Protecting The Coral Reefs

oral reefs, turquoise lagoons and white sand beaches—these are the delights of cruising in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, much of the life underwater is as delicate as it is beautiful, and the boating community will want to do its part in keeping it special.

Basically, this is an environment where, as the result of higher temperatures and increased salinity, calcium carbonate, a crystalline compound found in chalk, limestone and marble, settles out of solution, creating a friendly environment for many forms of marine life. Some, like corals, use the calcium compound for their own basal and skeletal structures; others, like mollusks, use it for shells; others are simply impregnated or coated with a white precipitate.

Where prolific, corals, aided by the one-celled algae embedded in their tissues, form extensive, fringing reefs off the rocky shores, patches of reef in shallow areas a bit offshore, and, in some places, well-formed outer or barrier reefs.

In all settings the reefs are the home to a rich and varied community of marine life. While they are choice sites for snorkeling and scuba diving, they are a direct menace to navigation.

When sailing or motoring near reefs, be on the lookout for dark brown areas, seen most readily when the sun is high overhead. Unfortunately, shadows cast by passing clouds are hard to distinguish from patches of coral.

Inevitably you will want to anchor near choice reef sites to set forth , f on a snorkeling or diving y U ;>; venture. This is where you must be especially careful to avoid both smashing the corals and damaging your boat. Look for mooring fc ^ ,r \ buoys, which are provided ©

in some areas.

An offshore reef with a lagoon behind is usually approached from the shoreward or lagoon side, as the corals commonly form a crest with high wave action on the seaward exposure. Also, there is no protection or

Take only pictures-Leave only bubbles.

anchoring in the steep drop-off beyond the reef. Note carefully the currents around the area you are going to explore to be sure you can safely return to your base of operation.

Once overboard and enjoying the reef, always bear in mind that almost everything living in coral communities is very delicate. Touching the sea fans or corals is frowned upon, and collecting anything other than fish is generally taboo. If you turn over a rock or piece of dead coral while exploring the rich life in hidden places, always put it back as you found it. And, by the way, don' t feed the fish—food meant for humans is not their best diet, and you would be altering their natural behavior.

A good motto is "Take only pictures; leave only bubbles." Good pictures will last, whereas all that is so beautiful on the reefs will dry out and fade on shore.

Ardent conservationists often regret the widespread fishing that is permitted in the islands: Unfortunately, in the sanctuaries declared off-limits to fishing, the recovery of stocks is not always impressive. Incidentally, fish taken from around the reefs in the Virgin Islands often carry ciguatera—a toxin harmless to fish, but quite disastrous if ingested by humans.

The crystal clear waters of the shallows overlie banks of bone-white sand. Unlike the sand of coasts to the north, which consist of ground-up bedrock, these sands are made up of pulverized remnants of corals, shells and the diversity of life with calcium carbonate skeletal structures. Sometimes the lagoon floor support s dense growths of turtle grass. Initially the sea grasses are green, but the blades soon become coated with diverse microscopic growths, interlaced with the white carbonate precipitate.

Along with the white sand of the shallows, you can usually count on finding beautiful, white beaches in the Virgins. Don't be dismayed, however, if you chance upon a beach which, though every bit as clean as the pure white sand, appears gray or black, due to the ground-up volcanic rock mixed with the pulverized carbonate.

Less appreciated than the reefs and beaches are the mangrove stands along the shore. Their role in stabilizing the shoreline, enriching the coastal waters and serving as a nursery for shoreline life closely parallels the role of the salt marshes of temperate regions. The combination of the reefs, lagoons, grassbeds and mangroves is the optimum coastal environment of the tropics, offering high productivity, good shoreline protection, and a continuous source of fascination to the observer.

Due to the growing numbers of boaters and other visitors seeking the delights of these tropical coasts, however, the coastal regions are feeling the stress. The presence alone of the yachtsmen creates this stress, even when they anchor carefully, dispose of all refuse onboard, and take the utmost care in their treatment of the reefs and shore.

Even more disturbing to environmentalists is the deterioration of the environment from causes over which recreational boaters have no control. Freshwater runoff from poorland-use practices (e.g., unlimited land clearing for agriculture and careless construction practices) is a double threat, particularly to corals that are sensitive to lowered salinity and the accompanying smoth

Reefs Protecting Land

ering silt. Finally, outfalls of untreated and partially treated domestic sewage tend to increase algal growths that smother corals.

