Sea Dog Blog
Sea Dog Blog
Brand new for 2017-2018, with Virgin Island photography and full color detailed anchorage charts, these guides have been indispensable companions for sailors and visitors to these islands since 1982. Includes a free 17 x 27 inch color waterproof planning chart, with aerial photos of some of the anchorages. This guide covers the Virgin Islands including all the U.S. and British Virgin Islands: St. Croix, St. Thomas, St. John, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and all the smaller islands in between. If you are sailing south to the Leewards we include a section on passages from the Virgins to the Leeward Islands. The Cruising Guide to the Northern Leeward Islands picks up where this guides leaves off, beginning in Anguilla. Our guide includes:
- Anchoring and mooring information and fees
- Customs, immigration and National Parks regulations
- Particulars on marina facilities and the amenities they offer
- Water sports - where to go and where to rent equipment
- Shore-side facilities, restaurants, beach bars, shops, provisions, Internet connections
- Directory of goods and services after every island section now including websites and Facebook URLs
Everything you will need to help make your vacation an enjoyable and memorable experience in a concise easy-to-use format.
By Chris Doyle. This guide picks up where The Cruising Guide to the Southern Leeward Islands ends, and covers the islands of Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada. Revised and updated for 2017-2018, this guide features detailed sketch charts based on the author's own surveys, and aerial photos of most anchorages. It also includes clear and concise navigational information. By far the most popular guide to the area, it covers the islands from Martinique to Grenada with dazzling scenic photography, unsurpassed onshore information, sections on exploring, provisioning, water sports, services, restaurants and photography. Information is linked to the author's website where you can download town maps, GPS waypoints from the sketch charts, and obtain links to local weather, news and more. Now includes a free 17.5 x 21.5 inch color waterproof planning chart of the Windward Islands!
On August 27th, 2015, the Commonwealth of Dominica, a small island of only 289 square miles in the Caribbean, was hit by Tropical Storm Erika, resulting in widespread catastrophic damage and death.
Twenty people are confirmed dead and others are still missing. Damage to homes and local businesses has left hundreds homeless and many without a means of income. Many major bridges were destroyed and the roadways have been rendered impassible. Access to essential services including communications, electricity and clean water have been severely disrupted.
To compound matters, the main airport on the island was severely damaged, keeping much needed relief supplies from getting to those who so desperately need relief.
Dominica Marine Association is appealing to the international marine and yachting communities to assist us in any way possible.
All proceeds from this fund-raiser will go directly to the Dominica Red Cross, the Dominica Marine Association water taxi efforts, and to the office of Disaster Management.
We would be grateful if you can find it in your heart to assist us in this great time of need.
Dominica Marine Association
1. Unique Caribbean Attractions
National Parks, Museums, Botanical Gardens, Full Moon Parties…
Once a month, Trellis Bay has a full-moon party for families (unlike Bomba’s) that includes a family-friendly beach party with a West Indian buffet, local music, Moko Jumbi dancers and Aragorn’s fire sculptures. including Callwood’s Distillery in Cane Garden Bay, and a prison that is now a museum. The Baths has two trails to Devil’s Bay (one that is more like an obstacle course, the other is a nature trail), but each (inhabited) island generally has trails and some kind of historical items from shipwrecks, old family heritage, and distilleries.
Most charter companies offer kayaks, inner tubes, and snorkeling fins and masks and more watersportsitems to rent when you’re at anchor and the kids want to play.
There are several places to obtain lessons for your children in the BVI for windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) and sailing among other things. Places like Bitter End Resort in North Sound, Virgin Gorda have great programs for kids that can be really fun. Many resorts have amenities that extend to marina guests and include pools, beach bars, beaches, etc.
3. Caribbean Arts And Crafts
Sailing trips are a great time to leave electronic devices behind and to get back to the basics. Books, drawing, crafts and games are all great things to think about collecting before you leave. Pick out a couple books that the kids don’t get until the trip. Think coloring books, how-to-draw books, colored pencils, (washable) markers, crayons, friendship bracelets, puzzles, and origami. Kids can draw fish, coral, flora and fauna they saw swimming or ashore, and identify them on waterproof ID cards—an excellent way to learn about the islands.
4. Sandcastles And Ice Cream In Cane Garden Bay
Get the kids off the boat to stretch their legs and go exploring, play on the beach or grab an ice cream. It’s a great time to do this if you have some provisioning to do or need to get some water and fuel. Bring walkie-talkies you can keep in touch with your kids and arrange to meet at a mutually agreed upon time and place, or you can drop them off in the dinghy until they radio you for pick-up.
