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BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? #282475
05/16/2022 05:13 PM
05/16/2022 05:13 PM
Joined: May 2022
Posts: 32
Miami
T
TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
Hello TTO community!

We are a family of 5 (mom, dad, and kids aged 13, 11, and 9, all with sailing experience) who are super excited about our first visit to the BVI and our first ever bareboat charter. And to be perfectly honest, my wife and I are a bit nervous about it as well, but everyone said BVI is the perfect place for your first bareboat cruise, so here we go! We have been reading the cruising guide and lurking on this forum and the FB group for a while, but real prep time is upon is. Here’s some info that may be relevant before I ask a couple of questions.

Boat: 41’ Monohull chartered from Horizon YC June 16-26. We originally were looking for a 7 day charter and asked Horizon to price match an offer from another company, and they offered us their 10 days for price of 7 deal (which wasn’t in effect at the time, this was January). I only say this because we feel like these are bonus days and plan to stay on the boat when we otherwise might have stayed in a hotel before/after cruise.

Getting there/back: Our flight from Miami arrives at STT on Thursday June 16 at 11:21 AM and we have tix for the Roadtown Fast Ferry departing at 2:30 pm. Our flight departs STT Sunday June 26 at 5:35 PM and we have tix on Native Son departing Roadtown at 11:30 am earlier that day.

Our experience: I have been sailing ~25 years and my wife for about 8. We own a Corsair F-27 trimaran and are fortunate to be able to sail year-round in Biscayne Bay and the Keys, and are used to docking our 18’ beam at crowded crazy Miami marinas. But our F27 has an outboard. I have never skippered a monohull over 30’ in length and have no experience at all maneuvering with an inboard engine.

As a result, HYC was not-surprisingly concerned after reviews of our sailing resumes. In response, I offered that we would be fine with spending the first day with a skipper who could give us docking lessons as well as going over everything else with the boat. The end result is that on Friday June 27 “ You will be required to have a check-out skipper who will accompany you for the first 24-hrs OR to the first anchorage of your charter. Upon approval of that skipper you will be allowed to continue your bareboat charter. If you are not approved, you will be required to hire a skipper for the duration of your charter”. I am fine of spending the first full day (2nd day of charter) with a check-out skipper (we suggested it) but it will put a serious damper on our plans to have to hire a skipper for the rest of the cruise! (Yes I know it's in the contract I signed).

Questions (I’m sure I’ll have more later):

Do I need to be seriously worried about the check-out cruise? Do you have to be extremely incompetent/overconfident to fail these, or is it actually common? Should I expect some level of friendly instruction or are they going to be looking over my shoulder and judging my every move from the git-go?

Our boat has 3 double berths for our five. Should I propose to HYC that we do a long day sail on June 17, including picking up a mooring ball somewhere, and then return to Nanny Cay that evening to drop off the skipper, and sail out on our own on the morning of June 18? I don’t see how having the check-out skipper sleep on our boat proves anything additional. Or should we go with what they suggest (or should we expect them not to budge?).

I understand there is a grocery store next to the HYC offices. We plan to (mostly) provision ourselves. Will we have time to do this after arriving June 16 (I expect we will not arrive in Nanny Cay until what … perhaps 5 pm)? Or should we plan to provision the morning of June 17 before the check-out sail begins? When should we try to schedule our chart briefing?

Do all of our ferries and flight times look okay as far as not missing flights or ferries? On the last day (Sunday 26), to do the boat return/check-in and catch the 11:30 am ferry out, do we need to plan to spend the last night (Saturday June 25) on the boat in the marina, or is there still enough time to spend that night are someplace close like Cooper’s or Norman’s and still return in time without a lot of stress?

Given these constraints, do you have itinerary suggestions? I originally had my heart set on going to Anegada, but given the potential loss of a day or two to the check-out, that’s probably not going to happen. Which is ok – HYC may not let us anyway, and Anegada sounds more like the Keys (flat) that we are used to, so we can save it for next time. But would you give up Jost Van Dyke for Anegada if it was one or the other?

Our boat has A/C. Don’t know how much we’ll need it, but it was one thing my wife put her foot down on. Should we expect to have to get fuel somewhere along the way because of generator use? Or will one tank be plenty? We did not get the pre-paid fuel option. Should we?

Do we need to pay extra for a wifi/internet package in order to have a chance on Boaty Ball, or will a 5G iPhone (on T-Mobile, ughh) be sufficient?

