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Trip Report March 16-27 #188913
03/28/2019 08:52 AM
03/28/2019 08:52 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
New York, NY, USA
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pk5352 Offline OP
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pk5352  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2010
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New York, NY, USA
This was the 5th trip for this crew. March 16-27. 2 families- 4 adults and 3 teens. 12 days and nearly perfect weather with just 2 hours of daytime rain and pretty consistent breeze throughout. Breeze was consistently a bit more south than usual, it seemed. It was our first trip post-Irma. We charter through Voyage and have always had a great experience- this time was no different. It was rather eye-opening to see the state of Sopers Hole. However, even in the 11 days we were out on the boat the progress was noticeable. Voyage base office and dock are back in action with more improvements underway, and their service remains tops in my book. Shore support beyond Voyage is quite limited, but adequate. Omar’s Cafe for Breakfast and coffee and Omar’s Fusion (Former Scaramouche) for dinner is about it. Omars Fusion was a meal highlight of the trip. More on that later. Here’s how it went:

Saturday-
Easy flights into STT, seamless transfers to Dolphin Water Taxi and trip across to West End. Arrival at Voyage base a bit bit early, so a few drinks and appetizers at Omars Fusion until the boat was ready. Back to Omars Fusion for a really excellent Indian dinner. Everything on the table was great- really among the better indian food all of us have had, and a great addition to Sopers.

Sunday-
Smooth checkout and depart Voyage base at around 1030 and headed to Norman Island. Plenty of Balls to choose from and the field was mostly empty until about 3/4pm. Several Balls left open that evening. Afternoon snorkels followed by Dinner at Pirates Bight. Ok.

Monday-
Nice sail to Cooper Island. Arrived early as we do and had only a few non boatyball options. Boatyballs were pretty much empty until late in the day and rest of mooring field filled up fast. Went over to Cistern point in the afternoon. Underwhelmed. To my eye, the coral in the area took a beating from the storm. Not a lot to see. Disappointing meal at CIBC that evening. We have all really always enjoyed Cooper in the past, but less so this time. However, it was still pretty good.

Tuesday-
AM Dive with DiveBVI. As soon as the youngest of our crew was 10 (3 years ago) we decided to get certified as a group to give the kids the experience of diving while on these trips. It has been a great add for us and the kids love it. DiveBVI has always been our go-to. Excellent service as always- great guides who are really terrific with the kids and adults as well. Rendezvous pick up at 9AM and over to the Rhone. Our first dive on the Rhone. Amazing dive. Back to boat by 1230 and off to Scrub Island for a few nights Dockside at Scrub. Afternoon at the pool. Dinner at Donovans reef that night was ok.

Wednesday-
Lay day at Scrub Island. Took advantage of Resort beach and pool. Good fun. Over to Trellis for Full Moon party that night. Fun, but we were all very tired so didn’t go late. Something about these charters puts us all in the rack by 945PM.

Thursday-
Dive day #2 with DiveBVI. Over to Dogs. Dove The Chimney and Bronco Billys. Great dive. Back to boat by 1pm. Quick lunch, then off to Leverick for another night at the dock. Great dinner at Leverick. Really very good. Always happy there. Leverick was terrific. Great dock service, Market fully stocked for reprovision, and an excellent meal.

Friday-
Early departure up to Anegada. Arrived about 1045. Plenty of Balls available and remained that way with several open balls that night. Made dinner reservation and put in our order at Wonky Dog, then off to Cow Wreck for the afternoon. Great lunch and couple of hours at Cow Wreck, as usual. To me, Cow Wreck has always been a highlight, and I think it is now better than ever. Back to boat. Great dinner at Wonky Dog- one order got screwed up but they dealt with it so well, and the food was just excellent. It was a perfect day and we decided we had to stay for another.

