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  #11  
Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

In 2009 we did exactly that. Left from Virgin Gorda to Annagada and returned to JVD. We chartered from Sunsail.

Staying aboard the first night is helpful. We are doign that next Friday. Will likely head to Cooper the first night and try to stay a day ahead of teh crowds at VG where we hope to have our St. Pattys day flotilla party at Saba.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

There is not too much to add to what others have already said, but here is my experience:

- was there two times chartering with Sunsail and Moorings (same base). I think Anegada is generally out of bounds, primarily due to the tricky approach for most of the inexperienced charterers but I assume exceptions can be made.

- We did JVD to Anegada and it was a great sail on a single tack

- In my opinion Loblolly Bay itself is worth the trip but also it is the longest stretch of open sea sail, so there is some navigation challenge (in particular the flat profile of Anegada which is almost invisible from a distance)

- we stayed the first night on board and were out on the sea before noon the next day. Also it is advisable to arrange for the provisions delivery in advance so you get it the night before.

- if you try to go from Norman Island to JVD you should be careful to stay within BVI waters as I heard some boats got the attention of the USVI coast guard.

- The itineraries are many and very flexible, the only thing I would suggest is to stay the last night somewhere close to Road Town (Cooper or Peter Islands) so you have a predictable trip to the base as you have to return the boat by 11am the next morning.

Enjoy the sail!
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Invictus View Post
.....if you try to go from Norman Island to JVD you should be careful to stay within BVI waters as I heard some boats got the attention of the USVI coast guard.......
First I've ever heard of a problem. We've certainly tacked right up snug to St. John's, although, I've never seen the Coasties to report on their reaction. I'm surprised its an issue, as long as you do not drop a hook. SJ is hard to avoid around West End, Sopers, Thatch Island, etc.
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
Big advantage to stay aboard the night before and get in on the first briefings of the day. They do charge more than I would have thought appropriate for that. Something like $200, which is not far off the cost of a hotel room as another option.
Yes, we're doing the sleep aboard. That should be a big help....
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Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
Here's a reply I did for folks doing 14 day charter. The same theory applies.


Leaving Roadtown you can go left or right. With 14 days, i'd put Anegada (with Conch's permission) on your list. This will be the at least a 2-3 day stop. Depending if you want to anchor or use moorings, be with people or get away from the crowd, will determine your stops. From Road town, i'd stop at Trellis Bay first, grab a mooring, have lunch at the loose mongoose, stroll the beach, dine at the last resort. call for reservations by 4pm, this applies to most restaurants, especially this time of year. From Trellis, I'd head to Virgin Gorda, stopping at the Dogs for a snorkel, or just a pause, to get folks off the boat, in the water. I would pull into Leverick bay, enjoy their pool, do laundry, provision up and ck out North Sound, Vixen Point, Saba, Bitter End. Take a taxi to the Baths, make a day of that. From there, Anegada. Its about 15NM heading 003. Double ck that, as i usually leave from Jost Van Dyke.
THere's a whole website dedicated to Anegada, its approach and what to do there.
Grilled lobster for dinner is offered at most of the restaurants. Take a taxi to loblolly or flash of beauty. this time of year, not sure there will be food at Flash. Take time to explore this island, and do some research. Here's a start: Navigating to Anegada
From Anegada, I'd stop at Marina Cay, across from Trellis bay. Beach fun, food, some shopping. Then, I'd go down the north side of Tortola, stopping in Cane Garden, if the weather permits, on to Jost Van Dyke, Diamond Cay to start. Hike for 10-20 minutes to the bubbler, natures jacuzzi. Work your way to White Bay. Great beach, lots of folks at the Soggy Dollar Bar. I'd leave for West End, Tortola, grab a mooring, and if you could not get into Cane Garden Bay due to weather, rent a car from Jerry's car rental, they'll pick you up, and spend time seeing the beaches, make reservations at banankeet, for best sunset dining and then Pam's delight, for great local food.
From West End, i'd head to Norman Island. Snorkel the caves then head to the beach at Pirates, stopping for lunch on the Willie T. For my last stop, i'd make my way to Cooper Island, directly across from Road town, allowing for an ez run back to Conch.
There's a bunch more/less depending on you.
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  #16  
Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

