A sailor and his family get onboard with the ‘other side’ (Published Summer 2015)
Paddleboarding in North Sound, Virgin Gorda.
The Marine Max 38 has an ingenious system to handle the dinghy. It has a bar that articulates down off a captive winch. Just pull up and disembark your guests, attach the two carabineers, and push the button once on board. In under a minute that the dinghy is secure.
Relaxing at CocoMaya restaurant in Virgin Gorda.
There are an endless number of coves to moor or anchor in and go for a swim. A must see are The Baths, located 1.2 miles from Spanish Town, a National Park area where boulders formed from the island’s volcanic origins form tunnels, arches and tidal pools along the beach. My daughter loved going on the path through the rocks, as everyone does. Mind your head! Afterwards, we made the trek up to the Top of the Baths restaurant and enjoyed stunning views of Francis Drake Channel, a pool, and good food.
After twenty trips to the B.V.I. I consider it my second home and was very excited to take my wife and daughter this time. Having kids on a voyage can be great, however as she’s not too into sailing we opted to try a MarineMax 38 Power Catamaran for this trip. Initially I was skeptical of not sailing around the B.V.I. in a catamaran as I usually do. But, I have to say that these boats do make cruising around the B.V.I. incredibly easy. If you were thinking about going there for a charter, I would definitely consider going this route if sailing wasn’t the most important thing.
The two cabin Marine Max 38 was fine for our small family’s needs. Once on the dock at the end of the week, we were able to tour the Marine Max 443, that had three cabins, and the 484, a 4 cabin 4 head boat; “wow” was the first thought I had about the larger versions.
We were able to grab a mooring easily but to anchor is no problem as the holding is excellent. Once stationary, jumping off the boat is a prerequisite and as we looked around, every family was on the same page.
Quitos’s in Cane Garden Bay is a great stop right on the beach. Good food, good music, good vibe. Many people arrive in Tortola and the next morning head out and don’t see much of the island which is a shame, there’s a lot to experience. We circumnavigated clockwise from Nanny Cay, driving to Road Town to shop and grab a bite. We went to Island Roots Café and the Sunny Caribe Spice shop next door.
In addition to lobsters, we encountered a large amount of wildlife. In between Scrub Island, Marina Cay and Great Camanoe there is a point for snorkeling. We threw a few stale bagels in the water and the fish went crazy. We were surrounded by colorful reef fish once we jumped in; looking down we saw three spotted eagle rays. My daughter hadn’t really enjoyed snorkeling until we went at Little Dix and she spent hours watching the resident sea turtles lazily eat grass.
While the ridge roads of Brewster Bay in Tortola offer fantastic views of the island, they are steep and make you want to test your brakes as you start downhill; I wouldn’t drive them at night as the drop off of some of the sides were precipitous. While driving, we also discovered a long cove that was practically deserted save for birds diving for baitfish.
The MarineMax 38’s twin Yanmars engines were quiet and the Spectra watermaker was set up for ease of use. When we noticed our water was low we just hit the fill button on the watermaker and came back to a full tank later; It was the easiest I’ve ever had to deal with a unit.