Charters are happening in the Virgins, and great times are being had by all. The reports are heartwarming… especially this report just in from the crew of the crewed catamaran, Foxy Lady – a long time Ocean Getaways’ favorite and winner of the Best Yacht and Crew in Show at the recent BVI Charter Yacht Show.
Kate and Jason capture the beauty and charm of a post-hurricane yacht charter in the Virgins and the positive once in a lifetime experience that only this year will offer. So here’s what they had to say:
This is what the BVI now offers you.
Yes, in places the BVI looks worse for wear, but we adapt to this and as your charter crew, we find the unspoiled places and treasures still to be enjoyed.
Peaceful and uncrowded bays, empty white sand beaches and adventure or enjoying private parties on board your crewed charter yacht. It is chartering the Caribbean of years gone by… with a thatched beach bar, a man with a guitar, lobster on the BBQ and a handful of relaxed smiling people sitting on the sand at sunset.
This is still paradise.
Day 1: We suggest flying into St Thomas Airport (STT) as we can take advantage of an overnight stop in St John, which is renowned for some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is not be missed. We usually only spend one night in the USVI, either at one of the many beaches, such as Caneel Bay, Hawks Nest or Maho Bay on your first night or at Christmas Cove on your last night, where the sunsets never disappoint.
Guests are met at the Airport by Jermaine, our trusty driver, with his signboard and good humor. He has been working with us for the past two years and has never let us down. His shiny black taxi seats 10 guests and all their luggage and although has the back window is patched, he offers ice cold refreshments, full AC, and a very pleasant experience. From the Airport you will be transported to Yacht Haven Grande, an IGY Marina in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas that looks exactly as it did before Irma, where Jason and I will be waiting for you.
Once settled aboard Foxy Lady, we will complete a safety briefing and go over a few finer details of the week ahead. It is a 1 hour trip to from Yacht Haven Grande to Christmas Cove, and an additional 45 min to St John, with Bob Marley setting the mood and a cocktail in hand. Weather as always affects the itinerary and so we choose the bay on arrival to match the groups’ interests and the weather forecast for the night.
3-course dinner with wine aboard followed by optional evening games, star gazing or watching the huge tarpon glide through Foxy Lady’s underwater lights.
Day 2: Wake up early or sleep in, our à la carte breakfast menu means you can eat when you wake or wait for the group. Foxy Lady will then make the 30 minute trip over into the BVI and clear Customs and Immigration at Soper’s Hole, West End. Another benefit of the post-Irma BVI is that this procedure used to take well over 2 hours in high season, it now takes little over 20 minutes.
Next, we head over to Privateers Bay on Norman Island in time for lunch. This island was made famous in R.L Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’ and looking at the caves today, one cannot help but be swept back in time to the days of pirates and privateers. Once again, this area is quiet, allowing for us to indulge any of our younger guests with a real pirate treasure hunt. A handmade map is found floating through our hulls in an old bottle. We then set off on an epic adventure to follow the map and find the treasure chest hidden in the deepest cave on Norman Island.
After Lunch and a snorkel in the caves, we move around into the Bight, a bay about 5 minutes away. Here we choose a secluded corner and guests can suntan away the rest of the afternoon, or engage in any of our water sports options. Later, Capt. Jason takes guests on a sunset cruise in our 16ft tender, with a cooler of beers or a cocktail in hand. The sunsets here are beautiful and a fast becoming ‘classic’ photograph in front of the famous Willy T’s ship, beached on the sand is a must.
After dinner aboard, spectators and fishermen alike enjoy a rather addictive few hours of ‘catch and release’, fishing for the Tarpon, Chubbs, Jack, and Snapper caught off the back of Foxy Lady.
Day 3: Once again breakfast is open to your mood, after which we head over to the stunning Indians, a snorkeling and dive spot, 5 minutes from the Bight. This spot has barely changed and still offers a host of marine life. Our last dive saw plentiful fish and even hawksbill turtle. Guests are kitted out with our brand new masks, snorkels and fins, with optional pool noodles for those less comfortable in the water. Jason always takes his GoPro and so there is plenty of underwater memories for all.
Next, we head around to Little Harbor on Peter Island, a pristine nook where we stern anchor the yacht to rocks ashore, so that Foxy Lady remains in the same spot and offers a private ‘swimming pool’ off the back. Here the water is crystal clear and further snorkeling along the bay after lunch, often shows it to be a nursery for an abundance of tropical fish.
We get the music going and put out our 10 person floating mat out, so dubbed the Lilly Pad, as well as our 12ft floating trampoline. There are a number of hikes on Peter Island for those feeling more energetic, however, the effects of the hurricane are more noticeable on land but the view out to sea is still inspiring.
Dinner served aboard Foxy Lady, followed by an optional all out Pirate evening! Onboard we have a host of elaborate pirate costumes, music and even will teach the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ game Liar’s Dice shown in Dead Man’s Chest, which usually becomes an addictive game for the trip.
Day 4: After breakfast, we take Foxy Lady on a 1h 30min sail, headed up to Virgin Gorda and the famous ‘Baths’, a series of gigantic granite boulders that form caves that are filled with crystal clear water. Guests swim ashore to the beach and work their way through with Jason and me as your guides. This is ended off by a swim on Devil’s Beach before heading back to Foxy lady in the tender.
Right next to the Baths, anchored at Trunk Bay with its beautiful waters and white sand, its a place worth taking a moment to reflect and really enjoy paradise. Here we set up a gazebo for shade, with beach towels and chairs, games and music, and we serve a picnic lunch on the beach. It a fantastic photo opportunity, and for those up to a little adventure, there is a slightly more challenging climb to the top of some boulders where you can look back at the whole of the BVI.
