Another BVI Charter Post
Hi all, I was also in the BVIs during late June/early July this year. My trip notes are below, as well as a link to pics if you are interested. I think it was one of my all-time best vacations.:D:puke
6/23 - We left LAX at 12:35am. Arrived in Charlotte, NC, about 7:30am. Hung around until 1300 when our flight was cancelled. Went to our hotel and took a nap. Met up with Don, Karen and Jackson for dinner. What a great time!
6/24 - We left Charlotte about 11:00 and landed in St. Thomas about 1400. Went to the ferry site and hung around for next boat. Chuck and Lisa and Terry and Sergio both appeared at the last moment. We ferried to West End together and boarded Pleiades. Went out for dinner and drinks - ouch! Expensive!
6/25 - I went over the boat with Kimo and finally we were on our way after noon. Short sail to JVD. Cruised through White Bay, but no moorings. Went over to great harbor and snagged the mooring on our first try. High fives and cheers ensued. Used all the water toys and had a great pasta dinner aboard. Left early the next morning.
6/26 - departed JVD around 7:00 and headed for the dogs. Both sails up with the wind freshening as we passed Soper's Hole. Hit 20+knots on the nose in the Drake channel, so furled the head sail, and dropped the main. Heavy rain followed and we soon sought shelter to eat a smooth breakfast. We pulled into Road Harbour and putted around. Kyle and Lisa both felt a bit seasick so we hung around until they felt better. Back out in the channel, the wind was now a solid 23 knots dead on our nose. So as we motored into it I asked Lisa to pick a spot, and she came up with Marina Cay. We made our way in and once again snagged a mooring on the first try. Yea!!! Water toys into the water, along with all of us. Some went in the dinghy (Chuck and Cody), some went on the kayak (Susan and Lisa), and the rest of us went snorkeling.
Got in touch with Saildoggie, who was preparing to leave Soper's, headed for Scrub Island, right next door. Should see him this afternoon. Wind is still blowing with some rain coming in also.
6/27 - headed out early. Still very windy with occasional rain. Motored past the Dogs without stopping. Looked too bumpy. Attempted to raise Leverick Bay Marina without success many times. Finally made contact as we were nearing Mosquito Rock. Were told grab a mooring and that they would find us a slip. Got a mooring with a bit more trouble due to wind. Eventually got the call and motored into our slip. Right next to Saildoggie's! The rest of the TTOL groups began to show up, and I made the rounds, introducing myself. The boys quickly made friends with Saildoggie's teenage girls! Had a few drinks at the bar, Sergio took the boys out for fishing and snorkeling in the dinghy. Susan and Terry went for a long kayak paddle. Eventually, we madena great dinner of jerked pork loin and dirty rice. Yum.
Spent the evening listening to music and relaxing. Went to bed with the boys outside chatting with the girls.
6/28 - Up early again (0600 every day). Had coffee with Chuck and talked about he and Lisa leaving early the next day :(. Other TTOLers were beginning to stir. Seems they had rough night at the bar.
Festivities began to get under way about 0930, with breakfast and poker run check in. The event began 1100-ish with a mad dash to PricklyPear, with huge running water fights all the way. Got our first card and had a beer before heading out to Saba Rock for our second card and beer. The women were beginning to tire of the constant water fighting and we recruited two cute girls to take their places.
Next stop was the BITTER END, with the new additions showing great water fighting skills. Pizza and wings and more beers, and we were ready to battle our way to Birras Creek. And what a battle it was! Tried their world-famous French fries, had another beer, and bravely carried on towards our last stop, Leverick Bay. An epic water battle raged for half an hour Between the two locations, ending with our dinghy triumphantly seizing the bailing bucket from team Guapo. Upon our return, we collected our last cards, with Chuck getting a straight, Sergio getting trip queens, Lisa getting trip nines, Susan 4 diamonds and me a lowly pair of aces.
Pleiades had three of the top ten hands, with Chuck's straight winning the whole thing. We picked up four bottles of good champagne, and a Euler and gold doubloon. Everybody tired from the water fights, so all in bed by about 1000.
6/29 - up at 0600 again, with Chuck and Lisa getting ready to depart our company. Windy with hazy sun, should be a fast sail over to Anegada. Had a race meeting, with handicaps and start times assigned. We left early and had to circle back for legal start lol!
Made great time in 20+ knots of wind. Pleiades hit 9.3 knots at one point, and was regularly in the mid-eights. We ended up besting Saildoggie by a couple of minutes! Same boat, faster crew! Grabbed a mooring near the end of the field and everybody set. Off either snorkeling, suping, or chillin'. Met up the TTOL group for dinner, drinks and awards at Anegada Bay Beach Club Resort. Very fun, even though we did not win anything (second fastest time). Susan and crew danced well into the night.
6/30 - rose early and enjoyed an early morning rain squall by myself. Once everybody was up, we loaded our diving stuff and took a cab to Loblolly Bay, on the north side of the island, rumored to be the best snorkeling around Anegada. Water was warm with shallow reefs, but not a lot of fish and reef life. We all had fun, with me catching a 4-5# lobster bare-handed. We had drinks and food at the Big Bamboo bar. Snorkeled some more and spotted two big stingrays. On the way back to our dinghy we decided to move to another location for tonight. So, back to Gorda Sound to anchor (first time) in front of Mosquito Island, across from Leverick Bay, where we stayed for two nights earlier in the trip.
