This children’s USVI/BVI itinerary is based on a week charter with an extra sleepaboard the first night. With three kids sailing, we plan to have very short sails during the day between anchorages and stay at places that have moorings and ice (we have no fridge on the boat). Another criteria for the chosen stops is that they have restaurants very close to the beach. We plan spend most of our meals eating out rather than eating on the boat and let the kids frolic on the beaches while we finish more leisurely. The idea is to head out from Red Hook where we get the boat and then go St John -> Jost Van Dyke -> Tortola -> St John -> Red Hook.
Page numbers refer to The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands by Nancy and Simon Scott.
Wed, Day 0 – Sleepaboard – Red Hook Bay – Pg 238
Our flights get in to St Thomas in the mid afternoon, and we have plenty of time to get a taxi to Red Hook Bay. We are packing a small box of food for emergencies, but there are plenty of restaurants in Red Hook. We’ll be doing most of our provisioning around Red Hook. The Marina Market is about 1000′ from the docs and we’ll be able to load up backpacks we are taking for luggage.
If we get there especially early, round the corner is the Coral Reef Marine Park.
Thurs, Day 1 – Northern St John (USVI), 5NM/2-3 hrs – Pg 286
The first day is a quick hop from St Thomas to the north side of St John. There are several options/bays that we can stop at, based on the direction of swell and mooring availability:
- Hawknest Bay
Nothing special about this first bay, though its probably the quietest of the four northern St John options. It has 18 NPS moorings and if you like the fancier restaurants, you could dinghy round to Caneel Bay where there is a resort.
- Trunk Bay
Trunk Bay offers snorkeling opportunities as there is an underwater snorkel trail there. There are only 4 moorings. Can get rough in the winter months with a northern swell.
- Cinnamon Bay
Cinnamon Bay is our second choice for a mooring. It has a campground, so has trails for exploring, a general store and a restaurant (T’ree Lizards). It only has 8 moorings.
- Maho Bay/Francis Bay
Maho Bay and Francis are on the eastern end of this string of bays. They both have ~30 moorings are the most sheltered of all these bays. Maho Bay is our first choice for overnight. It’s home to Maho Bay Camps, an eco resort that welcomes boaters. It has a well stocked store, three restaurants and showers. Also lots of opportunity for hiking trails or nipping round to Cinnamon Bay with the dinghy to snorkel.
Fri, Day 2 – White Bay, Jost Van Dyke (BVI), ~5NM/1-2 hrs – Pg 260
We plan to spend a couple of very lazy days at Jost Van Dyke as part of a side trip to the BVI. Last time we went to the BVI we did not have a chance to visit here and we wanted to check it out. As part of the BVI, we’ll have to go to the Port of Entry from the USVI first located in Great Harbor. In the BVI only the skipper needs to go to the customs and immigration.
As Great Harbour can get busy, even though its home to the famous Foxy’s, head to White Bay for our overnight mooring. There are only “a few” moorings here so get there early. White Bay has several restaurants including the Soggy Dollar Bay. Its very well protected by a long reef virtual closing in the whole bay area and is hopeful quieter. If you get bored, take a dinghy ride back to Great harbor and sample the nightlife there.
Sat, Day 3 – Diamond Cay, Jost Van Dyke (BVI) – Pg 254
The second overnight on Jost Van Dyke is at the eastern end in Diamond Cay, only about 2NM from White Bay at the west end. This exceptionally short trip between moorings can be done two ways. If too many Painkillers were consumed at the Soggy Dollar Bar, then just hop over, grab a mooring and start drinking more Painkillers to get rid of the morning pain at Foxy’s Taboo. If the crew are feeling frisky, head north from Jost Van Dyke as far as you dare on a strong beam reach before turning round and heading back. If you are of the OCD type, head to Diamond Cay *first* and leave your dinghy at a mooring to reserve it! Diamond Cay only has 10 moorings, so this might be the better plan. Don’t forget to check out the “Bubbly Pool” and the Endeavour II, a wooden sloop being built by high school students.
Plan to stop at Sandy Cay for lunch on the way out!
Sun, Day 4 – Cane Garden Bay, Tortola (BVI), ~3NM – Pg 136
Cane Garden Bay is on the western end of St John. According to the guide, it’s a perfect caribbean anchorage with some of the best sunset views on the island. There are a few stores and restaurants and a spa if needed.
Mon, Day 5 – Coral Harbor, St John (USVI), ~10NM – Pg 302
This day is the longest sailing of the trip, having to thread through Thatch Island Cut to get from western Tortola to eastern St John. Two options are to stay in Coral Bay, or if moorings are hard to find go round the corner to Salt Pond Bay. One issue is that you need to clear back into the UVSI. Supposedly you can clear back in advance when you leave. Not so sure about this.
Tues, Day 6 – Caneel Bay, St John (USVI), ~10NM, Pg 284
In order to make a short hop the next day and have time to disembark and taxi to the airport, the last night is on the western end of St John at Caneel Bay. It has 22 NPS moorings and should you feel fancy, there are several excellent restaurants at the resort (dress code required).
Wed, Day 7 – Red Hook Bay, St Thomas (USVI)
Back Home again, a short hop across the bay to St Thomas from Caneel Bay