British Virgin Islands Sailing Vacation

Nothing provides an escape from the winter blues like a tropical vacation to the British Virgin Islands. This post is a departure from the landscape oriented photography I usually do in order to take you with us on an amazing vacation. Before this trip, I didn’t really know you could just up and rent a sailboat somewhere and sail around a bunch of tropical islands anchoring or mooring where you will to sleep and diving right off the back of your boat. People in the US rent motorhomes and travel around in them. While RV’ing seems perfectly normal to us, having spent nearly a year living in Europe, I know that the idea of living in a giant motorhome or trailer and traveling to wide open spaces is about as strange to them as the idea of renting a boat and traveling around to different tropical islands was to me. Though they are both quite popular.

We rented a 4 bedroom single hull sailboat from a company called Moorings. Unfortunately shortly after our trip, the big hurricane hit and wiped out a lot of these rental fleets as well as a good portion of Puerto Rico, but as they rebuild and tourism rebounds, let this be my subtle encouragement to contribute to the rebuilding effort by taking an unique and unforgettable vacation. Little skill is required to operate the boats. Most people sit through a few hour course and then are off. Of course, most people motor everywhere and never hoist a sail.  You can rent a single hull true sailing boat, or a double hull or catamaran style boat. My wife grew up sailing with her family and her cousin Nathan is an accomplished sailer, so we took the monohull boat and used our motor very little.

Once you get your bareboat charter and get it provisioned (you can do it yourself like we did by going to the grocery store, or you can pay your boat rental company to handle it,) you are off and exploring. We enjoyed mostly overnighting in sheltered bays, but occasionally ran into a storm or a desire for a fancy dinner and paid for a slip in one of the many island resorts. Diving was a treat, as you could just roll up to a spot, clip into your mooring and jump off the back of your boat. There are many interesting wrecks in the area to check out.

You fly into Tortola and that is where you pick up your boat. From there many islands are all within a few hours sail of each other and you can plot your own vacation. All of these images and many more can be licensed by following this link to my online archive, then click “search” at left and enter keywords in the “image search” area.

license plate of the british virgin islands

A Virgin Islands license plate on Belle Vue village on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation navigation and maps. The navigation screen on our boat did go out the first day, fortunately Nathan and programmed all his routes into his handheld GPS before we left.

Friends having fun on rented boat during British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Monique and Nathan getting their bearings underwater on our first dive.

A stingray in the bay at Cooper Island during a British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

The Baths at Devil’s Bay National Park on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

The Baths at Devil’s Bay National Park on Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

SCUBA diving the coral reefs and boat wrecks in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

Rental sailboats in the harbor with oncoming weather during British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Conch Shells littered on Prickly Pear Island near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

woman with conch shells up to her ears on tropical island

Monique plays with Conch Shells littered on Prickly Pear Island near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Conch Shell in the sand on Prickly Pear Island near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Snorkeling the pristine waters of Prickly Pear Island near Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

The Ole’ Red Box on Pusser’s Marina Cay in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

ye ole'red box in prussers marina

The Ole’ Red Box on Pusser’s Marina Cay in the British Virgin Islands.

A sign pointing out the attractions at Pusser’s Marina Cay in the British Virgin Island.

Monique taking over steering duties.

Captain Nathan having fun on rented boat during with rainbow British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Sandy Cay near Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

SCUBA diving the coral reefs and boat wrecks in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Irma destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

SCUBA diving the coral reefs and boat wrecks in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

SCUBA diving through a cave

Route finding is sometimes tricky as we had to swim through a shallow arch to find the start of our dive route. All navigation is done underwater

Monique being a goof. She thought diving would scare here, but now she can’t get enough of it.

Boats moored in the bay on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Belle Vue village on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Old shirts decorate Foxys bar and restaurant on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Foxys bar

Old shirts decorate Foxys bar and restaurant on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Monique relaxes in a hammock on Belle Vue village on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

The dive shop in Belle Vue village on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands.

A colorful store front in Belle Vue village on Jost Van Dyke island in the British Virgin Islands.

Diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

Diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

scuba diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone

Diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

Diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

Diving the wreck of the RMS Rhone in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

SCUBA diving the coral reefs and boat wrecks in the British Virgin Islands from a rented sailboat just before hurricane Maria destroyed most of the islands and the rental boat fleet

Sunset drinks in the water bar at Cooper Island Beach Club on Cooper Island in the British Virgin Islands bareboat yacht charter vacation.

Our flight back to the US, as almost all flights do, passed through Puerto Rico. We decided to stay over a few nights and explore the old town where I once worked for a few weeks during my time as a photojournalist with the Associated Press. A lot has changed, and unfortunately the damage from hurricaine Maria shortly after we left was tramendous.

Colorful doorways and walls are a staple in the historic city center of Old San Juan on the island of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colorful doorways and walls are a staple in the historic city center of Old San Juan on the island of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colorful doorways and walls are a staple in the historic city center of Old San Juan on the island of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colorful doorways and walls are a staple in the historic city center of Old San Juan on the island of San Juan Puerto Rico.

The famous feral cats are all over in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

The famous feral cats are all over in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

the feral cats of puerto rico

The famous feral cats are all over in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

A woman walks through the Fort San Cristobal in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colonial era architecture at the Fort San Cristobal in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colonial era architecture at the Fort San Cristobal in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

The parapets along the wall of Colonial era architecture at the Fort El Morro in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico as seen from the walls of El Morro

Iguanas are a staple along the lawns and walls at the Fort San Cristobal in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Visitors to the waterfall in the El Yunque Rain Forest in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colorful doorways and walls are a staple in the historic city center of Old San Juan on the island of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Colorful doorways and walls are a staple in the historic city center of Old San Juan on the island of San Juan Puerto Rico.

Sunset at the Castillo San Felipe Del Morro in the historic town of Old San Juan in San Juan Puerto Rico.

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Fine Art Landscape Photography

Lake Tahoe Landscape Photographer

Scott Sady is a freelance and fine art landscape photographer based in Lake Tahoe and Reno. Scott specializes in Lake Tahoe landscape photography, Sierra landscape photography, Reno and Lake Tahoe stock images and freelance and photojournalism. Scott is available for freelance photography assignments in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area.