BVI 2010 Trip Report June 21st to July 1st

First I want to thank all of the TTOLerís for all the advice over the past 10 months, I found Provalor Charters, and received great advice via all the wonderful members.
2nd Trip to BVIís last time was seven years ago and only adults. This trip wife and I included our children 12 & 16 so we knew it would be a different type of trip.

Flew San Diego to Beef Island, I bought the AA tickets 9 months before so paid $723 pp, it made sense because adding ferry, taxi from ST. Thomas adds up for four people, and even better sense when I booked the charter with Provalor in Fat Hogs Harbor, so the taxi was only $5 from airport. The other advantage with the flight plan was AA allowed two checked bags per person free on international flights, so I filled three duffle bags with Xerox boxes filled with food, and brought a small soft sided cooler with steak and chicken wrapped in newspaper(which arrived on the boat still frozen). Tortillasí lasted the whole trip and the bagels and bread lasted about a week. We spent the first night aboard.

We provisioned the next morning at Riteway next door to Provalor, the only problem we had was that some drink items were not available in cases, and early in the morning fruits and veggies quality was poor, after they restocked selection was better. Next time I would preorder items I want to make sure we had, cases of water, soda, beer, and hand select the rest.

We charter ADA, Beneteau Cyclades 43, 3 cabin/3 head. Advice for checking out boat, top off the water tanks, one of our tanks was ĺ full and I nearly didnít top off, but was glad I did, the gauges never read correct and I added a lot of water. Loved having two 100 gallon tanks, didnít have to add water on the trip. Also sleeping aboard the first night allows you to find any bugs before leaving the dock, the cockpit light didnít work, towel rack in daughters bathroom came off the wall, but Jim at Provalor fixed it in no time flat. Next time I would run the dingy, when we went to use it, couldnít read the start/stop switch due to wear and took a while to figure would which position worked. Also I should have run the mooring lines and had them ready to go for the first mooring.

Weather reports were key to my planning and feeling safe. I listened to the weather report on AM radio in the morning, later found out I could get NOAA on channel five on my hand held VHF. I did have to wait through the Spanish translation, but was able to get invaluable info.

We arrived at the end of a tropical wave, so it was windy and rough, so instead of heading to Cooper for the 1st night as planned, went to Marina Cay. Used the 2nd reef in the main, did figure out how to set the reef on the dock.
Jim had shown me how to set up to mooring lines off each bow cleat, tie a bowline knot around each cleat, then feed the end through the pennant, and back to wrap around the cleat. This method allows for two lines to secure the boat and if one fails then you still have another. I would pull the pennant to within a foot of the bow, which kept the mooring lines from rubbing off the bottom paint on the hull. As our mooring skills improved we could put both lines through the pennant, but if it was too rough I could take the dingy over and feed the port line through.

I love Marina Cay, since it was June 22 no music at night but the kids loved snorkeling the reef, petting a cat, and getting our picture taken at the phone both. We had dinner in the restaurant; it was good and put a perfect bookend to our 1st day on the water. That night the wind blew hard, early the next morning rain squalls came through, but wait 15 minutes and itís over. My most repeated statement was ďI am from San Diego, and I am not use to all the windĒ.

Next Day when it cleared we sailed to the Bitter End, nice sail up, gusty winds so didnít set the head sail, then another squall moved toward us as we neared Mosquito Island, dropped the main in time and motored in, got a mooring at the Bitter End, more protected then off Saba Rock.

Family had a nice snorkel around Saba Rock, and went back to Saba Rock around 4:45 PM for the fish feeding, eels in tank, and the Tarpons off the dock, very cool. They take fish skin from the kitchen and you can hold on to it while the Tarpons grab it. The next night my son and I snorkeled around the lights off Saba Rock and swam with the Tarpons going after the bait fish. It was one of my sonís highlights.

Next day snorkeled off the north end of Saba Rock, the small resort had some mooring available and we asked workers replacing sand if we could tie our dingy to it. Overcast and rough but still fun.

Friday morning we motored down to Leverickís, we hoped to enjoy the barbeque, but the weather had other ideas, very rough in the mooring field, hind sight I should of docked, but we had a very rough 1st night on the boat docked, so that didnít appeal to us. After the wife and daughter checked out the resort I decided to go back to the Bitter End, glad I did, that night 6/25 it stormed so hard we didnít even leave our boat to run in for pizza at the pub, and I am sure the Jumbies couldnít perform, and the weather looked worse down at Leverickís.

