We chartered Jasper, a Beneteau 46 from BVI Yacht Charters for a week January 2014 with two goals in mind: 1) to have as many painkilllers as possible, and 2) to check out the Trellis Bay Full Moon party. I am pleased to report we met both, and had a splendid week in the BVI in the bargain. Four of us came down from the US to share this boat for the week. The check-in process was a well oiled machine - what helped speed things up even more was the online chart briefing we did in advance. We stayed aboard Jasper the night before, after coming over on the ferry from St Thomas. This gave us plenty of time for a Riteway run for provisioning (we always make sure to bring along a small and expensive items like spices from home). Joma Marina, where the BVI fleet is home ported, is very user friendly, with really wide fairways, and it was easy to get underway for the first time without any backing and filling, or warping out with lines - unlike some of the marinas back home in Annapolis. The Beneteau designers of Jasper obviously had dockside maneuvering in mind when they drew her; she proved easier to handle in close quarters than my Cal 29 can be. Once we were underway, we made the counterclockwise circuit, stopping at Peter and Cooper Islands, then a long beat up to the North Sound (we went pierside at the Bitter End Yacht Club...wonderful place!), then to Trellis Bay, where we had to go to Marina Cay because there was no more room on the moorings. After that, a long broad reach to Jost Van Dyke (we stayed in Little Harbor), then over to Norman Island, and back home.
Highlights of the week: Snorkeling: Cistern Point at Cooper Island, and the Indians the Caves at Norman Island were favorites. Rum Drinks: Painkillers were great everywhere, but Pussers and Saba Rock stood out as best of that breed. The Bitter End Sunset (a banana, mango, rum concoction) and the Pina Colada (really!) headed the freeform competition. Don't know why, but we always turn into. Full Moon: Trellis Bay was a real kick! Aragorn and the other places up there put together a great beach party. The music and food were excellent. Although we had hoped to be ringside moored in Trellis Bay, there was a ferry service that between Marina Cay and Trellis that worked well. Restaurants: The Bitter End Yacht Club and Cooper Island Beach Club stand out in this regard. The Calamari appetizer at the Pirates Bight in Norman Island deserves an honorable mention. Hiking: The paths along the Bitter End, and the ridge trail at Norman Island were great to stretch the legs and get a look as the views. This was our second charter with BVI Yacht Charters and we are looking forward to our third!