Perhaps the most annoying stresses come from offshore. Until recently, passing ships often discarded great quantities of plastic trash into the water. The accumulation on some shores has been atrocious. Hopefully the problem will ease, however, since the passing of a total ban on discarding plastics overboard; compliance has been quite good. Unfortunately, we have not yet completely eliminated the pump-out of crude oil wastes from tankers, which results in slicks that can wash ashore, even when the shipping routes are some distance away.

As guardians of the earth and its creatures, probably our greatest concern is the possibility that global warmi ng and the consequent rise it will cause in the sea level could kill off the world's reefs.

Current predictions of a sea-level rise are on the order of 30 centimeters by the year 2050—about 6 millimeters per year. Some calculations of calcification rates reassure us that healthy reefs can grow to match rising sea levels, but recent histories of bleaching indicate that corals may lose their embedded algae with the rise in temperature and, if they don't die, may suffer from minimal upward growth as a result.

For visitors to the islands of the Caribbean, this brief overview may explain the makeup of the coral reefs and why there can be no anchoring amongst them.

Man is the reefs greatest enemy. It is essential that the reef viewer, whether diver or snorkeler, adhere to these recommenda tions if the lush beauty of the coral reefs and the life forms they support are to be preserved for the generations that follow.

Nelson Marshall, Professor Emeritus of Oceanography and Marine Affairs at the University of Rhode Island, the author of "Understanding the Caribbean."

Marshall Islands Coral Reefs

Contact cither ydurcliarlcr Company, tlaskin In The Sun on VHI Channel 16 or call Buskin on ibrtota 4 2858.


Let Baskin In The Sun-

• meet you at your mooring

• provide staff with experience

• be your guide on a reef or The Rhone

• complete PADI, NAUI or SSI training dives

The BVI-an exceptional combination of distinctive diving and superb tropical attractions.

Contact cither ydurcliarlcr Company, tlaskin In The Sun on VHI Channel 16 or call Buskin on ibrtota 4 2858.


British Virgin Islands

Visitors come to the Virgin Islands to savor the magnificence of the area's natural resources—the steady, gentle trade winds, glorious sunshine, crystalline waters, the splendor of the coral reefs and abundant sea life. This is a fragile area, however, which must be protected if it is to be enjoyed for many years to come.

The anchors of the charter boats have taken their toll in broken coral, destroying the incredible beauty below the sea that once housed many different forms of sea life. In an effort to defend the reefs against the carelessness of yachtsmen, the National Parks Trust has taken a firm stand and has installed mooring buoys developed by Dr. John Halas of the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary. This mooring system is being used worldwide to protect reefs and prevent damage from anchors. It calls for a stainless steel pin cemented into the bedrock and a polypropylene line attached to a surface buoy. The system is very strong and extremely effective in eliminating damage when used properly.

Marine Park Regulations:

• Do not damage, alter or remove any terrestrial marine plant, animal or historic artifact.

• All fishing—including spearfishing— is strictly prohibited. Lobstering and collecting live shells are also illegal.

• Use correct garbage disposal points; do not litter the area. Water balloons are prohibited.

• Water skiing and jet skiing are prohibited in all park areas.

• No anchoring in the restricted area in and around the wreck of the Rhone. When the mooring system is full, vessels should utilize the Salt Island Settlement anchorage and arrive by tender, using the dinghy mooring system provided.

Mooring Usage Regulations

• Vessels must legally have met BVI Customs and Immigration requirements, and have in their possession valid clearance forms and cruising permits.

• The buoys of the reef protection system are colour-coded:

Red: Non-diving, day use only.

Yellow: Commercial dive vessels only.

White: Non-commercial vessels for dive use only on first-come, first-served basis (90-minute time limit).

Blue: Dinghys only.

• Large Yellow: Commercial vessels, or vessels over 55' in length.

• Vessels must attach to the buoy pennant, making sure to avoid chafing of the pennant against the vessel. If the configuration provided is not compatible with your vessel, an extension line must be attached to the pennant eye.

• All buoys are used at user's risk. While the moorings are the property of the BVI Government and are managed by the BVI National Parks Trust, neither bears the responsibility for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the system.

