Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI

The 2018-2019 holiday season in the BVI is already kicking off. There are cruise ships in regularly now and it has been great to see so many boats out on the water this month. It makes my heart so happy to have visitors back – and we all hope that they have amazing experiences in the islands. 

 

It got me thinking about all the holiday plans that are being made and the families on their way down here. A trip to the British Virgin Islands is truly the holiday of a lifetime. But what should you do when you get here? 

 

I don’t have any kids of my own, but I do have a scrumptious godson that I love to spend time with – and even though I don’t always get as much time together as I’d like, we’ve been lucky to tick a couple of these off the list already. It’s been great compiling this post and thinking of things that we can do together in the future!

 

Full disclosure – the majority of these I have already tried personally. A couple are highly recommended by friends and still on my list of activities to try. I also polled some BVI parent friends in collating these options. 

 

Here are my top 10 family activities in the BVI

 

Necker Island Wildlife Tour, North Sound Virgin Gorda –

From $90 per adult and $50 per child 

Contact: +1 (284) 343 9537 www.seaitcleartours.com 

 

An absolute must for any families with an interest in nature or the outdoors. A true learning experience as Gumption gives lots of fun facts and information about all of the animals on Necker Island. The birds, the tortoises, the iguanas and, of course, the lemurs. The highlight of the tour is the time in the lemur enclosures, giving kids an opportunity to get up close with these furry friends. Dates for these tours are limited and go extremely fast! Don’t be disappointed, make sure to secure a booking as early as possible. Read more.

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. Necker Island Wildlife Tour with Gumption's Learning Adventures

BVI SNUBA (for children 8 years +), North Sound Virgin Gorda –

From $125 per person 

Contact: +1 (284) 341 0660 www.bvisnuba.com 

 

A magical experience for adults and children, the perfect way for families to explore underwater in the BVI with no previous diving experience or certification required. Able to go down as far as 20ft, you are connected to your air supply on the surface. It’s the perfect way to encourage your children to enjoy the water. Lead by your instructor, you’ll see all sorts of sea life – we spotted so many different fish and even a small turtle! Read more.

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. Exploring Underwater with BVI SNUBATop 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. Exploring Underwater with BVI SNUBA

Daysail with Kuralu or Daydream –

From $120 per adult and $60 per child 

Contact: +1 (284) 499 1313 www.kuralu.com 

 

No better way to explore the islands than by boat! Let your Captain take care of you with a daysail. Itineraries may vary depending on the weather and conditions out on the water, but will include sailing, snorkeling stops, a buffet lunch on board and your drinks (fruit punch, sodas, beer, water and rum punch). You might choose to visit the Indians and Norman Island, Cooper and Salt Islands or Sandy Spit and Jost van Dyke. It’s an excellent way to see more of the Territory. Snorkeling equipment and floats are provided, just bring your towel and your sunscreen

 

*kids life jackets might also be a good idea.

 

EXPLORE THE BATHS, VIRGIN GORDA –
From $3 per adult and $2 per child 

 

No trip to the British Virgin Islands is complete without a visit to the Baths. The monolithic boulders are one of our most unique and naturally beautiful sights in the Territory. Walk through the massive boulders and the rock pools, and discover Devil’s Bay. Stop for a swim and a cool-off after your walk in the stunning blue water surrounded by boulders at Devil’s Bay. Maybe finish with lunch up at Top of the Baths. 

