Nov 21, 2017
Our friend Jessica knows and loves the BVI. Last week she went to see the situation for herself.
It was bittersweet to visit the Virgin Islands last week, seeing the destruction from the hurricanes first-hand, amid the flourishing nature and friendly laid-back charm of the locals. I have a strong appreciation for these islands, having lived there from 1996 – 2004 and my business The Charter Yacht Company specializing in the area for the past 12yrs.
I visit these islands frequently, for both business and pleasure. The focus of this trip was to inspect the islands post-hurricane and help with relief work…and I had a wonderful time, as usual! We explored the shorelines of Virgin Gorda, Marina Cay, Scrub Island, Beef Island, Salt Island, Cooper Island and Peter Island. Many of the homes and yachts have been damaged and the remains clearly illustrate the intensity the hurricanes, but people are steadily cleaning and rebuilding and there is a strong sense of community with high spirits. The grocery stores are stocked with fresh produce and most restaurants are ready and excited for visitors and tourism to return.
Anegada incurred less damage than the other islands and is prepping for their annual Lobster Festival next week. Apparently, the cooler waters from the hurricanes brought a plethora of lobster into the shallow waters, so they are very plentiful! We spent a day at Jost Van Dyke to help clean-up some of debris. Foxy’s Bar was open and served us a wonderful lunch, with Foxy himself full of stories and laughter as usual and saying the best way to help the BVI is to book a charter yacht vacation.
Some of the resorts are hoping to be ready by the Holiday’s, but others will not be ready till later in 2018, and some, such as Bitter End Yacht Club and Peter Island Resort, are planning to rebuild for 2019. There is an abundance of fresh foliage and flowers, the majority of the beaches are pristine with clear turquoise waters, and the reefs are healthy and teaming with sea life.
As we ventured through the islands it was reminiscent of decades ago, with less yachts on the water, make-shift restaurant/bars, surrounded by serene natural beauty. Many are saying that this is the best year to charter a yacht in the Virgin Islands to experience things the way there were decades ago and what made them such a sought-after cruising destination. I also visited the yachts and crew that are ready for charter, most of which were safe from the hurricanes in The Grenadines or USA. Others have minor repairs which are well underway, but sadly many yachts were destroyed. All able yachts, with some brand new 2018 models, are preparing for a busy season.
The standard itinerary may need to be slightly altered, but the thriving natural environment above and below the water is as beautiful as always and most of the establishments will be ready for visitors. Even within the 10 days I was in the Virgin Islands I saw a difference as the debris was being cleared and vegetation was flourishing. I am fully confident that this will be a great charter season with yachts being the ideal platform to explore these beautiful islands in comfort.