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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rashguard swimsuit available here.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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:
Bacon sandwiches, tea and coffee.
- 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.
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!