 

*small children will likely need assistance on some portions of the walk

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. Explore the Baths on Virgin GordaTop 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. Explore the Baths on Virgin GordaTop 10 Family Activities in the BVI - What to do with your kids on your British Virgin Islands Vacation. Exploring the Baths and Spring Bay

KELLY’S LAND AND SEA TOURS, ANEGADA –
From $75 per person for groups of 4+  

Contact: +1 (284) 541 9661

 

Anegada is truly a unique location to explore. Entirely different from the rest of the British Virgin Islands, the coral atoll is a must-see when visiting the BVI. While you’re there you’re almost certainly going to want to see the flamingos and the conch pile, and I’ve been told there’s a man that will take you there. Contact Captain Kelly for a tour of the island like no other – this is top of my list of activities to try! I just need to get myself up to Anegada for another visit…

 

HIKE SAGE MOUNTAIN, TORTOLA –
From $3 per adult and $2 per child

 

Another excursion for active families, Sage Mountain is the highest peak on Tortola (1,716 ft), with beautiful views from a collection of viewpoints along the 7 hiking trails which run across this 92 acres of National Park. This activity might be more suited to older children as sections of the hikes can be a little strenuous. If your family enjoys a walk in the woods and beautiful vistas, this one is for you! Check the BVI Hiking Guide for more suggestions of hiking adventures in the Territory for your family. 

 

SURF SCHOOL BVI, TORTOLA –
From $65 for a private lesson lasting 90 minutes. Group rates also available. 

Contact: +1 (284) 343 0002 surfschoolbvi@gmail.com

 

It would be a shame to spend time in the islands and not participate in as many of the water-based activities as possible. I mean, that’s one of the reasons we’re here right? What about your little ones learning to surf down at Josiah’s Bay with Surf School BVI? The waves at Josiah’s Bay are perfect for beginners and the instructors will help get the kids up on the boards as quickly as possible. Surf School BVI also runs a Summer Camp program during the school holidays, from $50 per day. 

 

*children will need to be competent swimmers. 

 

BOWLING AT SAVE THE SEED ENERGY CENTRE at the NEW LIFE BAPTIST CHURCH, TORTOLA –
From $4 per game or $25 per hour. Shoe rental $3 (must bring your own socks). 

Contact: +1 (284) 541 7353 www.newlifebvi.org 

 

Obviously we hope during your time in the Caribbean that it’s all sunshine and cloudless blue skies. But for those rainy days that come out of nowhere, what to do with the kids? How about a couple of frames of 10 pin bowling at Save The Seed Energy Centre in Seacow’s Bay. You can stop and have lunch at the food court too. 

 

Visit a Museum – 

 

NORTH SHORE SHELL MUSEUM, TORTOLA –
No entry charge, donation requested 

Contact: +1 (284) 495 4714

 

Located in Carrot Bay, Tortola the North Shore Shell Museum sustained some damage during the hurricane but is back open and building back the collection of shells that give it it’s name. If you find yourself in West End, stop in and take a look around. There is no charge for entry but a donation is requested. Go at lunchtime and enjoy a meal in the restaurant upstairs. Necklaces, bracelets and other shell trinkets are available to buy. 

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. North Shore Shell MuseumTop 10 Family Activities in the BVI. What to do with your children while visiting the British Virgin Islands. North Shore Shell Museum

HM PRISON MUSEUM, TORTOLA –
From $5 per person

Contact: +1 (284) 494 3134

 

Located on historic Main Street in the heart of Road Town HM Prison Museum is an excellent place to learn more about British Virgin Islands history and culture. If your little ones enjoy an educational experience, consider getting a guided tour and learn more about the islands you are visiting. 

 

BEACH DAY –
Free

 

Of course the simplest and cheapest thing you can do with your littles is just to pick one of our stunning beaches and head down for a day of sun, sea and sand. Whether you like a pristine and undisturbed stretch of white sand (try Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda) or a beach with restaurants and amenities (Cane Garden Bay, Tortola is perfect for that) we have more than enough beach real estate to cater for everyone.

 

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI - What to do with your kids when visiting the British Virgin Islands.

Top 10 Family Activities in the BVI - What to do with your kids when vacationing in the British Virgin Islands. Savannah Bay - Virgin GordaTop 10 Family Activities in the BVI - What to do with your kids on your British Virgin Islands vacation. Beach day exploring Spring BayTop 10 Family Activities in the BVI - What to do with your kids on your British Virgin Islands vacation. Beach day exploring Spring Bay

So those are my favourite family activities in the BVI. Are there any that you think I’m missing? I’ve tried to include a real cross-section of activity options which will hopefully cater to most preferences and budgets. From relaxed activities to the more action-packed. Some that you can do in just a couple of hours and others that will keep you busy the whole day!

Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I will do my very best to get answers for you! 

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A Weekend on the Water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters

A Weekend on the Water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters

Whenever a first time visitor asks what they should do in the British Virgin Islands, my answer is always the same: ‘charter a boat’.

 

I understand that this won’t fit into everybody’s budget, but I feel that I have to encourage it nonetheless. There really is no better way to see just what this Territory has to offer, even if you only do it for a couple of days! It would be remiss of me not to recommend it.

 

As always, you guys know that I practice what I preach – and I don’t like to recommend to you anything that I haven’t given a damn good go myself. So when I found myself aboard Virgin Motor Yacht Charters’ 48ft powerboat West Virgin’Yah last weekend, I knew that I had to tell you all about it. And remind you that there really is no better way to explore the BVI than by getting out on the water!

 

Exploring the BVI with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters 

I was lucky enough to be enjoying the weekend with some great friends who also happen to be very experienced boating types. If you don’t have a Captain of your own, you can arrange one through Virgin Motor Yacht Charters. Your captain will ensure that you can safely navigate BVI waters and help with all the complicated driving and docking, lines, fenders and things. Crewed charters are also available through Virgin Motor Yacht Charters. 

 

We joined the boat Friday afternoon after work – and got unpacked and settled in. Ready to set-off first thing Saturday morning. Picking up ice and last minute provisions from Nanny Cay Marina we were ready for our weekend adventures.

 

Exploring the BVI with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersExploring the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters

 

West Virgin’Yah has three comfortable cabins with queen-sized beds, as well as three bathrooms (heads). The salon and kitchen area is a good size and very well appointed with all the kitchen equipment and tools you could need. Outside on the aft deck is the dining table, a BBQ and a huge cooler (which we FILLED). West Virgin’Yah is also air-conditioned throughout, although we were usually comfortable with the hatches open to let the cool breeze through.

 

Exploring the BVI with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters

 

Early Saturday morning we headed West for Jost Van Dyke, home to White Bay one of the BVI’s most famous beaches. After picking up a mooring ball, we then rustled up some lunch. We had decided to make and eat the majority of our meals aboard (keep reading for our simple meal ideas). Although we did make plans for one special dinner ashore. After lunch it was time to dinghy over to the Soggy Dollar for a couple of Painkiller cocktails.

 

Exploring the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersExploring the British Virgin Islands - a weekend on the waterA weekend on the water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the BVISoggy Dollar, Jost Van Dyke. A weekend on the water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the BVI

 

After a fun couple of hours, and many games of hook ring, at White Bay we taxied over to Great Harbour in search of dinner. We had heard that Corsairs had reopened and were keen to try their dinner  options. We weren’t disappointed!


Although not yet fully renovated following the hurricane, the guys at Corsairs Beach Bar and Restaurant are still happily serving what they have. And boy, were we in luck! On the menu were smoked ribs… Patted with his secret spice rub and slowly cooked for around 8 hrs in the smoker, chef Vinnie’s smoked ribs were possibly the best that I have ever tried. Juicy and full of flavour. I can practically still taste them. We ate every rack he had!! (Along with a couple of pizzas for good measure). 

(Read about previous trips to Corsairs.)

Very full and happy we retired to the comfort of the boat for a couple of post-dinner drinks on the fly bridge.

 


A weekend on the water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the British Virgin Islands 

 

Next morning it was time to set off to a new anchorage. Saturday night had been surprisingly roll-y, thanks to a North swell building unexpectedly. So we were after somewhere calmer to moor. We abandoned our previous itinerary (it’s important to stay flexible on these trips) and headed to Norman Island and the blissfully calm harbour of the Bight. A few drinks at Pirates in the afternoon was an added bonus. 