We just got back from 10 days in the BVI, chartered Horizon out of Nanny Cay. this was our third time in BVI. Most people do a general counter-clockwise approach because of the prevailing winds in winter; means that beating will usually take place in the (relatively) sheltered Francis Drake Channel. But, I never heard of a charter company telling you you HAD to do a specific route.
I agree with most of what has been said, except about Anegada... we did it this time precisely BECAUSE it is more challenging and open water and a "passage" of sorts. We loved the adventure of entering the (somewhat) tricky channel, and of seeing a place less-discovered than most in the BVI. Cow's Wreck Beach was a dream day.... we'll always remember such a beautiful, unspoiled place.
So, here's what we did this time:
Nanny Cay to Great Harbour on Peter Island (agree with a short leg the first day, after briefings and to familiarize with the boat)
Peter Island to Marina Cay (unusually high winds/waves the week we were there, we were looking for a more protected mooring)... also, helps you get upwind.
Marina Cay to Gorda Sound. Grabbed a mooring off Vixen Point, a beautiful beach with no services to speak of. stayed two nights, and ate at Saba Rock and dinghyed over to Bitter End to see how the rich and famous live. Also, were waiting for our best weather window to Anegada.
Gorda Sound to Anegada... a fun/fast passage! Stayed two nights, and felt it was a highlight of our trip
Anegada to Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke. This was our longest sail, a great day, mostly beam to broad reach. Had never seen Foxy's, had to check that off the list, and fairly good shelter from the wind/waves we had.
JVD to Soper's Hole. Weather was deteriorating at this point, a short, rough ride to the protection of Soper's Hole. Always fun to check out the yachts in this popular destination for cruisers.
Soper's Hole to Nanny Cay... our roughest day, and it was in the channel! Winds hit 30, waves were 10 feet and very short interval. Tiring beat, so we were glad our last night was back at Nanny Cay, could relax and get ready for the check-out and trip home.
For what it is worth, trying to plan an exact itinerary before you are there and can see what your weather is like never works. Have general plans of things you'd like to see/do, and be ready for plan B or C if that's what conditions require. Have a great trip!
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  #17  
Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

By the way, I'm still not sure that its a good idea to plan to attack the BVI's, and especially to plan it on a public forum.
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  #18  
Old 03-06-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Background: My first charter in the BVI was in 1982. I ran charter groups down there in the late 80s and early 90s. A lot of my deliveries start or end there. Not counting deliveries I've been down there over 40 times.

My comments are based on Joe's because I think he has good suggestions even where I would do something different. There are a lot of personal choices.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
Leaving Roadtown you can go left or right.
Agreed. I go left. Why head downwind and then head back up? Cooper Island is my preferred first stop. It's an easy reach from Roadtown and most people who start the same day as you will head to the The Bight on Norman. Cooper has about the best sunset in the BVI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
With 14 days, i'd put Anegada (with Conch's permission) on your list. This will be the at least a 2-3 day stop.
Yes - go to Anegada. I go there because I love the sail up and back. We usually spend one night. There is a lot of cool stuff. Cow Wreck beach for the beach bar, Big Bamboo for burgers, Flash of Beauty for the best snorkeling. Neptune's Treasure just pulled all their moorings due to increase in ground lease cost, which gives more room for anchoring. Still plenty of moorings off Anegada Reef Hotel for those so inclined. Get Walker's approach chart if it's your first visit. See below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
Depending if you want to anchor or use moorings, be with people or get away from the crowd, will determine your stops.
Also agreed. I'm an anchor guy when I can. Interpret my comments accordingly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
From Road town, i'd stop at Trellis Bay first, grab a mooring, have lunch at the loose mongoose, stroll the beach, dine at the last resort. call for reservations by 4pm, this applies to most restaurants, especially this time of year.
This is definitely a personal preference issue. I like Marina Cay better than Trellis.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
From Trellis, I'd head to Virgin Gorda, stopping at the Dogs for a snorkel, or just a pause, to get folks off the boat, in the water.
Right. I do Cooper first day. Second day early visit to the Baths then Marina Cay. Next day Dogs and on to North Sound.

