SailNet Community banner
  • SailNet is a forum community dedicated to Sailing enthusiasts. Come join the discussion about sailing, modifications, classifieds, troubleshooting, repairs, reviews, maintenance, and more!

Things to do BVI January 2010

5485 Views 23 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  horseshack
Hi all!

My wife and I are taking 7 friend for their first trip to the BVI. We have a big cat reserved and want to make sure they have the best time.

We have been once before, in the off season (Early November) and had a great time, but I want to make sure I'm not missing any great places.

For you veterans, what is the one thing, cove, restaurant, shop, hike, etc, that made your last trip special.

Ours was getting up early and sailing to Sandy Cay for a sunrise breakfast.

We are going to the Baths, and the Rhone of course. But everyone does that.


Matt the Landlocked
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
So many nice places - I love Prickly Pear Island and the whole North Sound. Anegeda is for those who wish to feel like they are doing a real passage and the north beaches are awesome. I rented a tank last time around and went diving in various locations in the Dogs and that was nice, it beat the organized tours mainly because the pace we could set and dive times we could keep.
It really depends upon whether your got a party boat, a go-out-for-dinner boat, an eat-aboard-then-drink-ashore boat ... the BVI can cater to all those tastes. The Willie T's is worth a visit at any time of day and the caves make for easy snorkeling. Taking a mooring ball off Cooper is good on a cat (I won't do it again in a monohull as the swell can sometimes be uncomfortable).

If you want BVI specifics and more recommendations than you can shake a stick at, check out the BVI forum on
p.s. I just realized that I'll probably be there in January as well. I've renamed the boat "Zanshin" and perhaps our paths will cross!
Plenty to do

Snorkeling at the Dogs is great, Partys at the Willie T are good also.
Luv local music check out the Limin Time it is a local Magazine that has local happenings, Music, Regattas and other things
Limin' Times - Entertainment Magazine serving the BVI

Thanks for all the good info. We are going to hit the dogs, and probably have some good time at Willie T's on the last night. I think Anegeda is out. Although the boat is insured.... :) The Bitter End is probably as far north as we will go. Maybe a fleeting glance at Neker Island.

Keep in touch as your trip comes together, Zanshin! It would be fun to meet up with some other sailors while there.
The Bitter End and Saba Rock are great places. I anchor off Prickly Pear and try to stay just in range of the Saba Rock WiFi (plus it makes for a quick dinghy trip to/from the bar). My boat is on the hard in Antigua right now, but it is just a quick sail back to the BVI and I love the islands. This season I'll not spend too much time there, as I intend on heading out through the Panama canal somewhere around March 2010. I looked at the cruising routes last night and thought about checking out the northern Caribbean (Cuba, Jamaica) and then doing the 500 mile hop down to Panama straight from Jamaica instead of the usual route down the windwards and then to the ABCs then Panama. Luckiliy I'm not an American nor is my boat US registered so Cuba isn't a problematical destination; although I gather that the embargo restrictions are slowly being removed.

North Sound
See less See more
Don't forget to visit the Indians, the Caves, Monkey Point.

For overnight, we enjoyed Cane Garden Bay & Marina Cay.

Taking a mooring ball off Cooper is good on a cat (I won't do it again in a monohull as the swell can sometimes be uncomfortable).
We're chartering the end of May, beginning of June on a 42' mono. Are the swells bad enough that time of year to keep us from overnighting @ Cooper Island?
Cane Garden Bay is one of those you can hang out for a long long time. Don't bother looking for the Red buoy making the entrance, its missing, just keep the only Green buoy off your Port side as you come in.
If your looking to get away from everyone drift over to the back side of Peter Island and drop a hook in White or Key Bay. Snorkling was great and we had only 1 other boat come share the bay with us last week.
The swells only got bad for me sometime after midnight, when the wind died down enough for the boat to lie at odds with the waves. I've since been advised to grab a mooring ball as close as possible to shore to avoid this happening. Generally there will be less swell that time of year, but it really depends upon the Atlantic weather.

Only 1 more week then I am back in the warmth again :)
Cane Garden Bay is a place that you will need to be careful in the January time frame. It is open to the Northern Swells and can be very rollie but the biggest danger is going into the dingy dock. It is very poorly designed and I've seen several dinks pinned under it punchered and sunk or flipped. You can get swells that will wash the dink dock at times. Often better to visit CGB by taxi from one of the Southern anchorages of Tortola or Trellis or even West End. It is worth half a day and you can walk to the old rum distillery that is still in operation and buy a small sample. Would not recommend getting a big supply... it is a bit rough!! Not a lot of Temp range control of the process which introduces baddie into the product.

If you have been before and your group likes to hike, several trails are available on Norman Island that provide great views and a few secluded beaches.