7/01 - Up around 600 for a cloudy sunrise. Weighed anchor around 700 and headed to the Baths. Had both sails up briefly, but a 23+ tailwind made things too dicey, so we motored. We ended up getting a mooring at the Baths, in front of Devils Bay, where we had some great snorkeling. Saw lots of fish, huge rock reefs, lobsters, stingrays, even chickens on the beach. We took the path over to the Baths. Very interesting, took lots of pictures. We got back to Pleiades around 130, and headed to Spanish Town and Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor. Took two tries to get our anchor set, but we are just outside the harbor, in the lee of Fort Point. Susan, Terry, Sergio and Cody took the dinghy into "town" for supplies, dinghy fuel, and to drop a couple of bags of trash. So far, I think the Baths is the coolest place I have seen on this trip. We are planning another dinner aboard tonight. Well, Sergio finally caught some fish, with Kyle and Cody also landing some. One was a Nassau grouper and one was a Graysling. Both beautiful and edible. They also caught a few small Bonefish.
7/02 - A night of rain squalls, with some lightning thrown in in the early morning hours. Looks like a gloomy day so far. We finally decided to hit the Baths again, and moored in front of the Baths proper. Snorkeling was great, with sitings of Cuttlefish, sting rays, lots of other fish of all sizes. Susan, Terry and Bill snorkeled, while Sergio and the boys stayed inboard and fished. From here we headed to Cooper Island, where we picked up a mooring at Manchioneel Bay. What a pretty spot! Everybody was instantly in the water, either snorkeling, kayaking, or SUPing. The water is very clear, with bright sandy spots. The island has palm trees, vines and flowers, just like a Caribean Island should. We had a very relaxed afternoon and evening, with fresh ceviche, baked chicken, and bean tostadas. I was just setting up the hammock on the bow when the rain suddenly started. The night was perfectly clear one moment, then clouds and rain the next. Once again, we all turned in fairly early.
7/03 - A pretty morning, with both sun and rain. We need to get our water tanks filled and will try to do so at Maya Cove Marina, on Tortola. Went to the dive shack on the island, but they were booked for today. We headed out to Maya Cove to get water. We had some heavy down pours before leaving, and the weather was pretty rough going over. We took a mooring at the marina to figure out where to get water, as they were not answering the radio. Finally pulled into a dock and topped off the port and forward starboard tanks. Then we headed over to Fat Hog Bay for some food shopping. We could have done both water and food here if we had thought of it. Headed back to Manchioneel Bay through some very rough seas, winds in the mid-20's. Got a great mooring, our third of the day! Each time we manage to mess up a very simple task. I took a nap, others read , went swimming or fishing. The adults went to happy hour on the island, and left the boys to prepare dinner. Kyle took the helm and delivered a fine pasta dinner. The weather still looks threatening, but it has settled down for now. We need a solid day of sun to dry all of our towels and things. The constant rain has left us with most things wet and soggy. We have reservations for boat diving tomorrow at 0830. Should be a blast.
7/04 - Up early for some rain. Met the dive boat at 830 and went to Wreck Alley where we dove on two wrecks in 60-80 feet. Visibility was about 50'. Picked up and moved to Ginger Island where we dove some coral gardens in 20-40'. 60'+ visibility. Returned to Pleiades and headed out to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. On the way, Sergio caught a nice-sized Bonito, which we ate raw later that evening. We arrived at White Bay and dropped anchor in the northern end, but were shooed away by someone already there. We happened to grab a great mooring, and then headed over to Galaux and then to the Soggy Dollar Bar. Ran into some old friends from the TTOL group, Evan and Nina, and some others. It seems that everybody got beaten up during some of the wind events that we just went through. Had a great time at Soggy's, then headed back for dinner aboard. The girls from Gaulaux came by and stayed until after we all retired for the night.
7/05 - I was up earlier than normal to get a jump on getting Pleiades ready to turn back in. What a beautiful sunny morning in White Bay, our first of the whole trip!!! I SUPed from one end to the other of the lagoon. I saw two turtles and two stingrays. We got underway around 800, and were in Soper's Hole before 900. Checking off was pretty easy, and Susan and Terry went to get massages. Unfortunately, I found out that our 1200 ferry was not going to arrive until 300. So we had to hustle to make it to the ferry terminal by 1015 to get out earlier. We made it in time, and were back on Saint Thomas around 1200. We took a cab to the hotel, getting pulled over by the local cops on the way. Our rooms were not ready, so we headed to the pool. Finally, one of our rooms was ready, as was Terry and Sergio's. We went to clean up and left the boys at the pool. Well, this dragged out until after 400, with many hikes to the front desk, when I finally got the boys their own room. We are all clean now, but only Terry and Sergio were able to nap. Off to dinner soon. We gathered at the restaurant by the pool and had pretty good burgers, mussels, conch stew and quesadilla. Early night for us all.
7/06 - Wide awake at 545, thinking about the need to print our boarding passes and the lack of efficiency demonstrated by the staff here yesterday. Sure enough, I had to hike down to the main desk, at least 1/4 mile, to print them (the business center in my building no longer exists). Once there, I was greeted by the same friendly, but incompetent, woman that I dealt with yesterday. After convincing her to let me handle the computer myself, I was done in short order. Got some coffee and strolled back on the beach. Very pretty place, especially when nobody is awake yet. The best that I can say about this hotel is that the rooms (once you were able to obtain them), were clean with good AC. Won't be staying here again.
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The hotel mentioned in the last portion was the Marriott at Frenchman's Reef. I highly recommend staying somewhere else on ST.
Thanks for sharing. Looks like you had a blast!
It does look like we well may have crossed paths ... great report and thanks for sharing the photos. A great trip!
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