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If you've liked our BVI Cruising Log: Classic you might want to experiment something else, more like off the beaten path. Fortunately, the BVI offer limitless opportunities in that regard.
I have not written a cruising log per se, but rather suggestions of itineraries and tips not necessarily found in the cruising guides. You will be able to adjust this information to the length of your stay, your desire to sail a lot or a little. Of course your experience level will have to be higher than for the Classic cruising log, since most anchorages do not offer mooring balls, and some approaches are a little trickier. But, you will be rewarded with more secluded anchorages and uncrowded beaches.
On top of the mandatory nautical charts, we strongly suggest you get your hands on the excellent Virgin Islands Cruising Guide by Nancy and Simon Scott. The book is "a must have" as it gives detailed anchorage approach information and charts, waypoints, and countless descriptions. It even has a section on the Spanish Virgin Islands, off Puerto Rico. (Note: We have no connections with the Scotts. We just know it's the best book you can get for this purpose.)
Also, do not take our headings and distances at face value. They are only an approximation. Good seamanship requests you check the information yourself anyway.
Finally, you might want to check Walker Mangum's excellent list of BVI waypoints. (Disclaimer: Use at your own risk, and always double check)
Mooring balls: if you need them, always keep in mind that they are often all occupied by 1530 hours. If you show up after that, you probably will have to anchor. Problem is, in some places there are so many balls that there is barely enough room left to anchor. So watch out!
Similarly, if you're cruising during high season, make reservations in the restaurants by calling them in advance on the VHF, usually Ch. 16 (check frequencies with the Cruising Guide.)
All the headings, WPTS, distances are only here for mere indication and should not be relied upon. Good seamanship requests you check the information YOURSELF anyway.
Day 1: White Bay at Peter's
If you are leaving from the BVI, you are probably doing so from somewhere on the south shore of Tortola: either Road Town, Nanny Cay or Fat Hog Bay. In any case, on your first day, you will probably cast off by the end of the morning after tidying up provisioning and various odds and ends. Therefore, you will be better off going for a short sail and head toward Peter Island. On the first day, you do not want to sail too much: What you want is get off the marina and go anchor or moor, settle down and take your marks before doing more serious sailing.
Peter is a broad reach from any of the departure point. Instead of the traditional Great Harbour or Little Harbour, we suggest you try the usually desert White Bay, if the northern swell is not too heavy.
White Bay is the other side of the Peter Island resort, with hardly anybody on the huge beach. No charterers there, no noise, no restaurant either though. One of my favorites!
Hdg. 185° Mag 4.5NM from Road Town, round the western tip of the island, then Hdg. 81° 2NM to White Bay. Waypoint is 18°20'935N / 064°34'533W
Day 2: Cam Bay on Great Camanoe
From Peter Island, track back toward the western tip of the island, then Hdg. 50° Mag. about 9NM. Distance and hdg. are as the crow flies and are somewhat irrelevant since you will be probably beating hard. After that, round Beef Island (Waypoint off Beef Island is 18°25'357N / 064°31'229W) and take a Hdg. 345° Mag for about 2NM. Leave Marina Cay on your port side and get into the channel between Scrub Island (starboard side) and Great Camanoe. Stay well in the middle. Out of the channel, Cam Bay is the first anchorage on your left. Here you have to check your chart as there is a big reef protecting Cam Bay. The entrance is on the left of the reef. Anchor in about 10/12Ft. of water. Again, a tricky entrance, but a very secluded anchorage. If the reef scares you, you can always go back to Marina Cay, off Scrub Island, and moor there.
Note: On your way to Cam Bay from Peter, Cooper Island is a nice lunch stop with good snorkeling. Pick up a mooring ball for free at lunchtime.
Day 3: Savannah Bay on Virgin Gorda
From Scrub Island, take Hdg. 88°Mag about 6NM. You will be somewhat beating if the wind is due east.
