The trips to the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) will begin on the island of Saint Maarten, where Pantagruel will wait for guests in Simpson Bay close to the airport. We will spend the first few days adapting to the weather and Caribbean style of life, doing only short sails. Once we have sufficiently relaxed into the Caribbean mood we will set off on the 80 nautical mile hop to the BVIs, often during the night, and always with favourable wind conditions.
On reaching the BVIs, we will first visit Virgin Gorda island, famous for its unusual geological formation “The Baths”. The next week we will enjoy the easy life, hopping from the bay of one island to the next in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Here we will find perfect conditions and infrastructure for sailors and divers. A typical day will start with jumping into the clear turquoise water in the morning for some snorkelling, having breakfast, hoisting the sales and the anchor and heading head to a good diving spot. From there we will continue on to a nice beach to relax and sit with a sundowner at a beach bar to discuss whether we should cook onboard or get lobster in the beach restaurant.
In total there are more good diving and snorkeling spots then you can mention, but we definitely will not miss the wreck of HM Rhône.
Examples of possible destinations are Cooper Island, Tortola and Ginger Island. On Norman Island (also called the treasure Island) we find in the party boat Willie T anchored, offering us some decent rock music, and local rum.
Now that we are fully relaxed having lived the easy life for a while, it will then be time for and another night sail to the beautiful island of Saba “The unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean.” Unfortunately diving here is only allowed with the local dive company but even snorkelling and hiking are superb. If time allows we will have another stop on our way back to the island of Saint Barts where the rich and beautiful people congregate.
Overall this is a trip with two longer passages and many days of bay hoping – a great combination of relaxing mixed with some serious sailing. Motivated divers will truly do more than 10 dives on this trip, though being a keen diver is definitely not necessary for having a good time here, as there are enough nice beaches, snorkelling and beach bars to keep everyone entertained! The weather and the wind, like usual in the Caribbean, will be super!
There are frequent flights to and from Princess Juliana airport on Saint Maarten, 2km away from where we will drop and collect guests at the beginning and end of the trips.