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Trip report July 6-15 #200819
07/23/2019 09:27 PM
07/23/2019 09:27 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 6
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BD21035 Offline OP
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BD21035  Offline OP
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With apologies for the length of this post ... Recently back from my 3rd trip since July 2017, and having benefited in the planning from the other posts on this board, I wanted to share these experiences:

Saturday 7/6 - Arrival at Nanny Cay

Group of 8 arrived STT on various flights, met at the Charlotte Amalie ferry dock. Unfortunately the large ferries were diverted to the St. John carnival traffic, so we couldn’t get enough tickets for everyone to ride on the same trip with Smith’s Ferry. Luckily, Native Son added a boat, so all arrived in Tortola within 45 minutes of each other. Taxi arranged by Virgin Charter Yachts brought us to their docks at Nanny Cay around 6pm.

Riteway groceries were waiting for us on the 514PC “Dash Away”. Cold goods had been put away in the fridge and freezer (thanks VCY!). A few key items were missing and we addressed these in the morning at the small Riteway location at Nanny Cay. Main takeaway: Order provisions in advance for delivery, but be prepared for minor problems.

We had a wonderful dinner of grilled lobster, shrimp and pork, on the beach/poolside at Peglegs (which is operating, but still rebuilding).

Sunday 7/7 - Rhône and Spanish Town

Kayak and SUP were delivered by 9 (thanks Island Surf & Sail!), check-out completed by 10:30 and we were on our way to snorkel stop at the Rhône. No problem getting a mooring at 11:30. Water was clear and current was mild for a fun snorkel. It was a bit rolly so we moved to Cooper Island for lunch on the boat. No problem getting a mooring at 1pm.

We had reservations at Coco Maya for dinner, so we cruised over to Spanish Town around 4 and were the first boat to arrive at the moorings. Five other boats joined by the time we went in for drinks at 6. A half-dozen boats went into the yacht harbor for the night. It is open for business, but still rebuilding ashore; we saw no amenities open (no store, no showers, etc). We enjoyed an astonishing sunset view from Coco Maya, and the dinner was fantastic, followed by some karaoke and then a longish (and dark) dinghy ride back to the moorings. Key takeaway: It’s been 25 years since I’ve spent a night moored at Spanish Town, and it was one of our best nights—I’ll be back.

Monday 7/8 - The Caves and Little Harbor JVD

Enjoyed a long morning cruise down to The Caves, where one couple in our group bumped into some boys who play high school football with their son back in Maryland. Small world! Unfortunately the caves had abundant stinging jellies, so we couldn’t snorkel into all of them.

After lunch we had another long cruise over to Little Harbor. Picked up some souvenirs at Sydney’s Peace and Love and then moved to Harris’s Place for delicious dinner of lobster, fish and BBQ by Cynthia. Wonderful night! Thanks for the complementary morning ball, Cynthia. We usually go to Great Harbor for the night, but this was a nice change of pace—only two other boats there with us.

Tuesday 7/9 - Sandy Cay, Great Harbor, White Bay, CGB

Reserved a BB at CGB for the night, knowing that we wanted to spend a long day at JVD. After coffee we went to Sandy Cay for the beautiful view and breakfast. Some of us went ashore for a couple hours, and decent snorkeling around the south side. Then we cruised over to Great Harbor and went to Foxy’s for a good lunch. Then on to White Bay for a fun afternoon at Soggy Dollar (some by taxi, others by dingy). White Bay was extremely crowded with boats (for some reason—on a Tuesday in July?), and we had a great time.

We stayed at Soggy Dollar til almost 4, and arrived at CGB just after 5. There were FCFS balls available, but I was glad to have the reservation and no worries. We intended to eat ashore, but most were still full from lunch and drinks, so we made burgers on the boat and enjoyed another beautiful sunset.

