BVI’s – Blissful…. Versatile… Indulgent… Special
If you want to visit a group of Caribbean islands that has something for everyone, then the beautiful British Virgin Islands wins hands down. This group of 40 plus islands offers stunning vistas with a dazzling backdrop of azure-blue sea (perfect for swimming, snorkelling & diving) and an array of bars and restaurants with huge personalities. Not to mention, it’s home to Sir Richard Branson’s very own Necker Island. Need we say more?
Whether on a boat, beach or bar, in the BVI’s it’s very easy just sit back and watch the world sail past. And that also goes for the wonderful sight of turtles that just potter around and occasionally pop their heads up to say hello!
Our perception of the BVI’s was a touch clouded before we arrived as we’d heard tales of a huge amount of charter boats chasing around the islands and all clambering for the best anchorage or buoys. But thankfully we’ve not experienced much of this. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve seen an awful lot of boats during the few weeks we’ve been here; in our estimation two thirds are on charter and most of them catamarans like us. But there are an abundance of coves and bays to visit and there’s more than enough space for everyone to feel as if they are sampling little piece of paradise.
There’s a great selection of mooring buoys in the popular coves and here’s what sets the BVI’s apart from their Caribbean competitors, as almost all are run by a company called Moor Secure. There is a set charge across all the buoys of US$30 per night, making it a lot easier to budget when and where to take a buoy instead of anchoring.
And the choice of of where to moor up is endless. We purchased The Cruising Guide To The Virgin Islands (2017/18 edition has just been released) and we’d highlighted over 35 anchorages we wished to visit, more than enough for the month that we had planned to stay here. The book is fantastic for those on charter or just cruising through and the maps and detail given is essential.
One of the best tips we found is that not all charter companies allow their boats to enter some of the anchorages, mainly due to the low-lying reefs and difficult manoeuvring for inexperienced skippers. For us this has been heaven as, with our very experienced skipper, we’ve enjoyed being one of a small handful of boats at many of the most stunning anchorages in the area.
We’ve been lucky enough to sample the typical idyllic Caribbean white-sand beaches, often paddle-boarding in with the dog shortly after sunrise and we’ve had the beach and the sparkling blue sea to ourselves. And what a glorious sea it is in the BVI’s, the colour and clarity a rare blue in places. It’s simply mesmerising
If you are seeking a land-based holiday in the BVI’s then you won’t be disappointed. Our advice would be to share the love and enjoy a few days across different islands as that’s the best way to enjoy their diversity. Without your own boat, travel between the islands couldn’t be simpler as there are frequent ferries which traverse the islands as frequently as buses.
For Two Drifters, highlights in the BVI’s have been:
Brewer’s Bay, Tortola – totally unspoiled with just a few places to anchor and no mooring buoys. Three bars open during the day for those who feel a thirst coming on after snorkelling across two fascinating reefs
Jost Van Dyke – a small island that packs a punch with versatile anchorages. While the popular White Bay with its stunning beach and infamous Soggy Dollar Bar is quite often heaving with boats; however, it’s also possible to find a corner of this island to yourselves especially at Manchineel Bay on Little Jost Van Dyke overlooking the stunning Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay
“Bubbly Pool” – a natural whirlpool surrounded by large rocks, it’s an exciting place to visit at high tide as the waves shoot straight through the gap, creating a bubbling salt water pool. It’s a 15-minute walk from Foxy’s Taboo at Diamond Cay.
Anegada – a startlingly flat island, just 28 feet above sea level and people come from miles around just for its delicious lobster. And it doesn’t disappoint.
Neptune’s Treasure – Set back from the town and a little more personal than the local and popular hotel, Nelson’s Treasure does a good deal on Lobster. Reservations must be in before 4pm and it’s rather unusual, but wonderfully easy to place your order for starters and mains via the VHF while navigating your way around the tricky coral reef that surrounds the island. www.neptunestreasure.com
Vixen Point/Prickly Pear Island, Virgin Gorda Sound – plenty of places to anchor where you can enjoy the nightlife, but be far enough away to leave the noise behind and enjoy a good night’s sleep. Plenty of opportunities for turtle spotting here. Around the north side of Prickly Pear and over to Eustatia Sound there’s stunning beaches and great snorkelling
Must Visit Saba Rock Resort – a charismatic boutique resort on its own tiny island sitting astride the channel to Eustatia Sound, between the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda and Prickly Pear Island. With stunning views and delicious food, lunch or dinner at Saba Rock is a must; it’s also a great place to meet friends, enjoy happy hour and catch up on the day’s activities. We have to doff the hat to its delicious and affordable lobster & cheese panini as well as the Mahi Mahi fish & chips, especially if washed down with a chilled glass of Prosecco! www.sabarock.com
If we had to tell you the downsides of the BVI’s, then it has to be one of the more expensive group of Caribbean islands we’ve visited. As a cruising boat, if you can, it’s best to provision up with pantry goods, beers and wine before you arrive and then obtain fresh produce at the large Riteway in Road Town, Tortola. You can also shop online with Riteway and get free delivery direct to the boat if you are in a marina on Tortola. Getting fresh produce as you cruise around the islands is costly and there aren’t that many supermarkets or grocery shops.
Oh yes, and bring a credit card and plenty of loose change, as while living in the BVI paradise is extremely easy and loveable, it doesn’t half cost a packet and ATM’s outside of Tortola are a rarity!
© Two Drifters Travel