This was our fourth sailing vacation in the BVI and my first attempt at writing it up.
We had 2 weeks on a Sunsail 36i out of Tortola. Aboard: myself, wife and two teenage sons. Our trip to the base was fairly uneventful: late-night flight out of Sea-tac, transfer in Dulles to San Juan, and small Cape-Air Cessna to Beef Island. The Cessna looked a bit aged and there was no co-pilot, but I guess it adds to the adventure.
We had pre-provisioned online this time through Riteway and Carib. Cellars and as far as avoiding the stressful mega-bobby-run it was definitely a success. As it turned out, we were very close on the food (with some minor restocking) but somewhat overprovisioned on the drinks. We spent a relaxed evening at the base and ate at one of the restaurants.
Our 2-cabin 36i looked in pretty good shape. I started looking over the boat and found a few issues I was planning to address. Most concerning was that the Raymarine nav pod occasionally beeped out a low-battery warning showing voltages down to about 10.5V even though we were still on shore power. One of the water tank sending units was inoperative and there were a few more minor issues. The dinghy and outboard were not the freshest looking, but ended up working out fine.
The next morning, after breakfast, we had our chart briefing and checkout of the boat. I mentioned some of the issues I had found - none were really fixed before we left but none caused us any major problems either. We got underway and headed towards the Bight. Weather had been unsettled with some strong winds and swells just prior to our arrival, but the weather report was promising. En route to the Bight, we picked up a mooring at the Indians for our first snorkel of the trip. Snorkeling is our top priority and we shoot for 2 dives a day. We were glad to see that despite the earlier weather the visibility was quite good. We picked up a mooring in the Bight close to treasure point so that we could snorkel off the boat around treasure point and to the caves. These are all great spots - the only downside being that they are a bit familiar. We resolved to try to find some new snorkel destinations on this trip. Dinghying ashore, we had a nice hike along the northern trail from the beach restaurant. The view down into Benures Bay was very appealing, but this is a spot which seems to fill up quickly.
The following morning, we headed to White Bay on Peter Island, anchored and spent some time on the beach which was as nice as we remembered it. In the afternoon we headed to Cooper Island and picked up a mooring in Manchioneel bay. We had only stayed there once before a few years ago and experienced a mildly terrifying November lightning storm. No lightning this time - but the beach club had obviously become a lot more popular and the restaurant was already booked, so we ate on board as we do most of our meals. Conditions were settled, so we had a fairly restful night in this shallow bay. We were hoping to pick up a mooring at the Baths so started quite early hoping to beat the crowd. It worked, and we had breakfast waiting for the sun to climb a bit higher before getting in the water. My wife didn't want to hike the trail through the rocks again, so we split up and my younger son and I snorkeled to the beach while she went out on her own. After mistakenly landing at Spring Bay first (oops), we found the trail and followed it to Devil's Bay. In the absence of crowds, this is still a nice walk but I probably don't have to do it again. Getting back in the water at Devil's Bay, we had to fight a pretty strong current back to the boat. Not the best snorkeling on this day. We left the Baths and had a nice reach across to Marina Cay, where we picked up a mooring. Afternoon snorkel at Diamond Reef, and I made a dinghy trip to Scrub Island Resort, where we spent a few days last time. I visited the main office to ask about ice, but ended up picking up a few other items in surprisingly well-priced food store, including my favorite ghost pepper salsa. My boys were expecting we would dock here again, but I was secretly hoping not to. It's a very nice place, but I find it too easy to get stuck and I prefer the ambiance of the boat out on the water to being at the dock.


M4000 "Lio Kai"