We are avid snorkelers and plan to bring our own masks but use HYC fins. Good idea? We like to paddle board. Rent one from HYC worth it? What about other water toys to keep the kids happy? Kind of a rip-off to rent from the charter company, or go for it?

OK that’s a short novel’s worth so I’ll stop for now. Thanks for reading!

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Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282478
05/16/2022 05:34 PM
05/16/2022 05:34 PM
Joined: Dec 2015
Posts: 25
US
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Lexington14 Offline
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We have a boat at Nanny Cay and over the years we have either ordered our provisions ahead of time to be delivered to the boat or have gone to the store ourselves (Riteway Pasea). The Riteway at NC is like a small convenience store and is great for staple items you may have forgotten to order but I would never try to provision for a seven day trip there.

Your kids will love the pool at Nanny Cay.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282479
05/16/2022 05:43 PM
05/16/2022 05:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 379
dayhiker Offline
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I had a checkout captain the first day of my first bareboat. He had a really gentle, subtle way about him. I was 2 hours into before I even realized I was being tested the whole time. Shortly after that, he worked with us an hour or so on picking up mooring balls, we sailed over to Cooper and had lunch. Over lunch, he was quizzing me about chart stuff. We spent the afternoon with him working with the crew on what they would need to do and then we dropped him off at Trellis that afternoon. It was no big deal. Now, had I not answered things correctly early, it may have become a big deal.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282486
05/16/2022 07:27 PM
05/16/2022 07:27 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 841
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Judging by your resume, the check out likely will be a non- issue. Take it as a time to get use to the feel of the boat.
Ask check out skipper to let you get the feel of maneuvering to pick up ball . See how it moves as you go into reverse.Figure eight turns etc.

Perhaps plan first night stop at Trellis bay as plenty of balls(no rush to get there) and can likely disembark. Hopefully you have a water maker and if so, no reason to dock until returning to base. Likely base can send out a driver to assist you in coming in... One phase to keep repeating in your head (and out loud) is "SLOW is PRO" , around mooring balls and docks.
If no water maker, then you will need to dock for water, but a T-Dock... Remember which way the boat walks in reverse? Refresh on purpose of lines (bow/stern and Spring lines). Know the draft of boat and whether Anegada not recommended for that particular depth. You can have great time even if you skip Anegada this trip... and an excuse to come back soon.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282487
05/16/2022 07:28 PM
05/16/2022 07:28 PM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 83
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Rush Offline
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Here are my thoughts (but full disclosure, we have only sailed catamarans). I think you will be fine with all of the experience that you have. We have never used more than half of our gas (but again, we have 2 tanks) even while running the generator generously. So you may not need to refill which would remove the need to stop at a dock. Consider spending the first day with the check-out captain, perhaps end at Norman and arrange to pay for him to hitch a ride back to Nanny Cay. One day should give you plenty of time to practice sailing and work on mooring balls. You could practice docking on the fuel docks before leaving. Also, consider paying for Horizon's Express checkout, where they bring you in and refill the boat - this will give you plenty of time to come in on the 26th (from Cooper or Jost), around 9 and still make the ferry.

General itenerary could be:
Day 1: Norman (snorkel Caves and Indians)
2: Sail to Cooper - use boaty ball or get there early for FCFS balls.
3: Sail to Baths (or straight to North Sound - Leverick, Saba, Bitter end)
4: Another night in the North Sound - consider renting a car at Leverick - go to Baths from there, Savannah Bay, Coco Maya (lunch), Hog Heaven, Nail Bay, etc.
5: Sail to Anegada (I would not miss it). Be diligent with instructions on sailing there. Consider renting a car. Defintely hit Cow Wreck/Tipsy's. Then Lobster dinner that night at one of the many great places.
6: Sail to Marina Cay - Go to lunch a Scrub - let kids enjoy pool, beach toys etc. (consider getting a slip here for the night, particularly with the kids), or just dinghy over from balls at Marina Cay.
7. Motor to Monkey point for a snorkel. Consider a quiet night at White Bay Guana Island. Or Go to Cane Garden Bay
8. Go to Diamond Cay/Little Jost (Sandy Spit, Bubbly Pool, Foxy's Taboo, B-line
9. Great Harbor. Spend day at White Bay (Soggy Dollar), dinner in Great Harbor
10. Early sail back to base.

If needed, refuel at Leverick, Cane Garden, Great Harbor. We always enjoy paddle boards. Definitely provision with Riteway or Bobby's online, and Tico or Caribbean Cellars for alcohol. They will deliver to the boat. You can get a few things at small riteway market at NC. Also restock at Leverick, Scrub (or Trellis), Cane Garden, Great Harbor.