The British Virgin Islands National Parks Trust Maintains Moorings On The Following Islands

Ginger Guana West Dog Great Dog George Dog Cockroach Virgin Gorda

• Norman

• Pelican

• The Indians

• Peter Island

• Dead Chest

• Salt

• Cooper

Charterers may purchase permits through their charter companies, and visiting private yachts may purchase permits through customs. The fees are nominal and go directly to the Parks Trust for the installation and maintenance of the buoys.

United States Virgin Islands

For years the National Park areas have been a favoured cruising area for many yachtsmen. As a result of increased numbers of pleasure boaters enjoying the park, the damage to the underwater reefs and corals has dramatically escalated. Anchors and, even worse, the sweep of the anchor chains have swept the undersea life away leaving only broken pieces of what were once beautiful living corals. The National Parks Service, with the support of the community, has installed moorings and established protected zones around the more susceptible grass and reef areas.

National Parks Regulations

• Do not damage or take any dead or live marine creatures such as sea fans, coral and shells.

• Anchors must not cause damage to underwater features of the Park.

• All sea turtles are endangered or threatened species. Do not harass or harm them.

• Do not disturb or remove shipwrecks or their contents.

• Tyingto shore vegetation is prohibited.

• Feeding of any wildlife in the park, either on land or in the water, is prohibited.

• Fishing ispermitted except in Jumbie and Trunk Bays, with hand-held rod and line.

• Possession or use of any type of spear-fishing equipment within park boundaries is prohibited.

• Florida spiny lobsters may be taken by hand or by hand-held snare. Do not take female lobsters with eggs. Limit. Two per day. Legal size limit'. 3 Vi inches carapace and a 9-inch overall body length. Do not take rock lobster or the lobster species variously called slipper lobster, buccaneer or locust lobster.

• Overnight stays in park waters are limited to 14 nights per year.

• Maintain quiet aboard boats from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

• Water skiing and jet skiing are prohibited in the park.

• National Park rangers may board any vessel in park waters at any time in order to conduct official business.

Trash may be placed in receptacles located at Cruz Bay, Francis Bay, Annaberg, and Little Lameshur.

Mooring Usage Regulations:

• Moorings located within the park boundaries may not be used by vessels greater than 65 feet in length.

• Moorings are maintained by Parks Service personnel. The National Parks Service accepts no liability for damage, loss or injury resulting from the use of defective moorings.

• Help keep moorings safe by reporting and defects or damage to Park personnel.

• National Parks Service moorings are not intended for use in heavy weather conditions when it is recommended that boats anchor in a protected bay.

• No anchoring in Reef Bay, or Little or Great Lameshur Bay, or Salt Pond Bay. Moorings are available in these locations.

The U.S. Virgin Islands National Park Service Maintains Moorings At The Following Locations:

• Whistling Cay

• Greater Lameshur

•Little Lameshur


The Virgin Islands are one of the best sailing and cruising areas in the world. They are also recognised as one of the top dive destinations.

The wreck of the R.M.S. Rhone has become synonymous with the BVI in dive circles, regarded by many as the best wreck dive of the Western Hemisphere.

Superb reefs for both snorkeling and diving are found in and around most of the anchorages. The U.S. Virgin Islands have a series of underwater parks: Trunk Bay, St. John, Buck Island, St. Croix, Coki Beach, St. Thomas. In the British Virgin Islands, the island of Anegada has over 300 documented shipwrecks.

Servicing the needs of the visiting yachtsmen, many professional dive shops and dive tour operators have set up businesses, providing complete services from equipment rental and air tank refills, to tours and instruction.

For the non-diver, a resort course will enable you to explore the underwater world with the aid of an instructor. Full certification courses are available from the individual dive shop operators conveniently located throughout the islands.

The rules and regulations of the marine parks of both the U.S. and British Virgins are similar. See the story on page 53 for details of these regulations.

Medical Emergencies

In the event of diving-related medical emergencies, contact the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF 16 or telephone (809) 722-2943 or (809) 729-6770 for immediate assistance. There is a recompression chamber in St. Thomas at the Hospital Chamber (telephone 809-776-2886).

Your charter company also can be of great assistance,and should be contacted if you run into a problem.


IBluc Wattx Bib er*

• For the sailor/diver... Mike & Keith will meet your yacht and take you on one of our beautiful reefs or the wreck of the

R.M.S. RHONE Dial ISLAND FAX (404) 399-3077

Select Code #1129...For More Information.

