When asked where the British Virgin Islands were, Sir Winston Churchill is rumored to have said, “I have no idea, but I should think that they are as far as possible from the Isle of Man.” Whether Churchill truly said it or not, it is the perfect starting point for exploring this one-time backwater of the British West Indies. By the late 1700’s, while the rest of the British Empire’s sugar colonies in the Caribbean were making plantation owners very wealthy, BVI was just a blip in the total fortunes made in sugar, rum and slaves. However, through savvy planning, development and marketing by the islands’ government and entrepreneurs over the past 30-plus years, BVI has become the top charter and cruising destination for sail and power boaters alike. If you have never cruised BVI before, your first experience will be brimming with memorable anchorages, snorkeling adventures, and yes, realizing that you can still do the limbo.
Village Cay Marina, Road Town, Tortola
Road Town is the seat of government for the British Virgin Islands and the perfect location to begin a cruise. Provisioning options, repair services and chandleries are all just a taxi ride away. Not to be missed is Sunny Caribee Spice Shop and Art Gallery to find the true flavor of the Caribbean.
Lunch Stop – Estimated Mileage: 6
Lee Bay, Salt Island
Pick up a National park mooring ball and snorkel the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer Rhone, which was forced onto the rocks during a hurricane in 1867.
LEG 1 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 2
Manchineel Bay, Cooper Island
Overnight Stop: Pick up a mooring ball or anchor. Dinghy ashore for a delicious chicken roti at the Cooper Island Beach Club.
Lunch Stop – Estimated Mileage: 5
The Baths, Virgin Gorda
Pick up a National Park mooring ball and swim ashore to hike the number one tourist destination in the Caribbean. The trail from The Baths to Devil’s Baymeanders through gigantic granite boulders, salt-water pools and sandy beaches.
LEG 2 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 2
Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda
Overnight Stop: Before dinner, take a taxi to tour the ruins of a 19th century copper mine on the southeast tip of the island. Learn a bit of history and take in the breathtaking views.
Lunch Stop – Estimated Mileage: 2
Pick up a mooring ball and snorkel the reefs at Great Dog.
LEG 3 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 7
Bitter End Yacht Club, North Sound, Virgin Gorda
Overnight Stop: Dock at the Quarterdeck Marina. North Sound is well protected as is perfect for watersports like kayaking and trying your hand with a stand up paddleboard.
LEG 4 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 16
Setting Point, Anegada
Overnight Stop: Pick up a mooring ball or anchor. Spend the afternoon lazing around at the Anegada Beach Club on the windward side of the island. It is a windsurfer’s paradise, and rental equipment is available. Have a local spiny lobster grilled for dinner at the Anegada Reef Hotel.
Lunch Stop – Estimated Mileage: 20
Monkey Point, Guana Island
Pick up a mooring ball and snorkel the rim reef.
LEG 5 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 7
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Overnight Stop: Pick up a mooring ball or anchor. Dance to the bands performing at Quito’s Gazebo and Myett’s on the beach. In the morning, visit the nearby Callwood rum distillery.
Lunch Stop – Estimated Mileage: 6
White Bay, Jost Van Dyke
Drop anchor on the white sandy bottom and go ashore to the Soggy Dollar Bar and try a Painkiller at the bar where it was invented.
LEG 6 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 2
Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke
Overnight Stop: Pick up a mooring ball, if possible. Anchoring can be difficult on the hardpan bay bottom. Go ashore for entertainment and dinner at Foxy’s, a BVI landmark.
LEG 7 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 10
The Bight, Norman Island
Overnight Stop: Pick up a mooring ball or anchor. Dinghy over to The Caves to snorkel, then party on at the “Willy T,” a.k.a. the William Thornton floating bar.
LEG 8 – ESTIMATED MILEAGE: 15
Scrub Island Resort, Scrub Island
Overnight Stop: Dock at the marina at Scrub Island Resort and pamper yourself at the Ixora Spa, a haven of tranquility and well-being. Dinner at Caravela, the resort’s fine dining restaurant, is the ideal way to usher in the evening.
Capt. Jeff Werner has been in the yachting industry for over 25 years. In addition to working as a captain on private and charter yachts, both sail and power, he is a certified instructor for the USCG, US Sailing, RYA and the MCA. He is also the Diesel Doctor, helping to keep your yacht’s fuel in optimal condition for peak performance. For more information, call 239-246-6810, or visit MyDieselDoctor.com. All Marinalife members receive a 10% discount on purchases of equipment, products and supplies from Diesel Doctor.