The Adventures of Snow White II

Our 2010 British Virgin Islands Trip

View of Charlotte Amalie from the Miller Manor About two years ago we started talking to our friends Mike, Ruth,Dave and Maureen about the possibility of heading down to the British Virgin Islands and renting a sailboat for a winter vacation. We finally made the commitment and made the decision to book a 47 foot Beneteau with three cabins and three heads from Footloose Charters.

Even though this is not the actual “Adventures of Ninkasi” we figured this was a very fitting place to tell and capture our “Adventures of Snow White II”.

Mike made all our travel arrangements and we left on Wednesday night and headed to Buffalo where we would catch a plane the next morning for Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once in St. Thomas we checked into our hotel room at the Miller Manor and enjoyed our first of many happy hours.

Dave, Steve, Mike, Maureen, Ruth and Kathy in Betsy's After happy hour we headed out for dinner and then went to a local bar called “Betsy’s” where we decided to continue happy hour.

In fact after a couple of hours at Betsy’s we decided that we still needed to continue happy hour back at our hotel and Dave (the Negotiator) made a deal with our very inebriated waitress and arranged for some take out.

The next morning both Kathy and Maureen were feeling a bit rough and decided on a rather light breakfast. After which we checked out and headed to the fast ferry for the trip to Roadtown, Tortola.

Drink of the Day: Bushwhacker - had by Kathy and Ruth

Quote of the day 1: I can’t tell right now because I can’t tell right now.....Piss off! – Ruth at Betsy’s after her Bushwhacker!

Quote of the day 2: "Come on Ruth don't be a wimp, have another Bushwhacker with me" – Kathy at Betsy’s after her second Bushwhacker!

Map of our Trip

British Virgin Islands Map Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7 Day 8

Day 1 - Norman Island (February 6th)

We arranged to stay on the boat the night before the start of our cruise, we figured this way we could get an early start and beat most of the other boats to our first mooring. Our first day was to take us out of Roadtown, Tortola and with the destination of Norman Island, which was roughly southwest.

Snow White II's very tight fit When we decided we were ready to leave I searched out a Footloose employee to squeeze the boat out of its extremely tight spot where it was stern into the dock. Since space in these marinas is at a premium all the boats are separated only by the width of a fender with a large cement post directly in front of the bow.

We had already watched a number of boats being taken out and in by the very experienced staff and we couldn’t wait to see how they would get this one out. Well imagine my surprise when they decided they would let me do it and they would just give me instructions from the dock. This begun the start of our most common expression for the week, “it’s not my boat”. So out we went, this consisted of a lot of forward and reverse throttle moments mixed in with fending off other boats, that big cement post and considerable amounts of indecision and selective cursing.

Mike and Steve on the way to Norman Island

We left the marina about 10:30 in the morning and proceeded out the rather busy harbour past two enormous cruise ships that were in port. As we past the ships we felt a very strong wind which we guessed to be about 15 knots and with gusts even higher.

With this in mind we decided to head out using only the head sail, we figured if there was too much wind then it would be much easier to reduce sail. Since the combined experience of all of us on this boat was about 15 minutes we deemed this a smart decision.

After we left the harbour the winds became more reasonable and since we were in no hurry and the experience level was still less then very low we continued under headsail alone at about 4.5 knots.

Maureen at the Helm Kathy and Ruth on the bow heading for Norman Island
Maureen at Norman Island

Dave’s hat was the first casualty and although we attempted a rescue at sea it was at this point we realised that we were with out a boat hook and the rescue would be futile.

Just after we passed the Indians (we have an inside joke with Mike here) the wind pretty much died and since we were rather close to our destination we fired up the engine and headed into “The Bight” on Norman Island. We managed to find a great mooring which we successfully picked up due in large part to Dave’s extensive Curling experience, remember we were without a boat hook but we did have a broom.

Dave and Maureen went to check out the beach bar at the Pirate's Bight restaurant while we stayed on the boat to relax and have a few drinks. Dave came back to let us know when happy hour started so we all piled into the dinghy for a few rounds and then we returned for dinner.