Spend the day at the beach! Supply your kids with tools for building sand castles or water toys like paddle boards and snorkels. You can purchase waterproof bags for towels, sunscreen, bug spray, dry t-shirts, books, and anything else that needs to stay dry. My sister and I spent hours exploring! Just a dinghy ride around to another anchorage or walks down the beach can scratch the itch for adventure or exercise.
Living all together on a boat for a week (or more) is an excellent chance for learning activities. Play word games,card games, make up stories, read pirate lore aloud or discuss family history while underway. Books such asAlphabet of Boats and ABC of Boat Bits can help teach the whole family to identify the difference between a ketch and a yawl, or identify the clew on a sail or the boom and the mast, allowing you to quiz each other. I loved family sailing trips as a kid because our parents had the time to play with us.
10 Tips For Planning The Perfect First Time Sailing Adventure
- Planning the trip
- The crew - The good bad and the ugly
- Communications in the islands
- Currency & credit cards
- Navigation in the islands
- What to bring
- Planning the itinerary
- Island etiquette
- Safety and security
It has often been said that planning the trip is half the fun. From deciding which charter company to use, the type of vessel, sail or power, the process should be fun and the entire crew should participate. If possible get the crew together for a Painkiller party that gets everyone in the island frame of mind. Talk about expectations, activities, provisioning options, and meal planning.
Make sure everyone is compatible and expectations of the trip are aligned. What is everyone’s appetite for enthusiastic sailing versus spending more time ashore hiking or beaching? If you have not sailed together before think about discussing the following points:
- Sharing the cost of food and fuel
- Keeping the boat tidy at all times and cleaning the head area after use
- sharing cooking duties
- respecting each other’s need for privacy and personal quiet time
- use of the dinghy
- participating in the running of the boat
Staying connected in the islands can be an expensive proposition, however there are a few tips that can help you save money. If you take your cell phone with you the first thing to do is to turn data roaming off as it can cost up to $20 per megabyte in the BVI. If you have an unlocked GSM phone (ATT/ T-Mobile) then we suggest purchasing a SIM card which is available from Mr.SIM or direct through the local carrier LIME or Digicel. This will allow you to call home for less than 30 cents per minute. Phones can be rented on the island, although this option is expensive. You can also purchase a pay-as-you-go phone for around $40-$50 dollars.
Wi-Fi is generally available throughout the islands but you will need to seek out a local marina or restaurant and get a password for access. Speeds are minimal but usually enough to place a Skype call.
The U.S. dollar is the local currency in both the U.S and British Virgin Islands. Major credit cards are widely accepted at the larger restaurants and marinas but not at the smaller establishments. Therefore you will need to bring adequate cash to cover these purchases and for nightly mooring fees that run around $30. ATMs are available at key locations but not everywhere so do not rely on them to replenish dwindling cash supplies. Inform your credit card company of your trip before you leave so they don’t shut down your card due to strange and exotic ATM location withdrawals.
The Virgin Islands offer an ideal setting for a first time charter. The islands are close in proximity, the passages are largely protected by the formation of the island chain and anchorages are abundant and protected. Most charter vessels are equipped with GPS plotters, however since the islands are closely situated, you will be navigating with a chart and Cruising Guide. You will find a chart of the area aboard upon arrival and you will receive a thorough chart orientation before departure. For a list of island waypoints check the Cruising Guide or click here. Spend a little time getting to know water color and relative depths as this will prove more useful than a GPS.
When planning a charter in the BVI there are a couple of options available to you. Allow the charter company to provision you from a pre-selected plan. This saves a lot of time but limits your personal choices. Different companies have different plans so ask for sample menus.
Provision yourself from one of the local markets like Riteway or Bobby’s Market. Riteway has a complete provisioning list and they will deliver it to your boat. This is a good option if you have special dietary needs or are looking for particular foods.
Food is generally speaking expensive in the islands and we highly recommend stocking up before the charter as food and drink items become increasingly more expensive on the smaller islands due to logistics.
For beer, wine, alcohol and soft-drinks, we suggest contacting one of the larger distributors like TICO who will deliver to the boat thereby saving you some precious charter time. Check the Cruising Guide Provisioning section for detailed listings of places to re-stock along the way. Don’t forget to order plenty of drinking water (at least a liter per day per person).
