In May, my Daughter Amanda and I embarked on a catamaran adventure in the British Virgin Islands. Tracy and I had done this same adventure a few years back, and I was happy that Amanda was able to join me this time.
I don’t often do the same trip a second time when I travel except for my yearly photography tours in Tanzania, but this trip was worth repeating another time. The month of April is a super busy month in my tour business during the Tulip season in Washington, so Amanda and I were ready for a break to enjoy some sunshine and get out of the rainy Pacific Northwest.
Arriving in St. Thomas, we then headed over to Tortola via the ferry and checked into Sebastian’s on the Beach on Cane Garden Bay. This is a nice little hotel that is a perfect location to let you know you have arrived in paradise. The owners are very welcoming and want to make sure you’re enjoying your stay there.
The hotel is next to the Bomba Shack, the funky bar built out of whatever material washed up on shore or could be scavenged on the island. The Bomba Shack is also known for their full moon parties and mushroom tea. I was excited to share this little bar with Amanda, but quite honestly, it has lost its charm from my previous trip.
Part of the fun going there were all the signs that used to be painted around the bar, but someone decided that it needed a new paint job and painted over most everything. I visited this bar on two occasions, and the most people we saw were the four in the photo there, except for the few locals just hanging out. It had a different vibe, and I get the feeling that it is no longer the place to hangout.
Getting Ready For Seven Days on the Catamaran
The next day we took a cab to Soper’s Hole to get on the catamaran operated by Voyage Charters. There is a little preparation one has to do before you get on the catamaran, like heading over to the Pussers bar to get a drink and buy a Pusser’s Rum enamelware mug that you’ll use to drink out of for the week. Make sure you buy it at the bar and not the gift shop as they are $10 instead of $15.00.
Next, we had to receive our food provision delivery from Bobbies Market. We ordered the food for the week ahead of time and had over 1,400 items to choose from. Our total bill for the week and 8 of us on the boat was just under $1,085 or $135 per person. Keep in mind that each night we went out to dinner, so this was mostly breakfast, lunch, and snacks. Here’s a link to our first four pages of our provisions list BVI Provisions. They also have quite a few choices for alcohol, mixers, beer, etc.
This year we rented a 50′ catamaran called the “Knot Bad”, and this was a perfect size for eight people. With four sleeping berths onboard and large queen size beds and a bathroom for each room.
Next on our agenda before we left was the rental of paddleboards and large mattress like floatation devices to sun ourselves in the water. This was the first time I was on a paddleboard and found it easier than I thought to navigate through the beautiful crystal clear blue waters of the Caribbean.
Eventually, we were on our way after a few hiccups with some friends that had flight delays and we finally hit the blue waters.
Our first stop that day was the Willy T. Oh man, that is a crazy place and Kevin and myself were jumping off the second level of the boat at night from the bar level. It was a fun initiation into our first night in the BVI
Usually, on vacation, the time just flies by, but in the Caribbean, time slows way down, and you get to relax and chill in the cool breeze and tropical paradise. Our days seemed long but full of lots of adventure. We probably snorkeled at ten different locations throughout the trip, including a snorkel off of the wreck of the Rhone.
Each evening we had dinner on a different island, and a few standout locations were Cooper Island Beach Club, I’m told was built by the guy that invented the fins for modern darts. We also had an amazing lobster dinner at Potters by the Sea on Anagada. At $50 a plate, the lobster is huge and even a hearty eater will have a challenge putting it all away.
After the lobster, we then enjoyed dancing and limbo into the night to work off some of our meal. Not only that but we also saw the shirt our friend Steve left there on our previous trip. People nail shirts to the ceiling and leave them as souvenirs. If you see a faded shirt with dragons on it, that’s the one our buddy Steve left.
One of our favorite days was spending time at Cow Wreck Beach on Anegada. We rented a pickup, loaded beers in the cooler and headed to the beach for some R&R time. As you can see by the photo above, the beach was pretty deserted and we enjoyed some wonderful Conch Ceviche’ and unwound in the tropical breeze.
Next, we headed over to the Anegada Beach Club to take a dip in their fresh water pool and order lunch and then ran down to the beach to watch our captain, Damian, as he windsurfed. Amanda was happy with her Corona’s here and they were refreshing as it was extremely hot on this coral island.
Being a photographer I also couldn’t resist using the beach as a place to get some photos of our friends and Amanda and I even played around a bit for the camera.
One day we anchored the boat off of Sandy Spit, near Little Jost Van Dyke. The island measures less than a half acre in size, but you’ve probably seen it before. It’s been used for many advertising campaigns including Corona commercials, as well as Kenny Chesney’s video for his hit song, No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems.
We all swam over to the island and just played in the surf for awhile. My friend Steve and I took a nice walk around the island just kicking up the sand and thinking about how lucky we were to be in such a great location and talked about life. Our captain Damian then showed up a bit later with three pizzas he had purchased at a restaurant nearby and I have to say it was the most memorable location I’ve ever eaten pizza.
When one goes to the British Virgin Islands you have to make a mandatory stop at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke. The bar got its name because you jump into the water and swim to the beach and hand them your soggy dollars to buy a drink. They also take credit cards, so you’ll be fine with that. I also took the time to relax in a hammock and just enjoy the tropical breeze for awhile. Kenny Chesney also used this bar and beach for his song “When I see this Bar”
The rest of the week was snorkeling, eating wonderful meals, relaxing in the early morning so I could catch up on some reading and decompressing from life.
If you ever want to take a vacation where time stands still and you will be the most relaxed you have probably ever been, then head to the British Virgin Islands and rent a catamaran.
I would also suggest using a captain on your trip and request Damian of Voyage Charters, he is fantastic and will make sure that everyone on board has a great experience.