Insider Tips from the BVI

After fairly busy Winter and Spring seasons in the BVI, things have slowed down a bit lately. In the wake of months like February, March, and April, when anchorages are full of families on school holidays, May and June are a time for couples to get together (often with like-minded couples) and charter a boat or go on a sailing vacation at a fraction of the peak-season cost.

While May and June are considered a “shoulder” season, most of the BVI hotspots are still functioning at or near full strength. Anchorages like the Bight on Norman Island still see their fair share of charter yachts and transient boaters. One can still do body shots and throw back water-ski shooters aboard the Willy T, then enjoy some of the best ribs in the BVI ashore at Pirate’s Bight. Rumor has it that the Willy T had banned topless jumping from the top deck, but a number of YouTube videos say otherwise. Insider tip: the Treasure Island caves aren’t nearly as busy.

After picking up a charter boat on Tortola or St. Thomas, ambitious crews often work their way to weather first (getting the hard part out of the way early), and make initial landfall in North Sound, Virgin Gorda. The relatively new Monday Night Mash-Up at the Pub at the Bitter End Yacht Club has taken on a life of its own, with DJ Heavy B spinning Caribbean tunes and brick oven pizza coming out of the kitchen. Insider tip: the real attraction is the eye-candy! The supermodel-like staff from neighboring resorts and chiseled megayacht crews visit on their party night out!

Some sailors plan their voyages according to the stars, but many charterers plan their holidays according to the moon…the Full Moon. In the BVI, Full Moon Parties are nothing new: the Bomba Shack is legendary for its monthly bacchanalia and suspicious mushroom tea. For a slightly more PG-rated experience, check out the Full Moon Party at Trellis Bay. Great music, flaming sculptures in the harbor, and fire juggling shows ashore round out an evening that appeals to a wide range of interests. The moon itself becomes a sideshow.

For those who haven’t chartered in many years, you may remember the island of Anegada as forbidden fruit. But with the advent of shallow draft catamarans and the addition of GPS chartplotters aboard much of the charter fleet, many companies are letting their guests go to “shipwreck island.” In fact, the additional visitors have led many of the island establishments to expand (in a good way) to handle the traffic. Big Bamboo at Loblolly Bay (perhaps the most beautiful beach in the BVI) has added shower facilities, a gift shop and paved breezeways. Insider tip: their lobster lunch (much like everywhere else on Anegada) is to die for.

Given its proximity to RoadTown/Tortola, it’s not uncommon for charter visitors to spend either their first and/or last nights in the anchorage at Cooper Island. Ashore, the Cooper Island Beach Club recently celebrated one year under new ownership by unveiling a new beach bar/restaurant. It’s a great place to sit back, Pussers PainKiller in hand, and reflect on a week well-sailed. Insider tip: If you ‘re looking for a keen game of darts, this is the place to go. With its tournament-quality dartboards and darts, you can’t beat the atmosphere.

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