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  #11  
Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

Rather than St Maarten I would go for something out of St Vincent and explore the Grenadines. In my experience [7 yrs and counting ]most anchorages are NOT rolly with Moustique being the big exception. Fairly short passages and moorings are available in most places. A one way down to Grenada would be worth considering.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

LaPaz does not offer shopping or dining ashore, but it is a wonderful place to visit. The kids will see and experience sea life that is unbelievable. The sailing is easy, and the anchoring is easy. Anchoring is a great place to perfect those skills. Last trip there the loudest sound we heard was the sound of hundreds of dorsal fins of a school of fish thrashing the surface in a school. Second loudest was a ray who repeatedly jumped out of the water as he went down one side of an inlet and then our the other.
Belize features fantastic snorkling, and vivid colors. Again not much shopping, but some fun land trips -Mayan temples, Howler monkey farms. Sailing is easy. Anchoring is interesting. Not difficult, just you have to pay attention. Paying attention to the chart and where you are is mandatory.
Both places are easy to get to from PNW, but you will spend the night before in a hotel. Food that night in both places was pleasant.
Catamarans are the choice in Belize, and a better way to go in LaPaz.
Crazy suggestion: Get the other family to join, and then charter a bigger cat. Hire a cook for the trip so the wives can enjoy the trip also!
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

if you don't mind having a captain on board, and want an out of this world experience. The San Blas Islands of Panama are by far the best in the Caribbean. Remote, friendly natives, amazing sea life, deserted islands, calm and protected by the reefs and outer islands.

Just do some research online and you can find lots of charters.
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

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Originally Posted by snmhanson View Post

Abacos - Seems like it would be an ideal place to charter in terms of proximity (from the Pacific NW), climate and activities ashore. However, I've read comments and trip reports where the winds were very light and entire trip was spent motor sailing. If I am chartering a sailboat I want to sail.
Go anytime but the summer, and I don't think you will be complaining about the lack of wind.
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

Thanks for all of the replies. Gives me plenty to think about. The Windwards sound like fun, but now I am thinking they might be a better option once my kids get a little older and can better appreciate the history and culture as well as help with the sailing during the passages. The Abacos are still a possibility and I'll keep looking into them. Belize and the Grenadines, though I am sure very beautiful, seem like they'd be a bit quiet and slow for us. Now I am thinking a ten day charter between all of the Virgin Islands (British, US, Spanish) might be the ticket. That way we can explore some new places and get in plenty of sailing, but still have the familiarity of the Virgin Islands. Now the challenge is finding a company that would let us take a boat between the three island chains. Anyone happen to know if SailCaribe would allow us to charter out of PR and sail over to the US and British Virgins?

Thanks again for all of the input,

Matt
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

Matt, I believe SailCaribe will allow that. CYOA out of St Thomas does allow their boats to go to BVI and SVI but with some minor restrictions such as level of experience of those onboard and they restrict some of the older boats in the fleet from sailing to the SVI. If you call CYOA they will clarify things for you.
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Re: Chartering Options Beyond BVIs

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Originally Posted by fallard View Post
FarCry: Being from the area, you could probably identify a number of activities on St John that would appeal to kids and keep them happy for a week's charter. snmhanson could start the charter in Red Hook, where there are a number of restaurants (including Subway), a dive shop, pastries, coffee, etc. available in addition the the market. Mollie Malone's makes a good breakfast stop before departing for Leinster Bay for the first 2 nights on a mooring. There you'd have swimming/snorkeling from the beach for the youngest or off the dinghy near Waterlemon Cay. There are hiking trails where you can see abandoned ruins, get a panoramic view of the Drake Channel and Tortola, or do the tour of the Annaberg sugar mill--well worth the time and small entrance fee.

The 3rd day might be spend backtracking along the north shore and exploring the beach scene there. There could be a fancy meal at Caneel Bay to break out of camping-on-the-boat mode or exploring the camp ground at Maho Bay, although I am not aware of their policy for boaters (but I think it's friendly). Then there's Trunk Bay (but beaching/launching the dinghy can get exciting.) The moorings to the east of Lind Pt or even off Caneel Bay resort offer an opportunity to dinghy into Cruz Bay for shopping and restaurants, in addition to checking out the National Park visitor center.

One way or another, they might work their way around to Salt Pond Bay for more beach activities and snorkeling, especially off the boat. There are short hikes past the salt pond to Drunk Bay with the assorted mystical figures lying on the rocks or the longer hike up to Ram Head. You could easily spend 2 days here, but you are eating on the boat. If Salt Pond Bay's limited moorings are not available, right around the corner are the Lameshur Bays, which I've never seen filled. If anchoring isn't too scary, they might venture into Coral Bay and check out the laid back scene there for another restaurant and shopping experience. On the way back, one could make a detour for Christmas Bay or maybe another restaurant stop at Cruz Bay, using the aforementioned mooring field, for the last night of the charter. The next morning is an easy, 20 minute jog back to Red Hook.

I took my 8 and 12 yr old grandsons on a charter to the US & British Virgins a couple of years ago and they loved it. We spent 4 of our nights on St John. I suggest reading up on the history to make the area even that much more interesting. The slave rebellion on St. John is not kid stuff, but it is interesting and might help us northerners understand a little more of the background of the locals. The pirate legacy is always a fun thing for the kids, who at 8 yrs, anyway, can read Treasure Island before they go.
Fallard, I don't have to add anything now. You did an excellent job.
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