I would consider using boatyball for Cooper and Great Harbor. Renport is expensive, but great highspeed internet - kids will like it for streaming, but you may not want that.

Your family will have the best time and again, you should be fine with your experience. Just get comfortable with boat operations and maneuvering with mooring balls with captain.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282527
05/17/2022 10:27 AM
05/17/2022 10:27 AM
Joined: May 2022
Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
Thank you Lex, Dayhiker, Deepcut, and Rush for the replies! Appreciate all the tips, advice, and sharing your experiences.

We will not have a water maker, so sounds like docking along the way is in the cards for us. Good way to add practice and up our experience level right? I think that's the way I looked at it when I passed on the pre-paid fuel option when I arranged the charter earlier. Although I will look at the express check out option again if it might help us squeeze another night of cruising in.

"Slow is pro" are words we try to live by and hopefully will serve us well in BVI.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282530
05/17/2022 10:36 AM
05/17/2022 10:36 AM
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RobertD Offline
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We don't own a boat but have been chartering with Horizon for the past 17 years, 38-47 foot monohulls. Usually 2-3 weeks each year. Great people to work with. The guys doing the 2 hour checkout (before you leave the dock) are very thorough. All systems and rigging are explained. Years ago I asked one of the guys how he could tell about the competency of the captain without regard to the resume. He smiled and said, "its all about the questions during checkout". My quess is you will head out to either Norman or Great Harbor on Peter and demonstrate the skills necessary. They frequently pull a second dingy behind the boat to make their way back to Nanny Cay if you "pass".
All their boats have the operations manual on line. You should go though it.
Given your ferry arrival time, do you plan on overnighting on board? Because by the time you get to Nanny Cay it will be 4:30 and that does not leave sufficient day light to sail out and demonstrate your competency.
We have sailed for three weeks and never needed to refuel. You will need to take on water a few times with five people on board. Thats where the docking ability comes in. BTW, there is usually good help at the fuel docks to secure the lines. If you can get close enough and can throw a line far enough, you will be fine! Best of Luck!

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282532
05/17/2022 10:52 AM
05/17/2022 10:52 AM
Joined: May 2022
Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
Thanks Robert. We plan to overnight in the marina on arrival day and the next day will be the check out day. I'm about to talk to Horizon about the options for getting the check-out skipper back to base (assuming we pass). Just wanted to get the low down beforehand. I just found the operations manual online and will start reading it tonight. Good tip!

I can see that two cruise ships are scheduled to be in Roadtown during our charter, both on June 23. Are there any particular places besides the Baths that we should avoid on that day?

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282533
05/17/2022 11:02 AM
05/17/2022 11:02 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 1,205
Washington DC
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bailau Offline
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Cruise ships in RT wont impact Baths. sometimes there is a cruise ship that anchors off the baths and brings guests through Spanish Town. If that is case hit baths early morning or late afternoon

https://bviports.org/cruise-schedule/

Last edited by bailau; 05/17/2022 11:04 AM.
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282534
05/17/2022 11:08 AM
05/17/2022 11:08 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,353
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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JasonHelmbrecht  Offline
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Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Originally Posted by TriBVI
I can see that two cruise ships are scheduled to be in Roadtown during our charter, both on June 23. Are there any particular places besides the Baths that we should avoid on that day?


Cane Garden Bay will be busy that day until about 3pm so I'd save it for a different day if you have the option. The upside is the kids could ride the "banana boat" or rent jet skis that day.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282535
05/17/2022 11:10 AM
05/17/2022 11:10 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 83
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Rush Offline
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Cane Garden Bay can get signfiicant traffic with Cruise ships in port. I do love Horizon's manuals that are easy to find on-line- that will be very helpful to you.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282538
05/17/2022 11:16 AM
05/17/2022 11:16 AM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
Ah, I didn't see the "cruise anchorages" listed the first time I checked the schedule, only RT. But looking now I see that no "cruise anchorages" are scheduled in 2022 until November. So sounds like, banana boats aside (I'm sure they'd love it), we just need to avoid Cane Garden Bay on that day.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282544
05/17/2022 12:00 PM
05/17/2022 12:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 1,342
Memphis, BVI, CT
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RatmansWife Offline
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There are often a number of cruise ship excursions to the Baths. Do as suggested and go early morning or late afternoon.