We had a great spot in a well protected anchorage but this first night ended up being rather uncomfortably hot. We cursed ourselves the next morning since none of thought to turn on the fans and get some fresh air, but that never happened again.

Drink of the Day: Rum Punch and Margaritas

Quote of the day: “those boats are usually owned by guy’s with small penises.... (referring to a cigarette boat that was passing by) I have no desire to own one”- Mike

Day 2 - Trellis Bay (February 7th)

The entrance to Trellis bay

The next morning when we got up decided to change our initial plans of going to Cooper Island, instead we headed for Trellis Bay on Beef Island at the north-western end of Tortola.

Once we were out of the anchorage we attempted our first use of the mainsail. Since this boat was new to all of us and the lazy jack system was a bit different it took a few tries but we persevered and made a beam reach to Trellis with both sails and averaged about four knots.

The approach to Trellis Bay was a bit of a butt clencher and we had a difficult time spotting the entrance buoys that were marked in one of reference books. After a bit of confusion we noticed the book had a note that the buoys where actually not installed yet. Dave used the broom again to pick up our mooring for the night and we relaxed in the cockpit with a few drinks.

Dinghy Dave left in search of a happy hour and upon his return we loaded up the dinghy and then dropped off Maureen, Kathy and Ruth to do some shopping while the guys went to De Loose Mongoose for a drink.

The view from Trellis bay Dave and Mike enjoying happy hour in Trellis Bay
Within about ten minutes the girls tracked us down and joined us for happy hour, apparently the shopping was rather limited, but the no seeums made up for them. That night we went to The Last Resort on Bellamy Cay for dinner, this was probably our best overall meal of our vacation. We defined the restaurants artwork as "Blatant Sexual Erotica". A great nights sleep was had by all as the bay was calm, there was a nice breeze all evening and we even remembered to use the fans.

Drink of the Day: Banana Daiquiri - had by Ruth

Quote of the day: “Happy Hour starts at 4”- Dave

Day 3 - The Baths and Spanish Town (February 8th)

The Baths with the f%(&** A in the background From Trellis Bay to The Baths on Virgin Gorda was just a short hop and since we needed to charge the batteries to keep the fridge running we motored the six miles across the Drake Passage.

Shortly after we rounded beef Island we spotted what looked like a cruise ship anchored off the baths, as it turned out we were seeing the worlds twelve largest mega luxury yacht which was simply called "A".

As we were to learn a bit later there is an obscene amount of money in this area and our 47 foot boat is on the small side. Mega yachts were quite common and the closer we got to the north end of Virgin Gorda the bigger they got.

The beach at the Baths from our boat Kathy at the Baths

Kathy in the Baths The Baths were very busy and we were unable to pick up a mooring, so we headed down the beach to anchor the boat for a few hours. After a quick swim we made the call to land the dinghy on the beach and walk down to the baths.

As we approached the shore we quickly realized this would be no easy task, the waves were really breaking on shore and the timing was going to be a big issue. As we approached the shore the women bailed for shore while Dave, Mike and I wrestled the dinghy and tried to attach the anchor. After almost sinking the dinghy we changed plans and had Dave take the dinghy and meet us down the beach where he could tie off to a special mooring.

Our short walk down the beach didn’t quite work out, we walked as far as we could and then had to leave the beach and walk up the main road. We arrived at the park about 30 minutes later and met Dave at the bar (where else would he be).

While Kathy and I hiked and crawled through the boulders that make up the Baths the rest of the group spent their time swimming, snorkelling and watching the dinghies trying to drop off and pick up passengers. This became a very entertaining pastime and it was quite easy to pick out the experienced drivers compared to the first timers. It takes a lot of experience to be able to read the swell and the waves to determine the best time to come to shore.

Snow White II in Spanish Town Mike and Dave were able to witness one group that instinctually chose the absolute worst time and managed to flip their dinghy and everyone in it. As our turn was approaching we had established decisive plan of action based on everything we had seen.

As Dave approached, Mike and I attempted to hold on to dinghy with some sort of control, we quickly abandoned our plan and we had the girls diving head first into the dinghy followed by Mike and I with a complete lack of style and poise.