Saturday-
Lazy boat morning. 1130 headed into ARH and arranged for ride over to Flash of Beauty. Never been over to Loblolly. We had FOB to ourselves. Excellent lunch and got a bit of a briefing from the folks there on the snorkel route. I have to say, the snorkeling at Loblolly off of FOB was AMAZING. Swim out took us from shallow water out through some really cool canyon-like reef structure that got progressively deeper as we got to the outer reef. We did one lap before lunch and then another after. A ton of fish. Big grouper. Turtles. A reef shark. An amazing snorkeling spot- almost like a dive in many ways. Strong current, but my kids are strong swimmers and the current works for you if you don’t fight it. Really impressed. Lunch was great as well. Definite top 2 Roti. Another lap through the reef after lunch and a few hours lazy hang on the beach and then back to the boat to chill for a bit and get ready for amazing dinner at Anegada Reef Hotel. Our best dinner there yet. Really perfect night. Anegada has always been a trip favorite for this crew, but this visit took it to another level. Perfect weather helped, but man was it a great two days. We almost stayed a third but…

Sunday-
Decided on the long sail to JVD. Weather was still great, swell was down (though forecast to come up that evening) so we had a great sail to Diamond Cay. Aforementioned 2 hours of rain from 12-2 allowed for laziness on board. And then afternoon swimming and a few drinks at the Bee line which we had to ourselves as well. Love that place. Such friendly welcome there and a great place to spend a few hours. Dinner at Foxys Taboo. Glad they were open again. A nice dinner.

Monday-
The kids decided they wanted to go back to Norman and we acquiesced. Nice motor into the wind to get there and in early for lunch on board. We have a particular spot we like to take a mooring at Norman that gives us easy access to the beach and rocks on the northern shore of the bight. We like the snorkeling in there quite a bit and had a great snorkel south along that beach all the way out to Kellys Cove. Forgot how great that area is. Went back around there later that afternoon in the dinghy to one of the NPT buoys under Water Point and had a really cool snorkel. Dinner at Pirates Bight. Much better than night one. We were all glad the kids commandeered the boat and made us go back to Norman. It is such a beautiful spot and not TOO crowded with the Willy t no longer there. Speaking of…

Tuesday-
Short sail over to Great Harbor, Peter Island for lunch and a few hours of hanging. Visited new Willy T. Great Roti as always. I find the new boat to be a step up in experience. Kitchen functions better. More space, etc. It certainly has lost some of its character, and I do miss the old location in Norman, but fun nonetheless. We usually like to spend our final night dockside at Voyage, so had a beautiful downwind sail that afternoon back to Sopers Hole. Another dinner at Omars. Amazing, even better than night 1.

Wednesday-
Smooth check out with Voyage and pick up by Ocean Dreams Water Taxi for trip back to STT. Great service. Loved them. Easy exit through STT.

This was our best trip yet. We all agreed that if they keep getting better each time, we are doing it right. A big part of it for us is that we started doing this when our kids were 7/8/9 and now they are 13/14/15 and watching them all experience these beautiful places as they grow has been really gratifying. This has always been a spring break trip for us, but with one of our kids switching schools next year, spring break schedules will no longer coincide, so we may be looking at a new time-frame. No matter, we will return. Happy to answer any questions…

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Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188914
03/28/2019 09:10 AM
03/28/2019 09:10 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 322
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Christo Offline
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Christo  Offline
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Love reading these trip reports...they help with the long countdown! So thank you!

Our last few trips to Loblolly have all been quite disappointing from a snorkelling perspective, really churned up and zero visibility both years (January both times). Prior to that it was always our best snorkel. Fingers crossed weather is in our favour this year being May/June. Interested to hear more about the local insight you got as to the best route out to the outer reef? Would it be easy to describe?!

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188919
03/28/2019 09:33 AM
03/28/2019 09:33 AM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 15,896
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Manpot Offline
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Manpot  Offline
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Posts: 15,896
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Thanks for the report..totally agree with "Omar's Fusion". I love my Indian food and its been greatly missing down here in the BVI's. I cant get beyond the great Chicken Vindaloo that Raj, in the kitchen, cooks up. Just the right balance of spice ( I do like it hot which makes Omar laugh as I sweat) and incredible rich taste. The breads are terrific and , in the future, they may have a real Tandoor..Oh Joy! Great fan of The Wonky Dog and The Restaurant at Leverick..mixed feelings about Pirates..

