While our guests were here last weekend, we decided it would be nice to go on a daysail. After researching the myriad of companies and destinations available, we ended up going to Norman Island with Aristocat.
We had originally wanted to sail with White Squall II, the only monohull daysail charter available in the BVI. HB and I had gone on a monohull sail in Key West, and appreciated the way that the monohull really felt like sailing - with the speed, and the leaning to one side - in comparison to a catamaran.
Unfortunately, White Squall II was going to the Baths on the day we wanted to sail, and we were really set on going to Norman Island, the location of the best snorkeling in the BVI.
We boarded Aristocat around 9:30am at Soper' Hole Marina in West End. An hour's sail found us at our first stop Norman Island. We were given brief instructions on where the best snorkeling was around the boat's mooring, and then set loose on the reef. The variety and size of fish was comparable to what HB and I saw in Trunk Bay, and the reef was complemented by extensive sea grass beds - great locations for seeing turtles. While we didn't see turtles, we did see a moray eel, about 6 feet in length, as well as hundreds of jellyfish. Thankfully, Aristocat's crew had told us about the jellyfish and explained that they were of a non-stinging variety. Otherwise, I would've been quite frightened, and quickly out of the water.
After about an hour at our first stop, the boat motored over to another mooring nearby in the Bight, where the crew prepared lunch. HB snorkeled a bit while one of our friends and I tried out the sea kayak, quickly learning how difficult it can be to paddle against the current. We did ok though, managing to get the steering and power down pretty well by the time we returned to the boat. When we got back, HB made me very jealous by telling me he had seen a sea turtle while snorkeling.
Lunch made and eaten, we headed to our third and final snorkeling stop, the Indians.
No shallow reef this. The reef around these rock outcropping extends to 40 feet at places, and is incredibly healthy, with a wide variety of coral, and plentiful fish. We spotted another moray, but the currents and waves kicked up by the wind quickly tired us, and we headed back to the boat after about half an hour. The day concluded with a leisurely sail back to West End along the coast of Tortola. Definitely one of the best days I've had in the BVI so far.