For a week’s charter you should try and fit everything into a soft sided duffle bag under 50lbs.You will spend your time in shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits so don’t overdo the wardrobe and leave all your good jewelry at home. Your charter company will supply most of the items you require but here are a few items that you should consider: medications & toiletries, sunburn cream, wicking sportswear with SPF protection, polarized sunglasses, camera and batteries, bug spray / mosquito repellent, a dry-sack for taking items ashore, books (electronic e-books if possible), Fish ID book or cards, baby wipes, LED head-lamp for reading, games, spices in plastic bags, nutmeg grinder (for Painkillers), and personal water bottles. Snorkel gear is supplied by most companies but if you have special needs, like a prescription mask etc. then consider bringing your own mask and snorkel and using the fins supplied.
When planning your Virgin Island sailing trip it is important to determine the right balance between sailing activity, snorkeling, diving or shore-side exploration. How experienced are the crew? What is the general appetite for trade-wind sailing? Do you and the crew want to eat ashore every night? All of these factors will determine how you plan your itinerary. Whether you sail around the islands clockwise or counter clockwise doesn’t matter, I always seem to work my way clockwise, the important aspect is to rough out a plan on a Virgin Island planning chart and then modify it as you go along based upon weather and crew requirements. Flexibility is the keyword. Sample BVI itinerary
Virgin Islanders are often rather conservative at heart and quite particular about dress. It is frowned upon to wear beach-wear or bathing suits into town or supermarkets. Topless sunbathing should be confined to the boat.
Great importance is set on greetings throughout the Virgins such as “good morning” or “good afternoon.” It is considered rude to approach people with a question or to transact business without beginning with the appropriate greeting.
Garbage disposal & overboard discharge in anchorages is a concern and your charter company will direct you in this regard.
The British Virgin Islands are consider a very safe area to cruise and there have been very few incidents over the years. Normal precautions should be taken when leaving valuables aboard the boat. Sun protection is perhaps the greatest concern and the easiest to prevent. Always apply cream in the morning and throughout the day, wear sun-glasses and hats.
In the water, be careful not to touch coral, sea urchins or lion fish and don’t swim alone or at night. When using the dinghy at night, operate at low speeds and make sure you have a light visible.
Cow Bones, Shipwrecks & Lobster at Sunset
In contrast to the mountainous volcanic formation of the remainder of the Virgin Islands, Anegada is comprised of coral and limestone. At its highest point the island is 28 feet above sea level. Created by seismic activity to the northeast of the island where the Caribbean and Atlantic tectonic plates meet, Anegada is 11 miles long and fringed with mile after mile of white sandy beaches. Named Anegada or the “Drowned Island” by the Spanish, Anegada is famous for its horseshoe reef that extends 10 miles to the southeast and has claimed over 200 known shipwrecks and provides excitement and adventure for scuba diving enthusiasts who descend on them to discover their secrets. The reef also provides a home for some of the largest fish in the area, as well as lobster and conch. The numerous coral heads and tricky currents that surround the island, along with difficulty in identifying landmarks and subsequent reef areas, have in the past made Anegada off limits for many charter companies, in fact it was once advertised as the “Forbidden Cruise”. Today there is a well-marked channel into Setting Point and with some careful route planning, good weather a pair of polarized sunglasses and a vigilant crew, the trip to Anegada is a delightful 11 mile close reach from North Sound, Virgin Gorda that can, if necessary, be squeezed into a 7 day charter itinerary.
Because of the low profile and surrounding coral heads, Anegada should be approached only in good weather conditions and with the sun overhead in order to see the bottom. Plan on a departure from North Sound, Virgin Gorda by 08.30am in order to get into the Setting Point anchorage by 11.00am. This should coincide with the departure of yachts from the anchorage, leaving available moorings. The distance is 11.2 miles and you should be on a close or beam reach.
Departing from Mosquito Rock, North Sound, lay a course of 008°m which will take you to a waypoint (BV410) situated just to the southwest of the channel entrance and south of Pomato Point. You can also steer a course to the west end of the island which will take you to the same position. Do not lay a course from North Sound that takes you directly to the first set of channel markers.