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: Christo] #188920
03/28/2019 09:34 AM
03/28/2019 09:34 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
New York, NY, USA
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pk5352 Offline OP
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pk5352  Offline OP
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New York, NY, USA
Christo-
The route we were described is probably pretty obvious, but it was good to hear it, and not too complicated. We were told to basically go to the right-most shade structure as you are looking at the water and swim straight out from there to the outer break, and then let the current take you around counter clockwise and back in on the other side of the reef structure. When you look at it, the route is actually pretty clear to the eye- a strip of navigable water that heads straight out from that shade-structure along the reef wall and gets visibly darker and deeper when you get out towards outer reef. Then around that main coral structure counter clockwise and back through more shallow water. It got most interesting out at the farthest point of the dive. This is where we found our turtles as well as a really beautiful reef shark. On the way back in, I took the wrong turn at one point and found myself in a bit of a maze of shallow (not dangerously so). But with a bit of poking around, you find an exit to deeper water again. Lets see if I can attach this properly....

[img]https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KqkTVBh8otJnoiLMAcskza0WuR8j5W_k/view?usp=sharing[/img]

Attached Files Loblolly.png
Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188921
03/28/2019 09:37 AM
03/28/2019 09:37 AM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 322
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Christo Offline
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Christo  Offline
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Awesome! Thank you so much for that.

Now we just need some settled weather...

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188924
03/28/2019 10:01 AM
03/28/2019 10:01 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 44
Louisiana
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cajunscuba Offline
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Louisiana
Nice read. This is the first I read about NPT buoys at Water Point. Where are they exactly?

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: cajunscuba] #188926
03/28/2019 10:13 AM
03/28/2019 10:13 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
New York, NY, USA
P
pk5352 Offline OP
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pk5352  Offline OP
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Joined: Sep 2010
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New York, NY, USA
Two red balls, just under Water Point, north of the overnight balls in Kellys Cove. Had not noticed them previously either, but there they were, unused and in a good spot for snorkelling. I assume they were NPT balls as they looked just like all the other NPT balls I've encountered.

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188962
03/28/2019 05:41 PM
03/28/2019 05:41 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 325
Washington DC
B
bailau Offline
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bailau  Offline
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Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 325
Washington DC
Originally Posted by pk5352
Christo-
The route we were described is probably pretty obvious, but it was good to hear it, and not too complicated. We were told to basically go to the right-most shade structure as you are looking at the water and swim straight out from there to the outer break, and then let the current take you around counter clockwise and back in on the other side of the reef structure. When you look at it, the route is actually pretty clear to the eye- a strip of navigable water that heads straight out from that shade-structure along the reef wall and gets visibly darker and deeper when you get out towards outer reef. Then around that main coral structure counter clockwise and back through more shallow water. It got most interesting out at the farthest point of the dive. This is where we found our turtles as well as a really beautiful reef shark. On the way back in, I took the wrong turn at one point and found myself in a bit of a maze of shallow (not dangerously so). But with a bit of poking around, you find an exit to deeper water again. Lets see if I can attach this properly....

[img]https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KqkTVBh8otJnoiLMAcskza0WuR8j5W_k/view?usp=sharing[/img]



Is the shade structure the round table with the hatch hut canopies that you see along the beach when you walk out from Big Bamboo? Or do you have to walk further to the point to the East? We have always done the "semicircle from east to west in front of Big Bamboo but like Christo have found it to not be good the last 2 trips...

Thanks in advance

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: bailau] #188972
03/28/2019 06:37 PM
03/28/2019 06:37 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
New York, NY, USA
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pk5352 Offline OP
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Bailau- We were down in front of Flash of Beauty. Down the beach a bit from Big Bamboo.

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188983
03/28/2019 08:36 PM
03/28/2019 08:36 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 325
Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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Washington DC
thanks my friend...we will have to try in May. That is one place I could spend a week on

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #188994
03/29/2019 06:45 AM
03/29/2019 06:45 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,181
Bucks County, Pa.
toast Offline
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toast  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,181
Bucks County, Pa.
Thanks for helping me with my DIF... nice report


Toast.......to Life; White Bay...heaven on earth.
Diane
Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #189021
03/29/2019 10:48 AM
03/29/2019 10:48 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 59
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Woodman Offline
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Woodman  Offline
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Posts: 59
Last trip we did a extended drift snorkle from FOB to Big Bamboo. Highlight of our trip.

Headed down end of June with 6 BVI Virgins, and hope it is as spectacular this time.