If the weather is good (no North swell), consider anchoring overnight in Lee Bay off the western side of Great Camanoe. You may be the only boat there and the water is much cleaner than Marina Cay.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282568
05/17/2022 03:31 PM
05/17/2022 03:31 PM
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Kegoangoango Offline
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I wouldn’t worry about the skipper. If you don’t “pass”, just have them stay with you for another day. They *want* you to be able to go out on your own, without being too nervous and with you and you family having a great time. You won’t have a great time if you’re worried about the “captain” part. Worst case, you have a captain for three or four days. No big deal. Go have a great trip!

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282572
05/17/2022 04:02 PM
05/17/2022 04:02 PM
Joined: May 2022
Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
Thanks for the input RW and Kego. My wife has been worried that in the next couple of weeks we need to hire someone here in Miami to give us lessons on handling a large monohull around the docks, and I told her that we are much better off having someone teach us on the boat we'll be using, and if it takes the first two or three days, so be it. But it's nice to hear it from someone else! That said ...

When check-out captains stay overnight on a boat that was chartered without an extra person in mind, what is the protocol for determining where they sleep? I have heard that it can be very nice sleeping in the cockpit under the stars, but is it right to expect the check-out captain to do that? The dinette settee is perhaps another option, although it is not designed to be converted. Or should we expect our 9 year old son to sleep there so the check out captain can get a cabin to him/herself?

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282576
05/17/2022 05:24 PM
05/17/2022 05:24 PM
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RobertD Offline
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Agree with Kego... A 41 foot mono looks big for about a day. And you may want to consider, if you haven't already, allowing your wife to "man" the helm while picking up a mooring ball. Even with a 6 foot boat hook, its a reach to grab the pennant. And have someone teach you the basic hand signals so you're not screaming at each other while trying to be heard over the wind.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282703
05/19/2022 01:28 PM
05/19/2022 01:28 PM
Joined: Mar 2022
Posts: 4
Portland, Oregon
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Captain Vic Offline
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After dozens of charter trips, I have learned that you can't spend too much time with the checkout skipper. Be sure to go over all the systems on the boat, particularly electronics and plumbing. Where are the through hulls, how to switch fresh water tanks, how to check all tank levels, location of all breakers and other electronic switches, and so on. It is a good idea to check to make sure that all of the heads are flushing free and you know how to switch back and forth for the holding tanks. And so on. No matter how much time you have spent on other boats, you will discover idiosyncrasies on your new vessel. Location of tools, flash lights, operation of the radio, autopilot controls, and so on. In my extensive experience, the more questions you ask, the more confident the check out person will be that you know what you are doing. Over confidence will not serve you well.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282709
05/19/2022 02:23 PM
05/19/2022 02:23 PM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
Thanks for the input. My wife usually takes the helm when I'm on the bow wrangling with the anchor, so we'll probably continue that way. We're going to work on our hand signals this weekend.

I talked to Horizon and I'll have the usual chart briefing as well as the check out. From the sound of it, a lot of those systems reviews will be part of the briefing. I also found out that the check out skipper won't be spending the first night on the boat with us, assuming we "pass", solving that potential issue. They prefer Norman island as the destination for that first night, so the check out skipper can take the ferry back to Nanny Cay.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282717
05/19/2022 03:29 PM
05/19/2022 03:29 PM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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TriBVI  Offline OP
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Miami
I have a question about using BoatyBall. When you want a ball in a given mooring field, can you click on the mooring field and have it assign you any available one in that field? Or do you have to select a particular ball in that field? If so, it seems like some of the "luck" in getting a ball or not would simply be whether you went for a ball that others were going for too. Do some people use a strategy of picking a less desirable ball in order to increase their chances? Do the least desirable balls tend to be those closest to shore, furthest, or in between?

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282720
05/19/2022 03:42 PM
05/19/2022 03:42 PM
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janeoc Offline
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Your kids will love this vacation. Every year our kids ask to go to the BVIs.

My husband, the sailor, and I have done the BVIs at least 8 times. The first time was on our honeymoon and the last time was before Covid when our two boys were in high school. The first time we took our boys they were 9 & 11 and we were on the monohull on the same size as your boat. My husband is the only one in our family who has sailing experience. We don’t own a boat so we are not as experience as you guys and we were just fine. We always charter with the Moorings and they did not require a skipper to evaluate us. We have charted both mono & cats up to 50ft. I think it is pretty ridiculous if they make you do a 2nd day with the skipper esp since you own a boat.

