The Virgin Islands is charter boat central. Numerous charter companies have huge fleets ranging from 31 foot mono-hulls to 57+ foot catamarans. Many say the area is spoiled, too commercialized, too many tourists, etc. We say it is sailing heaven. The reason the Virgins are so popular is the easy one day sail from island to island, the fabulous sandy beaches and snorkeling that is unmatched in the Lesser Antilles. Yes, you can spend nights in crowded noisy anchorage filed with mooring balls at a cost of $30 USD per night. There are many harbors and bays however, that are void of the requisite beach bar to draw the crowds and justify the mooring field. These bays are where you'll find Salacious and most other live aboard cruisers.
We cleared into St John which is an unbelievably easy, either call or walk in and show them the Local Boater Option card. Then walk across the street for a Cheeseburger in Paradise. On our way to the dingy dock we saw Devi and Hunter on Arctic Tern and knew a card night wasn't far off.
St James Island and Christmas Cove is one of our favorite anchorages. Great snorkeling and the perfect place to watch the sunsets.
The best part is the free mooring balls. We had a pizza party on our boat for Devi's birthday and then she and Steve beat Hunter and I at Hand and Foot. Again! I think we need t split those two up next time. Because we are addicted to the internet we needed a new SIM card and service for our MiFi. A short trip to St Thomas was in order. Don't forget they have a K-Mart here as well so we spent a bit and left the next morning for Capella Island. We were the only boat in the anchorage, well for about an hour anyway. Shortly there were 9 Snorkel Boats and Steve estimated 500 burnt tourist swimming around. He thought they were so thick we could walk across their backs. After they all left we got in the water and then enjoyed a peaceful evening alone before returning to Christmas Cove. We always see many boats we know here and a beach sundowner gathering took little effort to organize.
After a few days we headed back to St John to retrieve more packaged and visit some of our favorite bays. Being almost entirely a National Park, the island has pristine beaches and numerous wonderful hiking trails. The album in the photo gallery has many additional views from our walks. It is always difficult to pick a favorite but I think Waterlemon Cay got my vote this year for snorkeling. Fabulous!
We have always wanted to go to Megans Bay on the north side of St Thomas and finally made it this year. Designated as one of the top 10 beaches in the world by National Geographic and you can see why as you approach. We spent several days there, walked the beach and made to trips up the trail to take in the sights. Penache was there as well so we had two evenings of Shit Head, a great card game Greta May shared with us.
Out of Africa has arrived in the BVI so off we go to Jost Van Dyke to clear in. We don't have to clear out or back into the USVI when we return. The BVI has a 30 day limit unless you pay a $200 import tax for your boat. The US and Spanish VI have no limit for us but does have a generous limit for those holding a visa. Many pass from the US and BVI several times a season.
We met up with Jo and John and are now traveling those uncrowded anchorages. Savannah Bay might get this years vote for favorite anchorage. Days are filled with long hikes and snorkeling with several evenings ending in beach BBQs or card games. The day stops at The Dogs and Fallen Jerusalem are worth mentioning and I wish my underwater camera took better pictures to share with you. We are currently in Dead Man's Bay and Kiaya Moya took us on a 2 1/2 hour hike yesterday afternoon.
I hope you all appreciate what I go through to furnish those great pictures! Today we are off to Road Town to pick up a few provisions and then off to Norman Island, the setting for the book Treasure Island.
Time flies when your having rum. Out of Africa only has a week left in the BVI so we are close to the end of our circumnavigation of this group of islands before crossing the imaginary line back to the USVI.
St John has long been a favorite island of mine. Perfect snorkeling is just off sandy beaches with picnic tables and BBQ grills. John and the grill going almost every night and sometimes beach fires as well. An impressive network of hiking trails have been developed and gives us much needed excersise. Jo and John are either trying to kill us or get us in shape, I am not sure which will come first. The pictures, as beautiful as they are, do not to justice to the views we see on these hikes.
Circumnavigating St John by boat and on foot.
Sugarcane ruins, ancient petroglyphs, and breathtaking views
April 30. Goodbye Jo and John, goodbye USVI, goodbye to most fellow cruiser. We are off to Culebra (Spanish Virgins) and Puerto Rico.