Sea Dog Blog

North Sound on the Rebound

 

North Sound Virgin Gorda

NORTH SOUND ON THE REBOUND

The fresh breeze of vitality is evident across North Sound, Virgin Gorda as our favorite watering holes start to reopen in time for the 2022 season.

Saba Rock circa 1970

A perennial favorite of sailors and water sports enthusiasts, North Sound Virgin Gorda is coming back to life as both Saba Rock and Bitter End open for the 2021/22 season. It has been 4 years since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Virgin Islands, laying to waste some of the favorite watering holes in the BVI. As we approach the start of a new season, with relaxed protocols in place, we are delighted to report that North Sound will once again enjoy the ubiquitous sounds of island music, the taste of painkillers and everything water sports. 

Tarpon feedingSABA ROCK has a colorful and fascinating history. Originally the private island home of famed scuba pioneer and marine archeologist, Bert Kilbride and his wife, who became frustrated with the constant stream of “visitors” who would swim or dinghy up to their dock on a daily basis. Not one to pass on an opportunity Bert decided to open up a low-profile island bar they called the Pirates Pub. The island became an interesting bar come museum of Bert’s memorabilia from his wreck dives, including a natural aquarium and a variety of canons, coins and assorted salty characters replete with a blue and yellow macaw. The bar became so popular with sailors, with music and partying continuing well into the early hours of the morning, that it caught the attention of John

Saba Rock pre-hurricaneMcManus who purchased the island in 1997 and transformed it into a resort that became one of the main attractions for charterers visiting North Sound along with Bitter End, Biras Creek and Leverick Bay. The long wrap around deck was a perfect platform for dining 

The new Saba Rock Resort & Marina aerial view

or to watch the Tarpon being fed at cocktail hour. That all changed in September 2017 as Hurricane Irma tore through the islands. Four years later Saba Rock is back under new ownership, completely rebuilt including seven luxurious rooms and two suites, two bars one upstairs and one downstairs serving signature cocktails in an open-air environment. Alain Prion, the resort manager states that notwithstanding the upscale accommodations the new Saba Rock will stay true to its island roots and remain fun and casual. 

 

THE BITTER END YACHT CLUB

The Bitter End pre HurricaneMuch like Saba Rock, The Bitter End started life in the late 60’s as a small rustic bar/restaurant with a couple of sparse cottages and dock. Charter skipper, Basil Symonette sold the property to the Hokin family in the early 70’s and under their stewardship it was gradually transformed into a world class resort and water sports center. The Bitter End has been synonymous with the North Sound since that time and has largely supported the growth of the marine industry as chartering increased through the 80’s to its present size. The Bitter End pre hurricane

Like Saba Rock, Bitter End was pretty much leveled by Hurricane Irma and the decision was taken by the family to completely rethink the entire project. The ground was leveled, and Bitter End 2.0 started to take shape. Covid-19 set the time schedule back a year but now the opening is set for December 15th in time for the start of the 2022 season.

The first stage of the construction project was for the completion of the Quarterdeck Marina, several cottage style accommodation units, a restaurant and small water sports center. The large mooring field of 70 moorings will be replaced and ready for the opening. The Club House will return as a sea-to-table waterfront restaurant joined by an exciting new beach bar recalling the pre hurricane heritage of Bitter End.

Oil Nut Bay DockOIL NUT BAY VILLAGE & MARINA, Deep Bay, Eustatia Sound 

Located within Eustatia Sound to the east of Saba Rock, the Oil Nut Bay Marina Village is designed to accommodate vessels up to 130’ with a total projected capacity of 93 berths. The marina was spared much of Hurricane Irma’s wrath and thereforeNova Lounge has remained open throughout. The village offers relaxed outdoor dining at the over-water restaurant Nova. There is also a market, coffee shop & bakery. Ten mooring balls are available for yachts up to 60’ and one larger ball available for a yacht up to 120’, fuel, water, provisions and ice are available. 

LEVERICK BAR RESORT & MARINA

Leverick BayBuilt in the early 80’s, Leverick Bay Resort & Marina is a full-service facility including a pool, grocery market, 24-hour laundry and air-conditioned rooms. The restaurants offer different venues, the upstairs terrace offering a seasonal menu of classic cuisine and the downstairs beach bar (Jumbies) offers a variety of pub options and Caribbean specialty drinks. The entertainer and would be pirate,Michael Bean showman and musician, Michael Bean turns “Happy Arrrr” into a two-hour beach party. For shoppers there are two gift shops with a selection of tropical clothing and gifts. Leverick Bay is also a good base for exploring by land or by sea. There is also water sports center offering, jet-ski tours, fly boarding, clear bottom kayaks, SUP’s, Hobie cats. In addition, BVI Snuba offers a hybrid of snorkeling and diving, where no certification is required to explore the surrounding waters of North Sound. The marina has 25 slips with available fuel, water and ice. There is also an extensive mooring field. 

