The BVIs are a paradise for yachties, salties, and wannabes alike
Picturing our arrival in the BVI, we saw visions of warm sunny sails, blue skies, and lots of swimming in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Instead, we were welcomed by four days of downpours, squalls, and chilly weather. I even put on pants!
Clearing in with customs at West End, Tortola, we decided to pick up a mooring ball in the harbor and wait out the weather for a few days. It worked out great because we got to see our friends Jody and Peter (they’re based in West End on their Whitby 42, s/v Mary Christine) in the evenings, which broke up our slothly, day-long binges of Homeland so nicely.
Cabin fever set in. We were SO over having to pay for our mooring in West End, so we half-heartedly set out for a wet slog to Virgin Gorda, twenty miles upwind. After an hour of being wet and uncomfortable we’d had enough. We separated from s/v Selah, and dropped anchor in peaceful Benures Bay on Norman Island. Between frequent downpours, we were treated to some nice sunsets and even a rainbow.
When the sun finally returned, we went sailing for real. I’d forgotten how crazy the scene is here in the BVI – everywhere you look the peaks of white sails surround you, tacking back and forth. It’s a pretty cool place to be a sailor.
Next up, a brief stop in Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda, where we discovered a graveyard of grey, dead coral on the reefs and somehow acquired an unwelcome swarm of horse flies (which we cannot get rid of, not matter how we try! So. Gross.). Thanks for nothing Savannah Bay. We raised the sails bound for Saba Rock, excited to reunite with Bo and Allison. It had been a few days, so of course we had lots to discuss.
Saba Rock and the neighboring Bitter End Yacht Club are resorts that cater to the nautically enthused. We found great snorkeling out the in bay and swam for hours in the warm, pretty water filled with coral, fish and sea turtles. We also couldn’t get enough of the boat kitsch at the Yacht Club and enjoyed a robust happy hour with free wi-fi at the Saba Rock bar. It was hard to leave, especially since we’d found the perfect spot for anchoring!
Selfie in our foulies just before a squall hit
Unfortunately, our arrival in the BVI coincided with four unusually rainy days. We spent two of them in West End, Tortola, where we checked into the country.
Bad dark photo #1: Dinner with Bo, Allison, Jody and Peter at Fish ‘n Lime in West End, Tortola. We met Jody and Peter last year in St. John. Originally from San Diego, they cruised for a few years before settling in East End to run a charter boat for Aristocat Charters in the BVI. These two are a non-stop source of inspiration for Brian and me, and we loved seeing them again!
Bad dark photo #2: Sundowners on Nightingale Tune and an impromptu summit of young Whitby and Brewer owners – our boats – s/v’s Selah, Mary Christine, and Nightingale Tune are all sisters.
Downpour in Benures Bay, Norman Island. Even with the rain, we loved anchoring in this spot.
We went out on deck in our bathing suits during one of the downpours and scrubbed the boat
Rainbow at sunset in Benures Bay, Norman Island
Sunset in Benures Bay. The small cluster of rocks in the foreground is The Indians, one of our favorite snorkeling spots.
White sails, as far as the eye can see. Everyday out here feels like a regatta.
Catamarans are a popular choice with chartering vacationers. Everywhere we go, we are surrounded by these types of boats. It makes the cruisers easy to spot- we’re definitely the minority!
Passing Tortola, BVI on the first sunny day
Anchored in Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda. Not our favorite place.
Nico has been communicating his frustration with sailing in some pretty annoying ways
The adorable sailing school at the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda
The Bitter End Yacht Club doubles as a pitstop for sailors and a resort for vacationers wishing to spend their vacations learning to sail. We counted fleets of 6 different kinds of sailboats for guest use.
Just across the bay from the Bitter End Yacht Club, Saba Rock is an island comprised of a lovely watering hole and small resort.
The hangout spot at Saba Rock attracts a healthy mix of cruisers, vacation charterers, and resort guests. Everyone there is psyched about sailing.
This wall sort of sums us up to a T
$4 painkillers from 4-6PM
Wifi and a painkiller
Tarpon, hanging out by the docks at Saba Rock
Bo and Brian got front row seats for the Tarpon lecture and nightly feeding frenzy
Resort guests lined up at the dock to watch the tarpon feeding
A French vessel, hot-dogging through the bay at sunset, scaring the shit out of nearby boats
Brian changed 5 filters in the engine and changed the oil too. It was a big, sweaty project. In this photo, he’s opened up a hatch in our bedroom floor to accessthe space under the oil pan.
No tequila, no problem! We had Peruvian pisco on board, which I used to make margaritas for our Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Pisco margs and salsa on s/v Selah for Cinco de Mayo
Allison and Bo
Sunset at Saba Rock
But, move on we must, if we want to have the full BVI experience before heading south. Luckily, we have Bo and Allison for a few more weeks before they return home to work for the summer. We intend to make the most of it.