“A current of 1-2 knots will set you down to the west, so some compensation will be required as you approach the island”
This will take you very close to some shoal water known as Prawny Shoal and over some shallow coral heads known as the Two Sisters, just southeast of the channel entrance. A current of 1-2 knots will set you down to the west, so some compensation will be required as you approach the island. Do not get further east than the rhumb line which will keep you clear of any coral heads and you should be in 20 feet of water or more until you reach the channel markers. If you are north of 18°43.00N you have gone too far so turn around and head south until you can establish the waypoint or identify the channel markers into the anchorage.
Owing to the low elevation of the island the palm trees and Australian pines will be sighted before the land somewhere between 4-6 miles out. Do not turn off course until you have identified both Pomato Point and Setting Point or verified your waypoint (BV410) 18°42.40N 64°24.50W. From waypoint BV410 to Setting Point the course is 076°m which will lead you to the outer set of channel markers a distance of approximately 0.9 miles. The center of the channel between the first markers is located at waypoint (BV411) 18°42.80N 64°23.65W. Depending upon weather conditions you should be able to visually identify the outer red buoy from waypoint BV410, but the buoys are small and if conditions are a little choppy they can be difficult to see. The roof of Neptune’s Treasure restaurant should be visible at approximately 060°m surrounded by palm trees.
Continue through the channel past the second set of markers and onto the last green channel marker (0.6miles) at 18°43.069N 64°23.062W. From here the channel turns northwest and is marked by a further set of red and green markers that lead to the mooring field off the docks of the Anegada Reef Hotel.
What To Do Ashore
Anegada is a unique island that is different from the other islands. It is a fun place to visit and the time spent there should definitely not be spent on the boat. Go ashore, make a dinner reservation, rent a car or scooter or arrange a taxi trip through Anegada Reef Hotel, grab your snorkel gear and head for the one of the fabulous north coast beaches. You should plan on spending at least two days there to explore this relaxed island culture, enjoy the beaches and eat some of the famous Anegada Lobster. One of your first decisions will be where to eat dinner and make a reservation by 4pm. The Anegada Reef Hotel specializes in fresh lobster on the grill, served under the stars on the beach in a very casual environment. Vivian or Lorraine will help you with trips, taxi, rentals and anything else you might need.
“The first thing you should do is to decide where to eat dinner and make a reservation”
Mark & Dean from Neptune’s Treasure supply fish to numerous restaurants around the BVI and their first stop at the end of the day is home to Neptune’s Treasure so you know the evening menu at Neptune’s will feature fresh swordfish and conch served outside when weather permits. The Lobster Pot, Potter’s-by-the-Sea and Pomato Point Restaurant are also close by. In short, there is little likely hood of starving to death and now that dinner is organized you will need to focus on activities and transportation.
Beaches & Reefs
Horseshoe Reef is the Eastern Caribbean’s third largest continuous reef and Anegada’s proximity to the major north-south shipping lanes along with the steady westerly flow of the Antilles current account for the numerous wrecks that have been recorded over the years the earliest of which was recorded in 1523. The north shore beaches are secluded, natural and perfectly protected by the sheltering barrier reef. Visit Loblolly Bay where the snorkeling is spectacular, Bones Bay, Flash of Beauty or Windless Bight. Lunch at the Cow Wreck Beach Bar is a great plan; order your lunch, take a swim and they will let you know when lunch is ready!
Cow Wreck Beach was so named when a ship, in the late 1800’s, carrying a cargo of cow bones, used for button and chalk making, foundered on a north shore reef. The bizarre cargo started to appear along the beach and from that time on it has been known as Cow Wreck Beach.
Dive & Snorkeling
You won't find a dive center on the island so you'll have to organize your trip from North Sound or a neighboring island. Sunchaser Scuba operate from Bitter End and Dive BVI from Leverick Bay and Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. There are a couple of great wrecks off Anegada, including the Parmatta and the Rokus. The sites are well worth visiting but if you cannot arrange a tour you can always snorkel. Head to Loblolly Bay or the less busy areas of Big Bamboo in the west or Flash of Beauty to the east. There is a gorgeous reef at East Loblolly Bay with some parts of a wreck, this site will delight all levels of divers.
Whether you're diving or snorkeling you will enjoy the very healthy reef replete with colorful hard and soft corals, many mazes, tunnels and outcrops plus the occasional nurse shark, rays, turtles, barracuda, huge groupers and schools of tropical fish.
Heritage & Culture
Discover the islands history through a maze of stonewalls built around The Settlement, or through the Arawak’s ancient conch burial mounds in the east end. The salt ponds in the center of the island are the habitat for many migrating birds and also the home of a flock of Caribbean Flamingoes, reintroduced to the island in 2002 from the Bermuda Zoo. Further to the west look for the fields of wild orchids and also the endangered Anegada Rock Iguana, sometimes seen around the Bones Bight area.