• For the inexperienced, we offer introductory and certification courses. • Scuba and snorkeling gear available.

• Equipment-sales and repair. ' Airfill station.

Give us a call or drop in and see us at NANNY CAY MARINE CENTER, BOX 846, ROAD TOWN, TORTOLA CH 16 • PHONE: (809) 494-2847 • FAX: (809) 494-0198


The dive operators of the Virgin Islands, through a cooperative effort, have pooled information to give you these brief but picturesque descriptions of 20 of their favourite locations:

Painted Walls — Long canyons, a cave, a sponge-encrusted tunnel, barracudas, rock beauties, angelfish and a variety of pelagic fish make the Painted Walls an exciting and picturesque dive with 28- to 50-foot depths.

The Rhone — Just about everyone in diving has heard of the classical wreck, the RMS Rhone. Even those who have not visited the B.V.I, have seen the Rhone in Columbia Pictures' treasure diving epic, The Deep. An ocean steamer 310 feet in length, this magnificent vessel sank off Salt Island during an extremely violent hurricane in 1867. After 117 years of silent slumber in 20-80 feet of water, this great ship remains remarkably intact with much of her decking, rigging, steam engine and propeller still visible. Gilded with colourful sponges and flourishing corals, the Rhone is perhaps the most impressive shipwreck in the entire Caribbean.

Rhone Reef—Two coral-encrusted caves are located in less than 25 feet of water at Rhone Reef, Salt Island. A variety of hard and soft corals, fish, turtles and the occasional shark can be found here. Due to its proximity to the Rhone, it is a protected area.

Great Harbour — Directly across the channel from Road Town Harbour lies a large, protected bay on the north side of Peter Island. At the centre of this bay is a shallow coral reef less than 20 yards offshore, beginning in 8 feet of water. Loaded with colourful sponges and a marvelous array of small marine life, the reef slopes gently to approximately 18 feet, then drops vertically to a depth of 40 feet.

Indians — The Indians are four large rock formations that rise from the ocean floor to a height of about 90 feet. Deepest depth is 50 feet on the westward side. The Indians have just about everything for the snorkeler as well as the scuba diver: brain, finger, star and elkhorn corals are abundant, as are gorgonians and sea fans.

Caves — The caves at Norman Island can provide many hours of fun for snorkelers. There is a large variety of subjects for the underwater photographer such as schools of dwarf herring or fry. These fish provide food for the many pelicans in the area. The reef in front of the shallow caves slopes downward to a depth of 40 feet.

Angelfish Reef — One of the best sightseeing dives is a sloping reef located off the western point of Norman Island. Depths here range from 10-90 feet. The high point of your dive will be a visit to the bottom of the channel where a large colony of angelfish resides. There is plenty of fish action at this particular site because of the swiftly flowing currents in the nearby channel and the close proximity to the open sea.

Cooper Island — The southeastern shore of Cooper Island, called Markoe Point, is a sheer rock wall that plunges some 70 feet to the ocean floor. Nurse sharks are frequently encountered lying on sandy floors at the base of small canyons formed by the rugged walls of the island.

Scrub Island — The south side of Scrub Island is a splendid reef with depths of up to 60 feet.

Little Camanoe — The northeastern tip of Little Camanoe offers a 30-foot reef dive. The coral overhangs in this area are exceptionally good. Caution: ground seas.

Seal Dog Rock — Plenty of pelagic fish. Depth of 80 feet. Caution: may have a current. This dive is recommended for experienced divers.

George Dog The rocky point in the anchorage at George Dog is an easy 25-30 foot dive for beginning divers.

Invisibles — (East of Necker Island) Spectacular soaring peaks from 4-70 feet from surface. Flashing schools of every kind of fish, sleeping nurse sharks and all forms of sea life abound.

Visibles — (Southwest under Water Pinnacle off Cockroach Island) Caves, canyons, resident 8-foot green moray and nurse shark. Depths to 70 feet. Spawning area for many species of jacks, snappers, groupers.

Chimney — (West Bay of Great Dog) Winding canyon goes to a colourful underwater arch. Many coral heads with an unbelievable variety of small sea creatures.

Joe's Cave — (West Dog Island) Cathedral -effect cave with schooling glassy-eyed sweepers. Clouds of silversides overshadow a variety of eels, pelagic fish and other species, with an occasional school of bulky, splashing tarpon.