The Beach usually keeps us entertained until well past sunset, however, your fully air-conditioned cabin is always available for an afternoon nap. This evening is typically more relaxed and after dinner, we try to take the opportunity to turn off all the lights onboard and set up ‘nests’ on the flybridge. Here our guests get comfortable and watch the night sky the way it was meant to be, in completely undisturbed darkness and without any light from onshore. Once your eyes adjust the ocean will also offer up her secrets, with special sightings of phosphorescent plankton and jellyfish.
Day 5: After a delicious breakfast, where you can indulge in Eggs Benedict with homemade Hollandaise sauce or perhaps Banana and Nutella crepes, we will head up along Virgin Gorda to The Dogs, a series of tiny rocky outcrops, about a 45-minute sail away. Here, in a tiny bay, we will stop for a snorkel below the cliffs. It is very weather dependent but if we get a window, its a great stop. Alternatively, there are a number of great scuba diving spots in the BVI, including the famous HMS Rhone, a 310ft ship that sank during a hurricane in 1867. Foxy Lady is not equipped for diving, however, we work in close contact with the rendezvous dive companies. It’s $120 for a two tank dive, meaning two dives are offered per person for this rate.
After the Dogs, we head up to the idyllic Eustatia Sound, where we will anchor off for lunch. Great for a swim, photo opportunities, and turquoise water. It also looks straight across at Necker Island, one of Richard Branson’s islands.
At about 3:00 pm, we will head across on a 2-hour sail to Anegada, the low lying sand island famous for its pristine beaches, pink flamingos, and LOBSTER! Dinner ashore is the best bet to experience a Wonky Dog Lobster Dinner or one of their other delicious options. Reservations are taken from 7:00 pm onwards and they offer a full bar and a very decent wine list.
Day 6: The only morning we don’t recommend a leisurely start and suggested a slightly earlier breakfast, still à la carte choices, but in order to get you to the beach by the latest 10:30.
Ashore the yacht rents a small car to transport all of the beach games, snorkeling equipment, chairs, and gazebo, cooler of drinks etc… Then guests are encouraged to rent out a scooter from S&K rentals. We had never driven one before arriving on Anegada and we have an absolute blast! It is very simple to pick up and the roads are smooth and easy to handle. Its a fantastic sense of freedom to zoom around on your own wheels as we drive the 25 minute to the beach. Lunch is served picnic style and guests can enjoy what must be one of the most stunning spots on the planet. Big Bamboo Bar and Restaurant are also operational and locals always appreciate the support.
2:30 is the cut off time unless guests would prefer to spend another night in Anegada and as always we are completely flexible and try our best to match the itinerary to the mood. Otherwise, pack up time and the scooter trip back to the yacht. From here we sail down to Guana Island and spend the night in White Bay or Lee Bay Great Camanoe, depending on the weather.
Day 7: Breakfast onboard, followed by a 45 min downwind sail to Sandy Spit. This tiny bit of sand off Green Cay makes one think what mutineers on deserted islands must have experienced, but with a cold drink in your hand, it makes for a better place to walk with your friends and family and enjoy sun and sand for one last day. It’s a great place to Stand up Paddleboard or to kayak and as always the Lilly Pad will be out for sunbathers before lunch onboard.
Then the Infamous Foxy’s is up and running. The gift shop is open and is the place to get your BVI mementos or T-shirts. Great Harbor on Jost Van Dyke is one of the places hit hardest by Hurricane Irma and it is truly humbling to see the power of mother nature.
However Foxy himself is often around and more than happy to share his stories and songs about the hurricanes and his life with any travelers over a cold beer. A truly local experience and one we still highly recommend.
Guests then have the option of anchoring overnight in Great Harbor, Jost Van Dyke as our Thanksgiving guests chose to do since the painkiller cocktails at Foxy’s tend to slow everything down 🙂 Anchored out allows plenty of privacy at night and tucked up in the corner, the sunset and Sage Mountain captivates your attention. Alternatively we can head down to Christmas Cove in the USVI, late in the afternoon. This allows for a slower morning on your last day and is your best chance to see the green turtles that frequent the bay and enjoy a last swim in the morning.
Day 8: Early start if we are still in Jost Van Dyke, leaving at 8:30 am and heading back around to Yacht Haven Grande with breakfast served underway. Waking up in Christmas Cove, we will breakfast on anchor and enjoy last swims in the tropical waters, leaving the bay at 10:00 am and making our way to the marina. We do our best to arrange clearance into the USVI at Yacht Haven Grande, however, occasionally they are not able to accommodate us. In this case, our trusty Jermaine will be waiting to meet us on arrival at noon and will transport us all to the Customs and Immigration office, 10 minutes from the marina. This is en route to the airport and can be combined into a drop off for your flight, however, this will be customized to your particular group’s needs.
This is when we say our goodbyes. We endeavor to find the perfect balance on your charter, between becoming solid friends and still allowing you space and privacy to enjoy the group you are with. We try our best to snap as many photos of you all as we can put them onto a personalized ‘Foxy Lady’ USB to take home with you.
As always, Jason and I try to remain as flexible and accommodating as possible. If you have a logistical issue or are trying to make the impossible happen, know that we are always willing to go above and beyond to make your vacation aboard Foxy Lady a truly memorable and special time.
Foxy Lady still has prime winter dates open including Christmas. Contact Ocean Getaways for details.