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Trip Report: 1/8 - 2/6 #247125
02/10/2021 12:36 AM
02/10/2021 12:36 AM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 164
Roseville, Minnesota
Swifty Offline OP
Swifty  Offline OP
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 164
Roseville, Minnesota
We are just back from almost a month aboard our boat, Saint Blue! Caribbeangirl13’s trip report included much of the information I was going to share, so I’ll just stick to high-level observations about the current state of things in the BVI.

Since we’re both fortunate enough to be able to work remotely, we decided to take advantage of the lack of upcoming bookings and spend the month of January on our boat. As an added bonus, we escaped a good chunk of the Minnesota winter!

Like many, we experienced some confusion with the BVI Portal. But we contacted Henrietta Alexander via FB and she was able to get everything straightened out right away. I’ll admit - I was a little anxious about traveling. We haven’t gone anywhere in almost a year, and we’ve been pretty cautious about being in groups of people. But Delta (MSP - ATL - STT) is still keeping the middle seats empty, so with our KN95 masks it felt very safe.

The ferries still aren’t running because they haven’t set up testing sites at the ferry terminals in Road Town or West End. So we booked a last-minute Cape Air flight from STT - EIS. A representative met us after we deplaned and escorted us to the testing location at the airport, then stayed with us as we went through C&I, got our wristbands, and delivered us to our taxi.

We arrived at the new BVI Yacht Charter base in the dark, but could already tell it was a HUGE improvement over their old location. We spent two nights quarantining on their dock before heading over to Benure’s Bay for another couple of days, before heading in for our Day 4 test.

Once we received our negative test results, we moved over to the Bight, excited to have some dinner and drinks, but no such luck. Like others have mentioned, we found out the hard way that you must get your wristbands removed before you’ll be allowed to roam about freely in the BVI. So the next morning, we headed up to Trellis Bay and got them removed at the airport. You can also go to a police station, but the walk to the airport was just as easy and allowed us to check out the remodeled Loose Mongoose. If you haven’t been to Trellis since Irma, you’ve got to check it out! It looks great and the Loose Mongoose was designed by the same people who did the Anegada Beach Club. It’s beautiful and the food/drinks were excellent!

I won’t go into a lot of detail about our itinerary. It was such a different trip for us because we were working during the weekdays so many of our decisions about where to go were based on wifi and cellular service. What I will say is that the wifi on board worked very well, with the exception of a few bays (Great Harbor on Peter and Trellis) where we didn’t seem to get a good signal. We ended up spending a few extra days at Scrub because the wifi was so strong there. And we were able to do an AT&T hotspot on our phones at Norman and Jost. Nothing like hours of Zoom calls while in paradise!

Minimal crowds!!! We were the only ones (REALLY, THE ONLY ONES) at The Baths, The Indians and the Bubbly Pool when we went - what an amazing experience! I can’t imagine another time that we will visit the BVI and have that kind of opportunity.

No fighting for mooring balls. In fact, mooring fees weren’t even consistently collected. And there was plenty of room to anchor in the mooring fields if preferred.

Quarantining on the boat. Believe it or not, we really enjoyed having a few days to chill out and read, swim and drink. Sometimes it feels like you need to cram so much into these trips, and the quarantine experience relieved us of that stress.

It felt SO safe! After all the testing, and seeing everyone wearing masks indoors and out, it was very nice to feel like we were surrounded by people who were likely Covid-free.

We discovered some great new bars/restaurants…
Loose Mongoose (see above)
The Sand Box - has been completely redone and looks amazing. They are going to be installing several mooring balls in the months to come. This will definitely be a regular spot for us.
Donovan’s Reef @ Scrub Island - great food!

And rediscovered a few more...
Hog Heaven - still a favorite!
Pirate’s - they just started serving dinner on the weekends again
Leverick’s upstairs restaurant

There was some confusion/misinformation about the Covid test we needed to take to re-enter the US. We were scheduled to leave on a Saturday. According to the CDC website, we could take our test anytime on or after Wednesday for it to be valid. But when I contacted the hospital in Road Town, I was told they wouldn’t let us take our test until Thursday. We were concerned about getting our results in time, so ended up scheduling a test at Penn Medical in Road Reef. It was definitely the BEST test we took throughout our entire travel experience, maybe because it was administered by a doctor. We had no trouble getting our results in time and there was no issue about the timeframe prior to travel.

As stated in prior posts, the BVI really needs all of our help in bringing tourism back to the islands. PLEASE don’t let the Covid protocols discourage you from visiting. Spending time in the BVI without the usual crowds is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we are so thankful to have experienced.

The USVI appeared to be significantly more crowded than usual, while the BVI is significantly less crowded. Don’t get me wrong - I LOVE sailing in the USVI and we almost always deal with customs to spend time in both places. But I was very surprised to see so many boats moored around St. John and St. Thomas when we traveled through on our departure water taxi. If you’re used to heading to St. John to get away from the crowds in the BVI, I don't think you'll find that right now.

The most unsafe I have felt in months was at the STT airport on our return. Unfortunately, no one was enforcing social distancing in the C&I and baggage lines. And once inside the terminal, people were packed into side-by-side in the seats next to the gates. As stated previously, we left on a Saturday and I will definitely choose another departure day next time.

Feel free to respond here or PM me with any questions!


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Re: Trip Report: 1/8 - 2/6 [Re: Swifty] #247126
02/10/2021 05:12 AM
02/10/2021 05:12 AM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 743
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
MrEZgoin  Online Content
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 743
Redmond, WA
Thanks for the report. We arrived on Sunday and hope to be out of quarantine soon.

Regarding anchoring in mooring fields, I would be a bit wary since at least some places ( the Bight ) the mooring anchors are cross-connected with chains on the sea floor that might foul an anchor.

Also, the bracelets must have run out or been recently discontinued - happily we were not given any when we arrived a few days ago. We only got the little blinking black boxes.

Agree on STT terminal area being the biggest covid risk based on our December trip. This time we are returning through SJ, will see how that goes.

Last edited by MrEZgoin; 02/10/2021 05:14 AM.

M4000 "Lio Kai"
Re: Trip Report: 1/8 - 2/6 [Re: Swifty] #247179
02/10/2021 12:35 PM
02/10/2021 12:35 PM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 306
Tustin CA
d_fish Offline
d_fish  Offline
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 306
Tustin CA
Regarding your final observations about bringing back tourism in the BVI. I would love to go if it were a remote possibility. I am ready willing and able as we are currently residing on sailing vessel and sailing in Sint Maarten, St Martin and St. Barts. Will sail to the USVI and will have to by-pass the BVI completely.

The BVI is not opening seaports to cruising sailors, who pose little risk. We would be spending money in anchorages, at restaurants, provisioning and boat work. An easy boost to their economy.

And with that said, I would love to go, my husband not so much but he will reluctantly to please me. His reluctance is based on how fellow cruising sailors were treated by the BVI government a few months ago that has left a stain on their reputation in the sailing community.

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