Itinerary from St Thomas, USVI to the BVI – The Basics
From St. Thomas to the British Virgin Islands (Nice relaxing 7 Days; about 100 nautical miles or less, good itinerary for “first-timers”)
(Half Day) Leave St. Thomas at midday, head for St. John’s, cross Pillsbury Sound and follow the St. John’s northern coastline around to Maho Bay.You will pass by some marvelous bays and beaches, Caneel Bay, Hawksnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, etc. These are quite spectacular although somewhat exposed for overnight stays under certain conditions. Maho Bay is very protected from the Northeast, the East and the Southeast, it has a spectacular beach, and is generally a good place to unwind and sip a sundowner on the evening of your first day. St. John’s is a beautiful and uncluttered island, two
Leave the Maho Bay anchorage early and depart for the British Virgin Islands. (Of course, you’ll need passports, and pay a cruising tax to enter the BVI. Your captain will take care of the details) After leaving the anchorage, you’ll cut through the pass between Whistling Cay and St. Mary’s Point, and head North, slipping by the West point of Great Thatch island, towards Great Harbour, the BVI entry port of Jost van Dyke. Your captain will anchor in Great Harbour in order to go ashore and comply with the immigration paperwork. Great Harbour is not a great harbour to anchor in, but it’s quite a pretty little place and is home to “Foxy’s” one of the better known watering holes in the Virgin Islands. It even has a brand of beer named after it..!! It can be a pretty good idea to either move the boat around to White Bay or leave the boat in Great Harbour and run the ship’s dinghy around. White Bay is a great place to simply hang out on the beach and is home to the famous “Soggy Dollar Bar”. If you have a good anchoring spot with good hold in Great Harbour, you may as well spend the night there, if you don’t, scoot around to Little Harbour which has some mooring buoys and a couple of good restaurants.
Leave the anchorage early and make a short hop to Sandy Key. This is your quintessential desert island the kind hat people dream about during those long Northern winters. Hang out all morning at Sandy Key, have lunch and depart towards West End , Tortola. Try and arrive in the early afternoon and grab a mooring buoy. West End is a spectacular little place with great shopping and an excellent provisioning place to stock up on those special British and European delicacies. Not a bad place to overnight, if you have a well located mooring buoy or even if you’re anchored just outside the harbor.
Leave West End early, cut through between Little Thatch Island and Frenchman’s Cay and head Southeast
for some spectacular snorkeling at the Indians, a small group of rocks located just Northwest of Norman Island. There are a few mooring buoys available here although you may have to circle around and wait for one to become available. Leave and head for the Bight on Norman island to overnight. There have been some recent changes in the Bight and we know that one of the more famous floating restaurants/watering holes has been closed down, we’ll keep monitoring this ever changing situation..!! If you’re not into the hustle and bustle of the Bight, you can overnight quietly in Benures Bay, just around the corner on the North side of Norman Island.
Leave Norman island early, sail around Peter island into the Sir Francis Drake Channel and head East towards Salt island. Spend the morning snorkeling over the wreck of the s.s. “Rhone”, a British mail boat that sank here during a hurricane. Try and get to Manchioneel Bay on Cooper island in the early afternoon so you can get a mooring buoy. This is a great place to go ashore and enjoy your favorite rum drink at the bar or kick-back and have a great dinner.
Leave early and head towards the “Baths” on the Southwest side of Virgin Gorda island. This is a “must see” area on your first trip although you may wish to skip the crowds on subsequent visits. The rock formations are quite spectacular and the caves and water make for great vacation pictures. You should leave as early as possible and head out West towards Marina Cay (where one of the inimitable James Bond movies was shot). Marina Cay has a great anchorage and a “Pussers West Indies” store. Good bar with music. As an alternative, you can also anchor in Trellis Bay, across from Marina Cay, where there is a neat little restaurant/nightspot on a tiny island with live entertainment that can range from classic vaudeville to belly-dancing…!!
Leave early and basically spend most of the day sailing back towards St. John. You should have the wind behind you so it shouldn’t be especially hair-raising. You need to get to Cruz Bay to check in to US Customs before 4:00 pm. If it looks like you won’t make it, settle for an over-night at Caneel Bay or Hawksnest Bay and do the Customs thing in the morning. If you make it and manage to check in before they close, (depends on the time you left Marina Key..!!) you can overnight at Christmas Cove on St. James island and relax with a farewell dinner before your return to St. Thomas on the morrow.
(Half Day) Leave Christmas Cove with the wind behind you and enter Charlotte Amalie Harbor (or wherever your destination port) around 12 pm, your fine ship will deposit you safe and sound at Crown Bay Marina, or other location of your choice, for the end of your week in paradise.