An invitation to paradise ...BVI MAY 2013

While still in mid-winter, cold and fog, I was offered by friends to stay a few days on a sailboat in the BVIs before visiting my Mom in New Orleans in May, I accepted in an eyeblink. Not just any sailboat, but a fully equipped 44ft cat that had crossed the Atlantic in December on its 4 year round the world journey. Check out www.oniva.ch

So, after a 12 hour flight from Geneva via Miami, I arrive in St Thomas, and surprise ,surprise, the catamaran ONIVA is anchored just 100m from the airport.

Huaras meets me in the open air airport (that already feels like paradise) at around 10PM and we walk to the shoreline where Delphine pick us up to take us on the dinghy to ONIVA anchored 50m from shore. What a great way to end a long journey.

So after a wonderful night's sleep in my own cabin (there are four of them), I wake up in sunshine, and the warm blue waters of the caribbean. The captain suggests we sail the few miles over to St Thomas, USVI, to do some shopping and hopping on the local open air taxi-bus. At only one dollar a ride this is a bargain. And by the way, feels a bit strange to be driving on the left side of the road, even though we are still in the US .... US virgin islands, that is.

 

I see that captain Nils has totally mastered the 6HP dinghy and with mates Tim and Estelle make a perfect navigating team..

So after some shopping for rum and other things, we sail on to St John and Cameel Bay for a very nice birthday dinner for Huaras. And my first sundowner.

The next morning we sail east to the British Virgin Islands to go through customs at Sopers Hole. It is still as paradisical as I remember it many years ago.

Here we are all on the dock soaking up the sun.

 

Then we are off for the 20 mile sail to Anegada island to the north, in the ideal 15 knot trade winds. Delphine gets help in decorating the freshly made chocolate birthday cake for the lucky captain Huaras.

 

What a beach, and what a view. Rose colored sand, blue and turquoise waters. Air and water are a warm 30 degrees C. Snorkeling is a dream..

And after two hours in the water, the local bar, although very rustic, offers thirst quenching delights. Nils finds some amusing things on the beach too.

If paradise exists somewhere , this must be as close as it gets here on earth.

 

Then we take the 4 mile open air taxi ride back across Anegada island to where Oniva is anchored along with 40 or so other sailboats. Anegada used to be off limits when I rented sailboats in the BVIs years ago. But now with GPSs, almost anyone can do it.

That evening we have a unforgettable lobster dinner at the Lobster Trap restaurant. Note there are about 200 residents on this coral reef island, even after having been hit pretty hard by hurricane Earl a few years ago..

And the next day Nils takes us all on the dinghy to the west side of the island for more unforgettable snorkeling and beach walks.

Captain Nils takes a pose on a tough old tree along the beach.

Oops, somebody did not consider the wrath of hurricanes, like Earl, that passed through here and moved entire bungalows on their foundation this side of the island.

After three days on Anegada we sail south for the 10 mile journey to beautiful Virgin Gorda. More paradise stuff.

And to round off the emotions we dinghy over to Saba Rock at the Bitter End to watch big tarpon (a sign says NO FISHING) and to have a few rum-punches and pain-killers. More bliss.

Two more great days of snorkeling with rays, turtles, barracuda and many tropical fish amid the coral reef between Prickly Pear and Eustatia islands.

And a dinner on Saba Rock where we are protected from the evening thunderstorm. Some boats are anchored a bit close. And despite 40 knot winds in the night, Oniva's anchor kept us safe and steady.

Next day we sail off the to the Baths , just a few miles south. Unbelievable scenery. Kids and adults have a time of their life, walking, swimming amid these huge boulders that seem to have been placed here by some giants.

We even get to swim with a dolphin that seems to be attracted by the area too.

And that night we arrive on Cooper Island for my last BVI sundowner and another delicious dinner.

Huaras and Delphine with a picture perfect Colgate smile.

 

Next day my ferry boat ride back to St Thomas via St John

 

Some underwater pix extracted from videos:

 

Video rev C (500MB) http://www.zavadil.com/2013/bvi/zBVImay2013c.wmv

Youtube video http://youtu.be/xNm8ZgwJrJY

Our route day 1

Our route day 2

Our route day 3 to Anegada

Our route to bitter end

Our route to Cooper Island

Our route to Road Town