Thursday, April 13, 2017

The British Virgin Islands begin

We left St. Thomas on a calm day with 10 knots of southeast winds and continued to push east towards the British Virgin Islands. There are several places to check into the country, and we chose to sail to Jost Van Dyke, using Foxy's dinghy dock and of course a Carib Beer at Foxy's. The check in took about 45 minutes of paperwork and processing in a very relaxing manner and friendly manner. Our cost was based on the ship's gross tonnage and for us at 17,500 pounds that was $21.  The maximum fee is $55.

We are very excited to be here and to finally reach what is considered to be one of the dream locations for cruising. We have been here eight times before on charters and land based vacations, but this time is is far better being on our own boat and our own schedule. Take a look at these photos and you will see why boaters love to sail in the British Virgin Islands. The scenery, water color and beaches......





Radeen began reviewing the British Virgin Islands cruising guide and was happy to study up on the harbors and anchorages we have used before. This time, the harbors are different as they are filled with moorings and there is very little space left to drop an anchor. We will figure it out as we go.....


Our first challenge was to buy the one year permit for private vessels that will allow us to use the daytime dive moorings in 70 different locations. When we checked in at Jost Van Dyke, the officials there are only allowed to sell the weekly permits for $50, and not the annual permits. The only place you can buy them is at the BVI National Parks office in Road Town. That would be on the other side of Tortola and we were on the Jost side. No problem, Mon....we moved over to Cane Garden Bay and headed into town where we hired a cab ($24 over and $24 back) and bought the permit at the National Trust Park office. Bill on buddy boat mv/SEA STAR ran along with us to keep us company and to help out. We bought three one year park permits, one for each boat: Fezywig, Sea Star and Island Spirit. This all took about 1.5 hours and we were back to our boats soon after noon......





We then dropped the mooring balls and we headed out to Sandy Spit where we could play on the beach, swim, snorkel and enjoy the beautiful waters. The winds were calm, 5-10 knots, but the north swell is building and it is a bit rolly here off the cay where we are spending the night, after watching a spectacular sunset over Jost Van Dyke.






One of the most interesting things that happened was when we left St. Thomas and headed out to the BVIs, we were passed by an incoming cruise ship. We actually had to divert and then take his stern as he was going 12 knots and we were going 6 knots. We could not cross his bow, so we let him cross us. Good idea, right? The ship was also on starboard, so he had the right of way. We were soooooo close, it was very interesting. We had fun waving to all the poeple standing on their balconies and waving back at us. Here are the photos of the crossing....




Now, lucky for us, the large cruise ships do not cruise into the BVIs and anchor off the small islands like Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay. The only way to get here is to hire a small boat or charter a boat or bring your own boat or book a very small cruise ship. Life is good in the BVIs...


Two more days of calm winds and snorkeling and then we will move into North Sound and base off the Bitter End Yacht Club. We may just stay there a few days for some windy and rainy weather....For now, it was a Sandy Spit kind of day....


4 comments:

Gary McCoy said...

Great photographs of a great place! We had the full BVI tour with Nancy and John on ADVENTURESS a few years ago. Congratulations on being there aboard ISLAND SPIRIT. Enjoy!

T Knox said...

Thank heavens that there are still "off the beaten path" places AFTER you check in to BVI. Consider diving the Wreck of the Rhone if you haven't .I dove it in '77 and again in '99 when we chartered from Moorings.Your posts are always a delight.Thanks

Carol said...

Wow! We've only sailed to these beautiful areas through Island Spirit and Radeen and Cochran. Thanks for letting us tag along. Wish we were part of your Team!!! In our dreams - for now, the Abacos will have to do, and we're great with that!!! Happy Easter- love from s/v Gusto!!! And Carol, Dick, and Bosley

Dixey Behnken said...

We remember 2014 Under Water Easter Egg Hunt at Nipper's Bar in the Abacos with you! Have a joyous Easter celebration! Your sailing updates are most exciting! Blessings, Dixey and Julie