters. Hands down, we recommend Voyage Charters and would ONLY go with them again. Other folks have done well with Horizon, TMN, and the other above mentioned charter services, but we have NEVER had an issue with Voyage that wasn't immediately taken care of with a smile.

There are other threads on BVI favorites....
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Old 08-21-2009
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Hey Monte - please do an update here of your charter adventure. Since I'm following in your wake in the same areas, I'd love to see some firsthand experience as you go through it.

Thanks!
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Old 08-22-2009
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We chartered in Belize last summer. If you like anchorages with no one else around, deserted cayes, solitude, great snorkeling/diving, and not many restaurants/amenities, Belize may be just the place for you. If you want restaurants and bars close by every night, Belize is not for you.

If you charter in Belize you have to stay inside the reef. Lots of very close cayes that vary in size from tiny with only a couple of palm trees to big with mangrove swamps. A few of them have small resorts but most are more wild. You cannot go outside the reef to the atolls without a local captain.

We hired a local captain with our Moorings charter and he was excellent. He cost us $125 a day and he did all the cooking. He also acquired lobster, conch, and fish for us through barter. (The best was a bucket of conch in exchange for charging a cell phone.) We fished but mostly caught barracuda. We usually gave the barracuda away to the Coast Guard (good karma) or other locals. We hired a captain because we wanted to go out to the atolls.

What ever you decided, good luck. If you have more questions about Belize, I will be happy to answer them. I know Belize quite well as I have been spending 1 to 2 months a year there working for the past several years.
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Old 08-22-2009
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Allanbc,

Great information on Belize. I havenever been there, but have been attracted to it for some time. Was there space to truly get in some sailing, or is motoring from atoll to caye etc.etc.

Abaco will be very confined in where you can go on your charter. It is possible a power cat may be more fun since you will do a lot of motoring anyway.

The BVI you can get in a ton of sailing. You can avoid shopping, and bars, or indulge your choice. I can testify that the sailing is good, and some long runs. I have chartered there for 2 weeks, and sailed Imagine there for 2 weeks.

My personal thought after reading Allan is that I would explore Belize, and get in some tribal sight seeing too. What fantastic history in that part of the world.......i2f
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Old 08-22-2009
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Question Looking to bareboat in Belize with captain who cooks

Allanbc,

My wife and I are looking to bareboat charter in Belize late october. Allanbc says he found a captain who also cooked ! We are Moorings captains. Upon inquiring with the Moorings, They said "The captain will not cook" . There are only 2 of us and my wife does not want to be a galley slave. We both dive and would like to go outside the reef, so we need a captain. Allanbc, how did you do it ? This is just what we want !!! please respond.
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Old 08-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagine2frolic View Post
Allanbc,

Great information on Belize. I havenever been there, but have been attracted to it for some time. Was there space to truly get in some sailing, or is motoring from atoll to caye etc.etc.
i2f
Lots of opportunity to sail inside the reef. Outside the reef there are lots of opportunities, too!
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Old 08-22-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brookmw View Post
Allanbc,

My wife and I are looking to bareboat charter in Belize late october. Allanbc says he found a captain who also cooked ! We are Moorings captains. Upon inquiring with the Moorings, They said "The captain will not cook" . There are only 2 of us and my wife does not want to be a galley slave. We both dive and would like to go outside the reef, so we need a captain. Allanbc, how did you do it ? This is just what we want !!! please respond.
Our captain was Half Inch.

I think they only allow captains with local knowledge to go outside the reef. The reefs are tricky and not marked at all. Lots of coral heads in the shallows.

ETA: Actually, we chartered through TMM. We have been trying to put together a charter through Moorings lately and I had that on the brain. Sorry for the confusion.
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Last edited by Allanbc; 08-22-2009 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 08-23-2009
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Belize is trade wind sailing. If you go out of San Pedro you head south, inside the reef, on a port tack. Halfwaythrough the charter you come about and head back on a starboard tack. The boats are catamarans since there is lots of shallow water. Very beautiful and very comfortable. Provision for the whole trip before you leave the dock; there are very few places to buy food or anything else.
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Old 08-23-2009
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If your going bareboat... "no hired help/ captain" aboard... then BVI is probably your best bet. If you can reasonable handle a boat this is generally a good start to the cruising experience in the Caribbean. Many facilities to select from and many coves and lesser crowed places. In late June you will probably have lots of places more or less to yourself as that is the end of the "season".

That does not mean everything is closing... far from it!

Here is a link to the Soggy Dollar web cam at Jost Van Dyke

Soggy Dollar Bar Web Cam, Jost Van DykeBVI

Lots of places you can visit depending on what your interest are. USVI is just a short hop away but make sure your charter company advises you on how to legally make the hop. St John USVI has both good sailing, snorkeling and hiking around the National Park and it will not be crowed at that time of the year.

In the BVI you can pick up provisions at many locations, some very nice ones at dock side like in Sopers Hole West End BVI. Cost are about 20% higher than the states... much of the food is from Miami but some European and down island products are available.

Keep us advised on your trip. I'll be down full time by the time you arrive. I'm heading down in December with a one way ticket.

Warning : BVI can be very habit forming for everyone.
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