PLANNING YOUR ROUTE….
Below you will find an itinerary which is intended as a guide to help you plan your trip around the British Virgin Islands. It’s good to have an outline of places you would like to go and things you would like to see. However, we do advise you to remain flexible and allow for the unforeseen.
Once you’ve arrived at our base you will receive a full chart briefing, tailor-made to your trip. Moreover, we’ll talk you through all the ‘must-see sites’, things not to miss, and obstacles to avoid. Additionally we’ll fill you in on all our personal favorites! We will give you a good idea of which route to take based on your group, the weather and any events taking place. Of course you’ll need to decide if you want to join in the action or stay away from the crowds.
You will be provided with a ‘Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands’ and a chart of the local area for use during your trip. A copy of The Cruising Guide can be purchased from CruisingGuides.com or you can receive a free digital version from onlinecruisingguide.com.
SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR THE BVI:
The Bight at Norman Island makes the perfect anchorage to head for on your first night. After crossing Sir Francis Drake Channel you will sail past The Indians and Pelican Island. Dead ahead is a protected anchorage to grab your first overnight mooring.
The Bight makes such a great first night stop as it is well protected, has loads of moorings, and offers good snorkeling. You’ll also find a lovely restaurant in the left corner called Pirates Bight and the historic Willy T, which is on anchor. Once you are secure on your overnight mooring, jump in the dinghy and make your way over to The Caves. You’ll find a splendid National Park site with natural caves to explore and teeming with sea life, therefore a great first snorkel.
As the sun is dropping in the sky, you’ll want to return to the boat, scrub up and dinghy ashore for dinner. Pirates Bight is a lively, family-oriented beach bar and restaurant. On the other hand, you could opt for the Willy T. This famous floating bar and restaurant made a name for itself many years ago. They offered a free T-Shirt to anyone who jumped off the top deck naked! Health and Safety stepped in to prevent this ritual but it still has a reputation for being fun and noisy. It’s not for everybody but if you are looking to party and have a good time, this a must do.
At first light, motor straight over to the Indians, as it is close enough to leave the sails at rest. Once you’ve picked up a National Park mooring buoy you can leisurely take in the spectacular rock formations before snorkeling. Take in the lavish corals, an array of sealife and colorful sponges which contrast with the rocky ledges and steep walls that rise to the surface.
Next, sail to Great Harbor, Peter Island. Here you will pick up a mooring for the night and either dine at Ocean’s 7 or fire up the BBQ. Peter Island has 5 gorgeous white sand beaches and offers great snorkeling and swimming with turtles popping up throughout. Just off of Key Point you will find one of the newest dive sites, established in 2019, the sunken original Willy T. This an underwater pirate-themed shipwreck playground for divers, complete with skeletal pirates going about their daily business. Don’t miss this one!
Following breakfast, sail to the wreck of The Rhone, sunk in 1867, just off of Salt Island for a stunning morning dive/snorkel. Next, tack up to Cooper Island in the early afternoon and grab your overnight mooring in Manchioneel Bay. Then swim over to Cistern Point for more snorkeling, relaxing on the beach or chillin’ by the bar at the Cooper Island Beach Club. For the evening, you can either dine ashore at the restaurant (be certain to call for reservations) or barbeque on your boat.
*Due to the plentiful turtle grass on the sea bottom, there is a strict ‘no anchoring’ policy in effect at Cooper Island. So be sure to get there early for a mooring or reserve one first thing in the morning.
Get an early start and tack up the Sir Francis Drake Channel to The Baths on the southern end of Virgin Gorda. Once there, pick up a National Parks mooring, dinghy part of way in and tie off at the dinghy line provided. From there you and your crew will need to swim to the beach. Do pay attention to the flag system on the beach there is a north swell.
You can spend the whole day exploring the tunnels, caves and crystal-clear pools through the maze of massive boulders. By the way, they have been resting here for literally millions of years! Enjoy a little lunch on board before heading back across the channel towards Marina Cay. Although Pusser’s no longer have a presence at Marina Cay, there is still amazing snorkeling and swimming to be had. Another option is to stay at Scrub Island in the resort’s marina and enjoy their fantastic 2 story pool and restaurants.
Today you’ll be heading to North Sound, Virgin Gorda where you will find a little something for everyone. Why not break up your sail with a stop at The Dogs? An excellent snorkeling and diving site as with all National Parks, it is a cluster of three small islets.
After lunch, onward up into the North Sound, being sure to use the well-marked north entrance and not the shortcut next to Mosquito Island. Your destination, Leverick Bay, has everything that a sailor or landlubber could want. The amenities include: a full service spa that can even accommodate you aboard, a complete marina, pool, restaurant, beach bar, live entertainment most nights, water sports, shopping, and a market for provisions plus a deli. In fact, there’s too much to list, definitely worth a stop over!
If weather permits, sail to Anegada early in the morning (leave by 9 AM!), which is an easy 2-3 hour trip from the North Sound due North. Be sure you called the office first to get the OK!
There is only one anchorage and make sure you go in between the red and green entry markers. By the time you’ve picked up one of the 30 mooring buoys, you and your crew will be ready to explore. Choose either a taxi or rented car for the day to visit Loblolly Bay, Cow Wreck and Anegada Beach Club. In addition to the beautiful white beaches, you will fall in love with the Roseate Flamingos, rare rock iguanas, manmade conch islands and splendid plant species like sea lavender. The fantastic outer reef, Horseshoe Reef, is rich in marine life and perfect for snorkeling or diving and dotted with shipwrecks. Anegada is the most scenic watersports playground in the region, especially for kiteboarders and paddle boarders alike. And for Dinner….? Lobster of course!
As the sun rises get set to sail west, downwind, towards Jost Van Dyke. It’s important to realize that this will be your longest sail, therefore it would be a good idea to stop for a morning snorkel at Monkey Point, Guana Island.
Given that Monkey Point is another national park, you’ll find an abundance of marine life. As a matter of fact, yellowtail snappers, bluestriped grunts and yellow jacks, along with turtles and tarpon call this home. Next, continue to Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke, home to Foxy’s where they are well known for live music and barbeques on the weekends. With this in mind, it makes for a great stop for the whole family. In fact, you can pick up your overnight mooring, then jump in the dinghy and head around the point into White Bay. Enjoy a ‘Painkiller’ at the Soggy Dollar Bar or a Delirious Donkey at Hendo’s Hideout before heading back around to Great Harbor for dinner.
Last but not least, you’ll have a long upwind sail ahead, so leave early (ish). You will be sailing around the West End of Tortola and up the channel to BVI Yacht Charters at Ritter Marina, Road Town by noon. Remember to give us a call before you arrive in order to check your docking details. Subsequently, we’ll have a taxi waiting once we have refueled you at our fuel dock and checked the boat back in with our team.
ADVANCE YOUR KNOWLEDGE…
For those interested in additional studying, NauticEd offers an online chart briefing you can do in advance of your trip. The cost is $13 and it can be done by as many of your crew as you wish. The online chart briefing is NOT a substitute for the full chart briefing on arrival.
Download the British Virgin Islands Chart Briefing.