Having visited LA and New York it was time to head off to the British Virgin Isle in the Caribbean. We flew from NY to San Juan (Puerto Rico). Here we were the lucky recipients of being taken into a room for an intensive body and luggage search. Not sure what they thought we might be smuggling. From San Juan we flew to the BVI, landing on Beef Island. From there it was a quick 20 minute transfer to our yacht at Road Town. Interesting was the fact the road rules are British (drive on the left), but the cars were American (left hand drive).
We spent some time checking out the colours of Road Town, a beautiful little town. We enjoyed an overnight stay at Wickams Cay before setting off early the next morning.
Sail to Norman Island
We pushed off from the dock and began our adventure by sailing towards Norman Island, the southernmost region of the cruising grounds. Norman Island is also rumoured to be the inspiration behind Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. With many underwater caves and secluded coves to explore, we enjoyed snorkelling at The Caves off Treasure Point in the evocatively named Privateer Bay, searching for hidden booty overlooked for centuries.
We paid a visit to Pirate’s Bight beach bar for the evening. We noticed that at 36ft, we were one of the smaller yachts. In Australia at 36ft we were mid-size.
Sail to Peter Island
For the next leg, we plotted a course for Peter Island, which is where we found the infamous pirate-themed Willy T floating bar. Not far from Peter Island we found Salt Island – it was the perfect secluded spot to go ashore. We did not get to explore the world-famous Wreck of the Rhone underwater marine park. We also enjoyed a scenic hike to the top of Peter Island, where we saw spectacular panoramic views.
Sail to Cooper Island
One of the best-kept secrets among the Caribbean yachting community, Cooper Island is one of the smaller islands within the southern cluster that sits just below the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Whilst there are several excellent diving locations here, the thing that draws visitors in and keeps them coming back time and again is Cooper Island Beach Club. This was a prime spot for seaside dining, sunset cocktails, and lounging with fellow sailors. We did enjoy some superb snorkelling along the southern end of Manchioneel Bay on Cooper Island where we saw sea turtles.
Sail to Marina Cay
Marina Cay is known for its colourfully-painted buildings lining the shore and is one of the most distinctive landmarks in the BVI. The patio restaurant was the perfect place to stop for lunch and dinner. We also enjoyed a scenic stroll along the picturesque coral-covered beach and some top-notch snorkelling at nearby Cam Bay.
Sail to Leverick Bay on Virgin Gorda
First stop, The Baths! This famous, awe-inspiring geological wonder is comprised of massive granite boulders that appear to tumble into the sea. We spent time exploring with a short hike to the restaurant and bar at the “Top of the Baths”, and also discovered the magical path leading through the boulders to Devil’s Bay.
Sailing north to Spanish Town, we traced a meandering path northwards towards Gorda Sound. We sailed the length of majestic Virgin Gorda, passing broad Savannah Bay, before rounding the headland and entering Gorda Sound. A shallow, sheltered sound surrounded by reefs and islands, Gorda Sound is great for swimming and snorkelling as well as water sports such as paddleboarding, windsurfing and kiteboarding. We tied up for an evening at Leverick Bay Resort. We won’t go into the rather embarrassing mess we made of our attempt to berth here.
Sail to Anegada
A little over 15 miles to the north of Gorda Sound, the island of Anegada is so low that we were not able to see it until we got much closer. We enjoyed a prolonged spell of blue water sailing as we left Virgin Gorda in our wake and cruised through the blue to this flat coral atoll. Sparsely populated and teeming with wildlife, Anegada is a must see for nature lovers. We visited the Salt Ponds to view Anegada’s resident flamingos.
We decided to take a taxi (little pick-up truck) and head to Cow Wreck Beach Bar for dinner. We had a great dinner of lobster. Our taxi ride back was interesting. Firstly the driver was smoking cannabis as was the one passenger who decided to sit in front with him. Part way back we got a flat tyre but the driver was so high he did not notice. Anyway, we got back in one piece.
Overnight at Anegada
We visit beautiful Loblolly Bay for excellent snorkelling, and stopped at Big Bamboo for a cocktail and snack.
Sail to Trellis Bay on Tortola
Our next stop was on the east end of Tortola, where we found the quaint Trellis Bay. There was a small market here for basic provisions. We cruised into the gentle bowl of Trellis Bay on Beef Island, where we enjoyed a laid-back lunch overlooking the bay. The market here offered daily breakfast, BBQ lunch and basic provisions. A highlight at Trellis Bay is the monthly full moon parties featuring fire balls on the water and live entertainment.
Sail to Cane Garden
We sailed to the beautiful Cane Garden Bay, which is tucked away on the north side of Tortola. We stopped off at the Callwood Rum Distillery for a peek into the past, and of course an opportunity to sample Tortola’s excellent white and gold rums.
We spent time at Myett’s Restaurant to sip some cold drinks and eat lunch while basking in island scenery. Cane Garden Bay is Tortola at its best so it’s easy to see why it has become such a popular anchorage for sailors. If the afternoon we also got to do some snorkelling in Brewster’s Bay and feasted our eyes on the natural beauty that lives below sea level.
Sail to Jost van Dyke
To the west of Tortola we found Jost Van Dyke, the smallest of the four main British Virgin Islands. As we left Cane Garden Bay in our wake we sailed past little Sandy Cay, heading for the southern shores of Jost Van Dyke and the welcoming mouth of Great Harbour. Being adventurous we hiked into the tall, rainforest covered hills behind Great Harbour. Great Harbour and nearby White Bay supposedly offer some of the best bars and nightlife in the BVIs. We enjoyed sipping rum cocktails to the sound of live music by night.
Return to Wickhams Cay
We spent our final day to returning to the base at Wickhams Cay. The journey took us past Peter Island, with its multitude of bays, coves and reefs, so we took the opportunity to stop off and explore. We arrived back to where we started at Wickhams Cay. For the evening we took a taxi into town and dined at Pusser’s Road Town Pub, where we ordered a Pusser’s Painkiller.
All good things come to an end and our trip home was the longest we have ever spent flying, something like 36 hours. We had to fly, Tortola to Puerto Rico to New York to LA to Sydney with a few hours layovers all along the way. Glad to be home!!