 

Exploring the BVI with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters

Rashguard swimsuit available here.

A family weekend on the water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters, exploring the BVIExploring the British Virgin Islands on a weekend charter with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters

 

After a morning practicing our fishing (no fish were harmed in the making of this blog post) we enjoyed a relaxed lunch on the boat before our littlest captain dinghied us over to Pirate’s for adult beverages (the captain wasn’t drinking, obviously (!) he’s only 6) and a chance to stretch our legs before the sun went down.

Family charter weekend with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the beautiful British Virgin IslandsFamily weekend charter with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the British Virgin IslandsFamily weekend charter in the beautiful British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersA family weekend charter with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the British Virgin IslandsExploring the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersSunsets at Norman Island. Weekends on the water with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters - exploring the British Virgin Islands.

 

Dinner on the boat was the perfect, relaxed end to our day. And once the kids were tucked up in bed it was time for some after-dinner games of Cards Against Humanity for the adults. 

 

Boat trips really are ideal for families. With plenty of action to keep the kids busy during the day and then space for the adults to kick back and relax, knowing that the children are safely asleep down below. 

 

The next morning it was time to make the most of our last few hours in the boat. So we quickly motored to nearby Peter Island and anchored in Little Harbour. There was just enough time for a leisurely swim and a snorkel before lunch.

 

Exploring the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersPeter Island. Exploring the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersExplore the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersFamily charter weekend with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters around the British Virgin IslandsExplore the British Virgin Islands with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersExplore the British Virgin Islands by boat with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersExplore the British Virgin Islands by boat with Virgin Motor Yacht ChartersA weekend charter with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters - exploring the British Virgin IslandsSimple Lunches on a weekend charter in the British Virgin Islands


After lunch (and another quick dip) it was sadly time to head back to Nanny Cay Marina. Those three days had gone so quickly (a sign of a jolly fine time in my book). Memories of fun days spent all together. Dreaming of the next time we can do it again.

 

A weekend charter with Virgin Motor Yacht Charters in the beautiful British Virgin Islands.

 

If you’re thinking that this sounds exactly like your kind of holiday, rates for a Horizon 48 (just like West Virgin’Yah) from Virgin Motor Yacht Charters start at $5,100 for 7 nights. They sleep 6 passengers comfortably with three queen-sized cabins and three en suite bathrooms. 

 

Our three day itinerary (travel times are approximate and subject to weather conditions):

Day 1: Jost van Dyke – 

Leave Nanny Cay marina and head for Jost van Dyke. Grab mooring ball in White Bay. (Approx. 45 minutes)
Lunch on board the boat.

Drinks ashore at Soggy Dollar Bar, White Bay.

Dinner ashore at Corsairs, Great Harbour.

 

Day 2: Norman Island – 

Leave White Bay and head to the Bight, Norman Island. Grab mooring ball in the Bight. (Approx 1hr and 15 minutes)

Morning fishing.
Lunch on board the boat.

Drinks ashore at Pirate’s Bight.
Dinner on board the boat.

 

Day 3: Peter Island – 

Leave Norman Island and head to Peter Island. Anchor in Little Harbour. (Approx. 30 minutes)

Snorkeling in Little Harbour.
Lunch on board the boat. 

Depart Peter Island and head back to Nanny Cay Marina. (Approx. 30 minutes)

 

Our three day meal plan:

Breakfasts: 

Bacon sandwiches, tea and coffee.


Lunches: 
  • Shrimp, chorizo and black bean fajitas with a black bean salad and all the toppings.
  • Tuna pita pockets with mayonnaise, raisins, apple and smoked cheese.
  • Cold cuts, charcuterie board and cheese platter with crackers, marinated olives, hummus and pita breads.

DINNER:
Surf and turf – barbecued steak and shrimp, mashed potato and steamed broccoli. 

 

I have more watery adventures of the sailing kind coming up later in the year so stay tuned for those! 