Once we were back at the boat we hauled up the anchor and headed for Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour in Spanish Town. This was only about 2 miles away and Dave has been excited all day since we would be able to plug into shore and turn on the air conditioning. The trip into the marina was rather uneventful; however this would soon change when the dock master asked me to back the boat into the slip. The combination of the wind, the size of the boat and my own skill sets were working hard against us making this happen. It took three tries and the final approach only worked because of the direction from the dock master.

Snow White II in Spanish Town

We had a couple of bumps and one larger crunch but as we mentioned before “it’s not our boat”. After we were tied up everyone felt I had earned a beer or they were more likely sympathising with my bruised ego and thought I need to forget about it.

Dave went to check in at the office and get us a couple of washroom keys, by now most of us needed a shower to remove the multiple layers of salt, sun tan lotion and grit from our bodies.

Once again Dave managed to sniff out a happy hour for us at the marina bar, so after tiding ourselves and the boat up a little we managed to polish a few bar stools with our butts.

In the bar again!!!

After getting to know the bartender a bit better we put our focus onto a place for dinner. We decided on Chez Bamboo using the usual criteria of advice from the bartender, type and quality of food but overwhelming because it was the closest.

Dave and I ordered a drink called the Big Bamboo, I’m not sure but I think it had about 40 different types of rum in it, well maybe not that many but it was up there. The food was excellent, I had an $18 burger which was by far my best meal of the trip and the best burger I’ve ever had (I also might have been under the influence of rum at this point).

Even though we were in the Marina and we were hooked up to the shore power most of us did not sleep very well. Kathy and I were sleeping of the water pump for the air-conditioning but for some reason all of the boats in the marina were constantly pulling at their mooring lines and this caused a lot of creaking and groaning from the boat.

Drink of the Day: The Big Bamboo (rum, bourbon, scotch, lime juice, fruit juice, and cointreau, topped with 151 proof rum) - had by Dave and Steve

Quote of the day: It’s not my boat” – said by Steve as he hit the dock trying to back into the slip

Day 4 - Saba Rock (February 9th)

Kathy sailng the beam reach Our next destination was in the north end of Virgin Gorda known as the North Sound. This is where the big money goes; it includes places like Leverick Bay, the Bitter End, Saba Rock and Biras Creek.

Before we left the marina we deduced that there was a cruise ship just outside of the marina as we watched ferry after ferry dropping off a few hundred people who then boarded buses and headed for the Baths, it’s a good thing we went yesterday.

Dave and I got the boat ready while Mike and the other women went to the grocery store to stock up for our breakfasts and lunches. To top up the water tanks Dave had to go talk to the marina, the water is metered so we would need to purchase water. Since we are all boaters we use our water sparingly and it cost us 90 cents, Dave gave him a $1 and told him to keep the change.


We left just before lunch and once out of the Marina we put up both sails and started out on a great beam reach with Virgin Gorda to starboard and the Dogs to port.

For the next 45 minutes we averaged six to six and a half knots and had our best sail of the week. After this the winds really started to pick up a come a bit more on the nose so we were now close hauled and pinching into the wind.

Dave thought this was great because as we were pulling away from a multi hulled cat. Normally cats are a lot quicker then mono hulled boats but the big disadvantage for cats is they can’t sail as close to the wind. We had a great sail but there was a lot of concern on our approach to the entrance to the North Sound.

Our first mooring pickup with the hook
An approach to a new entrance is always a tense time especially when there are warnings of reefs and low depths. As it turns out the entrance was well marked but since we were in a different country we had no idea what to expect. As we approached the entrance we saw for a second time a mega sailboat called Ganesha, although this doesn’t compare to the “A” boat it was both amazing and very expensive.

As is my nature we decided to be cautious (some would say anal) and followed the lead of Ganesha, we dropped all of our sails and started the engine before the approach to the entrance.

We headed in past all the very expensive boats and pulled into a spot which we all considered to be our coolest mooring of the trip. We ended up picking up the closest mooring ball to Saba Rock.

Dave was under a lot of pressure for this one since we now had a proper boat hook, if he missed this then he would be given back the broom.

We were moored so close to Saba Rock that Dave picked up the binoculars and could read the happy hour specials from the cockpit of the boat.

