Plan in some quick and easy, flexible food options, such as
breakfast or lunches. Expect to purchase fresh baked goods, pastries, condiments and deli
items in places like the North Sound, Cane Garden Bay, Jost Van Dyke, Soper's Hole, Virgin
Gorda's Yacht Harbour and Anegada. See Groceries
& Provisions in the BVI for details. Remember RTW,
Riteway's wholesale outlet, is near Virgin Gorda's Yacht Harbour for serious mid-trip
Plan the meals to be cooked
onboard, considering Caribbean style cuisine for some portion of the dishes, seasonings
and purchases. A must-have little book for this is Maverick Sea
Fare: A Caribbean Cookbook, whose receipes are all the result of the
onboard experience of a charter chef. See a review
Fortunately, many charter boats carry a special bundle of tropical
spcies and condiments from Sunny
Caribbee (if not, ask to be sold yours--see Greg, who is always pleasant to deal
with--he'll fix you up!).
For tried and true entrees or side dishes, consider cooking enough
for more than one meal at once or even preparing them at home, then freezing each item
separately in baggies themselves stuck in a little cooler that is itself frozen and then
carried on the plane.
Buy major provisions, bulky liquids and initial fresh baked goods
at the Riteway Supermarket, The Ample Hamper, K-Mark
Gourmet Galley (see Groceries &
Provisions in the BVI). Expect to consume double what you ordinarily do. Refrigerate
only the next couple of drinks ahead at a time.
Refill water tanks of your boat at charter company locations on the
inland side of Tortola (free from your own charterer). Other locations
to refill water tanks include the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour in "The
Valley," Marina Cay, Soper's Hole and the North Sound at the Bitter
End, Saba Rock, Leverick Bay, and Biras Creek.
Here are sites with itineraries with photos of visits to the BVI. This is a group at
Quito's Gazebo on Cane Garden Bay.
Gary Kunkel has descriptions of his trips--at
left is Mary Lou at the helm. See
Here's Susan's "Best
Present." And a
video with 'On a Boat' song.
and Moorings. Moorings are increasingly popular to
prevent dragging and to preserve coral. Plan to anchor about 3 PM in the BVI so to have
moorings available in good light. Some prefer a spot further out, e.g. 75 yards windward
of shore to keep bug-free while others like to be close in. Jost's Great Harbour (lots of
dragging), Marina Cay (use Trellis Bay if full) and especially Cooper Island's Manochieel
Bay (with no easy back up) fill up early, while there always seems to be room in the North
Sound. Generally, a 5 to 7:1 scope is best. See
anchorages with overnight moorings (18" white balls costing $20-30). See Mooring System for
National Maine Parks (photo below:
Marina Cay Anchorage
Reading a Reef.
Reef and other bottom colors impart information about depth (also
consult a cruising guide or
10' or less--either very pale green over sand
--or light brown over rocks and coral.
15-25'--light green or turquoise/brownish over rocks/coral.
50' or more-deep blue/lighter over sand.
VHF radio uses the
Channel 16 for distress and hailing (then switch),
Channel 68 or 6 for general conversation ship-to-ship,
Channel 3 for weather,
Channel 12 for charter company-to-yacht operations,
Channel 27, 84 for Radio Tortola (4-4116), and
Channel 25, 85, 87 for Virgin Islands Radio (6-8282)
(both radio co. will place calls and hold messages).
Restaurants monitor 16 or 68 generally.
Cell phones are usually on boats to call the charter base (info).
Cellular phones are available from Boatphone.
See general information on BVI phone and
cell phone use.
Internet "harbour" hotspots sold
For marine emergencies, use channel 16 or 22A for US Coast Guard
(499-6770) or *CG *24 (cell phone) or call 999 or 911 for VISAR
(494-4357 or 494-HELP). See
The trade winds, controlled by the Bermuda High, dominate the weather.
During the November through January winter months, the
prevailing wind is 15-20 knots from the northeast.
On and off all winter, the famous "Christmas Winds"
blow at 25-30 for several day periods. These winds are
induced from the pressure gradient between strong highs set
up over the Eastern US/Western Atlantic and lows in the
SW Caribbean between Venezuela and the Panama/Columbia Coast
(source: The Caribbean Weather
Beginning in February and finishing in June, the winds move from
northeast to southeast when 10-15 knots can be expected.
During September and October, the trade winds are unsettled and
weakest. These months are considered the height of hurricane season, although the nominal
season is June through November; however, the BVI is in an historically low
area of the Caribbean.
summer through fall (August through November) is the BVI's strongest rainy season.
However, rain squalls can occur at any time. Watch for approaching dark squall lines and
drop sails and motor if in doubt. It's time for a free shower!
Average high temperatures range from 85° to
90° with the highest in July through October; average low temperatures are about 10°
WindGuru for wind forecast.
Amazon Books The
Concise Guide to Caribbean Weather (Second edition), 1998 hardcover, $19.95.
See Island Sun report of its
ZBVI radio 780 AM, out
of the BVI live or via computer and CCT Boatphone, has
marine and regular forecasts. Also, see the
Intellicast 10 day forecast for marine and regular
forecasts. Here are general Weather Patterns.
More weather links are available