Wednesday 7/10 - Monkey Point, Scrub Island

We had a reserved slip at Scrub Island for the night, so we took our time at CGB in the morning getting fresh groceries and ice at Bobby’s. Then cruised up to Monkey Point and had no problem getting a mooring at noon. After snorkeling and lunch, we played a few games of dominos and were happy to have a visit from Kevin and G from over at Trellis Bay, delivering ice and taking our trash. Later, on our way to Scrub Island, we cruised into Trellis Bay to patronize the market and assess the conditions for future reference (still a lot of wreckage on the shore and in the water, not many open mooring balls) At Scrub Island, we were treated like kings and queens and really enjoyed their pool bar, followed by nice hot showers, and a fine dinner at their restaurant.

Thursday 7/11 - The Dogs, Ginger, Cooper Island

I reserved a BB at Cooper at 7:00 on the dot, and after a leisurely walk around Scrub Island and refill of our water, we checked-out and cruised over to George Dog for snorkeling and lunch. Sad to see that the coral here was not as healthy as I remembered.

Then down to north side of Ginger for another snorkel (a lot of coral damage here also, but saw a lovely nurse shark and some turtles), then over to Cooper for the evening. Some of our group enjoyed the Rum Bar, and everyone had a great dinner of mahi, grouper or steak. While it’s sad to see how much of the beach they have lost at Cooper, they’ve more than made up for it with the new, smart pub tables in waist-deep water—a nice addition, enjoyed by many.

Friday 7/12 - The Baths, Leverick Bay

Reserved another BB at Leverick, because I knew it would be busy for their Friday night BBQ and show. We left Cooper around 8 and went straight to The Baths, but not early enough; we had to settle for one of the last balls at the north end of Spring Bay. But the seas were blessedly calm, so we made it easily and safely to shore at Devil’s Bay—the beach at the Bath’s is just too rocky and crowded, imo. There was no ship in Road Town, so the crowds were light, which was real nice. We made it through the boulders to the other side and enjoyed drinks at a picnic table in the shade with the chickens. Then back through the boulders to Devil’s Bay, and out to our boat for lunch and dominos for a few hours in the most beautiful place in the world. (In our last trip, in December, a mother and calf dolphin visited our boat at lunchtime and allowed us to snorkel with them. But no such luck this trip).

We cruised up to North Sound, arriving around 4, and had a look at the slow progress of rebuilding on Saba Rock. I cannot imagine they’ll be ready to open before the 2020-2021 season. There were no signs of rebuilding at BEYC. Leverick Bay was hopping, and we had a fun time at the BBQ and the moko jumbie show. It was good to see a large group of Boy Scouts on a few boats out of CYOA and a separate large group of young people learning the ropes on several Sunsail boats.

Saturday 7/14 - The Indians, The Bight

For our final morning we enjoyed a long cruise down the north side of Tortola, around the west and up to The Indians. A horrific rain storm hit as we were arriving, so we took shelter in Kelly’s Cove instead. That worked out well, as we had a good snorkel followed by lunch and more dominos in the calm of the cove. When we saw The Indians clear out around 3, we went over there for the best snorkeling of the week—coral is in great condition (but lots of jellies on the east side). Then into The Bight where it was busy but still a lot of open balls at 5. Took in the sunset from the boat and enjoyed from afar watching the fun at Willy Ts—back at its true home. All is good.

We went for a very nice dinner at Pirate’s Bight. Sadly, they’d already ran out of the whole fish, but we had good grouper filet, steak and chicken roti.

Sunday 7/15 - Back to Nanny Cay and reality

Returned to Nanny Cay fuel dock around 9:30. Easy check-in, and some of our group headed to the 11:30 ferry to STT for flights home. Others flew from EIS via SJU, which would have been much easier and faster than STT, except that a medical emergency delayed our connection in SJU by two hours. Happily, the JetBlue terminal in SJU is not a bad place to kill time.

Hope this helps someone else’s planning. Especially 1st and 2nd timers—be flexible and it will all work out in the end in the BVI. And don’t overlook Little Harbor JVD and Spanish Town.

Last edited by BD21035; 07/23/2019 09:29 PM.
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Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200823
07/23/2019 09:52 PM
07/23/2019 09:52 PM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 62
Waco, Texas
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Alec Atteberry Online content
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Great trip report. Thanks for all of the information.

