Winter Escape to the British Virgin Islands

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For those of you who are winter weary and covered in snow, I’m inviting you along to the British Virgin Islands! You’re welcome to join me on a power boat cruise for some fun in the sun, enjoying the turquoise waters and white sand beaches of the Caribbean!

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This is a photo heavy post even after much editing, so I hope you’ll sit back and enjoy an arm-chair vacation. Mix yourself a rum drink and apply lots of SPF :)

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We chartered a 39 foot power catamaran with friends to cruise the British Virgin Islands at the end of January.

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We boarded The Allegheny Gal, our home for 5 days, at The Moorings in Tortola.

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If I had to guess I’d say The Allegheny Gal prefers the latitude and longitude of Tortola, BVI, over Pennsylvania, especially in January :)

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I didn’t get any photos of the interior but you can take a peek and see how she’s laid out here.

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The British Virgin Islands are made up of 4 larger islands and 32 smaller islands, the largest of which is Tortola. Most of the islands are volcanic in origin so they are hilly with a rugged terrain. . .

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 Anegada is the exception, made of limestone and coral, and flat, with its highest point only 28 feet above sea level.

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If you visit BVI, make sure you don’t miss Anegada. Enjoy a taste of the Caribbean and have a lobster dinner on the beach!

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I wonder how many times a day this poor guy stops to pose with the lobster he’s prepping :)

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In addition to Anegada, we cruised to Norman Island, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke.

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 After cruising to our island destination, we typically moored midday for the afternoon through the evening and took our dinghy to shore.

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Other than high swells one day, we had calm seas and beautiful weather with temperatures in the 80s. The only rain or showers we saw were isolated and in the distance.

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The Baths at Virgin Gorda, with the beautiful rock formations and caves, were on the ‘not-to-be-missed list’.

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You can dinghy to about 50 yards off shore, moor, and then you swim the rest of the way in to the Baths. It can make for an interesting swim and not-so-graceful beach landing, at least by me :) depending on the chop of the water and how crowded it is.

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Make sure you take some water shoes for the slippery rocks and bring a dry bag with a cover up to hike up to the restaurant for lunch at the top of the trail, definitely worth the hike and the view.

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There are lots of options depending on your boating experience and comfort level for chartering a boat for a British Virgin Island cruise. You can charter with a Skipper – sail or power, Skipper yourself or with a “Friendly Skipper” who will join you for up to a half-day on the first day of your trip. We hope to do it again sometime after we save our pennies :) and visit some places we missed.

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Wishing you smooth sailing for the rest of winter into spring!

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Thank you for your visit!

  59 comments for “Winter Escape to the British Virgin Islands

  1. February 19, 2015 at 5:14 am

    What a wonderful vacation! Thanks for taking us along with you! I cannot wait to see sunshine and palm trees! Not too long now! Glad you enjoyed yourselves Mary!

  2. February 19, 2015 at 6:53 am

    Beautiful pictures! We are lucky to live in Florida and get to enjoy the waters and sailing almost yearound! But there is nothing like the BVI. Glad you had a great trip.🌴🌞

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Lucky you Michelle, Florida sounds like heaven right now :)

  3. Cheryl Burgess
    February 19, 2015 at 7:18 am

    Looking out at yet another snow squall coming through CT. All your beautiful, sunny and warm pictures gives me hope that warmer weather is right around the corner…Thanks for sharing!

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Stay warm Cheryl! It’s a frosty 9 degrees this morning, much colder than we’re used to. I thought my fingers were going to snap off like icicles walking the dogs this morning :)

  4. February 19, 2015 at 7:21 am

    This is incredible! Thanks for an informative post.

  5. Ellen Stillabower
    February 19, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Beautiful pictures of a beautiful destination! Thanks for sharing and you did a great job of editing.

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:31 am

      Thanks Ellen, hope you’re warm & cozy this morning :)

  6. February 19, 2015 at 8:05 am

    Wonderful photos and a perfect virtual escape! Just love those islands and your gorgeous photos captured them so perfectly! – we got married in St. Thomas but visited the BVi’s as well.

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:30 am

      What a beautiful spot for a wedding and honeymoon!

  7. Annie
    February 19, 2015 at 8:09 am

    This is incredible… The ocean is my nirvana…thanks for starting my day off in a great place. So glad this was a wonderful adventure. Xoxo

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Thanks Annie, Happy Birthday Week ♥

  8. February 19, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Ooh what fun, Mary! I like your idea of getting away from the winter doldrums. I’ve never been to the Virgin Islands, but it sure looks beautiful. I did get away with 17 other ladies to the beach in Mexico, during the first week of February, and that was a fun trip. One can’t go wrong with sun, surf and sand!