Van Ryan's Rock—(Off Collison Point, Virgin Gorda) Huge lobsters, turtles, and plenty of fish among brilliant corals and swaying sea fans.

Ginger Island — Mushroom coral heads 15-20 feet high, great visibility. Graduated shelves ending at 70-90 feet in a huge sand patch. Pet the stingrays and play with huge jewfish.

Southside of Great Dog Island — Reef runs east and west, 100 yards of island coral, butterfly fish. Exciting dive locations, each more unusual than the next. Expect to see just about anything!

Anegada Reef — Graveyard of some 300 documented shipwrecks dating from the 1600s to the present. Spanish galleons and English privateers with uncountable treasure.

The Chikuzen — This 245-foot ship was sunk in 1981 and provides a fantastic home for all varieties of fish, including big rays and horse-eye jacks. The depth here is less than 80 feet. Located about 5 miles north of Camanoe Island.



3full service locations! Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour Leverick Bay, North Sound Peter Island Hotel

Virgin Gorda • British Virgin Islands (809) 495-5513 • Fax:(809) 495-5347


Cartenser Sr. — (Off St. Thomas, near Buck Island) A spectacular dive on the intact, coral-encrusted hull of a World War I cargo ship in 50-foot depths. Tours easily arranged.

Cow and Calf — Two rocks between Christmas Cove and Jersey Bay, 5 feet below the surface. The lee side of the western rock provides intricate arches, ledges and caves. Many angelfish and beautiful coral.

Christmas Cove — Good beginner's dive on the northwest side of Fish Cay in 40 feet of water. Swim amongst the coral heads. Plenty of fish.

Dog Rock — For advanced divers on the northwestern side of Dog Island in 40-50 foot depths. Rock and coral ledges and caves. Caution: This one can be rough.

Coki Beach — A good place to snorkel off the beach. Coral ledges close to the Coral World Underwater Tower.

Little Saint James — A 40-foot dive on the lee side has some deep ledges to explore, sheltering various schools of fish.

Twin Barges — Located off Limetree Beach lie two wrecks sunk approximately in the 1940s. Although visibility is limited outside the wrecks, the clarity improves inside the ships' chambers.

Carvel Rock — Off of the northern side of this rock, near St. John, in depths to 90 feet, big schools of pelagic fish pass through colourful, sponge-encrusted caves.

Thatch Cay — Divers at the Tunnels here explore 8 different arches and tunnels. The average depth is 40 feet.

Scotch Bank — Off St. Croix, this popular dive spot is a favourite for spotting stingrays and manta rays.

Long Reef— A 6-mile-long reef which provides dives at depths from 30-50 feet. A forest of coral, including pillar and elkhorn colonies.

Salt River — This area has 2 distinct walls. The East Wall plunges from depths of 50-100 feet, revealing many caves and caverns. The West Wall peaks at 30 feet and tumbles to 125 feet. The colours of the sponges grasping the crevices and pillars are awesome.

Buck Island — Off St. Croix, this national monument features abundant tropical fish and a jungle of huge staghorn and elkhorn coral. An absolute must for anyone visiting St. Croix.

Frederiksted Pier — (St. Croix) 30 foot-deep pilings offer splendid diving day or night. The pilings provide a home for bright sponges and algae, as well as sea horses, crabs and octopus.

Cane Bay, Davis Bay and Salt River —

All have walls of coral from 20 feet to over 1000 feet. Several anchors have been discovered along the wall. One of the most-photographed anchors is nestled in sand at

60 feet on the Northstar Wall.


On the morning of October 29,1867, the R.M.S. Rhone was at anchor outside Great Harbour, Peter Island. The Rhone, under the command of Captain Robert F. Wooley, had left Southampton on October 2, 1867, and was taking on cargo and stores for the return crossing.

The R.M.S. Conway, commanded by Captain Hammock, lay alongside.

The stillness of the tropical day was undisturbed as the sun blazed down from a vlear sky upon calm seas. As the morning wore on, the barometer began to fall, hinting the weather might deteriorate. The seas, however, remained untroubled. Although the captains alerted themselves, work was allowed to continue. Captain Wooley hailed Captain Hammock that he did not like the look of the weather and, as the hurricane season was over, it must be a northerly brewing. Wooley felt they should shift to the northern anchorage of Road Harbour, Tortola.

