The Allens began their planning in the fall of 2017 and booked a charter for the next year’s July 4th week in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). “We invited three other couples; all of us knew each other previously,” says Sherri and adds that the group shared in the planning process, but Richard was the primary communicator with the MarineMax Vacations representative. “Tammy [Worthing] made it really easy for us and answered all our questions. She’s very good at what she does.” The whole group agreed that the MarineMax 484 would be most conducive for their group of four couples.
The Allen group flew to the neighboring island of St. Thomas (STT) in the U. S. Virgin Islands and instead of taking the large group ferry to the BVI, they chartered a private ferry through Dolphin Water Taxi. “Dolphin met us at the airport to take us to the ferry. It was a little more expensive, but we didn’t have pay for a hotel on St. Thomas to take the public ferry the next morning.” Sherri adds, “They took us directly to the MarineMax base on Nanny Cay Marina where we cleared customs. It made the arrival part so easy.”
The whole charter process continued to be simple and straightforward. The ladies explored the area and picked up a few last-minute items they had forgotten to put on their provisions list while their husbands enjoyed the fun, captains’ certification presentation. The presenter even inflated the large, pink flamingo floating raft they planned to use while moored in the bays. Another advantage to the private ferry was the ability to stay on the boat the first night and get accustomed to the boat while docked in the marina. Once they were on the boat and saw the boat setup, the bar on the back and the watermaker, they knew the 484 was the perfect powercat for their charter.
MarineMax provides all guests with a cruising itinerary, but the Allen clan came up with their own which, according to Sherri, is one of her husband’s favorite part of the experience. The first night they went to Cooper Island and then onto Leverick Bay, where they spent two nights. They chose to take the water taxi to The Baths since some of their group weren’t comfortable with the moorings there and getting in and out of the dinghy. Then they took the open-air taxi, which enabled them to see more of Virgin Gorda.
While the raw beauty of The Baths is certainly a not-to-be-missed sight, according to Sherri, Oil Nut Bay is the best place in the whole BVI, and she highly recommends planning a visit. “It’s a private resort but we were allowed to use it since so many places were still being repaired after Hurricane Irma, including Scrub Island,” says Sherri. “The water was so beautiful around the other side of Bitter End at this five-star resort. It’s very expensive but really fabulous.” Sherri says the BVI is like nowhere you’ve ever been. “One of the best things about the BVI is that you’re never out of sight of an island, so it’s not like being in the middle of the ocean without seeing land,” which is especially reassuring to boaters who’ve never ventured beyond their familiar, close-to-shore cruising areas.
Other highlights include mooring in Great Harbor on Jost van Dyke, watching bartenders at the Soggy Dollar make Painkillers by the dozens, and a memorable last night at the Willy T. This BVI trip was so successful, in fact, that three of the four couples are repeating the experience in 2020. “We’ll spend one week with the friends and are bringing our kids for the second week,” says Sherri, who said there’s only two things they’d change for the next trip. “Next time we’ll leave the pink flamingo at home! It was more trouble than it was worth.” The other lesson learned was to pack much less. “You will not wear what you think you will. We basically only needed swimsuits and a coverup.” Furthermore, Sherri says taking the private water taxi rather than the public ferry made all the difference in starting the trip off right. “It was a game-changer.”
5 Reasons to Choose MarineMax Vacations
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- Our own custom amenity-packed power catamaran fleet in the British Virgin Islands with 3, 4, and 5 cabin options
- Access to power boats of all types and sizes throughout the world in amazing destinations
- Explore an extensive resource library of videos and articles to prepare for your trip
- Our commitment is to exceed your expectations and provide an extraordinary experience