Saba Rock anchorage

So since we knew when and what was on for happy hour we headed in for our daily ritual. From here we watched the sunset as we sipped our drinks and soaked up our most picturesque anchorage of the trip.

This also allowed us to continue our ongoing joke with Mike; since Mike had the best camera equipment he was deemed our official photographer, however Mike consistently missed almost every sunset photo opportunity and this was no exception.

Hobie Cats off of Saba Rock Steve and Ruth looking out from Saba Rock

Snow White in the sunset at Saba ROck

We stayed through happy hour and had our dinner at Saba Rock and then continued happy hour back on the boat.

While we were at Saba Rock we had noticed some rather large fish by the dinghy dock and found out they had about 20 tarpon that they fed on a daily basis, these fish had to be about 20-30 pounds and some were up to three feet in length. At night they turned on some under water lights which attracted the fish and put on a great show. It did however make us think twice about swimming off the boat.

Drink of the Day: Rum punch & Bushwhacker (Kathy rated this one #2 so far....behind Pirates Bight that was still number one.

Quote of the day: “wait until it pinks up” – Maureen waiting for the perfect sunset picture

Day 5 - Anegada (February 10th)

Sailing cruise ship Everyone had a great sleep which worked out well since we had planned an early departure to Anegada. Although it doesn’t really show in the map Anegada is about 20 miles from Saba Rock.

On the way out of the North Sound we passed by a sailing cruise ship called the Wind Spirit, we originally saw it arrive after us the day before and at night it had a spectacular light display.

Since Anegada’s highest point is only 28 feet we would not be able to see it for about two hours which meant we were just following a compass course.

Anegada is considered one of the more difficult passages in the BVI’s and I was required to take a special chart briefing and sign an additional waiver in order to visit. After sailing in Georgian Bay this was a bit more hype than substance and wasn’t really that difficult, it did however add to the butt clenching stress level.

Anegada Anchorage from shore Ruth at Loblolly Beach
Dave and Maureen at Loblolly beach

Our sail was a broad reach in about ten knots of wind, so we averaged about four knots for most of the trip. Maureen managed to acheive the trip maximum of four and a half knots. We left Saba Rock about eight in the morning and arrived at one of the last moorings just before noon, it was a nice relaxing sail.

The anchorage was a bit rough, the wind and waves were really stirring up the bottom and we were only sitting in about seven feet of water so no one went in for a swim.

Instead we decided to take a taxi over to the other side of the island to visit the beach at Loblolly Bay. In one of our guide books it mentioned that the beach and the snorkelling at Loblolly was a transcendental experience, it was nice but it didn’t quite live up to the hype. Mike missed another sunset but Kathy managed to get a great shot from shore.

Sunset from Anegada The dinghy ride back to the boat was very wet so we split the ride back to the restaurant and we managed to arrive dry. When we first picked up our mooring we had a visit by Barry from the Whispering Pines restaurant, it sounded great but after seeing it from shore we decided instead to have dinner the Neptune’s Treasure.

Although the food was alright at Neptune’s, albeit over priced, we think we made a mistake by dismissing the BBQ’d Lobster from Whispering Pines.

It remained a rough anchorage all night but despite that everyone slept rather well since we knew we were secure on the mooring and we are starting to get used to boat movement.

Drink of the Day: The usual....rum punch, painkillers, Carib’s, and bushwhackers

Quote of the day: “Get your butt off my throttle” – Steve

Day 6 - Little Harbour, Jost Van Dyke (February 11th)

We were up early again so we good get an early start; today we were headed for Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke. As predicted the wind had shifted in the evening and was now coming from the south west which was directly on our nose. We had 25 mile trip ahead of us so there wasn’t much choice other than to motor all the way, so we set our direction and turned on the auto pilot. The trip was uneventful and everyone had a chance for a nap or to spend some time reading.

Our Anchorage in Lttle Harbour

We pulled into Little Harbour about five hours later and even before we had picked up the mooring we had a visit from Cynthia Harris, she owned Harris’ Place one of the bay’s three restaurants.

Although the anchorage at Saba Rock was the winner in the coolness factor, our mooring in Little Harbour was the best in every other way.

