Beef Island Airport and Road Town Ferry Port are both just a short taxi ride to any of the bases on Tortola.
The first night can be a sleep over in the marina, but if there is time after unpacking and provisioning, sail across Sir Frances Drake Channel to Norman Island. Upon arrival, jump in with mask and snorkel and be formally welcomed to the Virgins by multitudes of brilliant colorful fish. Swim ashore and explore the famous Norman Island Caves - inspiration of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. Celebrate your first night in the tropics with dinner or drinks aboard the fun floating restaurant bar Willy T's, which is moored in the Bight. Other nearby sites are Pelican Rock and the Indians region, which offer great snorkeling and scuba dive sites with caves, arches, grottoes and a huge variety of coral and tropical marine life. Depths range from 3-30ft so these sites are great for first time snorkelers.
Enjoy breakfast on anchor then sail by Peter Island, Dead Chest Atoll to Salt Island, home of RMS Rhone that sank in 1867 during a hurricane. Listed as one of the world's 10 best scuba dives and featured in the Hollywood movie The Deep, the wreck can be snorkeled or visited by scuba. A walk ashore to visit the salt ponds is also very interesting. In the afternoon sail to the Baths on Virgin Gorda and see evidence of the island's volcanic past - this is a BVI highlight. Walk the fantastic coastal pathway under huge granite boulders that form scenic grottoes, set in soft sandy tidal pools. Most of the day is spent at The Baths swimming, snorkeling and exploring the labyrinth of boulders and caves. In the afternoon make way for Virgin Gorda and the Bitter End Yacht Club. Anchor in the bay, dinghy ashore and enjoy some rum punch then dance to the beat of the Steel Drum Band. Optional daytime stops are Dead Man's Bay, White Bay or Manchioneel Bay located on Cooper Island. Dead Man's Bay is quiet and secluded while the others are busier with bars and restaurants. Optional night anchorages are St Thomas bay and Spanish Town for more nightlife, or the Dogs and Savannah Bay if peace and quiet is the consensus aboard.
Sail a spirited 14-mile, two-hour passage to the flat coral atoll island of Anegada. Upon arrival rental cars are available allowing access to the miles of deserted beach on the north coast. Fantastic snorkeling is found off Loblolly Bay followed by a great fresh lobster lunch or dinner at the beach restaurant. The Anegada Reef Hotel is another good option for an evening meal.
Sail back to Virgin Gorda stopping for lunch and a snorkel among more granite boulders at Mountain Point. In the afternoon, sail through the Dog Islands where a snorkel stop can be made followed by a one and a half hour sail to Marina Cay - a private, resort island on eastern Tortola. A vote around the cockpit will decide whether you stay for drinks and entertainment at Dick's Last Resort or you hike for sunset and happy hour at the hilltop bar where entertainers sing rowdy Pirate songs. For a more private anchorages, sail around the corner to Lee Bay on Great Camino Island or to Monkey Point on Guana Island.
Visit Monkey Point on Guana Island for breakfast and a short snorkel around unique coral outcroppings. Stay for lunch then sail to the beautiful island of Jost van Dyke -named after a Dutch privateer. Lounge the afternoon away in a hammock under shady palm trees, walk around the Island in five minutes or snorkel the surrounding coral reef. Spend happy hour and the evening at the world famous Foxy's restaurant bar where you can enjoy a lobster or steak dinner buffet followed by live Caribbean music. Other daytime options are two little idyllic deserted islands, Sandy Key and Sandy Spit. Lounge around sunbathing on the beach or snorkel on your own private island.
Around the corner from Foxy's is a spectacular strip of white sand known as White Bay. Swim ashore to the Soggy Dollar Bar and try the Virgin's most famous rum drink the Pain Killer - conceived right in White's Bay. Spend a leisurely afternoon then return to Tortola. In the evening visit famous Soper's Hole. Dine ashore and enjoy a last night of island entertainment.
Arrive in St Martin at Grand Case or Marigot. Enjoy a delicous lunch onboard before swimming, snorkeling and beachcombing. Dinner will be onboard moored in lagoon Baie Nettle.
A sub tropical climate maintains even temperatures throughout the year, ranging from 19°C to 30°C during the day and 17°C to 21°C at night.
A sub-tropical climate keeps the azure waters warm year-round, ranging from 22°C in February to 28°C in August.
June through November is warm and humid with occasional thunderstorms and is considered hurricane season. As a result of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream winters are 10°C warmer than nearby Florida. High season is from November to mid April, when the weather is dry and comfortable.
The Caribbean is a great yacht charter destinations for beginner to experienced level sailors. The best time to charter a yacht and sail is during the winter months December to May, to avoid the hottest time of year and hurricane season. Hurricane season is typically August to November. A sailing license or certificate is not required for bareboat and flotilla yacht charters but you will be asked to provide a sailing resume. If you are on a skippered bareboat or cabin charter, you do not require any experience or certification to sail with a skipper.
|Bahamas/BVI||Great novice charter destination. Line of sight navigation and easy mooring at anchorages. Care must be taken for shallow water in the Bahamas.|
Antigua/St Martin/Cuba /Martinique
|Good intermediate charter destination, with seasonal variations. It is advised that you have experience with anchoring and mooring as conditions vary.|
|Some longer passages through Atlantic swell requiring knowledge of navigation, stronger wind conditions, leeway and deeper water anchoring.|
The Caribbean offers consistent easterly winds from December through June, known as the Christmas trade winds. You can expect 10-15mph winds that build in the afternoon and subside at sunset. The seas in smaller protected island chains such as the British Virgin Islands tend to have a wave height of less than one-meter. However, passages between major island groups have the full affect of open Atlantic swell and waves can range from one-five meters. Tides are minimal in the Caribbean ranging between 10-50cm.
Along the Bahamas and Caribbean archipelagoes there are many well-organized marinas offering berths and services ashore for yachtsman. There are also thousands of anchorages. In order to protect the marine environment from anchors, some areas provide mooring balls designed for different sized yachts. Sailors can tie off to these mooring balls and make payment to a local representative. Lines ashore are also used sometimes so boats do not swing overnight. In other cases private charter companies have installed mooring balls for their charter guests.
The Caribbean operates under region B of the international navigational system - red right return.
The Baths offers evidence of the island's volcanic past. Walk the fantastic coastal pathway, under huge granite boulders set in soft sandy tidal pools. Spend the day at the Baths swimming, snorkeling and exploring the labyrinth of boulders and caves. You can also explore the rugged trails that run throughout the island, and see a variety of indigenous plants that thrive in the national parks of Gorda Peak, Devil's Bay, Spring Bay and the North Sound.
Is a sandy island paradise where you can swim, snorkel or swing in one of the many island hammocks. A memorable happy hour can be enjoyed at the world famous Foxy's bar and restaurant. Around the corner from Foxy's is White Bay, a spectacular beach lined with coconut palms and the location of Soggy Dollar Bar - home to the original Painkiller cocktail.
Is the most northern of the BVI archipelago and the only atoll in the group. Discover deserted beaches, and see the famous lobster traps overflowing with the sweet, spinney Caribbean lobsters that are known the world over. Anegada is the perfect place to relax on the beaches and explore the world’s third largest living coral reef that allows protection to all of the Virgin islands.