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200825
07/24/2019 07:43 AM
07/24/2019 07:43 AM
Joined: Nov 2012
Posts: 156
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Kegoangoango Online content
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Kegoangoango  Online Content
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Nice report.

Where are the mooring balls at Spanish Town? I had thought all of the mooring balls outside the marina were private. Are they all public? If not, how do you tell the difference?

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200826
07/24/2019 07:51 AM
07/24/2019 07:51 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 482
Washington DC
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bailau Online content
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Great report....

I will be curious to know when Spanish Town (VGYC) comes back to pre-Irma or better. We docked there in Feb '19 and although they had (and still have) showers and electric not much was there and certainly have a lot of rebuilding to do...we only went to leapfrog to Coco Maya. It certainly had improved since Oct '18 but still seems to have a long way to go.

We have scratched ST off our rotation for now preferring to hit Leverick and then taxi down to Baths and Coco Maya which we did in May...

How did your 514PC run?

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200849
07/24/2019 10:40 AM
07/24/2019 10:40 AM
Joined: May 2010
Posts: 354
Pacific NW
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snmhanson Offline
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Thanks for the report. Heading down in December and this gives me an idea of what to expect - though I imagine there will be even a bit more progress made in the next few months (and hopefully no hurricanes to deal with this year). Also glad to hear that the JetBlue terminal at SJU isn't a bad place to hang as we are going to have a five hour layover there on our return trip.

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200851
07/24/2019 10:49 AM
07/24/2019 10:49 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,779
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Online content
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JasonHelmbrecht  Online Content
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Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
For those folks traveling thru SJU I wanted to highlight a few options:
- There is a great wine bar near Margaritaville, directly across from the Seaborne gate. Great wines and very good local food
- There is a new restaurant just after the duty free shopping area as you walk to C Concourse. I haven't tried it but it looks pretty good and is not just the basic airport food
- Anyone with a Platinum Amex or other access to the Priority Clubs, there is a club very near the new restaurant. Have only visited once but they have free wifi, free drinks you pour yourself, and a small selection of food.

Cheers,
Jason

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200856
07/24/2019 11:16 AM
07/24/2019 11:16 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 4,398
Adagio Villa, Mahoe Bay,Virgin...
gordaguy2 Offline
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Adagio Villa, Mahoe Bay,Virgin...
Nice trip report

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: JasonHelmbrecht] #200893
07/24/2019 05:15 PM
07/24/2019 05:15 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 129
West Virgina
jrw Offline
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jrw  Offline
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West Virgina
Jason,
I think the new restaurant in SJU you are talking about is Metropol. PR food and VERY good!!!
JW

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: jrw] #200894
07/24/2019 05:25 PM
07/24/2019 05:25 PM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 1,779
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Online content
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JasonHelmbrecht  Online Content
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Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Originally Posted by jrw
Jason,
I think the new restaurant in SJU you are talking about is Metropol. PR food and VERY good!!!
JW

Thanks! I'll give it a try next week...

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: Kegoangoango] #200919
07/24/2019 08:37 PM
07/24/2019 08:37 PM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 6
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BD21035 Offline OP
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BD21035  Offline OP
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There are 3 or 4 private balls close to the ferry dock on the north side of St. Thomas Bay just outside the yacht harbor, followed by a cluster of 6+ balls for the public that are closer to Colision Point. We had no problem identifying the public balls, which are larger and have obvious pennants and floats.

Re: Trip report July 6-15 [Re: BD21035] #200967
07/25/2019 10:36 AM
07/25/2019 10:36 AM
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Posts: 156
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Kegoangoango Online content
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Kegoangoango  Online Content
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Originally Posted by BD21035
There are 3 or 4 private balls close to the ferry dock on the north side of St. Thomas Bay just outside the yacht harbor, followed by a cluster of 6+ balls for the public that are closer to Colision Point. We had no problem identifying the public balls, which are larger and have obvious pennants and floats.


Thanks. We normally stay in the marina, but may try a ball in Oct if conditions are right.


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