 

If you’re planning a sailing or boating vacation of your own in the BVI, you might want to check out my packing guide here. What to take (and what to leave at home) when you’ll be traveling by boat!

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Lunch at Lady Sarah’s Farms

Lunch at Lady Sarah’s Farms

I have been loving all the openings and re-openings this year, some after the hurricane and some entirely new faces appearing. It’s been so much fun having new and exciting restaurants, resorts and venues to add into our rotation.

Lady Sarah’s Farms is a bit of an anomaly in that it first opened as a tea room and cafe on Tortola in 1998 but sadly closed in 2002. Fortunately for us in the BVI, this closure wasn’t permanent though. Sixteen years later Lady Sarah’s Farms re-opened in their location on Main Street in June 2018 and has been gaining popularity ever since. Increasingly tough to get a reservation in this charming little cafe, Lady Sarah’s is a key venue on the Road Town working lunch options.

Open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday and serving up delicious meals with their farm fresh ingredients.

Lunch at Lady Sarah's Farms - Farm fresh ingredients in Road Town, British Virgin Islands

The menu changes daily and features, small snacks, sandwiches, soups and salads along with larger entree dishes. While no alcohol is served on the premises, the menu also features amazing fresh tea and lemonade options – like their refreshing and tasty watermelon lemonade or their lemongrass iced tea. The menu is full of Caribbean flavour and features all local ingredients, many of them produced on their own farm. I’ve been steadily making my way down the menu trying as many different dishes as possible over the course of several visits.

Lunch at Lady Sarah's Farms - Farm to Fork ingredients in Road Town, British Virgin Islands

The Bang Bang Conch was the perfect light and crispy starter – shared so that we didn’t feel like quite such greedy piggies.

Lunch at Lady Sarah's Farms - Farm fresh ingredients in Road Town, British Virgin Islands

The Calypso chicken with coconut jasmine rice and slaw seems to be something of a staple on the menu and for good reason – it’s the perfect sticky bbq chicken with a rich, dark glaze.

Lunch at Lady Sarah's Farms - Farm fresh ingredients in Road Town, British Virgin Islands

Aunt Becca’s seafood bowl marries together fresh mahi mahi and shrimp, with tropical fruit and just the right amount of heat for a really light and fresh lunch.

Lunch at Lady Sarah's Farms - Farm fresh ingredients in Road Town, British Virgin Islands

The quinoa salad bowl with chicken tasted as good as it looks.

Be sure to leave a little space for something from the bakery – the spiced apple donuts I tried were delicious and I hear good things about the pound cake!

Lunch at Lady Sarah's Farms - Farm fresh ingredients in Road Town, British Virgin Islands

This past weekend Lady Sarah’s Farms opened up on a Saturday for brunch. Sadly I wasn’t able to get over to Tortola this time, but I look forward to trying it as soon as possible – I have my eye on their banana pancakes and the ginger spice hot chocolate.

I see from their promotional material that they have some Sunday brunches coming up with live jazz music and different food stations. The first on Sunday 21st October and a further two penciled in for 18th November and 20th January, which sound incredible.

Contact +1 (284) 496 8011 to request your table, or visit their Facebook page – reservations for lunch are highly recommended. Will you be paying Lady Sarah’s a visit?

For more suggestions of dining options around the BVI, check my restaurant guide here. Are your favourites featured?

 

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Brunch-ing at Captain’s Kitchen

Brunch-ing at Captain’s Kitchen

If you’ve been following along for a while you might already be aware that brunch is one of my favourite past times. It really is the perfect excuse for a weekend get together with friends – is it breakfast? Is it lunch? Who cares? It’s delicious, and it comes with mimosas! Count me in! 

 

Ever since their opening in January of this year, I had heard so many good things about Captain’s Kitchen and was determined to try it out for myself – so I hopped on the ferry and headed to Tortola this weekend, motivated by tempting brunch morsels and the possibility of a Bloody Mary once I reached the restaurant. I wasn’t disappointed!

