Tips and Tricks for Cruising in the BVI
We just got back from a spectacular sailing excursion aboard a Leopard Catamaran in paradise, and it would be just plain wrong to not dish out all of the details for your enjoyment!
Maybe you are a BVI sailing expert, and maybe you are a first timer. Regardless of what you are, we would like to share with you some tips for getting the most out of your time sailing these beautiful islands. And if you can do it aboard a Leopard Catamaran—that’s even better! These tips will be based off of our personal experiences and itinerary.
Speaking of itinerary—let’s start there! On this particular sailing trip we had a crew of six aboard a Leopard 39. Some of us had experienced the BVI before and some had not. It was important to create an itinerary where the newbies could see it all, but the veterans could have new experiences. The trip in total was six days. To see the itinerary map, follow this link.
Day 1: Norman Island
It would just be plain wrong to visit the BVI and not make a stop on Norman Island. If you want to pick up a phone signal or a signal for a wifi unit, be sure to snag a mooring ball towards the back of the field. Norman Island is one of the few Islands that does not use digicell, but if you are towards the back of the field you can pick up the signal from Tortola.
Happy hour is from 4-6 at the Pirates Bite so stop in for a Pain Killer and order the mozzarella sticks. The mozzarella sticks were the best we’ve ever had—someone should give them an award for best appetizer in the BVI!
Shortly before sunset hop in your dinghy and head over to one of our favorite snorkeling spots in the BVI, it is just around the corner from the mooring field on the northwest end of the island. At this time the sun will hit the caves perfectly, all the tour ships will be gone and it will make for a gorgeous sunset snorkeling session.
Enjoy dinner on board and then head over to the infamous Willy T’s for a ShotSki with your friends (don’t ask questions, just do it).
Day 2: Jost Van Dyke
Set sail for what proved to be our favorite stop of the trip! White Bay on Jost Van Dyke. We didn’t have an early start on this particular morning and we blame Willy T’s for that. Due to the delayed departure, we were not able to snag a morning ball in White Bay, but we did make it over to Great Harbour which was just around the corner. We picked up a mooring ball in Great Harbour, hopped in the dinghy, and headed over to White Bay. We enjoyed some fun in the sun at the Soggy Dollar, waved to friends on the webcam, and then headed back to the boat for a SUP session.
We eventually untied from the mooring ball and headed northeast to Little Harbour, Jost Van Dkye for dinner at Harris’ Place. You must make a reservation for dinner here and dinner typically will include a mooring ball for the night. Your owner/ server/ bar tender will be Cynthia and she is fantastic! She also makes the best bushwhackers in the BVI! Order the lobster dinner. The lobsters that she serves up are from Anegada and they are HUGE.
There is a little store here for ice and some other nick-nacks, but unless you want to pay $22 for sunscreen, come prepared.
Day 3: Sandy Cay to Cane Garden Bay
We had no plans for this day. So decided to set sail and see where the wind would take us. We didn’t get too far when we stumbled upon an exotic little island that looked like it was off of a post card. We came to find out it was in used as the set of a Corona commercial. So, as you can imagine, it was paradise. The island we stumbled on was Sandy Cay. There were a few mooring balls here, as it is a national park. We were lucky enough to snag one. If the few mooring balls are all taken, dropping anchor would be just fine.
From here we would suggest that you pack a cooler, grab a paddle board and your snorkel gear, and head for shore. The sand was pristine and the snorkeling ideal. We saw a good amount of fish and sting rays. If you have a hammock, you will want to bring it! The island had plenty of palm trees for you to grab some shade.
Once you have had enough fun in the sun, head into Cane Garden Bay for the night! Hang out on deck and watch a brilliant sunset over Jost Van Dyke. From here we suggest dinner at Quito’s. Once the band gets rocking you will not be able to avoid the groove, so just go with it! Dance your heart out and enjoy the Caribbean tunes performed by Quito himself.
Day 4: Cooper Island
Wake up early for a sail to Cooper Island. Cooper is a small but charming island and an overnight mooring haven. This island has the best landscaping in the BVI! Due to a limited number of mooring balls, Cooper Island fills up fast and we do not recommend dropping anchor here overnight. The winds are very shifty and you will note that not all of the boats are situated in the same position.
Snorkel a gorgeous reef on the south side of the mooring field, and then head on shore to do a rum tasting at the Rum Bar. Take a walk on the boardwalk, and then mosey over to the dart board for some friendly competition.
Day 5: The Baths to North Gorda Sound
If visiting the BVI, the Baths are an absolute must see! The Baths are a geological wonder of humongous granite boulders, some as large as 40 feet in diameter. We suggest tying off your dinghy on the south end of the Baths, known as Devil’s Bay, as the swim here to get on shore is drastically shorter compared to the more northern area where you can tie off your dinghy. No dinghies are allowed on shore. If you want to grab a beer or a bite on shore, be sure to bring cash. Poor Man’s Bar doesn’t accept cards. You can also hike up to the top of the Baths for a gorgeous view, a bite to eat and a swim in the pool. You won’t need cash here, as they accept cards. But bring shoes—there is cactus everywhere!
Once you are done climbing through boulders and snorkeling the waters, head back to your boat and set sail for North Gorda Sound. When arriving be sure the stay between the beacons, you certainly don’t want to hit the reef. Leverick Bay is a personal favorite overnight anchorage, but North Gorda Sound is your playground! Rent a hobie cat, hang out at the beach on Prickly Pear, or play a game of pool at the English Pub at Bitter End Yacht Club. If you find yourself in North Gorda Sound on a Friday, then Jumbies BBQ is the place to be! Complete with a live band and Moka Jumbie Stilt dancers.
Day 6: Road Town
Sail Sail Sail your heart out! This was our last day in the BVI and we wanted to get as much sailing out of this day as possible. We woke up early, put up the sails, and then tacked and jibed our way up and down the Sir Frances Drake Channel soaking in every last moment of our sailing excursion.
We spent the last evening at night at Wickham’s Cay Marina. For dinner we jumped in the dinghy and went across the harbor to a quaint little South African Wine Bar and Restaurant, called The Watering Hole. This place was absolutely delicious and we would recommend it to anyone!
After a relaxing dinner and wind down on our last night, we were rested, refreshed and ready for the day of travel ahead.
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