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I’ve heard it said that you must use mooring balls in the BVIs, that there are no places left to anchor. I’ve even heard people talk of avoiding the area altogether or planning to rush through it because they wanted to avoid the extra expense. How crazy would that be? The Virgin Islands are awesome!

To put the minds of those folks at ease, after five weeks in the BVIs, we can report that we did not spend even one night on a mooring ball. In the USVIs we did pay for a mooring ball but only for one night and only because we were in the Marine Park where anchoring is prohibited.

Where did we anchor?

  • BVI – Virgin Gorda – North Sound – Off Prickly Pear Island
  • BVI – Virgin Gorda – Savannah Bay
  • BVI – Virgin Gorda – North Sound – Leverick Bay
  • BVI – Jost Van Dyke – Great Harbor – Eastern shore of the bay, or right up in front of the moorings, close to the beach
  • BVI – Normans Island – The Bight – By the little beach near the Willie T, or in sandy area by the SW corner of the bay
  • BVI – Tortola – Road Harbor – Behind the mooring field by the Ferry Terminal (check your charts to avoid anchoring in the prohibited area)
  • BVI – Tortola – Buck Island – Western shore
  • BVI – Peter Island – Great Harbor – Close to the beach (don’t go too close to the shore to avoid the fishermen’s nets), or in sandy area on NW side of bay
  • BVI – Normans Island – Benure’s Bay – Anchored stern to the eastern shore
  • BVI – Salt Island – Salt Island Bay – Just east of the beach
  • BVI – Peter Island – White Bay – Off the beach, just outside the swim markers
  • BVI – Tortola – Road Harbor – Behind the mooring field by the Ferry Terminal
  • BVI – Great Camanoe Island – Cam Bay – Behind the reef
  • BVI – Ginger Island – South Bay – Off the beach
  • BVI – Peter Island – South Bay – Avoid the floats which mark the island’s desalination plant intake
  • USVI – St. Thomas – Cowpet Bay – Eastern side of bay
  • USVI – Water Island – Druif Bay – Behind the moorings
  • USVI – St. Thomas – Charlotte Amalie – Long Bay
  • USVI – St. John – Round Bay – Long Bay

For more details on each of the bays listed use the search feature on the blog (right hand side bar of this page). There are countless other places that we have anchored as well. Suffice to say that if you are competent with anchoring, you’ll have no problems exploring the Virgin Islands and avoiding the added expense of moorings balls should you choose to do so.

Note: We did pick up moorings balls on several other occasions but only short term (an hour or two) to snorkel or to run an errand. There was no charge to do this.

36 Comments

  1. Great info. Thanks for sharing the reference info. I heard you mostly had to use the moorings. Fair winds.

  2. We also loved anchoring in the BVIs and had no problems. Watch out for backwinding at some places, like Peter Island.

  3. Speaking of your shallow draft. Been kinda window shopping small cats. I would love to get my feet on a 36 ft pdq LRC. seems to be the only smaller cat I’ve seen that has inboard diesels. Not completely convinced that two outboards wouldn’t be just fine , but the cruising range looks a little limited that way. How do you and Rebecca like your pdq ? Looked at a 105 gemini and a seawind 1000xl , and they just seem a little on the small side . Though both of those have more room aboard than my 44 ft islander mono hull. Guess I just need to get out in some rough water on one . They just don’t look big enough for some of the water we have had this boat out in . And I’m used to the 700 mile cruising range under power , that we have now

    • Are you planning to use it for 700 mile passages?

      • a. Gemini and PDQ both have forums that will be easy to find with Google.
        b. Yup, you need to sail a cat–in brisk conditions–before you will know what you think. Different.
        c. You could add tankage, but the thing is; over size tanks lead to fuel problems when not actively cruising. I also can’t imagine leaving on a passage where I though motoring for 100 hours was a possibility. I can’t take more than about 3-5 hours of that, as a rule.

        I certainly like our PDQ 32 on the Chesapeake Bay, as many harbors, coves and channels run under 6 feet; shallow draft opens literally twice as many places and many short-cuts.

      • Just thinking when you hit the doldrums , and end up sitting with no windfor a week.
        That extra range might make all the difference in the world. We are planning on
        Doing the South Pacific islands , and who knows where from there. Kinda got a
        Delay in our leaving date , owner of the company I’m working for made me an offer
        To stay three more years that is really hard to pass up. By staying on three years
        We would have the money to pay cash for a boat like this. Or we could go now , on the
        Boat we have. Just kinda looking at options. I really like what I can see online of
        The pdq.

  4. Our friend, with whom we sailed 2x on his Lagoon, also hates spending money on mooring balls when it could be used to buy rum instead. He would leave his boat anchored in Fat Hogs Bay whenever he returned to Ottawa for Christmas.