 

 

The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands 2022 edition

 

 

  Purchase The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands 2022 Edition here

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There’s "Something Old and Something New” at Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke!

The “something old” is Foxy’s, the iconic forefather of the barefoot, Foxy and Tessa standing by Foxy's signfunky island beach bar. Opening under a Tiki hut with a  makeshift kitchen, it was 1968 and the charter boat industry was in its infancy. Wooden cruising boats with Foxy's signliveaboard sailors would find their way to Jost Van Dyke where the main and only attraction was a tiki hut, a guitar, a cold brew, a lobster or fish dinner and a turquoise blue harbor to anchor in. The rest is history!  

What’s new there now? Credited for putting this beachside utopia on the map, or should we say chart, was the man with the guitar, uncanny wit and salty sense of humor. You can mention Foxy’s name in any one of the sailors bars around the world  and you will undoubtedly end up swapping stories about Jost Van Dyke and the master storyteller and founder of the famous Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta. The frugal cruising sailors that had originally come to Great Harbour had contributed more to the scenery than to Foxy’s cash drawer. However, no matter how little they had to spend, Philicianno Callwood, aka the man you now know as Foxy, made sure they laughed at his colorful, slightly off color and often unpolished, politically-inspired lyrics. By the way, the salty, sometimes just a bit risqué, was always softened with an island beat!  

Foxy and his guitar

The first visiting tourists with a few bucks to really spend came for that island vibe via the epochal Caribbean head boats of the time. Captain Jack Carstarphen’s vintage Brixham Trawler MaverickTrawler Maverick circa 1982 (shown at right circa 1982) and Captain Art Kimberly’s brigantine Romance were two of the true pioneers that made the BVI one of the most famed cruising grounds in the world. They came weekly with groups of tourists lured by stories about Foxy’s, his wild guitar accompanied tales plus drink and good food. The promise was an unforgettable time and it was definitely found on the shore of this larger than life little island in the sun. Other head boats including little Shellback, the schooner Mandoo and traveling cruisers soon followed.   

Tessa and Foxy present dayWhen the one and only “Foxy” added a Mrs. Foxy to the picture at the beginning of the seventies, it just kept getting bigger and better. Wife Tessa and the Fox ushered in the 80’s as a world famous destination. The harbour, once dotted with liveaboard sailors in classic wooden hulls with tall masts and the visiting head/party boats, has grown into a place where you can take off your shoes, put on a smile, have that drink of infamy the very efficient painkiller, your mix or a beer at this salty beach bar that has survived over five decades.  

What’s new at the Tamarind? Instead of letting Covid stifle their optimism and shut down  progress and growth, they used the time to make it more comfortable and accommodating. A deck around the beach barFoxys bar present day and more overhead cover means you can drink and eat, rain or shine. With the seasonal easterlies, you won’t have to go anywhere else for a drink, lunch or just Foxhole Boutique presentsome time to talk boats with old friends or new ones. Extended decking and an arbor serve to expand the use of outdoor space and give you just a little more of what you came to the islands for. For those not wanting to engage in boat banter, a well stocked boutique is just steps away letting sailors share their sea stories without a clock.

Vaccinated can soon skip BVI Gateway

Link to BVI Beacon article

Link to BVI Government Press Release

The BVI Beacon issued the following information on September 27, 2021.

"Starting Oct. 1, fully vaccinated travellers entering the territory will no longer have to register online through the BVI Gateway portal, Premier Andrew Fahie announced Tuesday night on Virgin Islands Party Radio.

Instead, they will need to present a negative Covid-19 test and proof of vaccination, and to test for a fee upon arrival, the premier said of a Cabinet decision made Tuesday.

If requirements are breached, he warned, passengers can individually be fined up to $5,000 and carriers can be fined up to $10,000 per passenger.

Other restrictions have been relaxed in recent days as well.

The nightly curfew now starts at 1 a.m. instead of 11 p.m., for instance, and nightclubs and entertainment venues are allowed to reopen if all staff and patrons are fully vaccinated, according to a new curfew order in effect through Oct. 1.

