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The Charter Area
Sailing the Virgin Islands archipelago from St Thomas offers you
the chance to experience one of the world’s most wonderful cruising
grounds and explore both the USVI and the BVI.
The US Virgin
Islands is an unincorporated organized territory of the USA between
the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, lying to the east of
Puerto Rico. Together with the British Virgin Islands, to the
northeast, the territory forms the Virgin Islands archipelago. The
USVIs consist of St Thomas, St Croix, St John, Water Island and many
smaller islets and cays. There are great opportunities for
snorkelling and diving.
If you want to relax and swim, you
will be spoilt for choice for beaches while on your Virgin Islands
yacht charter. Sail to the nearby island of St. John which has some
of the most beautiful and well-protected beaches in the world. Other
favourites are Honeymoon Beach and the beaches along Caneel Bay,
Oppenheimer Beach and Maho Beach in Francis Bay, Salt Pond and
Lameshur. Leinster Bay and Watermelon Cay offer great opportunities
for snorkelling too with abundant coral.
While the USVIs have
much to offer as a sailing destination, the islands are also the
gateway to the BVIs. You can choose from 60 wonderful islands, from
Tortola, Scrub Island, Jost van Dyke, Cooper Island, Norman Island,
Peter Island and Anegada. It is the Caribbean’s most popular sailing
destination for good reason, offering an amazing atmosphere at beach
bars and restaurants.
• Season •
The main season runs from November
through to the end of June. High season is limited to the two
holiday weeks over Christmas/New Year. August, September and October
are the Caribbean hurricane season and I don't recommend you
charter during these months.
• Weather • Climate • Wind •
The USVI enjoy a tropical climate, tempered by easterly trade winds
with relatively low humidity. There is little seasonal temperature
variation with a minimum daily average of 28C through to a maximum
of 31C The rainy season runs from May to November.
You can check out the detailed climate of USVI
• 10 day itinerary from St Thomas to the BVIs •
Compass Point Marina [Click on the pic for more images of this yacht charter itinerary]
Day 1: Check in and overnight at Compass Point Marina, St Thomas
Day 2: Enjoy a leisurely
sail (or motor sail) to Francis Bay on St. John. Have an afternoon
swim, then walk the beach and enjoy a Caribbean sunset.
Day 3: Depart for Leinster Bay, on St. John, for
and a hike to a sugar mill. Return for lunch and then proceed to
West End, Tortola to clear customs into the British Virgin Islands.
Depart West End (locals refer to it as Sopers Hole), Tortola for The
Bight, Norman Island. Norman Island is often referred to by the
locals as “Treasure Island”, as legends are resplendent with stories
of buried pirate treasure. You can stop at the entrance of Norman
Island to snorkel The Caves. The sea life is vibrant and it is
exciting to snorkel into some of the caves, which are quite shallow.
For the divers, “Angelfish Reef” is a good first dive. The Bight is
a great anchorage to use some of your water toys - kayak, paddle
board, or just float behind the yacht with a drink in hand! The
William Thornton, locally known as Willie T's, is the infamous
floating pirate ship/restaurant. Ashore is the Pirates Bight bar and
restaurant, where you can stroll the beach, enjoy happy hour or
enjoy a great menu.
Day 4: Depart the Bight, Norman Island
for the Indians – less than 1 nautical mile. Pick up a mooring buoy
so you can swim right from the yacht. The Indians is primarily a
snorkel and dive spot. The rocks are dark coloured as they protrude
above the waterline, but under the waterline is a completely
different view! The reef is like a wall of colourful coral, sea fans
and tropical fish. Some of the water is 30-40 feet, but the sea life
extends all the way to the surface. Depart the Indians for Cooper
Island [7NM]. Cooper Island has a white, palm fringed beach for
exploring and a restaurant ashore, be sure to check out the rum bar
and coffee shop. The scenery is quite unique from the other islands,
as it is more open, yet very well protected. You can snorkel along
shore just south of the anchorage in 6-8 feet of water over turtle
grass. This is an excellent place to view sea turtles and spotted
eagle rays. For divers, 100 yards away is the famous “Wreck Alley”.
At night, you can see across the Sir Francis Drake Channel.
Day 5: Depart Cooper Island for Salt Island, the well-known location
of the Wreck of the RMS Rhone. This is a great location for
rendezvous diving, where a dive company comes out to the yacht and
picks you up. All you need is your “C” Card and a credit card. You
can snorkel over and even touch the very beginning of this 1867
wreck. Salt Island is also great for exploring. Ashore are three
salt ponds, which belong to the British Crown, but are operated by
the local people. You can purchase harvested salt, explore the shore
to find several shells, sea glass and various types of rocks. Depart
Salt Island for Trellis Bay [8NM]. Trellis Bay is famous for full
moon parties, which bring a great party with live music, mocho
jumbee stilt dancers, fire jugglers, a delicious BBQ and amazing
fireballs! Apart from the monthly full moon parties, Trellis Bay
also offers local art created by Aragorn, who owns the art studio
there. There is often fresh baked bread loaves which are delicious!
On most occasions Trellis Bay is a quiet anchorage without much
night life, so you can enjoy the twinkle of the stars and make your
own entertainment on board.
