I’m back from my BVI vacation! This was my first time on a sailing trip lasting longer than three days, and the only one I’ve been on that wasn’t a tour – my family rented our own boat and did all our own sailing.
Our trip started off by flying from Buffalo, NY to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, and then taking a ferry from St. Thomas to Tortola in the BVI’s. We spent two nights in Road Town, Tortola, and then boarded our 38 foot catamaran to sail wherever we pleased. There were a total of six of us on board, with four cabins to share. Surprisingly, the boat seemed fairly spacious and everyone seemed to have enough room to do as they pleased.
After we got the boat, we sailed around Tortola until we got to the island of Jost Van Dyke, where the famous “Soggy Dollar Bar” sits on the beach in White Bay. We downed a few of the famous “painkillers” – a caribbean drink consisting of dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, orange juice, and topped with shaved nutmeg – and hung out on the beach for the day. The sand was white, the water was a beautiful turquoise blue, and there were palm trees everywhere – it was the perfect caribbean scene.
That night we sailed over to the neighbouring Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke and spent our Superbowl Sunday watching the game at Foxy’s Bar – a cool restaurant on the beach with a low ceiling covered with hanging bits of clothes and sand for a floor. We ordered fries and jerk-sauced wings and downed a few more painkillers.
We spent the next seven days sailing around to many different ports on several different BVI islands – Tortola, Beef Island, Cooper Island, Virgin Gorda, Guana Island, and Jost Van Dyke. We went snorkelling in Monkey Point, saw sea turtles in Diamond Cay, hiked through giant volcanic boulders in The Baths, laid on the beach in The Bitter End, watched a singing/guitar playing pirate perform in Leverick Bay, and chased after a barracuda in Manchioneel Bay.
The BVI’s are extremely laid-back, with a small population, and so they don’t have as many “things to do” as some other caribbean destinations. Although there were options to go scuba diving and paddle-boarding, they seemed few and far between. The BVI’s are really a vacation for people who are looking for a very relaxed, laid-back trip, that doesn’t necessarily come with a jam-packed itinerary. I spent many days simply laying out in the sun reading my book or going swimming in the ocean.
I found the snorkelling there to be satisfactory. The water seemed a bit murky at times and there wasn’t an overwhelming abundance of fish, but considering the last time I went snorkelling was in The Great Barrier Reef, perhaps that is a bit of an unfair comparison.
Overall, it was a great trip with lots of good memories and animal sightings – pelicans, sea turtles, a dolphin, a flamingo, and tons of different fish.
I’ve always found the BVI’s to be breathtakingly beautiful, and this trip was no exception.