Waypoint to entrance of Savannah Bay is 18°28'063N / 064°25'536W. Enter with good light only between the reefs at the southern end of the bay and work your way around the center reef. Anchor in 15/20Ft. of water. The beach is absolutely beautiful, and Giorgio, the nice Italian restaurant, has a dinghy dock.
Day 4 & 5: Anegada
Leaving Savannah: Hdg. 005°Mag, about 15NM to the Wpt. 18°42'500N / 064°24'200W. Approaching the island, you will see coral heads, but if you keep your course, they should be in about 20 Ft. of water. Because the island is extremely low, the first sight will be palm trees. DO NOT change course until you have spotted the first red buoy marking the entrance of the channel toward Setting Points. Once spotted the buoy, leave it on your starboard side and stay between the red and green markers (I usually stay closer to the red ones.) The last one is a green marker and MUST be left to port, as well as the stakes in the water. You will see moorings balls and the anchorage there. It is very shallow but you will be fine.
Anegada is ideal to spend an entire day and relax. The beaches are huge and truly phenomenal (My personal favorite is the one off Pomato Point). The restaurant at the Anegada Reef hotel on the beach has magnificent lobsters and a great, unbelievably casual atmosphere. Then, during the day, take a cab (I will let you discover what that vehicle is!) or rent a bicycle and go to the beach on the other side of the island, called Loblolly Bay. The beach is fabulous and the snorkeling absolutely amazing. It also has a little bar.
Day 6: White at Jost Van Dyke
Leave Anegada very early because this one is a long one and you need to arrive early in good light at White Bay.
Take Hdg. 225°/230°- about 20NM toward Wpt. 18°26'600N/ 064°42'500W (this is a broad reach so it usually is an exhilarating sail). Approaching Jost, leave Sandy Cay on your port side and hug the coast of Jost for about 3NM. Leave Little Harbour and Great Harbour on your starboard side and you will see White Bay after them. It is the most western harbor of the south side of the island.
Spot the red and green markers showing the entrance of the reef and stay in between, of course. Once inside, turn either to port or starboard and anchor in the sand in about 10Ft. of water. Do not block the entrance of the channel. Usually, most boats leave before sunset. Excellent anchorage in normal conditions.
This is probably my favorite place in the BVI. The beach (another one) is glorious and the Soggy Dollar Bar a celebrity. There is nothing to do here except swim, have dinner and hang out with people you just met at the bar, or in a hammock on the beach.
Day 7: Norman Island
From Jost Van Dyke, it is about 12NM and a general heading of 130°Mag. After passing Little Thatch, you will fight some current and sometimes headwinds if the wind is southeasterly. So this is not necessarily a short trip. The arrival Wpt. 18°19'300N/ 064°37'500W. If you have time, stop on the way at the Indians for some famous snorkeling.
Norman is famous because it is believed to be "Treasure Island" which inspired Stevenson legendary book. It has always been surrounded by numerous stories of pirates and buried treasures. The store, at the beach restaurant, shows some relics which were found on the island.
The main anchorage is at the Bight, where they have installed mooring balls. However, you should anchor off Water Point which is immediately on your left before entering the Bight. You definitely will go snorkeling at the Caves, situated at Treasure Point. It is one of the best snorkeling sites in the BVIs. You can go with your dinghy from your anchorage to the Caves, where you can grab a ball, as it is forbidden to anchor anyway.
At the Bight, you will find the famous "William Thornton" nicknamed Willie T., an old boat which serves as a -very decent- restaurant and a -wild- bar and can be noisy at night. But it is worth being seen. The W T has a dinghy dock.
As a more recent operation, Pirates is a renovated beach / restaurant located on the eastern part of the Bight, where food and ambiance are fairly nice, but pretty pricey.
Alternatively, and if the winds are predominantly from the south, go anchor at Benures Bay on the north side of Norman. Great holdings, beautiful snorkeling, and not crowded.
This is a more challenging itinerary and your skills will have to be somewhat sharp. But nothing here is overly difficult and all is achievable by means of good and reasonable seamanship. In return, you will be greatly rewarded by more secluded anchorages and a less crowded environment, which is not always easy to find in the BVI any more.