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #192962
04/22/2019 07:46 AM
04/22/2019 07:46 AM
Joined: Nov 2016
Posts: 9
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Nibj Offline
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Nibj  Offline
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Posts: 9
Thanks for the suggestion about snorkeling at FoB. The good swimmers in our party really enjoyed the spot, while the rest of us enjoyed the swimming, food and pleasant staff.

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #192980
04/22/2019 12:59 PM
04/22/2019 12:59 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 108
JlarsBVI Offline
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Posts: 108
Two trips ago we discovered snorkeling at Flash of Beauty and it was the favorite! We had snorkeled right off of Big Bamboo before but enjoyed down by Flash of Beauty so much more. This past January the water was murky and the current was too much for us. Hopefully next time!

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #192993
04/22/2019 03:16 PM
04/22/2019 03:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 32
Texas
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MidlandGasman Offline
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Texas
Originally Posted by pk5352
This was the 5th trip for this crew. March 16-27. 2 families- 4 adults and 3 teens. 12 days and nearly perfect weather with just 2 hours of daytime rain and pretty consistent breeze throughout. Breeze was consistently a bit more south than usual, it seemed. It was our first trip post-Irma. We charter through Voyage and have always had a great experience- this time was no different. It was rather eye-opening to see the state of Sopers Hole. However, even in the 11 days we were out on the boat the progress was noticeable. Voyage base office and dock are back in action with more improvements underway, and their service remains tops in my book. Shore support beyond Voyage is quite limited, but adequate. Omar’s Cafe for Breakfast and coffee and Omar’s Fusion (Former Scaramouche) for dinner is about it. Omars Fusion was a meal highlight of the trip. More on that later. Here’s how it went:

Saturday-
Easy flights into STT, seamless transfers to Dolphin Water Taxi and trip across to West End. Arrival at Voyage base a bit bit early, so a few drinks and appetizers at Omars Fusion until the boat was ready. Back to Omars Fusion for a really excellent Indian dinner. Everything on the table was great- really among the better indian food all of us have had, and a great addition to Sopers.

Sunday-
Smooth checkout and depart Voyage base at around 1030 and headed to Norman Island. Plenty of Balls to choose from and the field was mostly empty until about 3/4pm. Several Balls left open that evening. Afternoon snorkels followed by Dinner at Pirates Bight. Ok.

Monday-
Nice sail to Cooper Island. Arrived early as we do and had only a few non boatyball options. Boatyballs were pretty much empty until late in the day and rest of mooring field filled up fast. Went over to Cistern point in the afternoon. Underwhelmed. To my eye, the coral in the area took a beating from the storm. Not a lot to see. Disappointing meal at CIBC that evening. We have all really always enjoyed Cooper in the past, but less so this time. However, it was still pretty good.

Tuesday-
AM Dive with DiveBVI. As soon as the youngest of our crew was 10 (3 years ago) we decided to get certified as a group to give the kids the experience of diving while on these trips. It has been a great add for us and the kids love it. DiveBVI has always been our go-to. Excellent service as always- great guides who are really terrific with the kids and adults as well. Rendezvous pick up at 9AM and over to the Rhone. Our first dive on the Rhone. Amazing dive. Back to boat by 1230 and off to Scrub Island for a few nights Dockside at Scrub. Afternoon at the pool. Dinner at Donovans reef that night was ok.

Wednesday-
Lay day at Scrub Island. Took advantage of Resort beach and pool. Good fun. Over to Trellis for Full Moon party that night. Fun, but we were all very tired so didn’t go late. Something about these charters puts us all in the rack by 945PM.

Thursday-
Dive day #2 with DiveBVI. Over to Dogs. Dove The Chimney and Bronco Billys. Great dive. Back to boat by 1pm. Quick lunch, then off to Leverick for another night at the dock. Great dinner at Leverick. Really very good. Always happy there. Leverick was terrific. Great dock service, Market fully stocked for reprovision, and an excellent meal.

Friday-
Early departure up to Anegada. Arrived about 1045. Plenty of Balls available and remained that way with several open balls that night. Made dinner reservation and put in our order at Wonky Dog, then off to Cow Wreck for the afternoon. Great lunch and couple of hours at Cow Wreck, as usual. To me, Cow Wreck has always been a highlight, and I think it is now better than ever. Back to boat. Great dinner at Wonky Dog- one order got screwed up but they dealt with it so well, and the food was just excellent. It was a perfect day and we decided we had to stay for another.