Saturday morning was clearing, winds were light as we sailed at 2.5 knots to Monkey point, great day on the water, unfortunately all the moorings were taken, next time I would have dropped the anchor farther down the island marked for anchoring, later talked to people who had a great snorkel at Monkey point. We continued on the Cane Garden Bay and watched the USA get knocked out of the World Cup at Myattís. I love the place and the staff was wonderful. We ended up going back for dinner, The next morning the American woman (sorry forgot her name) in the office printed out the weather report for me to take.
Cane Garden Bay was one of my favorite stops last trip, but with kids it was different, local kids running dingyís through the mooring field, and the bar next to Myattís had a DJ going all afternoon, announcing all the latest party fun, made for a loud afternoon, and then we decided to skip Quitoís, yes we are old and tired, but we heard the whole show. Next trip I would try to make Cane Garden on a week night. Bobbyís Market was a great place to re-provision, excellent selection.

Next day we motored into the wind to the Bight, and a wonderful surprise. Last trip the water visibility in the cove was poor, this time crystal clear, we grabbed a mooring on the north side and the snorkeling off the boat was excellent. When you added the caves the kids had the best snorkeling so far. We ended up spending an extra night at the Bight we loved it so much. The afternoon of the first day went into Pirates, and while on the beach saw a dolphin swim into the cove, my daughter jumped in and swam with it. The crew of Deliverance later told us someone in ST. Thomas released trained dolphins and sometimes the mother joins in the human interaction.

Since it was the off season, we took the kids to the Willy T for dinner, arriving right at dinner time 6PM and eating on the top deck, had a great time (great kid food, and great view) and were able to get off before things got wild. The night before my wife and I joined in the adult fun, the bar tender was so drunk, that the first vodka and cranberry drink he made for me was 90 % vodka, before he spilled it, the next try was better 50/50.

The next morning we left the Bight early to get a mooring at the Indianís. I had forgotten how great the snorkeling is at the Indianís. We then sailed up to grab a mooring at the Rhone, but it was filled, so we continued to Cooper Island. Excellent snorkeling at the point and I swear I saw a sea turtle in the same place as last trip. Enjoyed an excellent dinner and lovely last night on a moorings.

Next morning left at 6:30AM and motored through 4-5 foot seas and 20 knot winds to the Baths. Got a mooring and enjoyed a great morning exploring the caves, beaches, and had a great brunch and swim at the Top of the Baths. Looking toward the east I saw dark clouds, so around noon we headed out back to Fat Hogís Bay, half way across Virgin Gorda disappeared into the clouds, we were running downwind with just the main at 4.5 knots, and just before the squall hit we dropped the main. Motored through the rain, and twenty minutes later it was over and we were able to dock back at Provalor.

Checked out, Cleaned up, packed, and had dinner at Emileís and got ready for a 5:30AM taxi ride back to the airport. We spent the last night on the boat at the dock, very rough, because of the wind direction.

I know about Island time, experienced it on the trip, but loved the taxi driver who was ten minutes early.

I was concerned about going with Provalor, but it was half the cost of Moorings or Sunsail. The dingy motor injectors did get clogged, so it wouldnít run at slow speeds, but Jim brought a new motor to the Bight. I realize boat problems are just about luck, when standing in line at the airport, I talked with a gentleman who had gone with Moorings and had three days of engine problems until they finally replaced the boat.

Next trip I would not bring binoculars, the boat has them, I would use Provalor again, top off the water tanks, run the dingy and mooring lines before leaving the dock, and put more of my music on my daughterís iPod, using the DC jack and iPod FM transmitter, we had easy access to music, just not enough of my music. Bring lots of books for kids to read, and games to play, hearts and dominoes were our kidís favorites. The kids were great, never a complaint, maybe they knew any complaints would mean they would be left home next time. But they did have sailing experience, we sail to Catalina Island every summer, so they knew how to live on a boat and appreciated the warm water and tropical fish.

It was a wonderful trip in paradise, and I canít wait to go back again.