    He anchored in Trellis between the mooring field and the beach and near Leverick as shown here>>> http://www.flickr.com/photos/63321157@N08/5918748518/in/set-72157627028611437

    There were some places where we did pick up a ball (eg. JVD-White Bay, Sopers Hole, The Bight) but he usually tried to anchor. Anegada was probably the worst. We had to try 4X but just could not get it the set and ended up on a ball. Now if he had your Rocna maybe it may have been a different outcome. And the more that you do it the greater your confidence.

  5. Five weeks in the VI’s. *SIGH*

    When you say the Virgin Islands are ‘fantastic’ – after hopping from island to island and all look so beautiful, what makes the VI’s get a ‘fantastic’ rating from you? I am just curious as to what may set them apart in your mind.

    And of all the islands you’ve spent time on, what would you say your absolute favourite is so far? And why?

    Because, you know I have to go there if it is better than the BVI. And what island has the best water and beaches? I am thinking, from pics I’ve seen, the Bahamas but I want to hear what you think because you’ve been almost EVERYWHERE MAN! 😉

    • Oh sorry… ‘awesome’ not ‘fantastic’. I just went back and read it again.

    • Why fantastic/awesome? Many islands which good harbors that are only hours apart. Lots of opportunity to hike, swim, snorkel, bar hop, what have you.

      Favorite Island? Grenada. Why? You’ve read our blog, you know why.

      Best water and beaches? Exumas, without question.

      • I knew you’d say Grenada is your favourite island. Great to hear the Exhumas have the best beaches and water. I can’t wait to visit both places. Ever since reading An Embarrassment of Mangoes, I have wanted to go to Grenada. I will have to read back in your blog to when you were in the Exumas and see your pictures from there because I don’t remember.

        Thanks for answering the questions!!

  6. Glad to see this post! This is exactly why I haven’t thought much about the USVI/BVI’s – too crowded and not interested in the “musical chairs” dash for a ball for the night. Anchoring and fewer crowds is more our style. I have been curious though and ordered “Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands” by Nancy & Simon Scott a couple days ago, so when it arrives, I’ll look up the spots you’ve listed. (Used your Amazon link.)

    BTW, thanks for the link to Shane on Guiding Light the other day. I had some questions on Lagoon 410’s and some budget costs for haulouts, bottom paint and on the hard storage and he provided me with some good info.

    Kudos to you and the other cruising bloggers – entertaining and informative at the same time.

  7. One of the nice things about your blog is we are just behind you in Saint Thomas USVI and we now know where we can and can not go . You guys are great we are one of the two canadian boats stalking you from day one. Thanks for the lessons on saving money. As I said before hope to catch up and pay it forward . (svbluemoose.blogspot.com)

  8. Sheesh! Must you broadcast all of the secrets?
    Glad to see you made Statia OK.

  9. Very True Post Mike……Very informative….You never hit Meagan’s Bay on St Thomas?

  10. FYI In the USVI if you are over 60 you can get a National Park senior pass. (available on St John) It costs nothing and gets you moorings for half off.

    D & Don
    SV SOUTHERN CROSS

  11. Hi Mike. We’re finally heading to BVI’s tomorrow & I just found this as I was looking for anchoring information there! Thanks for the post. See you back in Grenada. Cheers, Lynne & Eric (SV Amarula)

  12. Hi Mike

    Would love yo to share & link your site on http://www.goodanchorage .com for fellow mariners & members to read your knowledge & reviews. We are a FREE crowd sourced navigation sharing platform.
    Check out these anchorages in BVI’s with fellow mariner reviews
    http://goodanchorage.com/anchorage/anegada-sw
    http://goodanchorage.com/anchorage/bitter-end-yacht-club-virgin-gorda
    http://goodanchorage.com/anchorage/marina-cay-w-coast

    Look forward to welcoming you aboard. Everything you share including anchorages are credited to your user name which can e your name, vessel name or even blog, URL.

    Regards
    Good Anchorage Team

  13. when you say that you anchor on those places you sleepaboard on them

  14. Mike, does your amazon link on your page still work? I don’t see a search bar or anything “clickable”. (Unless it doesn’t work with Chrome of course). I’ll happily use that if it assists you guys out.

    • Yes, and thank you!

      There is a search box half way down in the right hand sidebar. Type into that box whatever item you are looking for. The pages you are brought to include our affiliate info (I think). 🙂

  15. Thanks for your comments and detailed anchorage list. We have stumbled on a few of these exact same spots (like tucked behind the mooring balls adjacent to customs in Road Bay) and have found them quite perfect for what we were up to on a specific day. We have also not used a mooring yet, other than day use (such as at The Baths) and have had success doing so. We are here for another week or so and we are looking forward to more exploring here. Great so far!

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