Saturday-
Lazy boat morning. 1130 headed into ARH and arranged for ride over to Flash of Beauty. Never been over to Loblolly. We had FOB to ourselves. Excellent lunch and got a bit of a briefing from the folks there on the snorkel route. I have to say, the snorkeling at Loblolly off of FOB was AMAZING. Swim out took us from shallow water out through some really cool canyon-like reef structure that got progressively deeper as we got to the outer reef. We did one lap before lunch and then another after. A ton of fish. Big grouper. Turtles. A reef shark. An amazing snorkeling spot- almost like a dive in many ways. Strong current, but my kids are strong swimmers and the current works for you if you don’t fight it. Really impressed. Lunch was great as well. Definite top 2 Roti. Another lap through the reef after lunch and a few hours lazy hang on the beach and then back to the boat to chill for a bit and get ready for amazing dinner at Anegada Reef Hotel. Our best dinner there yet. Really perfect night. Anegada has always been a trip favorite for this crew, but this visit took it to another level. Perfect weather helped, but man was it a great two days. We almost stayed a third but…

Sunday-
Decided on the long sail to JVD. Weather was still great, swell was down (though forecast to come up that evening) so we had a great sail to Diamond Cay. Aforementioned 2 hours of rain from 12-2 allowed for laziness on board. And then afternoon swimming and a few drinks at the Bee line which we had to ourselves as well. Love that place. Such friendly welcome there and a great place to spend a few hours. Dinner at Foxys Taboo. Glad they were open again. A nice dinner.

Monday-
The kids decided they wanted to go back to Norman and we acquiesced. Nice motor into the wind to get there and in early for lunch on board. We have a particular spot we like to take a mooring at Norman that gives us easy access to the beach and rocks on the northern shore of the bight. We like the snorkeling in there quite a bit and had a great snorkel south along that beach all the way out to Kellys Cove. Forgot how great that area is. Went back around there later that afternoon in the dinghy to one of the NPT buoys under Water Point and had a really cool snorkel. Dinner at Pirates Bight. Much better than night one. We were all glad the kids commandeered the boat and made us go back to Norman. It is such a beautiful spot and not TOO crowded with the Willy t no longer there. Speaking of…

Tuesday-
Short sail over to Great Harbor, Peter Island for lunch and a few hours of hanging. Visited new Willy T. Great Roti as always. I find the new boat to be a step up in experience. Kitchen functions better. More space, etc. It certainly has lost some of its character, and I do miss the old location in Norman, but fun nonetheless. We usually like to spend our final night dockside at Voyage, so had a beautiful downwind sail that afternoon back to Sopers Hole. Another dinner at Omars. Amazing, even better than night 1.

Wednesday-
Smooth check out with Voyage and pick up by Ocean Dreams Water Taxi for trip back to STT. Great service. Loved them. Easy exit through STT.

This was our best trip yet. We all agreed that if they keep getting better each time, we are doing it right. A big part of it for us is that we started doing this when our kids were 7/8/9 and now they are 13/14/15 and watching them all experience these beautiful places as they grow has been really gratifying. This has always been a spring break trip for us, but with one of our kids switching schools next year, spring break schedules will no longer coincide, so we may be looking at a new time-frame. No matter, we will return. Happy to answer any questions…



How was Marina Cay?

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: MidlandGasman] #193034
04/23/2019 10:14 AM
04/23/2019 10:14 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 51
New York, NY, USA
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pk5352 Offline OP
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pk5352  Offline OP
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New York, NY, USA
We only sailed by Marina Cay en route to Scrub. The mooring field was packed, but perhaps mostly attributable to Full Moon Party at Trellis. I know that they have a dining tent set up on Marina Cay, but cannot comment on the experience as we skipped it this trip.

Re: Trip Report March 16-27 [Re: pk5352] #193036
04/23/2019 10:48 AM
04/23/2019 10:48 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 196
Dana Point
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Dana Point
PK

Thank you for an excellent trip report, and the scoops on Kelly's Cove and Water Point and the good snorkeling .

Adding that to our itinerary .

Mahalo nui loa

Denny and Erica


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