If your willing to go through the Customs in's and outs' a hope over to St John will provide you with more hiking trails than you could cover in your time. Waterlemon is a great place to swim with turtles and an easy snorkel along the reef. It also has several easy hiking trails, one to the old Danish Sugar Mill and Rum factory and one up to the old Travelers lodge ruins with a Killer view and one longer and a bit harder one over to Coral Bay. Only problem with going to St. John in USVI is you will have to pass out of BVI check into USVI then check back into BVI.... assuming you are all American Citizens. Not a hard process and it would give you the opportunity to visit Cruze Bay for customs check in and a short visit of the town and National Park Service Offices. You will need to have your charter company provide you the documentation and info to do the check in and outs.
See less See more

Search youtube for Cane Garden Bay surfing....

YouTube - Cane Garden Bay
Search youtube for Cane Garden Bay surfing....

YouTube - Cane Garden Bay
OMG! Could not have imagined that surf when we were there in June 2007. I guess coming ashore is a moot point.
Yup...that was my reaction the first time I saw those videos...

From the notes on the vids, those kinds of waves come from strong offshore storms that time of year...

fun to see from shore, not fun to deal with on a boat...
Dido ---- We checked on status of swells before deciding to visit, no idea they could have such an impact. Bay was glass for us all night! thank you for the insite.
One place that I find that often gets overlooked is the snorkling at monkey point. The fish and the pelicans are pretty neat. This is much better than the snorkling at the Indians IMHO. No matter where you go it will be great, ENJOY!

Dido ---- We checked on status of swells before deciding to visit, no idea they could have such an impact. Bay was glass for us all night! thank you for the insite.
We've chartered in BVI for going on 5 years and have NEVER seen the surf that high. We've been in 8 - 12 ft swells sailing from VG to Cane Garden on the north side, but never had that kind of action in a mooring field/anchorage.

The biggest action we saw was when a squall from Hurricane Emily swept through one night. We had lots of warnings; got moored in Sophers Hole early in the evening and rode it out without a problem. Heavy winds passed in 90 min - faster than we could get through a game of Rummikube.

Those on a mooring ball at Diamond Caye and those anchored in harbors at Jost Van Dyke had a bit more exciting evening (VHF listening became the sport of the evening), but most of the problems were due to lack of "seaman skills" - watch the weather, confirm your anchor holding, duck into a sheltered hole for a storm.

BVI's are great cruising grounds. Just be aware that you are not in Disneyland - God and Nature both have a wicked sense of humor...
Weather report said 2-4ft swells and we had glass although there was a nice break out at Sandy Cay. Any idea what the swells where when the video was taken.
No clue, but probly with some digging we could get the data.

SURFLINE.COM | Global Surf Reports and Forecasts, Live Surf Cams and Coastal Weather can give you wind and swell information and forecasts. They also have a nifty retrospective surf widget that can give you information for previous years...
MMr......since we're on the topic of weather, can you tell me what the proper procedure would be if you've got a mooring ball and some weather (squall or worse) comes in? I assume you're idling in neutral in case the pendant breaks loose? Is it acceptable to drop the hook too? Any info you can provide would be great. I've sailed (motored) through a brief squall, ran aground, lost and engine and more but never been static while a storm came rolling/blowing through.
While each mooring provider typically has their own rules the most frequent one I have seen is they "Warn/Require" you to leave the mooring if winds exceed 40 MPH. They are tested to a load limit and they feel that is about when they will take no liability for the moorings.

I've been in The Bight at Norman Island at night when a squall hit with winds in the 30MPH area for a few minutes. It felt as though the aft of the boat was being lifted out of the water by the bimini. Being a pitch black night I can't think of a worst time for 80 or so boats to all cut loose and head for the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

As it was and is typical, you can get some people who will anchor In Side a Mooring field. To keep from banging into other moored boats they have very short scope and they blew away in a few minutes.... saw a few hair raising near misses and I'm sure a few sets of shorts were soiled before it was over.

Don't think running engine to attempt to hold your ground would be effective as the wind changes quickly and you have no effective helm control unless you have water moving by your rudder which in mooring situation you do not have..... just winds slamming you. Probably not a bad idea to have it ready but your going to get blasted by the storm and will have limited if any view at off of what is going on around you.

Most stay below decks and batten down all hatches but prepare for what ever may come and hope it does not. Probably the safest thing to do most of the time. With very few boats in charter set up for center life line use with a harness, going forward to release or even to pick up the lines if they broke away would be dangerous on a heaving wind blown deck with out the safety harness and center life lines in place for attachment.

Winter months are when most fast moving squalls hit the VI's but they can and do happen year around so keep alert by monitoring the weather reports several times a day and always before you bed down for the night,

Most of the time you will have great sailing and very smooth moorings and anchorages.

Fair Winds and calm moorings
See less See more
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.