British Virgin Islands,  Caribbean

Our Penultimate Destination: the British Virgin Islands

You know those feelings when you’re in the last few days of an epic holiday? The feeling of impending doom as your holiday nears its end and you have to get back to the ‘real world’? As your vacation countdown clock ticks away and you feel a tremendous pressure to fully enjoy every last moment? Well, these are what I am feeling now, in our penultimate destination of our three and a half year voyage: the British Virgin Islands, or the ‘BVIs’.

I wouldn’t exactly compare our voyage to a ‘holiday’. It’s an adventure with its own unique challenges and rewards that are vastly different from your average holiday. The BVIs, however, have a completely different feel about them in comparison to every other destination we’ve visited. It’s as though Poseidon has magically morphed every floating vessel within BVI waters into a factory-standard 40-foot charter catamaran. It appears we have arrived in a theme park for seafaring holidaymakers with everything a tourist could possibly want being catered for. The result is that very familiar feeling of being on a package holiday in a sunny, tropical ‘home away from home’ destination.

A stunning view of White Bay in Jost Van Dyke. All the boats in view are charter boats, and almost all of them are catamarans.

Bob finds herself surrounded by modern, shiny charter cats whose occupants have very different priorities to those of the live-aboard cruisers we are so used to. The coastal waters here are filled with suncream-lathered tourists sipping on cocktails, listening to loud music while floating on giant inflatable unicorns. Meanwhile, Alex and I (as the only live-aboard cruisers here) spend our time in the shade doing boat maintenance work, provisioning for our upcoming ocean passage and eking out our precious alcohol supplies to save money. Sounds fun, right?

It didn’t take too long for me to realise that these holidaymakers might be on to something! They’re making the most of their precious time away and we, too, should make the most of the precious time we have left before we set sail to our final destination. Inspired by our neighbours we decide to join the fun in our own way: by sightseeing as much of the BVIs as possible; enjoying leisurely swims in the sea while forcing ourselves not to feel guilty about rinsing off using our cherished fresh water; taking pleasure in an extra cold beer or two… or three; setting up a rope swing off the boom; and buying an oversized and completely unnecessary speaker worthy of its own berth. With Cup Match so near in the future, we might as well get the party started early. I even have my giant inflatable unicorn on preorder. 😉

This is The Baths in Virgin Gorda and is my favourite place in the whole of the BVIs.
A mass of large boulders provide a network of caves and pools to explore. Even with an army of tourists nearby it’s easy to find secluded spots.
We couldn’t visit the BVIs without stopping off at the iguana nursery in Anagada, where they rear and release iguanas endemic to the island. This one has been tagged for identification purposes.
Our newest crew member. She’s a little lazy, but sings well and is always up for a party!

There’s also some spectacular snorkelling and diving around here. Wonderful coral reefs with more soft corals, sea fans and sea pens than I’ve ever seen. There are also some very interesting ship wrecks, including one that was sunk with a giant kraken made of chicken wire (courtesy of Richard Branson) and has plenty of underwater curiosities to explore.

Getting ready to dive on the kraken ship wreck in Virgin Gorda.
A new species for the fish survey.
Seeing a giant chicken-wire kraken can loosen the bowels of even the bravest of divers.

Tomorrow we set sail for Bermuda. We are fully provisioned, our water tanks are full, the rigging has been checked and various items have been stowed. So I’m off to enjoy my final day in our penultimate destination.

Cheers!

8 Comments

  • Mother

    I will be thinking about you all the time. The excitement is mounting. You better tell your new crewmember that that is really my bunk! 😎😜. Safe leg. Xoxo

  • Grahame Rendell

    Hope you get away from the maddening-crowd at Anegada Isl. Good walking and one or two residents from Bermuda – pink flamingoes too. Savour those last few ‘green flash’ moments in your way up here.

  • Chris

    Congrats on completing the circle, what are your plans after this? We hope to cross your track for (at, least) the fourth time in December when we are planning to reach the BVIs. We are starting to make preparations to leave the UK now and start working our way south… a year in an office has been more than enough! Have a good passage back to Bermuda, that’ll be quite a homecoming!

    • Sarah

      Glad to hear you’re preparing for another adventure! Perhaps you’ll be able to pop by Bermuda on your travels? 🙂

      I’m planning on going back to the UK for a few months to see friends and family and hopefully get a bit of self employed work, then back to Bermuda. Alex will stay in Bermuda and try to find work.

      Hope you and the family are well. X

  • Chris S

    Safe final leg. Life is definitely going to be tame after this fantastic voyage; will miss your tremendous blog posts

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