To truly experience all that the British Virgin Islands have to offer you need to move. That’s because each of these tropical islands–and there are many tucked in this Caribbean chain–has their own flavor and offers a unique experience. Jost Van Dyke, Cooper, Norman, Virgin Gorda, Saba Rock and many other little spits of dry land are scattered throughout BVI, and seeing them all requires a boat. Sure, you can take the water taxi, which is not unlike any other taxi service on dry land in every corner of the world, and that’s to say crowded, uncomfortable, and uninspiring. If you are a little more adventurous you can sail.
Our crew consisted of six guys from the same hometown in Ohio. In case you aren’t familiar with Ohio, the Buckeye State offers many great outdoor opportunities, but sailing wouldn’t be at the top of the list. Or at the bottom. So we traveled to BVI, rented a catamaran, and hired the best guide we could find–the incomparable Raul Nelson–to lead us. And, after three days on the water, a group of six Ohio guys made a pretty admirable sailing team.
If you’re an angler BVI has a lot to offer, everything from tuna and tarpon to grander marlin in the deep blue waters south of Virgin Gorda. Which species of game fish you choose to pursue is up to you, but this is one of the few places where you can, if your boat is licensed, catch a variety of fish without a guide. The waters around the Bitter End Yacht club are home to some fantastic tarpon, and just south of Virgin Gorda you’ll find deep water and big pelagic predators. Plus, there’s something very rewarding about sailing into open water in search of game fish. I think Ernest Hemingway would be proud. Oh, and there’s lots of rum, too. Papa might have liked that as well.