About 11 a.m., the barometer suddenly fell to 27.95 degrees. The sky darkened, and with a mighty roar a fearful hurricane blew from the north/northwest. The howling wind whistled through the shrouds and tore at the rigging. With engines going at full speed, the ships rode the storm.

At noon there came a lull in the storm. The Conway weighed anchor and headed toward the northern anchorage of Road Harbour. As she steamed across the Sir Francis Drake Channel, she was hit by the second blast of the hurricane. Her funnel and masts were blown away, and she was driven onto the island of Tortola.

The Rhone tried to weigh anchor during the lull, but the shackle of the cable caught in the hawse pipe and parted, dropping the 3,000-pound anchor and some 300 feet of chain. With engines running at full speed, she steamed seaward in order to seek sea room to weather the second onslaught. She had negotiated most of the rocky channel and was rounding the last point when the hurricane, blowing from the south/southeast, struck, forcing her onto the rocks at Salt Island where she heeled over, broke in two, and sank instantly, taking most of her company with her.

— Courtesy of R.M.S. Rhone by George and Luana Marler

Underwater Hawse Pipe Sailboat

— Courtesy of R.M.S. Rhone by George and Luana Marler




Open End Wrenches(Set)

Water Pump/


Open End Wrenches(Set)



Aqua Action Thomas






Crow's Nest-



R.M.S. RHONE NATIONAL PARK No Spearfishing, Linefishing, Taking of Coral or Shells, or Anchoring in the Wreck. GOVERNMENT OF THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

This is a diagram to the Rhone as it is positioned underwater.






Certification & Telephone Resort; Instruction




Anchor Dive Center

St. Croix

Salt River




G, C

Aqua Action

Secret Harbor Hotel

St. Thomas, USVI 00801




G, C, R

Caribbean Divers

Red hook

USVI 008-01





Cruz Bay Watersports

St. John, USVI 00831




G,C, R

Cruzan Divers, Inc.

Frederiksted, St. Croix, USVI 00&40

809-772-3701 500-247-Ô1Ô6




Joe Vogel Diving Co.

St. Thomas

Villa Olga, St. Thomas, USVI 008-01

8Ö9-775-7610 &00-44&-6224 £>09-774-1370 (Fax)




Chris Sawyer Diving Center

FtydenhoJ, St. Thomas, USVI 00&02.





Chris Sawyer Diving Center

Smith Bay

Stouffer Grand Beach Resort Smith Bay, St. Thomas, USVI 00Ô02

£>09-775-1510, Ext. 7&50 Yes


G, C, R

St. John Water Sports The Dive Shop

Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI 00830





St. Thomas Diving Club

Bolongo Bay, St. Thomas, USVI 008-01




G, C

Underwater Safaris

Yachthaven Frenchman's Reef

St. Thomas, USVI 00801




G, C

Underwater St. Croix

Green Cay, St. Croix. USVI 00&24




G,C, R

V.I. Divers The Arrtoines

Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI OO&ZO

809-773-6045 800-544-5911




Virgin Islands Diving School

St. Thomas, USVI 00&01

809-774-Ô687 809-774-736Ô (Fax)




Dive Experience

Chri6tiansted, St. Croix 00820






Baskin In The Sun

Prospect Reef Soper's Hole, Village Cay

P.O. Box 108> Road Town, Tortola

809-494-2Ô5Ô 809-494-2Ô59 £>00-233-7938 809-494-5853 (Fax)




Blue Water Divers Mike & ICeith Royle

Road Town, Tortola, BVI




G,C, R

Dive BVI Joe Giacinto

V.G. Yacht & Leverick Bay, Peter Island

P.O. Box 1040 Virgin Gorda, BVI

809-Ô48-7078 Ô09-495-5513 809-495-5347 (Fax)



G, C, R

Kilbride's Underwater Tours Bert Kilbride

Virgin Gorda

P.O. Box 46 Virgin Gorda, BVI

800-932-42Ô6 809-495-9638



G, C, R

Rainbow Visions Photography Jim & Odile Schelner (Underwater Video)

Prospect Reef Resort

P.O. Box 6&0 Road Town, Tortola BVI





Underwater Safaris Road Town, Cooper P.O. Box 139 8-09-494-3235 Yes Yee

Tony & Maureen Green Island & Marina Cay Road Town, Tortola BVI £>09-494-3965

Underwater Safaris Road Town, Cooper P.O. Box 139 8-09-494-3235 Yes Yee

Tony & Maureen Green Island & Marina Cay Road Town, Tortola BVI £>09-494-3965

The Most Popular Chartering Destination in the World

Surprisingly, yachting vacations can be had for an all-inclusive price that may be no more than the cost of a normal first class hotel vacation.