The difficulty with the larger boat is when you need to dock to get water. When you return to base, you can have them jump aboard to motor the boat into a slip if needed.

Here are my recommendations…

1) Gets the kids involved. Have them get familiarized with knots and have them be the ones who are responsible for the bumpers. Also they can be your eyes while sailing. There are fishing lines/nets to watch our for. Also they can be on the lookout for turtles and dolphins. One of them can be the mooring ball guide.. hand signals established on guiding you to the ball and when to slow down. Another one can be responsible with communications… with the motor running it can be noisy. Have the communications guide, repeat instructions from your wife and moorings guide. Make the sailing a team effort with everyone having a job.

We had the kids be on swim team so they are strong swimmers before the trip. We are in So Cal and have junior guards. If there is something like this Miami, sign them up so they are comfortable swimming in the ocean and know how to get out of rip currents. Obviously this won’t be occurring on your trip but definately helps to be strong ocean swimmers while snorkeling.

2) If you can, I would do a sleep aboard the night before sailing and do your provisioning the night before sailing. Also the sleep aboard, gets you familiar with the workings of the boat before you leave. If there are any mechanical problems, they can be resolved before you sail. With provisioning, have all the heavy items like water and drinks delivered to the boat so you don’t have to hassle with lugging back to the boat.

3) AC - You will be so glad to have especially at night.

4) Baths. There are mooring ball at the Baths. If you plan to do this, you will probably dingy everyone to the shore. It will be a long swim for the littlest one. Or if you rent a car, that is one way to visit. If you want to do a one way trip to through the boulders, there is a hiking trail (might be long for the littlest) to the far end of the rocks then you explore your way back to the beach. You can avoid the hike and explore in the boulders to the end and come back the same way.

4) Anegada. For all our times going, we never did Anegada until our last trip. Since you have 10 days, you will have the time. It is a long sail and very shallow once you get to the mooring ball field. I highly recommend doing the conch island tour with Kelly.

5) Problems. Our experience with problems and stress usually have never been due to sailing but due to boat problems. Something with the boat is not working. We had to switch boats once. Twice, while motoring we got tangled in fishing line. 2nd time the boys were big enough that they were the ones with the knife cutting away the line. With every trip, we have run into some type of problem which were stressful but after every trip, we want to go back and do it again.

Hope your family loves the BVI as much as we do. LMK if you have any other questions.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: janeoc] #282728
05/19/2022 05:34 PM
05/19/2022 05:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2016
Posts: 841
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Originally Posted by janeoc
We always charter with the Moorings .... We had to switch boats once........ With every trip, we have run into some type of problem which were stressful but after every trip, we want to go back and do it again.
.

If I had problems with the boat on every trip, I think I would consider trying one of the other companies. Monitor this forums and you will see some have much more issues than others, likely due to less optimal maintenance.

TMM Charters has great reviews.







Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: Deepcut] #282744
05/19/2022 11:13 PM
05/19/2022 11:13 PM
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janeoc Offline
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We chartered with Dream Yacht last year in the Keys. I can even put into words how horrible that charter went. That trip forever made us Moorings fans forever.

Example of stressful on our last Moorings charter was figuring out the nuance how the water maker worked. Not a deal breaker.

With DYC, we had a generator go out then having to switch to a new boat. Maintenance staff saying they are coming back then an hour later find out they left for the day. With the new boat having sewage spilling out onto the deck. Obviously the holding tank was not emptied out. Those are deal breakers!

Last edited by janeoc; 05/19/2022 11:18 PM.
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282748
05/20/2022 08:06 AM
05/20/2022 08:06 AM
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MIDiver Offline
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One of the great things about the BVI is that it provides some smaller boutique charter ops with excellent boats and top notch customer service as a alternative to the large fleets that seem to have more issues. Deepcut mentions TMM which is an excellent company - some like BVI Yacht Charters as well and also Conch which has very well maintained slightly older boats at a great value.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #282786
05/20/2022 04:11 PM
05/20/2022 04:11 PM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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Thanks janeoc and CarolinaSailor (for answering my question on the covid thread).

Our kids have been snorkeling almost as long as they have been able to walk so I think they'll be ok there, but sure don't want to wear them out with a long swim. I need to work harder to think of more ways to keep them engaged while sailing. I wish they liked it more than they do, but on the other hand am grateful that they do like it some. They are definitely excited about this trip!