Health and Social Development Minister Carvin Malone said that training sessions will be conducted with business owners and that arrangements are being made to ensure staff and patrons of such venues are fully vaccinated." continued

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The 2021 Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands Covid-19 Edition

The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands 2021 editionOur 2021 Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands Covid-19 Edition is now available exclusively as an ePub!

By Simon Scott

This special 20th edition of CRUISING GUIDE TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS is a Covid-19 edition. There is a new special section for Covid-19 protocols in both the USVI and BVI, which includes pre-arrival, arrival, and quarantine requirements, designated quarantine anchorages, and testing facility locations.

This 2021 edition will mark our 39th year of assisting sailors and vacationers cruising the tropical waters of both the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. This edition, completely updated, is packed with the latest information on navigation (including key GPS coordinates), customs and immigration regulations, weather, communications, marinas, haul-out facilities, chandleries, dive services, shore-side services, shopping and an indispensable wealth of other valuable information.

The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands is filled with detailed charts of the various anchorages, supported with colorful aerial photography in addition to piloting, anchoring and shoreside information. The Island Connections sections provide valuable telephone, email and website information to make finding island businesses, services and restaurants effortless. 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.

Click here to purchase the 2021 Covid-19 Edition ePub

Click here to view our full current catalog of ePubs.

 

 

BVI Approved Mooring Sites for Quarantining

BVI Approved Mooring Sites for Quarantining

The BVI Ministry of Health & Social Development has announced the long anticipated list of approved mooring sites for use while quarantining on a boat.

In an official press release issued on 12/2/20, the BVI Ministry of Health & Social Development announced the long anticipated list of approved mooring sites for use while quarantining on a boat. An important change included in the announcement is that the boat must remain at the dock until guests have received an Arrival Day/Day 0 negative PCR test result.

The release said, “All persons who arrive in the Territory must enter quarantine for a period of four complete days. Persons quarantining on an approved vessel must anchor or dock at the approved mooring sites throughout the duration of the mandatory four day quarantine."

Additionally, vessels are allowed restricted movement in the Territorial waters amongst the areas approved for quarantine mooring sites. Landing on any site is restricted until guests have received an Arrival Day/Day 0 negative PCR test result.

The public is also reminded that vessels must be provisioned before guests arrive and board. The vessel, guests, the entire party and the 30 foot radius around the vessel make up your “mobile bubble.” This “mobile bubble” allow guests to swim and enjoy our Territory within the specified 30 foot radius of the vessel.

Vessels can also visit the list of marine approved sites in the Territory, however vessels are to be anchored or docked by 6:00 p.m. daily at an approved mooring site until 5:00 a.m. the next day.”

For further information email reopening@bvitourism.com or WhatsApp 284-496-6129.

https://bvi.gov.vg/media-centre/travellers-staying-vessels-subject-quarantine

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BVI Exclusion Zone

Cruisers and charterers sailing within USVI waters should be aware of the changing rules and regulations for sailing in the Virgin Islands and throughout the Caribbean this winter as the various island territories endeavor to successfully manage tourists on land and sea during the current pandemic. The BVI in particular have issued rules allowing boaters back into the country but be careful when navigating around the waters of the USVI to avoid the published exclusion zone. They have boarded and ticketed vessels and in a recent case detained the entire crew ashore while awaiting sarges to be filed. See the government press release here.

Exclusion zone

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BVI Reopens To Visitors December 1

December 1st Reopening Guidelines BVI

Press Release

Premier's Office
BVI Tourist Board

Release Date:

Monday, 21 September 2020 - 9:10pm

Premier and Minister of Finance, Honourable Andrew A. Fahie has announced that the Territory’s borders will be opened to visitors on December 1.

The Premier while addressing the launch of the BVILOVE Launch Tourism Campaign today September 21 stated that the Virgin Islands will open to visitors on December 1.

He said that the Government is optimistic and is vigorously preparing for the re-opening of the Territory to welcome back tourists among others.

Premier Fahie said, “The Territory has two full months to prepare and we as a people must get it right and we must get it done by all  working together, both the Government and  private sector.”

The Premier said that the Government intends to reopen the Territory in the safest way possible using science and technology as a guide.

“This next phase also comes with a risk factor, where if a case of COVID-19 gets into our Territory, then it can go through the whole community very quickly.  That is why we must use technology,” he said, adding, “The concentration must be to use the technology through a simulation prior, to demonstrate that the technology will complement the science to greatly assist us in re-opening in the safest way, humanly possible.” 

