After a long winter, a trip to the Caribbean sounds like just the ticket
By Jenney Coberly
I’m an avid skier and snowshoer and I love winter, but when it comes to vacation time, for me there’s nothing like the British Virgin Islands, and this is a great time of year to go there. It’s just a 30-minute plane ride from San Juan, Puerto Rico, or a half-hour ferry from St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The 50 plus islands, some small and uninhabited like in the image below, are a sailor’s paradise, with steady trade winds, clear azure waters, transcendent snorkeling, and sheltered anchorages.
The laid-back atmosphere and lack of commercial development make the British Virgin Islands, called the BVI, especially wonderful for bareboat charters. Although one can visit the BVI on a cruise ship, there’s nothing quite like renting a yacht or catamaran from one of the many charter companies on Tortolla, the main island, dropping anchor in a deserted cove and spending hours snorkeling in peace amongst the colorful tropical fish and stunning coral reefs.
Rainbows are a frequent sight, due to the frequent 30-second tropical showers. More prolonged storms do occur, but brief showers are more the norm during prime sailing season from December through April.
This beach looks like a painting, but it really does exist and it looks exactly like this.
The water really is this blue. The yellow sand between the coral heads gives the ocean this unbelievable hue. There’s nothing like being the only one snorkeling a beautiful coral reef.
It’s like entering another world, one you can linger in for hours because the water is so warm. You pretty much just want to stay. The little underwater cameras you buy at the shops do a creditable job.
The sunsets are out of this world. Sitting up on the deck in the warm sea breeze with a rum concoction and watching the long, lingering sunsets is like nothing else. It gets cool enough in the evening to actually put a t-shirt on over your bathing suit.
Under sail in the Sir Francis Drake Channel in lively seas.