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:29 am

      What fun Kitty! You can’t beat a girls’ getaway especially if it involves sunshine and hopefully a margarita :)

  9. February 19, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Mary, this is the perfect way to spend January~~friends, sun, ocean and gorgeous scenery! I’m trying to imagine you swimming to the Baths with your camera in tow. That beach at Anegada is so inviting and I would love to take a snooze on those white sands. I hope you tucked a few of those amazing shells into your suitcase! Thanks for the virtual vacation. Linda

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:28 am

      Hi Linda, I only carried my tiny point & shoot camera when we motored over to the islands in the dinghy. My hubby swam with it in a dry bag. And yes, I was very tempted to pilfer one of those hundreds of conch shells lining the beach :)

  10. February 19, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Oh that looks so nice…I can only see snow out my window. Your pictures are stunning!!

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Thanks Donna, I’m looking out at snow from our windows too! Stay warm :)

  11. Sue
    February 19, 2015 at 8:51 am

    So pretty…what a beautiful and informative seed you have planted…thank you Mary!

    • February 19, 2015 at 8:57 am

      Thanks Sue! I’m ready to plant some real seeds :)

  12. February 19, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Beautiful pictures…really made my morning great. Nothing but snow and ice in PA. Can’t wait until spring. Glad you had a nice trip. Wish I was there.

  13. Cheryl
    February 19, 2015 at 9:18 am

    We did it once in a sailboat….loved it! I, too, am saving my pennies to do it again!

  14. February 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Whoa Mary! Isn’t that boating trip the best? I was there for 8 weeks in 13 on our sailboat, Blew Bayou and I recognize where every one of ur pics were taken! Can’t tell u how many of those lobsters at anegada I’ve eaten….hope u also visited cowboy beach on other side of anegada. I think it’s one of most beautiful beaches in world. We chartered our first few trips but then the hubs got the fever and we ended up buying our own and have sailed ALL of the BVI’s since.
    You can see a lot of my images on my blog if u go back to March April of 2013. This yr? We’re leaving for Dominican Republic and Cuba!!! In 2 weeks

    • February 19, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Hi Jmac, Yes we’re anxious to go again! Yes we went to Cow Wreck Beach and loved it, all the photos of Anegada were taken there. Enjoy your trip to the DR & Cuba :)https://homeiswheretheboatis.wordpress.com/wp-admin/edit-comments.php#comments-form

  15. Donna Perdue
    February 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

    Beautiful escape through your pictures this frozen morning! Eight degrees and minus something wind chill. Gorgeous!

    • February 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      Much too cold for me Donna! Stay warm :)

  16. February 19, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Oh I knew you had been somewhere wonderful Mary! That trip is something we’ve always wanted to do~looks like heaven, and you got so many fabulous shots~ What a perfectly lovely post for everyone in the East as we face yet more freezing temperatures! No snow here but 16 degrees this am…I wish we could go to the coast today, it’s going to be 60 and sunny there tomorrow…we’ve already decided we are going to rent a house near my sister in Palm Desert next year for the winter! Thanks for the dreamy trip :)
    Jenna

    • February 19, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Hi Jenna, You would love it! Palm Dessert sounds pretty good about right now, the wind is howling and it’s downright frosty :)

  17. February 19, 2015 at 9:33 am

    Oh and I see you were on a Leopard! We were in antiqua for the world sailing races a few yrs back and the champion was “Elvis”. … A huuuuuuuge Leopard! That’s a beautiful boat!!

  18. Peggy Thal
    February 19, 2015 at 9:49 am

    What a wonderful vacation you had. So beautiful and it looks like a lot of fun. Something to think about. Thanks for all the photos it was great looking at them with awful snow and ice outside.

  19. February 19, 2015 at 10:01 am

    girl, you could be on the housewives of the Carolinas and be taking us on that fun filled private yacht getaway! you have no idea how much this warms my soul, its beauty is just extracting me from a difficult week… there is nothing i love more than crystal blue waters, well and running dogs on a beach, 2 of my most favorite things…

    love seeing the names and places of other boats off on holiday with you… and the glassy waters, whats not to love… i would dangle my feet over the side and stare in the mirrored water for hours.

    so relishing this, from the maps to the flora and fauna, a real treat form my weary eyes… and your rainbow is stunning. the baths remind of tahoe with all the granite rocks. what a wonderful way to start my day, filled with color to assure me life does go on~

  20. February 19, 2015 at 10:08 am

    AHHHH< this made me relax. Right now there is alot of banging in my house, the floors are being ripped up and replaced:( It is also COLD since they are carrying out what they rip up. UGH. I have never been to the BVI, maybe one day. Right now I would LOVE to be in Fl.!!!!

  21. February 19, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Thanks so much for the gorgeous escape this sub zero February morning, Mary. Wonderful post!!

  22. SandyK
    February 19, 2015 at 10:48 am

    My husband and I absolutely loved the Baths. We have been twice now. What a delight to snorkel and see all the beautiful fish there. Going down under and between all the huge rocks was something else. We stayed at the Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda and rented a Jeep to get over to the Baths. One thing we will always smile about is the little hut down on the beach that sold drinks. This little old lady, who looked to be about 100 years old, had the best Rum Punch, bugs included, we ever had on the islands. We hardly were able to make it back up that hill. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and memories.

