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BVI CRUISING UPDATE. Jackie spends a week checking out Sunsail's new 423.
by Jackie
February 2006

My husband and I returned from sampling one of Sunsail's new Oceanis 423s with two other friends last week.

Our boat was a joy to sail, answering well in all conditions (and we had some good squalls one day). Below decks all was in perfect order. The staff at the Maya Cove base were wonderful.  All were attentive, professional and worked in a timely fashion.  Nick, the base manager, is doing a superb job with his crew and it really shows.

We provisioned through Bobby's Market. Our order arrived promptly at 8 pm as requested and everything was fresh and in perfect condition.

On our first day we sailed to Gorda Sound where we usually pick up a mooring in front of Bitter End.  It can swing a bit there due to a wind funnelling through Biras Creek and this day was breezy.  We therefore decided to try Saba Rock, where a reef provides extra protection.  It turned out to be the best choice and we enjoyed a calm spot for the night.  We went ashore to Saba Rock for Happy Hour and thoroughly enjoyed this lovely facility.  The manager, Eileen, was charming and suggested some appetizers that were delicious along with her generous rum punches.  She also reminded us that, along with the $25 mooring fee (Bitter End charges $30), we received a free bag of ice and if our boat needed water we could have up to 250 gallons at no charge.  We didn’t need the water but a bag of ice is always useful. I highly recommend this spot.

A stop at Marina Cay is always a favorite.  Lunch at Pussers is consistantly good quality and the view from the top of the hill is beautiful.  We looked forward to having dinner at Donovan's Reef on Scrub Island that night and were not disappointed.  Part of their service is to pick you up at your boat, which is a nice touch.  Again, we had a fantastic meal there.  The wife of one of the owners makes the pasta fresh daily and that evening the special was ravioli stuffed with lobster and mushrooms in a cream sauce.  We were in heaven!  They are pricier than most restaurants ($30 average) but the food is well above the normal fare on the islands.

Unfortunately, the restaurant will only be there for about 2 more years due to a major development happening on the island.  There is to be a large marina, hotel, condo project built in the next 2-5 years.  It will be a 5 star hotel and the largest facility the BVIs have seen for some time.  As many of us have witnessed over the years, development of this group of islands continues at quite a pace and while it is good for the islands' economy, it is never the less sad in some ways to see it happen.

While eating at Foxy’s on Jost van Dyke, where food is always plentiful and good, I talked to some folks who had eaten at Abe’s in Little Harbor.  They raved about the food and one of them owns a small restaurant in the DC area, so though I haven't eaten there for a while, I have to believe it would be a good choice for dinner out.

Our dinner on Norman Island turned out to be disappointing.  Pirates, which always used to have good food, has gone downhill.  The lunch was also not up to standard.

The only alternative on Norman is the Willy T, which has fairly good food but the atmosphere is not to everyone's taste.  Until recently, the naked ‘jumping’ was only off the stern of the boat but now they are actually climbing on the roof structure to jump!  If you are up for an anything goes party place, this is for you, but I would not recommend it if you have children with you.

Cooper Island is still one of my favorites and it continues to have very good food and a beautiful view of the sunset down Sir Francis Drake Channel.  It is also an excellent area to snorkel.

Overall my observation of fellow charterers was the usual, all were having the time of their lives, relaxed and extremely happy to be there.  And no one wanted to know what the weather was doing back home!

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
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