“Even a one night stay is worth the trip. Anegada is one of those special places”
After a day of limin’ (Caribbean slang for hanging around) on Anegada, stop by the Anegada Beach Hotel bar for a sundowner, try their famous “Smoodie" while the sun sets across the harbor. This is a local gathering spot so there is usually a good crowd. After dinner, work your way along the beach one bar at a time and enjoy the laid back character of this special place.
The 7 Day Sailing Itinerary
Fitting in a trip to Anegada on a week’s charter is a squeeze, but very do-able providing you plan the itinerary and stick to the schedule. Sandwich the trip in between Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke or Marina Cay depending on your route. Leave North Sound early and arrive at the Setting Point anchorage by 11am. If you can book a car in advance through Anegada Reef Hotel, DW Rentals or S&K Amazing Rentals so much the better, or alternatively arrange a taxi to one of the North shore beaches. Grab your snorkel gear and head off on an Anegada adventure, taking care to book dinner reservations before you leave. Dine on Anegada Lobster under the stars and later wander along the beach for a nightcap.
Next morning a visit to Pam’s Bakery and breakfast at Neptune’s Treasure will start your day off right, leaving some time to pick up some supplies at Lil’BitTaz, purchase a souvenir or two at one of the numerous boutiques and gift stores near the hotel or head off to the beach again for a morning snorkel. An early afternoon departure will get you back to North Sound, Marina Cay or Cooper Island in time for a Painkiller at sundown.
Cruising Guide Publications www.cruisingguides.com
Anegada Reef Hotel www.anegadareef.com
Neptune’s Treasure www.neptunestreasure.com
DW Rentals firstname.lastname@example.org
S&K Rentals www.snkamazingrentals.com
Sunchaser Scuba www.sunchaserscuba.com
Dive BVI www.divebvi.com
BVI Pirate www.bvipirate.com
Copyright Cruising Guide Publications 2014, all rights reserved
Take the family on a new adventure this year and discover a new destination, make new friends and experience the unique character of each of the island groups that comprise the Caribbean Chain. From the Virgin Islands in the north, the islands curve southward through the Leeward Islands to Dominica and on to the Windward Islands that start in Martiniqueand end at Grenada. Each group is unique in both character and temperament offering the sailor distinctly different sailing experiences.
The Virgins remain a premier sailing destination, where large charter fleets offer a wide range of vessels. The island groups provide natural protection and therefore relatively easy sailing conditions ideal for the first timers, but challenging enough to keep sailors returning year after year.
The Leeward Islands span some 200 miles and include ten main islands that embrace Anguilla to the north and west, then gently curving south to Dominica. The islands are rich in their respective history as well as diverse in both culture and language. The sailing conditions throughout the Leewards vary somewhat. Up in the northeast from Anguilla to St. Martin and onto St. Barts, passages are short. Further south the passages become longer, allowing full exposure to the trade winds and swells, making for exhilarating sailing from island to island.
The Windward Islands, from Martinique to Grenada, lie almost across the easterly trade winds which makes for easy passages north and south and are just far enough apart to allow for some wild romps in the open ocean before tucking into the calm of the next lee shore.
When it's winter up north, there is nothing like a Caribbean sailing charter. The sky is blue, the water transparent and the white sand irresistible--not to forget the sun shining every day. Magic! But how do you soak up all that the Caribbean has to offer without exposing yourself to the potentially dangerous UV exposure and a bad case of sunburn?
We are always looking for new products for our Caribbean cruisers and we are just about to introduce a new line of sailing wear that allows you to look good, keep cool and keep you covered. This line of clothing is thin and breathable and yet provides the maximum UV protection available. All of the products in the line comply with the USA - AATCC 183-2010 standards. Wear them for sun protection while sailing, wear them while snorkeling, when you climb out of the water they will wick dry before you know it.
Check back in our store or sign up for our newsletter for more information on this upcoming product line.