 

I had read that the restaurant is small and that reservations are recommended, so we made sure to call in advance. It is also worth noting that parking is very limited in Macnamara, the residential area where Captain’s Kitchen is located, so car-pooling might be an idea. 

Brunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - views over Road Town Brunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - all produce sourced locally

 Brunch was beautifully varied with a great menu and a fabulous specials board. There was a good selection of items including vegan and gluten free options. Everything is farm fresh and most dishes seem packed with different fruits and veggies. Definitely a chance to get in your 5-a-day! 

Brunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI perusing the menuBrunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - checking out the specials

All three on our table decided to order from the daily specials and we eagerly awaited our dishes, while we enjoyed a couple of mimosas and the view from their deck. The deck does benefit from those natural BVI breezes, but being September it was warm up there and I would have loved it if there had been a couple of ceiling fans to help circulate the air when the breeze died. 

 

Our meals arrived and I was thrilled with my choice; asparagus salad with roasted vegetables topped with poached eggs and drizzled with hollandaise sauce, garnished with beautifully ripe avocado and pieces of fresh fruit. I also opted for a cheeky side of bacon… Chef Fiona can tell you all about the local suppliers that she gets her vegetables, herbs, salad leaves and fruit from. Each item sourced locally in the BVI, mostly organic. 

Brunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - Farm fresh and delicious dishesBrunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - Farm to table dining
The Chia pancakes (vegan but with optional side of bacon) and the fish burger (made with Bangamary fish) were also declared delicious and polished off enthusiastically. 

Brunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - Vegan and Gluten free optionsBrunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - Vegan and Gluten free optionsBrunch at Captain's Kitchen BVI - Fresh fish burger

 I look forward to updating this post with other dishes as I try them, as that certainly won’t be my last visit! I’ll be bringing my swimsuit too for a dip in their pool!

 

Have you tried the brunch at Captain’s Kitchen yet?

More information regarding where to eat in the BVI can be found in my restaurant guide here! Have you tried all my favourites yet?

 

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Are You for SNUBA? Underwater Exploring with BVI SNUBA

Are You for SNUBA? Underwater Exploring with BVI SNUBA

I am always up for an opportunity to experience something new in the BVI, be it a new restaurant, a previously un-hiked trail or new activity, and my list of fun excursions that I am keen to try is almost as long as my arm. I was thrilled to get the chance to experience one of the BVI’s newest water sports this last weekend on a trip out with BVI SNUBA. I wanted to tell you a bit more about it but I think that the pictures are going to do most of the talking for me.

A bit of a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving, SNUBA (Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus) is the ideal activity for those that haven’t dived before but are looking for a bit of an introduction to the underwater action in the BVI. No previous Scuba diving experience or diving certification is required, which makes it perfect for kids and adults alike, and this would be such a fun family activity.

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Free to go down to 2ft, 10ft or even as deep as 20ft, your regulator is attached to a small harness which you can wear comfortably and linked to an air source on an inflatable raft on the surface of the water. In groups of two or four you explore the underwater paradise, with just a mask and fins, no need for tanks! With the air-line you have the freedom to dive to whatever depth you feel most comfortable (up to a maximum of 20ft) so that you get a more immersive experience than when you snorkel on the surface.

I’ve not really been able to dive much before, since I’m not certified and I never took the time to do a resort course, or my open water qualification. It has been hard to get the opportunity to go out. This has been particularly difficult for my experienced diver husband as I couldn’t ever go out with him. BVI SNUBA proved to be the perfect alternative and no previous experience is required. Finally we had the chance to go out together!

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

We set off for Cistern Rock, a local area off Cooper Island known for great snorkeling.  There were 8 people aboard our boat but you go down in groups of two or four. Not everyone needs to SNUBA if there are younger members of your party, or those that can’t medically, perhaps they would enjoy a snorkel instead. The husband and I opted for the Duo Special when only two of you are in the water at one time, this means that you get slightly longer underwater as less people are sharing the air supply. A couple of others in the group chose to snorkel and the rest waited on Cooper Island with a cold beverage.

