Sunday, March 28, 2010

Packing for the trip

Now that we've made the decision (and given our Visa number) to travel to the BVI, we've been contemplating what to pack. We have spent over two weeks at a time cruising here at home during the summer, so we're pretty well outfitted for the trip. Or so we thought.

There is one main difference between supplying ourselves for our normal summer cruising, and our upcoming charter. In the summer, when the time comes to empty Obsession for the winter, I'm always amazed by the amount of things that come off the boat. We own two fairly large vehicles, which we load up. Then we come back for more. This time, although some items such as cookware will be supplied, we have to fit everything we want to take into a couple of duffle bags to bring on the airplane.

Fortunately, there are a few websites, such as Nine Packing Trips for a Caribbean Vacation, that are quite useful. When it comes to clothing, we thought we would be quite well provisioned for the trip given our summer cruising. However, when we looked more closely, we have a lot of heavier weave and dark coloured clothing. They're great for warm Canadian days, but 30 degree centigrade calls for even lighter clothing, both in colour and weight. We've just ordered some light clothing. It's not reallly an added expense, because it won't be just for this trip. It'll come in handy here in the summer as well.

Other than being a bit surprised by the amount of clothing that we felt we needed to have to optimize the trip, we were pretty well off. We'll make sure to take our masks and snorkel with us, as the snorkeling over the reefs are quite spectacular. We also have the other items we plan to take, such as a portable radio, a pocket knife, cameras, our iPod, small flashlight, fanny pack, and small first aid kit.

There could be other items that we come across that we want to take, but it seems that (except for the clothing) we are pretty well outfitted for cruising either Maritime or Caribbean locations.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sailing the British Virgin Islands

Starting a sailing blog in the midst of winter always has its challenges. Like, how can you focus on sailing when there are a dozen ice fishing huts on the bay ice? So, the answer is to read magazines. Take another course. Dream about sailing trips. And, once and a while, even book a trip.

That's right. We've just booked our first ever sailing charter. In May, we will be heading down to the British Virgin Islands, where we've chartered a Bavaria 36 through Horizon Yacht Charters for 10 nights. The month of May is the start of the shoulder season down there, so the charter is a little less expensive than normal, and the charter companies are a little less busy.

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We will be going with another sailing couple, Ian and Julie, from Georgetown. This whole little adventure started about a week ago when they came over for dinner. They love to travel as much as we do, so of course we started talking about places we would like to visit, and places we would like to sail. A couple of days later, they call us back to say they have done some research and would we like to go to the BVI? So, off we go.

Getting there and back is the most challenging aspect. Although it is possible to get from PEI to BVI in a day, it was quite expensive, and we wanted to use some of the aeroplan points we've accumulated over the years. So, to get there, we will be flying from Charlottetown through Montreal to Boston. The next day, we go through New York to the US Virgin Islands. The following morning (our third day of travel), we take a ferry to the British Virgin Islands. Two weeks later, we take the same route in reverse. We could have taken a somewhat shorter trip, but this way we get to add on a day in the US Virgin Islands on each end for some more exploring. Hey, if we're going all the way down there, we might as well try and maximize our experiences.

I can pretty much guarantee that we'll be putting up more posts in the future on this trip - both the planning and the experience.