Well, this blog is about sailing in the Canadian Maritimes, but one of the problems with a northern climate is a sailing season which lasts only from late May to October. This year, we decided to extend our season by bareboat chartering in the British Virgin Islands with our friends, Ian and Julie. We flew to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands on May 16th. On the 17th, we took the 45 minute ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas to West End on the Island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. A quick trip through customs and immigration and a short taxi ride brought us to Nanny Cay Marina and Horizon Yacht Charters. The friendly and professional staff led us through the paperwork, chart briefing and walk through of the boat. We had chartered a Bavaria 36, much beamier than our boat, Obsession, and 6 feet longer. It was really comfortable for two couples for 11 days. The boat was in good shape, though the dinghy had seen better days.
It was late afternoon by the time all the provisions were stowed, and we left Nanny Cay in a rain shower, which became a downpour and motorsailed our way to Norman Island. We moored in Privateer Bay, around the point from The Pirate's Bight and the famous Willie T. The rain stopped and we had a beautiful evening. It was prophetic of the weather for the rest of the trip. It was hot, sunny with the odd rain shower at night and beautiful breezes every day for the rest of our trip.
The following day we set sail for Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda. It took several attempts in the wind to grab a mooring ball as there was no float on the pennant. The mooring field was quite rolly, and so after a half hour we decided to move into the Marina for the night. Moorings are, on average, $25 per night. Most marinas seemed to average $1.50 per foot., though they only charged us $1 per foot at Spanish Town. Showers were the first stop for everyone. The marina has fullservices, shops, a grocery store, restaurant and laundramat.
The next day we set off for the Baths, an amazing natural attration, with gigantic boulders strewn across the beach and lagoons, creating an amazing place to swim, snorkel and explore. After grabbing a mooring, we took the dinghy to a dinghy mooring closer to shore and swam and snorkelled to shore. We spent several hours at the Baths and wished we had planned for longer. But feeling hungry, we made our way back to the boat and had a late lunch. We then set sail for Marina Cay and Pusser's Landing, just off Tortola. We picked up a mooring and took the dinghy to explore the Island. Owned by Pusser's Rum Company, the Island boasts a restaurant, a bar, showers, a resort and a Pussers Rum Store. Neat views from the top of the Island.
The next day we set sail for Leverick Bay on Virgin Gorda. We took a mooring for the night and went ashore to explore. Shops, a restaurant serving PEI mussels, and a swimming area were highlights, as well as shower facilities. There are no pumpout facilities in the BVIs, so we all became very good at finding bathrooms on land as well. There was also a small grocery store and we topped off our provisions. We finally had some success with the BBQ that night and were lulled to sleep by the music floating over the waves from the shore.