The Premier stated that the residents of the Virgin Islands must do their part to suppress the spread of the virus.

He said, “Please note that we who are in the Virgin Islands must also play our part and play it well to ensure that we adhere to all approved social distancing measures. This will also reduce or eliminate any possible spread of the virus.”

Premier Fahie further added, “By each of us, from now, holding each other accountable thereby ensuring that we wear our masks, staying six feet apart, washing our hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds minimum, sanitising, along with adhering to all other approved social measure protocol for us individually and for each business we can successfully operate in this “New Regular” of the COVID-19 era.”

The Government of the Virgin Islands is using a phased approach to the Territory’s borders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 1 of the Controlled Border reentry process commenced on June 2 for Virgin Islands, Belongers, Naturalised citizens and Permanent Residents.

Phase two of the reentry process which commenced on September 1 allowed for several new categories to be permitted into the Territory  including Work Permit Holders; Existing Work Permit Exemption Holders; Residing Entry Permits such as Retirees and Home owners; students of locally based Medical Schools and the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College; persons employed by the Government of the Virgin Islands Bodies, Agencies, Boards and teachers whether public and private; Dependents of Belongers, Permanent Residents, Work Permit Holders and Work Permit Exemption Holders, persons desirous of conducting business in the Territory; and diplomats deemed as Business Visitors.

Phase 2 also allows for the entry of aviation crew, maritime crew, healthcare practitioners/medical staff, emergency maintenance, repair and other technical personnel; and other essential specialised workers in the Territory for no longer than 5 days.

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2020 Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands updates

The Virgin Islands are rapidly changing with post-hurricane openings and rebuilds. As such, some of the information in our guide will become outdated. We welcome any updates and will list accordingly.

Thank you!

St. Thomas

January 2020

Misprint

Page 363: Virgin Islands Yacht Charters

Virgin Islands Yacht Charters is referred to as Virgin Island Charters.

Owners are Kristi and Jim, not John

They DO NOT montior channel 16.

To visit them on the web, go to: www.virginislandsyachtcharters.com or call 340-776-8492.

See their ad on page 15 of the guide.

Anegada

January 2020

Page 271: The Wonky Dog 

"By season 2019, you should find an additional 20 Mooring Balls that will be free of charge with a dinner reservation."

The Wonky Dog has added mooring balls but they are not free of charge--they are available for $30 a night. 

Please visit them at www.thewonkydog.com or call 284-547-0539.

See their ad on page 273.

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How to help in the wake of Hurricane Dorian

Exactly two years after Hurricane Irma slammed into the Leeward and Virgin Islands, Hurricane Dorian, the second most deadly Atlantic hurricane in recorded history wrought a path of devastation on the Abaco Islands of the Bahamas, before slowly moving across Grand Bahama on its way to the east coast of the USA. Reports indicate that at least 23 lives have been lost and that number will no doubt increase as communications are restored. Winds in excess of 165 mph with gusts of over 200 mph, torrential rain and flooding has destroyed much of the infrastructure and it is estimated that over 10,000 homes have been destroyed. It will take years for the islands to recover.

As with the Virgin Islands, immediate emergency needs will be required in advance of the task of rebuilding and recovery. There are numerous aid organizations that working in the area, The Red Cross has over 200 staff and volunteers on the ground. Shelter, water, food and medicines are the immediate concerns along with communications. We should all keep in mind that the recovery aid will be needed long after the pictures of devastation have faded from the front pages of the news media and we should also remember that our donations, volunteer actions and later tourist dollars will help support and rebuild the islands. Please consider a donation to one of the following charities:

  • The Bahamas Red Cross (bahamasredcross.org
  • Salvation Army(give.helpsalvationarmy.org) Works closely with the Bahamian Government’s National Emergency Management Agency. 
  • Global Giving (globalgiving.org) has established the Hurricane Dorian Relief Fund to provide emergency supplies and long-term assistance to help in rebuilding.
  • World Central Kitchen (wck.org), provides food to people after natural disasters. Mr. Andrés and a relief team have arrived in Nassau, the capital, and have begun to identify places where they can set up kitchens on the affected islands. 
  • Yacht Aid Global (yachtaidglobal.org) has set up “Operation Topaz” to bring emergency supplies like food, tarps, hygiene kits and medicine to Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands. The organization works with yachts in the region to coordinate support. 
  • Team Rubicon (teamrubiconusa.org), an organization of military veterans that provides disaster relief, is in the Bahamas. 
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