Honeymooning in the British Virgin Islands

Newlyweds Vicky and Adam

When planning the dream winter wedding, our honeymoon was the last thing on my mind. Although, with our winter theme effectively limiting the choice of hot honeymoon destinations, we decided to plan an intimate long-haul sailing holiday to soak up the Caribbean rays in style.

Admittedly, when my then fiancé first floated the idea of a sailing holiday for our honeymoon, I was slightly apprehensive. Of course I was sold on the British Virgin Islands as a destination, but I had massive reservations about the two of us sailing a “huge” yacht all by ourselves. I was asking myself, was this safe? Did Adam really know what he was doing? Would this really be a relaxing break for both of us?

While Adam had grown up sailing in Maine’s Penobscot Bay, I had never seen him sail a large charter, and he certainly didn’t have any recognised qualifications to speak of. But after chats with Adam’s dad, an experienced sailor himself, the pros definitely outweighed the cons — especially after Adam offered to take full control over planning the getaway!

Bon Voyage!

After the most magical day surrounded by glistening January snow, we couldn’t wait to unwind on palm-studded beaches in the Caribbean. Arriving to a complimentary bottle of local rum and an upgrade to a “La Vida” Moorings 42.3 Beneteau Oceanis Monohull, we woke up the following day eager for the Moorings onboard briefing.

Calming any nerves I had about the upgrade to a larger yacht, our friendly Moorings staff ensured we were well prepared with optional sailing itineraries, chart briefing and a thorough safety briefing, making it a lot easier to learn our way around her.

Our home for the next 10 days had three airy cabins and two bathrooms — so spacious in fact, we ended up using the extra two cabins as our own personal dressing rooms! With no Wi-Fi onboard, we could really disconnect for the first time in weeks leading up to the wedding. It was pure bliss to unplug from the world and finally enjoy our own company. The yacht also came with a great sound system, which we were able to sync with our phones and blast out our ultimate Reggae playlists!

The final job before we left was stocking up on all the supplies we’d need for the next 10 days, including our secret stash of Mount Gay rum and ice, and off we went. It didn’t take long before Adam had the boat under full sail, showing me the ropes while on a broad reach of 20 knots —what an amazing feeling!

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Create Your Own Romantic Itinerary

One of the best things about our honeymoon yacht charter, was the fact that we could sail at our own pace, on our own schedule. Wanting to see as much as possible, we managed to visit a total of 12 islands in 10 days. Planning a rough itinerary before we left the marina allowed us more than enough time to embrace the unique charm of each island. Using The Moorings sailing itinerary as a starting point, we were able to cherry pick and prioritise the most idyllic, sun-kissed locations to sail to. On our island-hopping tour, we stopped at Tortola, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, Little Jost Van Dyke, Sandy Cay, Guana Island, Marina Cay, Virgin Gorda, Mosquito Island, Anegada, Prickly Pear and Cooper Island.

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Unwind on Island Time

As a general rule of thumb we aimed to complete most of the days sailing in the morning. Reaching our final destination by early to mid-afternoon meant that we would get a better choice of moorings and secluded anchorage spots for that extra bit of privacy. We then had more time to go out on day trips in the afternoon, once it had cooled down a bit.

Understandably, snorkeling quickly become our favourite daytime activity. From the shimmering star coral formations on the Ginger Steps to the spectacular red hues along the Painted Walls, it’s so easy to dive and come across damsels, squirrelfishes or if you’re really lucky a pod of dolphins!

Rum punch on the waterWith regards to food, what we needed after our supply-run, we just picked up locally along the way. The local produce’s wide selection of fresh fruit, veg and seafood was fantastic! When we weren’t dining in chic villages dotted along the BVI, we would usually have a BBQ and watch the sun set on balmy evenings.

It wouldn’t have been a proper holiday in the Caribbean without some of the world’s best distilled rum. With rum cheaper than mixers, we saw no harm diving right in! With only one rum distillery operating in Tortola, it also holds the title of being the oldest distillery in the Caribbean. We’d definitely recommend Painkiller and Pusser’s Rum. This iconic blend of West Indian rum created from an old Royal Navy’s recipe is the BVI’s signature cocktail. It has all the sweetness of a Pina Colada, with an added twist and a hint of spice – an absolutely perfect way to unwind after a day’s sailing!

Must Sees

Rather than give you a step-by-step guide to our romantic getaway, I want to highlight what our best bits of the trip were, and leave you to plan your own adventure.

  • Norman Island – A short hop over from Tortola makes this stop great for your first night, as it is a relatively short sail. Enjoying our first evening cocktail at the Pirate’s Bite, and watching the sun set over our boat is something I will always remember. Don’t forget to take a run across to Treasure Point, for some turquoise lagoon snorkeling in caves said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
  • Jost Van Dyke – In our quest for relaxation we opted for the quieter Garner Bay, eating at Sidney’s Peace & Love. With simple authentic Caribbean food the restaurant also had an honesty bar to help wash everything down. We also spent another night around the corner at Diamond Cay, making the trek over to Bubbly Pool. Definitely worth the time, as the large Atlantic rollers come crashing through a narrow gap in the rocks into a gorgeous sand-lined pool.
  • Sandy Cay – This is a small island just off Jost Van Dyke, and is a perfect lunch stop (no over-night moorings permitted). When you think of sailing in the Caribbean the image you conjure up will almost certainly be Sandy Cay. An absolute jewel of an island with palm lined sandy beaches and a path around it that isn’t much more than a 20 minute leisurely stroll.
  • Virgin Gorda – Being one of the larger islands, there’s a lot of activities to keep you entertained for day. We spent an afternoon playing in The Baths, clambering over the rocks and through the incredible natural boulder field. If you aren’t a confident swimmer, I would recommend heading to The Baths from Spanish Town instead. We then continued to spend the night in a beautifully quiet spot, tucked in behind the reef just off Mosquito Island.
  • Anegada – To the north of Virgin Gorda, Anegada stands out from the other islands with its rugged and mountainous coastline. It can be a bit intimidating to moor, as it is very shallow, especially if, like us, you are in a large monohull requiring nearly 6ft of water. However, once we were in, what a treat! We ended up spending a couple of nights and taking a full day exploring the island on scooters. One place that is an absolute must is making the trip up to Cow Wreck Beach, without a doubt the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. With its miles of white sand and bright clear turquoise waters, all the while the large Atlantic swells crashing over the distant protective outer reef. It was enough to take my breath away.
  • Cooper Island – We spent our final night on a mooring at Cooper Island Beach Club, a British run eco-resort, complete with its own brewery producing some fantastic beers (not that this influenced Adam’s choice of stop at all)

So how would I describe a sailing Honeymoon in the British Virgin Islands? An adventure in the most relaxing place on earth, waking up every morning to an ever-changing tapestry of stunning beaches and turquoise seas. Unwinding with cocktails and amazing fresh seafood in impossibly romantic locations. Very welcoming and friendly locals, who are only too willing to help and share a smile. If you don’t believe me, just go there and see for yourself, you won’t regret it!

Explore the BVI for Yourself

 

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