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Rashguard swimsuit available here

We were fully briefed before our trip by the lovely Elaine and then off we went. The principles are similar to diving, and safety is paramount, but after just a few key rules you’re ready to head out.

There are six SNUBA commandments to keep in mind during your experience:
  1. Never hold your breath. Relax and breathe normally
  2. Never take your regulator out of your mouth unless you are at the surface and holding onto the raft
  3. Use your air line and the hand-over-hand technique to control your ascent and descent, and prevent contact with the bottom
  4. Always stay with your SNUBA guide and remain together as a group
  5. Don’t touch any marine life
  6. Don’t stir up or disturb the sea floor by kicking or standing on it with your fins

All pretty straight forward, right? We went over the important stuff and then got ourselves kitted out ready to get in the water. Mask, fins, regulator, weight belt and camera, check! We were excited to see what was down there, which fishy friends would we meet today?

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

On entering the water I had a flutter of nervous excitement. After all, it’s a little counter intuitive to try and breathe underwater. But after a couple of shallow breaths trying out my regulator at the surface I soon relaxed and started to breathe more deeply, and we started our descent. Following Elaine, our guide, we used our airline to go down to around 20ft, pausing to equalize our ears at every foot. Soon we were all the way down on the reef and brightly colored fish of all sizes were everywhere. Very quickly I started to feel comfortable underwater and loved exploring my new marine surroundings.

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Exploring underwater in the British Virgin Islands with BVI Snuba - The Barefoot Angel island lifestyle and travel blog

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Elaine leads you during your SNUBA experience and she is wearing a dive tank. She is the perfect underwater host and is very attentive, while also letting you explore for yourselves. She pointed out lots of the smaller reef life as we moved around the area, the lobsters under the rocks and even a turtle (although sadly he wasn’t sticking around to play).

We saw needle fish, a puffer fish, rays, juvenile trunk fish, and a whole host of other sea life, big and small. She regularly checks in on you to ensure that you’re comfortable with your mask, your equipment, your ears and she’ll also periodically check your air supply. I felt very secure and comfortable in the water with her.

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

Underwater exploration with The Barefoot Angel and BVI Snuba - see more of the British Virgin Islands

The aspect of the activity that my husband and I particularly enjoyed was that we could share it together, despite our vastly different levels of experience. I would certainly encourage groups to give it a try – especially where one or two members might have dived before and they want other non-diving family or friends to experience it for themselves. It was a fantastic activity for us to enjoy together. I definitely can’t wait to go again and I can think of others that I would love to introduce it to.

Some practical notes:
  • Medical forms and liability waivers must be signed before you can take part in the SNUBA experience and there are some limited medical conditions that might mean that you are unable to take part.
  • The minimum age for the experience is 8 years old, so it is a fantastic family activity.
  • A degree of confidence in the water is good but you don’t necessarily need to be a strong swimmer – you will have the raft and your airline to hold onto. You do need to be able to propel yourself through the water.
  • You can do the experience in just your regular swimsuit and no special equipment is required (everything is provided) although if you feel like you would be more comfortable with a rash guard on, please bring one with you.
  • If you still feel nervous about going down to a depth you can also choose to ‘power snorkel’ with no weight belt – staying at the surface but with the support of the raft and air supply.
  • The SNUBA experience lasts around 30 – 45 minutes, or longer if you’re doing the SNUBA Duo experience.
  • Be careful not to put your feet down on the reef, don’t try to stand or touch anything with your hands. The reef life is incredibly delicate and it really is a case of look but don’t touch.

Rates for the BVI SNUBA experience start at $125 pp, and a discount is offered to BVI residents. If you’d like to give it a go on your next BVI vacation, contact them at +1 (284) 341 0660 or bvisnuba@gmail.com and check out their website here! Ask BVI SNUBA about putting together a day trip and including your SNUBA experience as part of the day out.

Does it sound like an underwater activity that you would like to try?

 

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