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283223
05/26/2022 11:14 AM
05/26/2022 11:14 AM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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Although my kids are pretty strong swimmers and snorkelers, after considering our options, I'm thinking it may be good to visit the Baths by car as part of a fuller day of checking out Virgin Gorda including the Hog Heaven bar. I found this from a thread a few years ago:

"Car rental is for 24 hours. So we typically arrive at Leverick by 3pm or so. Get a rental car and head to Coco Maya for dinner. Next morning, we head to the baths for breakfast and to enjoy the baths. We enjoy the views all the way there. After the baths, you can take in some other sites - we've stopped at Coppermine Point, Spanish Town (to pick up supplies), Savannah Bay, some ruins on the way to Hog Heaven (I believe in Nail bay?) and the final stop before heading back to Leverick, Hog Heaven"

Is this still recommended? Is Leverick Bay the best place to get a mooring to do this plan? Can I leave the rental car parked overnight at LB Resort and Marina since I'll have a mooring ball there? The 2022 Cruising Guide says the Top of the Baths restaurant is closed, but the website says it's open ... can anyone confirm? Would you recommend Mad Dog's over Top of the Baths?

Is it better to do the Baths early in the morning or late in the afternoon?

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283224
05/26/2022 11:19 AM
05/26/2022 11:19 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,353
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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what day? watch the cruise ship schedule.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283225
05/26/2022 11:30 AM
05/26/2022 11:30 AM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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Definitely not Thursday June 23! That's the day two different cruise ships are in RT.

We are spending our first night (night of Friday 17) at Norman after our check out sail and that is the only thing that is set at this point. I am guessing somewhere in the Monday-Wednesday range depending on how long we spend at Norman-Peter-Cooper before heading to VG (or Trellis/Marina Cay area).

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283226
05/26/2022 11:55 AM
05/26/2022 11:55 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,716
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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Originally Posted by TriBVI
Although my kids are pretty strong swimmers and snorkelers, after considering our options, I'm thinking it may be good to visit the Baths by car as part of a fuller day of checking out Virgin Gorda including the Hog Heaven bar. I found this from a thread a few years ago:

"Car rental is for 24 hours. So we typically arrive at Leverick by 3pm or so. Get a rental car and head to Coco Maya for dinner. Next morning, we head to the baths for breakfast and to enjoy the baths. We enjoy the views all the way there. After the baths, you can take in some other sites - we've stopped at Coppermine Point, Spanish Town (to pick up supplies), Savannah Bay, some ruins on the way to Hog Heaven (I believe in Nail bay?) and the final stop before heading back to Leverick, Hog Heaven"

Is this still recommended? Is Leverick Bay the best place to get a mooring to do this plan? Can I leave the rental car parked overnight at LB Resort and Marina since I'll have a mooring ball there? The 2022 Cruising Guide says the Top of the Baths restaurant is closed, but the website says it's open ... can anyone confirm? Would you recommend Mad Dog's over Top of the Baths?

Is it better to do the Baths early in the morning or late in the afternoon?



Looks like you found one of my past posts.

We haven't been since 2016 but will be going in July and we'll probably do the same thing. Being able to make some extra stops and sight see is great and Coco Maya is a favorite. We've never had a problem leaving the car at leverick. If you drive, you just need to be sure to bring your cruising permit as that is what will get you into the baths without paying the fee.


Matt
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283227
05/26/2022 12:17 PM
05/26/2022 12:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2020
Posts: 27
Naples
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nevar37 Offline
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Naples
We rented a jeep from L & S last summer and will do the same this July. They keep a few vehicles at Leverick Bay. Good tip about the cruising permit, thanks.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: JasonHelmbrecht] #283237
05/26/2022 01:32 PM
05/26/2022 01:32 PM
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Tarheelnani Offline
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Where do we check cruise ship schedules

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: Tarheelnani] #283238
05/26/2022 01:36 PM
05/26/2022 01:36 PM
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 634
Panama City Beach, Florida
xrayman67 Online content
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Panama City Beach, Florida
Originally Posted by Tarheelnani
Where do we check cruise ship schedules

At the top of this page, BVI Cruise Schedule

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283247
05/26/2022 03:47 PM
05/26/2022 03:47 PM
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Posts: 1,205
Washington DC
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our route is go to Leverick with boat, take taxi to Baths in afternoon and Coco Maya that same night (make sure CM is open that night). If there, cruise ships are usually gone by late afternoon and you have the Baths to yourself.