    • February 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      What a beautiful place to stay Sandy! We walked around for a peek and grabbed a drink at the hut. She’s still there, we didn’t try her Rum Punch though :)

  23. February 19, 2015 at 10:51 am

    ooops…me again! You did go to Cowboy Beach…..I just noticed the cow skull in your collage!! hahahaha!!!

  24. Debbie
    February 19, 2015 at 10:54 am

    What an amazing trip. Your photos are outstanding. I especially love the one with the aqua sea and the white sand. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip. So glad you were able to go and had a great time.

  25. February 19, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I feel warmer already!!! beautiful photos, Mary!

  26. Melissa
    February 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve just added it to my bucket list!! Looks fabulous – thanks for sharing.

  27. February 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Wow Mary…now this is a vacation that I could go for….I think I would go with the “skipper”…such a wonderful vacation in paradise….the photos are magnificent as always and I love those paths marked with those conch shells!…Makes me miss Florida!…

  28. Robyn
    February 19, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Love your beautiful pics….looks like a wonderful trip and it’s helping me to feel “warm” on this cold, cold NC day. Thanks for sharing.

    • February 19, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      Hi Robyn, 14 degrees with the wind chill is way too cold for me. I don’t know how people in the NE or Great Lakes region cope!

  29. February 19, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    What a nice get-away!
    I have been watching the newscasts every evening and shudder at all that white stuff and the difficulties it causes…I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the world but where I am…Even my sister in Miami is gearing up for cold and frost!
    Your photos, even with a point and shoot, are always wonderful…You have such a flair for the perfect shot!

    • February 19, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Sonia, You live in paradise, do you have to pinch yourself? :)

  30. February 19, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    You know how much we enjoy boating so this is my idea of a perfect vacation. How is winter in your neck of the woods right now? I’m so glad to be in Houston rather than Maine at the moment.

  31. February 19, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Just what I needed today on this exponentially frigid day! Anegada looks so wonderful, but really, it ALL does.What a wonderful way to escape winter, so glad you shared it with us too.

  32. Bonbon girl
    February 19, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Your photos take me back almost 25 yrs! My husband, myself and 2 other couples did exactly this, having a Skipper charter our excursion, who also cooked for us! It was a vacation we continue to talk about today, hoping one day to sail again with our grown daughters. Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane!

  33. February 19, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Oh you lucky girl, I bet you had a blast! Beautiful scenery and I love that you caught the rainbow:@)

  34. Kristie
    February 19, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Beautiful pictures Mary. Thanks for sharing. Gives me hope before it starts snowing again.

  35. February 19, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Mary, thanks for the exquisite beach trip. I needed it! January is the perfect time to slip away for such a trip, though sounds like you might want to return if your temps are single digit. Ouch! We are cold, but nothing like that!
    Stay warm and snuggle in with the girls. Hope the weekend offers some warmer temps.

  36. February 19, 2015 at 8:44 pm

    Mary, what a fabulous getaway you had! I’ve been to the Virgin Islands but never BVI! Your photos just make me want to sail away from these cold temps! Stay warm!

  37. February 20, 2015 at 12:42 am

    We just decided to do Italy in 2016. I was hoping for a month. But he loves sailing so if I show him these pictures I fear I may miss out on some great food & wine. But it looks beautiful. And he deserves a treat. Maybe I’ll wait and show him next week. My son & him just went in on a 16 ft sailboat in Florida. So I know where we’ll be soon. Decisions, decisions. . At least here in So California it’s a cool 72.
    Thanks for sharing and making us all dream.
    Barbara Ann
    etsy.com/shop/barbaraannscreations

  38. Michele Sullivan
    February 20, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Mary,

    Thank you for sharing the warmth! I love Tortola and hope to go back, but stuck in Blacksburg for more snow!
    Your photography is amazing!

  39. linda kemp
    February 20, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I loved all your pictures. Reg and I stayed at the Sugar Mill hotel in Tortola. Jinx and Jefferson Morgan owned it at that time and wrote columns for Bon Appetit. The highlight of course was eating dinner nightly at the restaurant. You are a great photographer!

  40. Cynthia Raines
    February 20, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    How Beautiful!! LOVE the water and the rainbow. All of our water on the thumb of MI is covered in ice and snow. -26 here 2 days ago without the windchill and today felt much better at -15 without the windchill. Ha. Can’t wait for our 25 degree weather, it will feel like a heat wave. lol. Thanks for the much needy WARM sunshine and beautiful pictures.

  41. Melodie Strickland
    February 21, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Mary,

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures you took when you were sailing in the British Islands. Just looking at your pictures at the tropical scenery made me feel a lot warmer. Our temperatures have been extremely cold for this area of Virginia. We have had some snow this morning which is supposed to be followed by a wintry mix later before turning to rain. Looking forward to spring!!

    Melodie

  42. February 21, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Looks like an amazing vacation!!! Oh, I’d love to leave this white stuff for those gorgeous views.

    – Alma, The Tablescaper

  43. Susan
    February 23, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Thanks for the virtual vacation! It’s nice to see green things…….. I’m looking out the window at 4 feet of snow in New Hampshire! Can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt again!

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