Dave went in search of ice and happy hour and took Mike and Ruth to Sidney’s Peace & Love, the other restaurant and t-shirt shop in the bay. Although Kathy and I never visited Sidney’s everyone else got a rather poor impression of the place, they just didn’t seem to be very attentive or interested.

Ruth, Mike, Maureen ad Dave in Little Harbour

We ended up having happy hour on the boat in the cockpit and Dave and I were watching a truck that had stopped on the road halfway up the hill. We figured they were stooping for one of the many goats but then we realised there was runaway tire bouncing down the very steep hill.

It was quickly building speed and then just as we thought it had hit something a stopped, it bounced about thirty feet in the air and continued bouncing down the road until it finally bounced over the guardrail and down the hill towards the water. We managed to point and wave to the guy looking for the tire and he was finally able to pull it out of the bushed and back up to the road.

Little Harbour Anchorage looking towards Tortola The road the tire came down

We followed up our happy hour entertainment by a great meal at Harris’ Place. Cynthia gave Kathy a lesson in making a Bushwacker, which was Kathy’s drink of choice since there was no rum in it. This was by far the best nights sleep that everyone had, the breeze was great, there was no roll or waves, the stars were great and Mike missed another sunrise.

Drink of the Day: Cynthia showing Kathy how to make a Bushwhacker (and this one had vodka, not rum, which Kathy really liked)

Quote of the day 1: “There are parts of my body I wouldn’t want to be seen applying sun screen to” – Steve referring to nude sun bathing

Quote of the day 2: “On the suckometer scale this doesn’t rank too high” – David

Quote of the day 3: “This waitress is drunk like the rest of the waitresses down here” – Maureen referring to herself

Quote of the day 4: “Tell your kid to shut up” (referring to the noisy goats on the hills) – Steve

Day 7 - Great Harbour & White bay, Jost Van Dyke (February 12th)

We took advantage of the great anchorage and didn’t leave until about 11, since we were only heading over to the next bay which was only two miles away there was no hurry. Our next anchorage was Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke which is home to the world famous Foxy’s Bar.

Corsair's from the street

We managed to pick up another excellent mooring in Great Harbour and again our timing was impeccable, we managed to get one of the very few available. As Mike was to discover later these moorings were just installed in the last six months.

Great Harbour is where everything happens, there are about a dozen restaurants, the police station, a bakery, customs and numerous dive and t-shirt shops.

We choose to have our lunch at Corsair’s, this is probably the number two place after Foxy’s and when we first entered and sat down I was very excited with what I saw.

Since the start of our vacation I had been in search of some good beer, the last opportunity was in Buffalo, the first night of our vacation. Well when we sat down and even before we got a menu I saw the advertisements for Sierra Nevada Pale Ale beer, this is one of my favourites, it is the second biggest selling craft beer in the United States and unfortunately we can’t get this beer in Ontario.

Signing the wall at Corsair's

Well I was very disappointed and I told the waitress to take down the signs, I had to settle for an El Presidante. The meals were excellent and we ended up meeting the owner and signing our names on the wall of the bar. If you get a chance to visit then look for the “Penetang Pirates” beside the Heineken sign.

The waves on this beach were breaking about 30 feet up from the shoreline and our dinghy landing at the Bath’s was nothing compared to this.

We had to read the waves and wait for our opening and then it was full speed forward on an incoming wave, at just the right time everyone jumps out, grabs hold of the dingy and runs as quickly as possible before the dinghy gets swamped. We watched a number of other attempts and timing is everything with this manoeuvre as we saw a few swampings, soakings and misfortunes.

White Harbour beach - Home of the Soggy Dollar Bar

So of course we had the try the painkillers (everyone but Kathy) and they were very good, so good that Dave, Mike and I had another. Since we still had to have our wits about us to the launch the dinghy we switched over to beer after that. This was the most popular bar that visited on our trip and people just keep coming and going. Kathy kept all the guys informed so we didn’t miss any of the women that had had boob jobs.

The main area of discussion was the planning of our departure, we came up with a number of action plans and decided we would take the dinghy bow into the surf, the women and Dave would jump in while Mike and I tried to hold position between the breaking waves.