Whether you are bareboating, needing a captain for a day, or perhaps the whole crew to pamper and guide you to the fascinating sights of the islands...

You can learn to sail, snorkle, windsurf or scuba dive off your own private charter yacht.

I eave the details to us. As experienced sailors and charterers, we know the boats, the crews, and the islands.

Call Executive Travel Associates Caribbean Yacht Charter Agents TOLL-FREE 1-800-785-SAIL

chief minister administration buh ding f

chief minister administration buh ding

Dear Yachtsmen:

Welcome to the Yacht Chartering Capital of the World! The British Virgin Islands is homeport of the largest bareboat fleet in the world.

The BVT is an archipelago of some 40 islands, islets, rocks and cays offering a wide variety of water-based activities. Whether you are a first-time charterer or a seasoned sailor, you will find that the British Virgins are ideal for testing your skills.

If you wish to test your angling skills, the BVI is renowned for sportsfishing, deep and shallow water, e.g., bonefishing on Anegada. Or, if your wish is to get even closer to nature, you may explore our undersea world. We have some of the most varied dive sites in the Caribbean and, perhaps, more wrecks than any other Caribbean destination, several completely unexplored.

Our waters are safe and extremely manageable, surrounded by numerous protected anchorages. Our people are warm and as friendly as the balmy tradewinds constantly blowing over the islands.

I have always been a strong advocate of making sure that the BVI remains a competitive "Yachtsman-Friendly Destination." To this end, the Government has enacted legislation to make sure that the destination remains on the cutting edge of the chartering industry, and to broaden the mix of yachts based in the British Virgin Islands. This legislation also streamlines the process of clearing customs and immigration at our ports of entry, ensuring that you have more time to enjoy your vacation.

We are glad to have you and we look forward with anticipation to your next visit, with your friends.

H. Lavity Stoutt

Chief Minister and Minister of Tourism


Thomas Sailing Routes


Coral Reef ThomasInformation About The Virgin Islands

Not to be used for navigational purposes. All depths and distances are approximate.




Johnson (Jeep-


Soon dings In Fe£t At Low WateC.

Scall In Wajjtical Miles




Scale. In Mautical Miles»

Not to be used for navigational purposes. All depths and distances are approximate.


A large, high island, Jost Van Dyke lies to the north of Tortola and becomes visible to yachtsmen sailing from St. Thomas upon entering Pillsbury Sound. With a population of approximately 200, the island remains relatively unspoilt. The largest settlement is at Great Harbour which is also a port of entry into the BVI.

Named after a Dutch pirate, the island is known as the birthplace of Dr. John

Lettsome, born on Little Jost Van Dyke in 1744. Dr. Lettsome later returned to England and founded the London Medical Society and the Royal Humane Society. Known for his good sense of humour, Dr. Lettsome wrote the following: I, John Lettsome, Blisters, bleeds and sweats 'em. If, after that, they please to die, I, John Lettsome.

White Bay

White Bay is the westernmost harbour on the south side of the island. Aptly named for its beautiful stretch of white sandy beach. White Bay is an excellent anchorage under normal sea conditions. During the winter months, however, ground seas can make it an untenable anchorage, suitable for day stops only.


White Bay is a relatively small anchorage with limited swinging room once inside the reef; however, there is room for several boats anchored properly. Although there are three entrances through the reef, it is recommended that you make your approach between the middle of the two reefs, leaving the red buoy to starboard and the green to port.


The channel will carry 10-12 feet. Once inside the reef, anchor to port or starboard in approximately 7-10 feet of water with a sandy bottom. Do not anchor in the channel, and stay well clear of the shoal spot just off the black rocks to starboard of the channel entrance.


White Bay Sandcastle is a small, attractive resort that serves luncheon and dinner by reservation. Call on VHF 16. The reef provides excellent snorkeling.



Not to be used for navigational purposes. All depths and distances are approximate.

