British Virgin Islands (BVI)

Government Overseas British Territory British Virgin Islands Flag
Capital Road Town
Currency US$
Area 153km2
Population (2005) 22,016
Language English
Islands 15 inhabited
Economy Offshore banking (55%) & tourism (45%)
GDP per Capita $38,500 (23rd worldwide) [2008 Data]
Links CIA Factbook, Wikipedia Page, Tourism Portal

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The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a premium destination for cruisers and charterers alike. It is home to the largest charter fleet in the world and the conditions are optimal for easy sailing - ideal trade winds year-round, sheltered waters and many anchorages. The sheltered Sir Francis Drake Channel makes for easy line-of-sight sailing with numerous destinations available within a short sail or motoring distance. Most anchorages have mooring balls available and most of them sport restaurants and bars ashore. Numerous beautiful beaches and year-round warm climate in the trade-wind belt (hurricanes excepted, of course) round out the package. This is a destination for those who aren't looking for secluded anchorages (while they can be found, one really needs to look for them). The country is reached via flights from the USA (via Puerto Rico or St. Thomas) and only somewhat more difficult from Europe via Antigua or St. Martin. The small Beef Island International airport isn't large enough for big passenger jets which help keep the BVI from becoming a package-tour destination, despite having a large cruise ship dock and catering to cruise ships.

Over time I find that I have spent far too many leisurely days and weeks in the BVI, idling from one anchorage to another over many trips and 4 successive boats. I even stayed on Virgin Gorda for about 2 months at one stretch while waiting for a new rudder for Solitaire to arrive from France. One reason that many remain in the BVI longer than planned is that the next leg is towards St. Martin / Sint Maarten and is almost always directly upwind and against the waves - an uncomfortable uphill sail of ~80nm; and that is when the conditions are good. Usually it is best to wait for a significant northerly wind component and even then it is best to just motor sail and get it over with.

While it is hard to select my favourite pictures from among the many that I have, I've posted some of them below.

For a map with clickable pictures from this site displayed geographically please click here

Looking down at Cane Garden Bay Looking down at Cane Garden Bay
(2008-09-09 22:52:33 DSC-N2 [f/4.0, 10/3200s] ISO 160)
[18°25'0.89"N 64°39'58.21"W (facing NE)]
Looking down at Cane Garden Bay
Sandy Cay Crab Sandy Cay Crab

[18°26'6.94"N 64°42'37.07"W ]
Sandy Cay Crab
Loblolly Beach Loblolly Beach

[18°44'35.25"N 64°18'50.17"W (facing W)]
Loblolly Beach
View down to the North Sound View down to the North Sound
(2009-01-19 21:03:01 DSC-N2 [f/8.0, 10/4000s] ISO 160)
View down to the North Sound
Rainbow in the North Sound Rainbow in the North Sound
(2009-01-24 05:14:22 Canon PowerShot SD850 IS [f/9.0, 1/160s] ISO 80)
[18°30'11.93"N 64°21'36.93"W (facing SW)]
Rainbow in the North Sound
Pirate's Restaurant and Bar Before going snorkeling we needed to fortify ourselves at the Pirate's restaurant and bar. Jen had to leave the shaded comfort and sit in the sun. Later that night she could have used the table in the picture as camouflage, but, unlike me, she didn't burn and was ready for more the next day.
(2007-03-15 18:34:21 DSC-N1 [f/4.0, 10/8000s] ISO 64)
[18°19'4.58"N 64°36'47.78"W (facing W)]
Pirate's Restaurant and Bar
Sandy Cay Refreshment Consuming enough calories and maintaining proper hydration is extremely important in survival conditions such as these.
(2007-03-17 20:03:46 DSC-N1 [f/8.0, 10/4000s] ISO 64)
[18°26'7.31"N 64°42'38.67"W (facing E)]
Sandy Cay Refreshment
Virgin Gorda Baths Virgin Gorda Baths

[18°25'47.4"N 64°26'45.24"W (facing E)]
Virgin Gorda Baths
Napua on Prickly Pear Napua and I headed to the far side of Prickly pear and were alone on this beach.

[18°30'23.69"N 64°21'54.77"W (facing NW)]
Napua on Prickly Pear
Trellis Bay beach Trellis Bay beach

[18°26'43.45"N 64°32'5.82"W (facing SE)]
Trellis Bay beach
Pelicans on the Dock Pelicans at the dinghy dock of Foxy's Taboo in the BVI
(2013-02-10 15:35:21 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/5.0, 1/125s] ISO 100 Focus 3.76m)
[18°26'59.6"N 64°43'35.49"W (facing N)]
Pelicans on the Dock
Bubbly Pool entrance This wave proved to be a particularly good one.
(2013-02-12 11:23:40 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/3.5, 1/500s] ISO 100 Focus ∞)
[18°27'15.67"N 64°43'48.51"W ]
Bubbly Pool entrance
Looking west on Jost Looking west on Jost
(2013-02-13 12:45:34 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/6.3, 1/160s] ISO 125 Focus 3.76m)
[18°26'51.19"N 64°45'31.53"W (facing W)]
Looking west on Jost
Front view of Chateau Relaxeau The waterfront view from the front entrance of Malcolm's Chateau Relaxeau.
(2013-02-18 12:46:20 NIKON D7000 with a "10.0-24.0 mm f/3.5-4.5" lens. [f/3.5, 1/8000s] ISO 2000 Focus 0.84m)
[18°23'53.23"N 64°41'1.28"W (facing N)]
Front view of Chateau Relaxeau
Willie T's activities.. One of the many leisure activities available aboard the S.S. William Thornton
(2013-02-20 18:50:59 NIKON D7000 with a "35.0 mm f/1.8" lens. [f/1.8, 1/6s] ISO 640 Focus 3.76m)
Willie T's activities..
School of smallmouth grunt Diving on the wreck of the 75m long refrigeration boat "Chikuzen", sunk in 1981 between Anegada and the BVI in about 80 feet of water. She is the only landmark in a large area of sand and is therefore a magnet for fish.
(2012-01-12 15:18:24 NIKON D7000 with a "10.0-24.0 mm f/3.5-4.5" lens. [f/7.1, 1/200s] ISO 800 Focus 0.32m)
[18°37'54.95"N 64°30'42.18"W ]
School of smallmouth grunt
Anegada Sunset Anegada Sunset

[18°43'16.38"N 64°22'58.82"W (facing W)]
Anegada Sunset
Potter's bar staff Potter's bar staff

[18°43'24.09"N 64°22'53.69"W ]
Potter's bar staff
White Bay vista A wide shot of the whole of White Bay
(2013-02-13 12:59:46 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/7.1, 1/200s] ISO 125 Focus 2.66m)
[18°26'46.09"N 64°45'58.96"W (facing SE)]
White Bay vista
Little Jost beach The beach in front of the B-Line bar on Little Jost, BVI
(2014-05-17 14:06:14 NIKON D7100 with a "18.0-250.0 mm f/3.5-6.3" lens. [f/8.0, 1/320s] ISO 200)
Little Jost beach
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