Our taxi driver is Sweet Ice Willie or something like that. You can find a taxi driver at Leverick

Baths 330
Bar at top 500-530
Coco Maya 600 for drinks
Dinner 630 and watch sunset

taxi driver takes you back to Leverick


Last edited by bailau; 05/26/2022 03:47 PM.
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: xrayman67] #283252
05/26/2022 04:50 PM
05/26/2022 04:50 PM
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Dallas
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dlparch Offline
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Make sure you enable cookies for the BVI Cruise Schedule, or you won't see the schedule.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283281
05/27/2022 08:58 AM
05/27/2022 08:58 AM
Joined: Nov 2021
Posts: 148
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skipdastraw Offline
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Just a few suggestions/thoughts-

Yes, to Mad Dogs vs the Baths for lunch!
Unless you want to waste half your day, I would stop at Hog Heaven for a drink only. The view is incredible but really, the food is just OK and it takes FOREVER.
Check out the Blue Rush watersports guys right on the beach at Leverick. Your kids may enjoy taking the jet skis out for an hour. They will also drop off SUP's at any beach for you.
If Coco Maya isn't open when you are there or doesn't line up with your schedule, The Restaurant Upstairs at Leverick is wonderful. While we love CM, Leverick is actually our favorite.
Do yourself a favor and as you pass through Spanishtown, stop at Dixies and pick up some fried chicken! Usually sold out by early afternoon.
Don't spend all your time at The Baths. Head over to Spring Bay. Your kids will love jumping off the big rock. My boys could, (and sometimes DO) spend all day there. You will see other people jumping off that rock usually. Don't let your kids attempt any other ones there! Trust me when I say I have been running after my boys on those rocks for years and that is the only one I feel comfortable with them jumping off of.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283284
05/27/2022 09:14 AM
05/27/2022 09:14 AM
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Posts: 841
Georgia & South Carolina
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Deepcut Offline
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Originally Posted by TriBVI
Although my kids are pretty strong swimmers and snorkelers, after considering our options, I'm thinking it may be good to visit the Baths by car as part of a fuller day of checking out Virgin Gorda including the Hog Heaven bar. I found this from a thread a few years ago:

"Car rental is for 24 hours. So we typically arrive at Leverick by 3pm or so. Get a rental car and head to Coco Maya for dinner. Next morning, we head to the baths for breakfast and to enjoy the baths. We enjoy the views all the way there. After the baths, you can take in some other sites - we've stopped at Coppermine Point, Spanish Town (to pick up supplies), Savannah Bay, some ruins on the way to Hog Heaven (I believe in Nail bay?) and the final stop before heading back to Leverick, Hog Heaven"

Is this still recommended? Is Leverick Bay the best place to get a mooring to do this plan? Can I leave the rental car parked overnight at LB Resort and Marina since I'll have a mooring ball there? The 2022 Cruising Guide says the Top of the Baths restaurant is closed, but the website says it's open ... can anyone confirm? Would you recommend Mad Dog's over Top of the Baths?

Is it better to do the Baths early in the morning or late in the afternoon?


Swimming in to Baths can be a significant challenge to some, sometimes with significant currents (and it is longer than it appears).

This is a great way to do it. 1st, Yes, you can leave car at LBM overnight.

DO check Cruise line schedule and if they are coming, arrange your schedule accordingly... going earlier or later. Top of Bathes is open (at least for lunch...not sure about dinner. I suggest taking a change of clothes in case you feel need to change, depending on itinerary.....

Your car rental will be for "24 hours" so you can arrange to start anytime... confirm they are on the way(or car there) same day.


Wes
s/v Sea Tiger (2022 Lagoon 46)
www.BareBoatBVI.com

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283286
05/27/2022 09:36 AM
05/27/2022 09:36 AM
Joined: May 2022
Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. This is great information!

We are leaning against Anegada. We have enough time but this is our first trip and there is so much to do and see without going there. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to do it for the adventure of the sail alone, but the idea makes my wife nervous, and sometimes you just got to know when to push the family hard and when it's better to just chill out when everyone is already in a happy place. So we'll likely leave it for next time! (not promising I won't change my mind on this lol).

But here's another idea I'd like to get feedback on. We head out for Norman on our first day (the check out sail day) on a Friday. Cooper is on our list, so logically it's the next stop, which would put us there on a Saturday night. Which is the same night all the usual weekend charter starters and charter enders will be there, and it is already by all accounts the hardest mooring ball to get by either BoatyBall or FCFS. So I started thinking of a doing a clock-wise route to get offset from the rest of the weekend-start crowd. Then I thought better of it - conventional wisdom is what it is for a reason, even in summer, so a first-timer especially should heed it.