As opposed to our Bath’s departure we actually stuck to plan and when Mike and I jumped in both Kathy and I took to the oars and gave Dave lots of time to get the engine started. You would think we knew what we were doing, this time we executed perfectly to plan and everyone was impressed.

Soggy Dollar Bar

I switched to the “Friggin in the Riggin” for the rest of the night which was a combination or rum, mango, rum, banana and two more types of rum. Throughout dinner the entertainment was excellent and consisted of a single guitarist that played some great reggae, Clapton, classic rock and folk classics with a jazzy/Caribbean influence.

Next up was a band whose leader we had been watching at dinner, he was moving around from section to section with a very long piece of grass. He was inconspicuously using the piece of grass to make people think they were being bitten by mosquitoes. At one point he freaked out a girl next to us so much that she got up from her dinner and just covered herself with bug spray. Everyone at her table knew what was going on and it must have continued for about 15 minutes while everyone around her were splitting their sides. When she finally figured out what was going on she was really pissed at both the guy and especially her friends that were all in on it.

This band was also excellent, it is no wonder that Foxy’s is the number one must visit spot in the BVI’s because they know what it takes to entertain. We stuck around for another couple of hours, just enough time for the Band Leader to pull me up out of the audience for a “Strokin” contest. I didn’t make the cut but it was more of a popularity contest and since there were only six of us my chances were not that great, which was fine since the prizes were rum and we already had an excess.

Dave continued to consume some rum while the rest of coasted so as we headed back to the boat I took the helm of the dinghy for the first time. The ride back was a bit slow as I was again being overly cautious and we ended up having some dickhead (Dave’s term of endearment for the unknown individual) cut in front of us. Dave stayed up to have a few more drinks while the rest of us went to bed. The anchorage was rough and we rocked and rolled all night and Mike missed another sunset.

Drink of the Day: Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar and Friggin in the Riggin at Foxy's

Quote of the day: Since this is a family website I can't repeat today's quote, but suffice it to say it was rather crude and made by Cynthia Harris when she was at Foxy's

Day 8 - Back to Roadtown, Tortola (February 13th)

The plan for today was to get up early and get ready to go. We were running low on breakfast stuff so Dave and Maureen made a quick run the bakery in Great Harbour and we were off as soon as they returned. Everyone was rather quiet and subdued today since this was the last day with the boat and we had to be back by noon. Our plan was to get in by 11:00 so we wouldn’t be rushed and then we could grab lunch in town and then catch the 2:30 ferry back to St. Thomas.

Heading through the passage at Sophers Hole, with Jost Van Dyke in the background The wind out of Great Harbour was about 10 to 15 knots but unfortunately it was right on the nose, so we would have to motor for the final leg of our trip. It was an uneventful trip but I was clenching a bit as we passed Sophers Hole since this is the second port of entry into Tortola and there were a lot ferries passing a rather high speeds. We arrived in Roadtown just as planned and I was concerned they were going to make me back the boat into those tight spots, but I was lucky and they drooped a pilot of that made the docking look effortless.

We quickly cleaned up and gave all our left over supplies to two Dutch couples that were very happy with our gifts but they also seemed surprised by the amount of left over alcohol. Thankfully they didn’t see what we started with.

The bar at the Miller Manor
We had one of the dock staff come by and give us a quick checkout and then we were off to the ferry. We managed to make really good time and ended up taking the earlier ferry that left at noon, so we were back into St. Thomas by 1:00.

We checked back into the Miller Manor and then headed downtown for some lunch and to do some shopping. We were back at the Miller for a nap, shower and happy hour but decided to order in some greasy pizza rather than go out again for dinner.

The next day we left the hotel about 1:00 and then spent a few hours in the airport before heading home. As we were fying into Charlotte for our connecting flight, Maureen mentioned that Mike missed another sunset.

Drink of the Day: $6 Presidente's in the airport

Quote of the day: “I think I’m beered out”....followed by.... “cheap beer I mean” – Steve, on the way to the airport

A great trip was had by all.... and the planning starts now

Would you like to see even more????? check out the additional pictures

Steve and Kathy's British Virgin Islands Trip Pictures

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