There are more than 65 moored sites in the British Virgin Islands, ranging from shallow coral gardens and gently sloping mini walls to deeper wrecks, from beginner sites to more challenging advanced ones. To add to the options are the number of ways you can do a dive trip here. The islands pioneered rendezvous diving when it became clear that the legions of sailors that come here aboard their own boats or on a rented yacht also wanted to do a bit of diving. Dive operators will actually pull up to your yacht and you can hop aboard the dive boat and join other guests for a two-tank trip. Dive operators will also pick up guests from the docks of various resorts located on the islands. Many of the dive shops have multiple locations, with offices that coordinate the arrangements. In fact, we'll manage to sneak in a two-tank dive with Dive BVI on Virgin Gorda this week and I'll let you know how that works out. You can also stay at a land-based resort and either arrange diving as part of your accommodations package or as an add-on with a nearby dive operation. We plan to do the latter later in the week, when we get off the My Ann and spend some time based at Fort Recovery on Tortola and dive with Blue Water Divers. Finally, The Moorings is able to to arrange diving with its crew from the yacht you're staying on.
A Moorings crewed yacht charter is a voyage into sheer luxury. In the BVI, you'll sail to all the best places, where you can swim, snorkel, dive, or simply relax. Yep, Jeff and I did do some relaxing. Meanwhile, your personal chef prepares meals and snacks based on your preferences – and with a flair.Yep, Jeff and I do a lot of eating. Friendly, discreet, and courteous, your crew is there to ensure that you enjoy yourself to the fullest. A crewed yacht charter is an ideal vacation option for those who love being on the water in some of the world’s most beautiful destinations. But we're here to dive, and to see what that experience is like aboard a crewed yacht.
I don't know how they do everything they do as our crew on the My Ann, but Dusty and Andy are also dive instructors, and Andy gets in the water with us at Spyglass Wall off Norman Island. Pirates once posted lookouts on Spyglass Hill, which overlooks the site, ready to attach unsuspecting prey. The site itself is a shelving reef with numerous holes and pockets stuffed with little reef tropicals and decorated wit branching sponges and fans. We see the largest Caribbean spiny lobster I've ever seen that after menacing us for a bit, shoots off like a torpedo for a quieter hiding place.
We surface to Dusty's breakfast of cinnamon raisin French toast with caramelized bananas and syrup and topped with crispy bacon. Yep, I'll come home with extra "baggage," but it's impossible not to try everything she makes. Last night, we had beef tenderloin with a chocolate infused sauce on a bed of mashed cauliflower that was delicately flavored and topped with asparagus. Heavenly.
So after stuffing ourselves on French toast, we gear up for a dive on Rainbow Canyons, this time was Dusty as our divemaster (Andy's turn to do the dishes). This shallow reef offers as much in the sand flats as it does on the reef. A garden of eels dances for us as we approach before zipping back into the sand and we spot a couple of yellowed jawfish--so sweet!
After the dive, we head to Willy T's Floating Bar & Restaurant at The Bight on Norman Island. The crowd is tame, but this is a place known for drunken revelries that include topless women, and the bar runs loops of photos to prove it. On this afternoon, it's a nice place to socialize with other sailors, have a beer and enjoy the vista. If you have a Painkiller, don't say I didn't warn you--the bartenders here favor generous pours.
Tomorrow: Diving with Sail Caribbean Divers on the Rhone!
To learn more about the British Virgin Islands, visit the BVI Tourist Board website.