Check with your charter company about using the NPT moorings at the Baths. Maintenance has been spotty. For a while Moorings and Sunsail were requiring you leave someone aboard at the mooring. If that is the case for you charter company while you are there then I definitely concur with Joe about renting a car to see the Baths. If you can take a ball get one at the South end and land your crew in Devil's Bay. The swim from the dinghy line there is shorter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
I would pull into Leverick bay, enjoy their pool, do laundry, provision up and ck out North Sound, Vixen Point, Saba, Bitter End. Take a taxi to the Baths, make a day of that.
I try to spend two days in North Sound. I anchor in Drake's Anchorage off Moskito Island, walk the beach, and hang at Jumbies at Leverick. Janet LOVES the spa there. When I head to the BVI she starts making calls to the Spa at Leverick. Second night we move and anchor with the cruisers off Prickly Pear and hang with them at happy hour at Saba Rock. BEYC is overrated and overpriced in my opinion, even when an owner is picking up the tab after a delivery.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
From there, Anegada. Its about 15NM heading 003. Double ck that, as i usually leave from Jost Van Dyke. THere's a whole website dedicated to Anegada, its approach and what to do there.
That would be Walker's site BVIPirate.com . He sells an approach chart based on his soundings. He also has corrections for various chart packages on different chart plotters. Interestingly enough, like me, Walker is not a big fan of Anegada lobster. *grin* It's worth the experience but if you aren't sure split one and get something else.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
From Anegada, I'd stop at Marina Cay, across from Trellis bay. Beach fun, food, some shopping. Then, I'd go down the north side of Tortola, stopping in Cane Garden, if the weather permits, on to Jost Van Dyke, Diamond Cay to start. Hike for 10-20 minutes to the bubbler, natures jacuzzi. Work your way to White Bay. Great beach, lots of folks at the Soggy Dollar Bar.
The sail from Anegada to Jost Van Dyke is one of my favorite runs in the BVI. For some people it's long and far. Heading back to Marina Cay/Trellis/Great Camanoe/Scrub breaks it up.

Get a copy of one of the local papers that have a cruise ship schedule and avoid Cane Garden Bay on cruise ship days.

I go from Anegada to either Sandy Cay or Sandy Spit (home to Corona commercials and many music videos) for a late lunch. We hop to Little Harbor for dinner and the night and then White Bay the next day after a walk to the Bubbly Pool.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
I'd leave for West End, Tortola, grab a mooring, and if you could not get into Cane Garden Bay due to weather, rent a car from Jerry's car rental, they'll pick you up, and spend time seeing the beaches, make reservations at banankeet, for best sunset dining and then Pam's delight, for great local food.

From West End, i'd head to Norman Island. Snorkel the caves then head to the beach at Pirates, stopping for lunch on the Willie T. For my last stop, i'd make my way to Cooper Island, directly across from Road town, allowing for an ez run back to Conch.
I don't usually stop in Soper's Hole/West End unless we're running out of food or need to drop someone at the ferry to go back to STT. Again - personal choices. It's very protected in there so it can be warmer than other places.

Depending on who is aboard I'll do my last night in The Bight on Norman (Willy T and Pirates ex Billy Bones) on at Key Cay on the south shore of Peter. The latter is my personal preference. Very quiet. If Key Cay is full (only fits two or three boats) I used to stop in Money Bay on Norman but the construction there has taken some of the attraction away.

Pirates had a major overhaul over the winter and is reported to be more upscale with prices to match. I haven't been there and can't speak to it.

It's hard not to have a great time in the BVI. Go now.
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  #19  
Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bermudahigh View Post
...From Road town, i'd stop at Trellis Bay first, grab a mooring, have lunch at the loose mongoose, stroll the beach, dine at the last resort...
FYI, when I visited in January 2013 De Loose Mongoose restaurant was out of business. A couple guys had opened the bar for the holidays, but they seemed to be a long way off from getting the restaurant running.

Last Resort was still in business but closed the day we were there. It looked like a pretty cool place. I'd advise visiting it while you still can, because it's unclear if the proposed runway expansion would put them out of business.

If BVI moves ahead with a 7000' runway that can accommodate big, loud jets, the whole ambiance of that area will be negatively impacted. I know this from experience, since I keep my own boat at the end of the runway for Philly airport.
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Old 03-12-2013
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Re: Plan of Attack in BVI, Island Hopping

Thanks for all the helpful answers everyone!

So, after the overnight on the boat I expect to get out of Conch by Noon on MONDAY 4/8/13. Is Monday a good day (less charters leaving) or a busy day for new charters heading out?

As mentioned above, I think I'd pass on Norman as a 1st night if Mondays are busy, I'd rather follow the less traveled path.
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