BVI Cruising 2008

Dan and Linda Lacey

Just got back last night from 8 days of sailing in the British Virgin Islands. Absolutely superb sailing with an E-NE wind that almost never quits. The navigation was mostly "point and shoot" which was fortunate as we had a useless ancient GPS in the nav station. Everything is visual,with most destinations (excluding Anegada) less than ten mile runs. We boarded "Eucalyptus" a Beneteau 363, on Sat evening and ran thru the checklist and provisioned her,and later in the evening our two "crew" members joined us.My brother in law,and his brother in law-both "none sailors",so I'm the captain for the whole trip. Let the sailing lessons begin! I thought that taking a big boat out through a crowded marina would be unnerving,but after sliding out of our slip,I found the boat handled very nicely. After a quick stop at the fuel dock,we cranked up the stereo with Bob Marley's "Could You be Loved?", and cruised out of Road Town Harbor-just perfect. Cruising in BVI is basically travelling from one beach party bar to the next,meeting the same cruisers along the way. Some of the highlights on our "Once around Tortola"counterclockwise tour:

Norman Island and the Willie T- a bar on a boat-getting a good Margarita buzz after an afternoon of snorkeling at "the Indians" a small group of rocks off Norman with some beautiful reefs.

The Baths at Virgin Gorda-world famous snorkeling among the huge boulders strewn along the beach.

Cane Garden Bay-got to hear Quito Rhymer do a solo gig on stage at his bar. Quito played "Redemption Song" for me,and I got an autographed CD.

Jost Van Dyke-Party Central! Foxy's Tamarind Bar-the ultimate cruisers beach bar-complete with characters who make the place a second home. Got to have a nice chat with the famous Foxy Callwood and got the tee shirts autographed

The Soggy Dollar Bar-home of "The Painkiller". This place got it's name from the cruisers swimming ashore for drinks paid with soggy dollars. I actually found a $5 bill off the end of the dock-and used it to pay for my drink-amazing!

And for those who dream of the cruising life,there is an online bible of how to go cruising on a boat on the website of Bill Dietrich. I have followed Bill's journals for most of the three years he has lived on his boat,carefully soaking up all the info provided,and planning my eventual escape.

We pulled into Monkey Bay,off Tortola,and jumped into the dinghy,headed for the reefs and the awesome snorkeling. Abput a hundred yards from our boat I spotted a Gulfstar anchored ,and then the name "Magnolia"-it can't be! But it certainly was,as astounding as the odd were that we would meet up. We had a great chat,and parted,hoping that someday soon we would meet again in George Town,Exuma when we will have all the time in the world to chat again.

Our only glitch was losing a blade on the prop,just as I was pulling up to mooring in Cane Garden. The boat shook hard and I had no way to stop as we slid over the mooring ball. Hopping I had snagged a line,which is easily remedied,I put on the mask and went over the side to find a blade missing. Crap! After a call to the charter base,I was told "no problem mon,we be out first ting in the morning." Their guy arrives in a "fast attack dinghy" and goes over the side with a snorkel and we have a new prop in about ten minutes. These guys are good!

If you ever think about big boat cruising in the tropics-this is the place to start.

Pictures can be found here (offsite link) BVI Pictures