Then I got another idea. What about going directly from Norman to JVD and spending 2-3 days there and CGB (so just the downwind first leg of the clockwise route), and then backtrack sail to Cooper on Monday or Tuesday when it is less crowded (which is a finish leg on typical routes)? And from there on to Marina Cay, North Sound, etc. I think our kids might like the Jumbies beach BBQ on Friday night, and this is the only way we could do that, but that hardly seems like an event to plan your entire itinerary around. But I do like the idea of being a bit less with-the-crowd. Am I overthinking this for June, when it's not as crowded anyway?

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283291
05/27/2022 10:00 AM
05/27/2022 10:00 AM
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 3,353
Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
JasonHelmbrecht Offline
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Cane Garden Bay, Tortola
Originally Posted by TriBVI
Thanks for all the suggestions everyone. This is great information!

We are leaning against Anegada. We have enough time but this is our first trip and there is so much to do and see without going there. Don't get me wrong, I'd like to do it for the adventure of the sail alone, but the idea makes my wife nervous, and sometimes you just got to know when to push the family hard and when it's better to just chill out when everyone is already in a happy place. So we'll likely leave it for next time! (not promising I won't change my mind on this lol).

But here's another idea I'd like to get feedback on. We head out for Norman on our first day (the check out sail day) on a Friday. Cooper is on our list, so logically it's the next stop, which would put us there on a Saturday night. Which is the same night all the usual weekend charter starters and charter enders will be there, and it is already by all accounts the hardest mooring ball to get by either BoatyBall or FCFS. So I started thinking of a doing a clock-wise route to get offset from the rest of the weekend-start crowd. Then I thought better of it - conventional wisdom is what it is for a reason, even in summer, so a first-timer especially should heed it.

Then I got another idea. What about going directly from Norman to JVD and spending 2-3 days there and CGB (so just the downwind first leg of the clockwise route), and then backtrack sail to Cooper on Monday or Tuesday when it is less crowded (which is a finish leg on typical routes)? And from there on to Marina Cay, North Sound, etc. I think our kids might like the Jumbies beach BBQ on Friday night, and this is the only way we could do that, but that hardly seems like an event to plan your entire itinerary around. But I do like the idea of being a bit less with-the-crowd. Am I overthinking this for June, when it's not as crowded anyway?

skip Cooper and go to Anegada. might check on the Jumbie dates. Could be done by June.


JasonHelmbrecht
Coconut Breeze Villas
Cane Garden Bay
reservations@coconutbreezevillas.com
www.coconutbreezevillas.com
Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283298
05/27/2022 10:45 AM
05/27/2022 10:45 AM
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MIDiver Offline
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Like Jason I would skip Cooper. I honestly don’t understand what the draw is and every time we have overnighted there we have been back winded. It is off our list. I wouldn’t plan an entire itinerary around it. But, to each their own.

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283299
05/27/2022 11:14 AM
05/27/2022 11:14 AM
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Posts: 32
Miami
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TriBVI Offline OP
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I guess there are two things drawing us to Cooper. One is that it seems to be a popular stop with kids, for whatever reason. The other is as a local base from which to do the Wreck on the Rhone. I know that's supposed to be an incredible scuba dive, but wondering if we should skip it since we are snorkelers and only part of it is in shallow water. On the other hand I know we're going to snorkel with a lot of amazing sea life on this trip, and thought my son would get a kick out of a real ship wreck.

But let's say we completely skip Cooper. Nutty idea to go Norman to JVD first, and then backtrack to SFD Channel to points beyond, in order to set yourself off from the crowds (in June)?

Re: BVI newbie questions, concerns, itinerary? [Re: TriBVI] #283301
05/27/2022 11:28 AM
05/27/2022 11:28 AM
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MIDiver Offline
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I think Cooper is popular with kids that can drink….. a day with Sherwin in Anegada would trump Cooper and snorkeling the Rhône for my crew. We are divers - did the Rhône. It was fine to do as a dive (once) to say we did it. I don’t know how much you can really take in snorkeling. We don’t visit the BVI for snorkeling and diving (although we do a little of both while there). Sharkplaneo and the Dogs would probably be more fun for the kids if you have a calm day and good viz. I would head to North Sound from Norman - long day but doable. Then do Baths via taxi from there, head to Anegada and then JVD.

Last edited by MIDiver; 05/27/2022 11:34 AM.
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