To fully appreciate the richness of the Caribbean, it is necessary to get off the beaten path and sometimes this is best accomplished with the help of a local guide. In Dominica, anchored off Roseau, Dominica’s capital, you can recruit the services of a local guide who will lead you on a hike to one of the many waterfalls. Victoria Falls is a vigorous enough hike to keep you away from the crowds. You cross the White River about five times. This is the highest falls in Dominica, with an impressive volume of water from the Boiling Lake. Dive in for a swim, the water is whitish with a high sulfur content which is considered therapeutic for many aches and pains. Our guide coaxed us under a slight shelter of a rock on the edge of the falls where we were treated to a really awesome view of the cascading water.
Read more about this area in the latest Leeward Island Guide now in stock at the bookstore.
At the beginning of the trail to Victoria Falls our guide, Sea Cat arranged for us to eat with Moses and his family at their “Rastaurant”. A traditional Caribbean kitchen and a roofed dining area, you will eat out of a calabash bowl with a coconut spoon - the food is great!
Our oceans cover 71% of the planet and as sailors we are logically positioned to help save and protect this precious resource that has influenced and helped defined our lives. This year we all need to review how we can individually contribute to a global effort to help preserve the oceans of the world. Here are a few simple suggestions to help your green sailing footprint in 2014:
- Know what is below before dropping your anchor. Never anchor in coral or seagrass and use a mooring wherever possible.
- Avoid fuel spills. Never top off your tanks and always keep absorbent rags available when fueling. Keep engine diapers in place at all times to absorb small oil leaks and dispose of them carefully.
- Before pumping the bilge, check to ensure that no oily residue is present. Never pump holding tanks near coral as the nutrients in the sewage promote algae growth that competes with the coral for space on the reef.
- Select biodegradable cleaning products that ultimately end up in the sea
- Reduce packaging when provisioning. Start off by taking your own reusable bags along and try and reduce the use of disposable plastic containers by the use of re-useable storage containers.
- Work clean. Always use ground tarps and vacuum bags when sanding and try to purchase smaller quantities in order to eliminate waste.
- Take only pictures and leave only bubbles.
On his second voyage to the New World, Columbus, with a flotilla of 17 ships chartered in Spain and 1200 men, animals and hunting dogs, hoped to make landfall at Hispaniola, where he had left numerous crew from his first voyage the previous year. At dawn on November 3rd he sighted land in the Lesser Antilles; he named the island Dominica. According to accounts of the voyage, he then continued to Marie-Galante where he landed after sailing by Les Saintes (Todos los Santos) and on to Guadeloupe where he stayed for several days exploring before sailing north, naming many islands along the route. Montserrat (Santa Maria de Monstserrate), Antigua (Santa Maria la Antigua), Nevis (Santa Maria de las Nieves), Saba (San Cristobal), Saint Martin (San Martin) and St. Croix (Santa Cruz)
where he anchored off of Salt River Bay for fresh water. He was then driven by unfavorable winds to Virgin Gorda. Sighting the numerous islands, he named them the Virgins (Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Virgines) in honor of Saint Ursula and the 11,000 virgins, who, threatened by the marauding Huns in 4th century Cologne, sacrificed their lives rather than submit. Virgin Gorda (fat virgin) so called because Columbus, viewing it from seaward, thought that it resembled a reclining women with a protruding belly.
It was not until his third and fourth voyages that he sighted and explored regions of the South American mainland, looking for a passage to the Indian Ocean. The 4th and final voyage ended badly with the loss of all ships in a storm and he remained in Jamaica until ships were sent to take him back to Spain.
The tragedy and legacy of the four voyages to the New World is perhaps that they took place within the broader context of European expansionism and therefore, far from an adventurous journey of discovery seeking spices and new trade routes, the goal was to amass wealth, land and gold, at a time when the church was claiming lands not yet discovered and laying the groundwork for the subjugation of the indigenous population.
It is with great sadness to learn of Tony Snell's recent passing at the age of 91. What a man was he! Tony, and his wife Jackie (who passed in 2001) were the owners of the Last Resort Restaurant and Bar on Bellamy Cay in the British Virgin Islands.Yes, that Last Resort where Tony entertained with his guitar, harmonica and piano, writing his own music and words that kept the whole island in laughter! Who else would have thought to train their dogs to sing along with him? And, of course,there was the donkey that had its own open window to the restaurant so that the diners could give it a taste of what Jackie had prepared for their guests. He was an amazing man!
Tony and Jackie have a son, Jeremy, and a daughter, Jessica. Jessica and her husband Ben have been running The Last Resort for the last few years with Tony as the guest entertainer. They will continue to keep the restaurant open with delicious meals and drinks on the small island of Bellamay Cay.