Day 6: Depart Trellis Bay for The
Baths [6NM]. It is a good idea to leave early so you can secure a
prime mooring buoy at The Baths! The Baths are incredible, with
huge, house-sized boulders literally piled on top of each other.
There are several paths through the boulders that lead to Devil's
Bay, one of the most beautiful bays in the British Virgin Islands.
There is a restaurant bar at the top of The Baths, where you can
have an enjoyable lunch with an awesome view and a pool. The
highlight of The Baths is definitely the rock climbing/exploring
(there are ladders, platforms and ropes to assist), but the
snorkelling is also amazing. Depart The Baths for Gorda Sound [9NM].
Gorda Sound, at the north end of Virgin Gorda (also known as the
“Fat Virgin”), has several places to go ashore and explore. You
should definitely visit Leverick Bay, where you can shop, swim in
the pool, enjoy a pirate show during high season and take advantage
of spa services.
Day 7: Depart Gorda Sound for The Dogs [6NM], primarily a
snorkel and dive stop. The reef is huge, extremely colourful and
lively. This would be a great location for a dive. Depart The Dogs
for Great Harbor [13NM]. Great Harbor is home of the notorious
Foxy’s. Very lively parties can be found several times a year. When
the big party isn’t happening, Foxy often plays his guitar live,
adlibbing songs as he goes – usually funny songs about anyone in his
presence. It’s a great time and the BBQ dinner is excellent! Here
you will find a few local establishments that are all just a short
walk down the beach. White Bay, with The Soggy Dollar Bar, is also a
great choice for the night. Families with children will love the
white sand beach.
Day 8: Depart Great Harbor for Sandy Cay or
Green Turtle Cay, less than 1 nautical mile. Drop anchor at Sandy
Cay or pick up a mooring buoy at Green Turtle Cay. Both offer white,
sandy, deserted islands with snorkelling, swimming and exploring. A
short hike past hermit crabs and various lizards to the top of Sandy
Cay should not be missed! For divers, Little Jost Van Dyke can’t be
beat. When conditions are right, you can explore the “Bubbly Pool”.
Featured in photo journals and magazine articles around the world,
the “Bubbly Pool” is still a somewhat closely guarded secret of Jost
Van Dyke. Nature’s jacuzzi, this naturally formed tidal pool is
located behind jagged cliffs facing the open ocean from the north.
When the north swell is up, this is absolutely a National Geographic
experience, as you wade in the pool and fearfully watch as the
rolling sea comes at you with full force! Just at the last second,
as it looks as if the wave will go straight over you, the unique
formation outside the pool prematurely breaks the wave and the
resulting “bubbles” fill up the pool. Depart Sandy Cay or Green Cay
for Cane Garden Bay, Tortola [6NM]. Cane Garden Bay is completely
beach ashore with restaurants and water sports. Quito, a well-known
local singer, is great for night-time fun. You can also often find a
band playing at Pusser's at Myett's in the centre of the beach.
Callwood's Rum Distillery is also located at Cane Garden Bay. There
is some snorkelling, but Cane Garden Bay is best for relaxing on the
beach and dancing.
Day 9: Depart Cane Garden Bay for St John,
USVI. One last short adventure to soak in the Caribbean sun all the
way! Reminisce the last week with your group and enjoy a beautiful
sail to Cruz Bay, St. John. Here you will find a very artsy and fun
village with good shopping, including local pottery, local art work,
jewellery and duty-free items. You will clear customs back into the
United States here.
Day 10: Return to St Thomas and disembark in the
See more details of this and other itineraries for your
USVI yacht charter here
• Onshore Don't Miss •
St Thomas Private Sightseeing Tour including; Drake's Seat; Skyline
Drive; Mountain Top; Blackbeard’s Castle; St. Thomas Synagogue: 99
Steps; Emancipation Garden; Frederick Lutheran Church; Three Queens
Food! For seafood, try the Mahi Mahi and
fresh tuna when dining out. You can also have fun visiting floating
restaurants, from pizza to tacos! If you want entertainment, Water
Island is known for its lively events program. From movies by the
sea and dinner under the stars, as well as live music.
Thomas Rum and Food Tour: Explore the islands history and culture
combined with several hours of eating and drinking local cuisine.
Guides Lisa and Sheba get some great feedback [October '20]
• Marine Wildlife •
The Caribbean sea is rich in marina
wildlife. There's a great chance you might meet friendly dolphins.
Bottlenose, Fraser, spotted and spinners all live here. Twenty six species of whales
exist in the Caribbean including pilot whales, sperm whales, false
Orcas and humpbacks.
Six of the seven species of turtle make the Caribbean their home
including green turtles, hawksbills, leatherbacks and
loggerheads. There are great opportunities for snorkelling over coral
reefs that abound with exotic fish. You might see queen angelfish,
rock beautys or the stoplight parrotfish
Clockwise from the top left; Bottlenose Dolphin; Loggerhead Turtle;
Pilot Whales; Stoplight Parrotfish
• Charter Bases • Compass Point Marina, the main yacht charter base in USVI
The marina is just over 10 miles away from Cyril E. King Airport
[STT], a 30 minute taxi ride
Compass Point Marina is close to
Red Hook with plenty of restaurants, shops and a vibrant live music
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