Hi guys, I recently wrote about my first ever catamaran sailing holiday with Sunsail in the BVI. Here’s my rundown of the five best spots to stop off on your BVI sailing adventure.
Virgin Gorda is a must, with fantastic anchorages in the Sound. You definitely need to spend at least a couple of days there. We picked up mooring balls in Biras Creek and then the following day in Leverick Bay. The Fat Virgin Café in Biras Creek serves simple, but excellent food in a really fun, relaxed atmosphere. We used the dinghy from Biras Creek to buzz over to Bitter End Yacht Club and explore the shops and stock the boat up with a few more provisions, before heading over to Saba Rock for happy hour and to watch the feeding of the Tarpon. I love Saba Rock; the restaurant looks as though it’s floating on the water as it covers the whole of the tiny island. It’s a great atmosphere in a stunning setting!
Leverick Bay is a great place to anchor to get a taxi to the Baths, located on the southwest tip of the island. The Baths are amazing; they are made from large granite boulders, and the sea washes in creating large pools of water in a cave-like atmosphere. The light playing on the water creates a really dramatic effect.
You can pick up a daytime anchorage off the Baths, but often in the winter months the ground swell makes it really exposed, and we would recommend staying in Virgin Gorda and hiring a taxi allowing you also to have a tour of the island.
Anegada is unlike any of the other islands. It is made from coral and limestone rather than volcanic rock, and the first thing you see are the palm trees rising from the sea. We had a fantastic sail from Virgin Gorda over to the island, which is famous for its Anegada lobster; you can’t visit without having a lobster dinner. We stayed for a couple of days and hired scooters to explore the island’s amazing beaches and salt ponds. The snorkelling on the north shore beaches was spectacular, in particular at Loblolly. We made it back in time for happy hour at Potter’s and a couple of “Painkillers” (the local BVI cocktail) and watched the lobsters being prepared for dinner.
I love Norman Island, partly because it’s also known as Treasure Island with stories of pirate treasure being found in the Caves, but also because it has a beautiful and very sheltered anchorage. The caves are just a short trip away in the dinghy and the snorkelling is fantastic. It’s worth having a powerful waterproof torch to take into some of the caves as they are dark, making them a little scary without one. I also had some amazing snorkelling experiences just off the back of the boat, and was lucky enough to swim with a turtle. We barbequed on board in the evening, but there are a couple of very nice restaurants on the beach at the head of the bay. If there is a crowd of you on board, The Willy T (William Thornton) could be the place for you if you fancy a bit of a party and a lively evening. It’s an old converted schooner, which has been made into a bar for visiting yachtsman.
I think this was probably the most beautiful anchorage; so quiet and peaceful, like something out of Robinson Crusoe. I think a lot of people get put off by the deep water making it tricky to anchor, but there are now plenty of mooring balls here to pick up, which we would recommend. The deep water attracts a different kind of marine life, and we had some really large fish swimming around the boat. Just a short swim to the shoreline revealed some of the most beautiful coral reefs I have ever seen, with shoals of electric blue fish feeding on the coral. It’s a great bay to explore by paddle board or kayak. There is only one restaurant tucked away in Buttonwood Bay called Oceans Seven, but the food was great, with local West Indian dishes and international flavours.
We had planned to go to Trellis Bay for the full moon party, but didn’t want to miss out Peter Island, and had run out of days at the end of our holiday. However, on the evening of our departure Matt, the Sunsail Base Manager gave us the best ever tip. Instead of kicking our heels around the base, he told us to check our bags in early and make the two-minute walk from the terminal to Trellis Bay to have lunch in one of the four restaurants on the beach. He also told us to visit his wife Debbie, who is a potter at Aragorn’s art studio, where we were treated to an amazing display of how she makes the pots. It was a fantastic way to while away the hours before our flight; lunch, a lesson in pottery, and a cold beer in a beautiful setting with a cool breeze blowing. You don’t get a better departure lounge than that!
I would like to say a big thank you to Sunsail UK for organising our holiday, and to Matt and Laura from the BVI base for being the perfect hosts and making it a really special holiday!
Inspired to find your own slice of BVI paradise? Sunsail offers bareboat and flotilla charters for one or two weeks. They have also just launched a new rum tasting flotilla. Start planning your next adventure today.