A normally sheltered harbour lying at the foot of 1000-foot-high peaks, Great Harbour is a port of entry into the BVI and is the largest settlement on the island.


This is a straightforward entrance and no real hazards exist. Entering the harbour from east or west, it is advisable to give both shorelines a reasonable berth. There is a large reef, extending out 300 yards, ringing the inner shoreline, so anchor before you reach it.


Anchor anywhere outside the reef in 15-30 feet of water. It can be difficult to get your anchor to hold, but once well set you should be okay.


Take the dinghy ashore through the break in the reef. Head directly for the dock in order to avoid shallow coral heads. The customs officer for Jost Van Dyke

Great Harbour will clear vessels in or out of British waters for both customs and immigration.

Down the beach to the west is Club Paradise Bar. Christine's Bakery and her delectable fresh baked bread can be found following the road next to customs. Ali Baba's is a local West Indian bar/restaurant which also sells crafts, and Happy Laury's offers informal dining with occasional entertainment.

Foxy's Tamarind Bar and Grill is located in the eastern end of Great Harbour, with the dock in front. It has become an institution for cruising boats over the years. Foxy and Tessa hosted the Wooden Boat Regatta for many years. They are open for lunch and dinner daily with Foxy entertaining often, singing his calypso ballads. Don't miss their gift shop!

The Jost Van Dyke ferry operates between West End and Great Harbour.

To rid your boat of unpleasant freight, there is a garbage disposal bin located near customs.

Not to be used for navigational purposes. All depths and distances are approximate.

Little Harbour

Little Harbour, or Garner Bay, as it is sometimes called, lies to the east of Great Harbour. Once used as a careenage for island sloops, the harbour now caters to charter parties, with three restaurants ashore.


The entrance to Little Harbour is straightforward and deep. There is a shoal area to port when entering, but the channel is wide and clear.


The traditional anchorage is off the western end of the bay in 12 feet of water, but in recent years boats have been anchoring all over the bay.

The shore is rocky along the east side, but the bottom is clean, hard sand. Ensure that your anchor is well set with sufficient scope, as parts of the harbour are very deep. Or pick up one of the moorings and pay for it ashore at the appropriate restaurant.


For those who enjoy hiking, there is a small track that takes you about 1000 feet up the mountain. For those ambitious enough to make the climb, the views are spectacular.

There are three restaurants in the bay. On the eastern side is Abe's By the Sea, and on the other side of the bay are Sidney' s Peace & Love and Harris's Place. Harris's can provide for many of your needs, offering ice, groceries, fax and phone facilities, as well as serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.




Pig Roast and Live Steel Band Wednesday Night


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Not (o be used for navigational purposes. All depths and distances are approximate.



Not (o be used for navigational purposes. All depths and distances are approximate.

Sandy Cay, Green Cay, Little Jost Van Dyke

The following three anchorages offer spectacular beaches and snorkeling, but should be considered day stops only.

Little Jost Van Dyke

There is a small anchorage on the southeastern end of Little Jost Van Dyke. Entrance from the south presents no hazards. You will find a concrete bulkhead and should anchor off it in 15-25 feet of water. The bottom is sandy and provides excellent holding.

If the Wind is out of the south, the anchorage becomes very sloppy and during northerly ground seas the surge is excessive.

There is no passage between Jost Van Dyke and Little Jost Van Dyke, but good snorkeling exists along the south side.

Green Cay

Green Cay offers a superb daytime stop with excellent snorkeling. Anchor due west of the sand bar in 20 feet of water. It is better to stay close to the bar, as the prevailing wind will keep you clear and the water depth increases rapidly once you are off the bar. During the winter months the ground swell man ages to work around the island, making the area untenable as an overnight anchorage.

The best snorkeling will be found on the reef that extends south of the cay.

Sandy Cay

To the East of Jost Van Dyke is Sandy Cay. Owned by Laurence Rockefeller, there is a botanical tour on the small path that encircles the island. It also affords some spectacular views of the surrounding islands.

The anchorage is on the southwest side close to shore, in the lee of the island. The holding ground is good, but be careful to avoid the coral heads.

Extreme caution should be exercised during winter ground seas, as the waves make their way around both sides of the island, causing surf to break on the beach, making landing a dinghy difficult, if not disastrous.

To the north of the cay is a ragged breaking reef that provides excellent snorkeling when the seas are flat.

Cruise the BVI's

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