Our condolences to the family. Tony will be forever in our thoughts.
In his book Spitfire Troubadour, Tony recounts, in his own irreverent style, his early years in RAF flying Spitfires during the second world war. He was shot down, captured, and put in front of a firing squad, but escaped to fly again. He went on to spend ten years as an actor in London, South Africa and the USA where he traveled around the country in an old bus that was later rented to Charles Manson. Needless to say they never saw the bus again. Back in the UK and anxious for more adventure, he set sail in a small catamaran for Spain. The following year he married Jackie and they sailed to the West Indies to start a charter fleet. When the boats were sold they started The Last Resort and the rest is history!
To read his fascinating obituary, click here.
Long before the emancipation of 1834, the Virgin Islands emerged as one of the major boat building centers in the Caribbean. Africans, both free and enslaved, honed the skills of boat building, unique skills no doubt learned from the 18th century Navy and passed on, not through any formal process but by word of mouth. By the mid 1800’s, largely as a result of the imposition of a controversial “Cattle Tax”, riots broke out across the islands, plantations were burned and many residents, including the administration, fled to other neighboring islands, leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves.
Motivated to build a sustainable economy, the communities, utilizing natural skill sets, turned to charcoal production, farming for ground provisions, cattle ranching and boatbuilding for economic survival. The need to transport cattle and produce for trade with other islands, drove the need and expansion of an expert boat building industry. Specializing in small light craft that were ideal for the sheltered waters of the Virgins the “Tortola Boat” as it was called, became the life-blood of the emerging economy. These sailing craft were purchased both by local farmers and businessmen, needing to transport goods to neighboring St. Thomas in order to supplement income, and by residents and farmers of other neighboring islands. The sloops enabled the BVI to become a major supplier of cattle and produce to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The typical Tortola Sloop was built of local white cedar (the BVI’s national tree) about 20’ in length with a moveable rock ballast, generous overhangs fore and aft and a mast and boom of about the same length as the boat with a “leg-of-mutton” sail-plan. These unique local craft transported cattle and ground produce until the need for fresh meat was gradually impacted by the introduction of refrigerated warehousing, after which their use continued mainly to ferry passengers between neighboring islands. The vessels, largely unchanged from their original design, were built and launched with regularity through the 1970’s when, as a consequence of economic development, the advent of small motorized craft and the need to respond to the growing demands of the tourist trade, the building of the original sloop came to an end. Local builders evolved the design to better accommodate a large outboard motor for use as fishing boats. The mast and rig disappeared and finally the hand-built hulls, often seen under construction beneath a crude tin roof by the water’s edge, were replaced with more cost-effective fiberglass hulls.
Today there are very few Tortola Sloops remaining and only two are still actively sailing. In an effort to preserve both the integrity of design and building heritage two distinctly different preservation initiatives are underway. The H. Lavity Stoutt Community College at East End, Tortola, control the two remaining sailing vessels and are active in bringing both funding and awareness to sloop heritage.
On Jost Van Dyke behind Foxy’s Beach Bar, the Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society is building a modern version of the Tortola Boat, the Endeavour II in an effort to advance environmental stewardship among the youth of the BVI. The Jost Van Dykes Preservation Society is a non-profit agency dedicated to the preservation of the history, culture and the natural environment of Jost Van Dyke. The immediate goal is to launch Endeavour II by December of 2013 and to accomplish this they need the support of fellow sailors to raise the estimated $45,000 needed to finish outfitting. Once launched, the Endeavour II will be used as a sail training program for the youth of the BVI and to support and house environmental education programs that the Preservation Society has offered since 2009.
Please take a minute to visit the JVDPS website to follow the progress of the building of Endeavour II and explore various projects under its stewardship. The program to date has largely been funded by charitable donations from visiting yachtsmen, local businesses and volunteers. If you wish to join us in the support of this project, the following link to the non-profit, tax-deductible site is noted below.
Links and downloads:
Read the Article by Executive Director Susan Zaluski - A Mighty Endeavour (Something old becomes something new on Jost Van Dyke).
For further information on this project or information regarding donations, call Bruce Donath at 617-974-1368 or email email@example.com
Visit www.jvdps.org and sign-up for the Preservation Society newsletter and learn more about the scope of the programs to educate the youth and protect the local environment for future generations
With your help, the Preservation Society is mobilizing sailing advocates to complete the Jost Van Dyke Endeavour project and support ongoing environmental educational programs (Jvdps.org/support)