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Quality Snorkeling Around Peter Island/Vost Van Dyke

Quality Snorkeling Around Peter Island/Vost Van Dyke

Mar 31st, 2010, 07:18 AM
  #1  
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Quality Snorkeling Around Peter Island/Vost Van Dyke

We are staying at Peter Island Resort shortly primarily for relaxation and good food but as avid snorkelers we wanted to know if anyone has found several quaity spots where the coral; is not 50+% bleached and is close to the quality of the area around Caneel Bay. We can charter a sail boat and go to Norman Island where 5-6 years ago the snorkeling was quite good in terms of a large variety of coral of different colors many different species of fish and sea anenomies but the cost is $800 to rent the saiboat with the husband/wife crew and we would only snorkel for 2 ours. We were hoping there were closer spots that the Peter Island boat for much less could take us to 3-4 times during our 8 day stay. Anyone who has been in and around that arera in the past 12-18 months please share your opinions compared to Caneel Bay or North End of Grand Cayman near Sting Ray City or the WEST END of Curacao. Thank you much.
StanKase is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 10:07 AM
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I don't think there's realy quality snorkeling around Jost Van Dyke - although it's an amazing place to go for beautiful beaches and beach bars (esp. White Bay).

Did you go to Waterlemon Key when you were on St. John? I thought that was the best snorkeling in the area, and not too far back from Peter Island.
Jimmie is offline  
Mar 31st, 2010, 10:09 AM
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I meant Waterlemon Cay on st. John.
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Apr 14th, 2010, 07:08 PM
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If you can get a boat, mountain point/nail bay on virgin gorda are good. Also, monkey point on guana island. The recommendation for waterlemon key, st. john is also great. I think those 3 are the best in your area.
SailBellaVita is offline  
Apr 15th, 2010, 04:28 AM
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We sailed the BVI in February, and the best snorkeling (by far) was in the Norman Island area - the Indians and the caves. Other than that, Monkey Point was outstanding. The winds weren't cooperative for great snorkeling off of Gorda, but it definitely wasn't bad.
tejana is offline  
Apr 16th, 2010, 07:11 AM
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tejana; We plan to charter a sailboat with crew for an 8 hour day leaving from Peter Island. Is Monkey Point very close to Norman Island and the Indians? I ask to determine if I request the Captain to go to all 3 for 45-50 snorkel stops at each it would not be unreasonable.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 07:16 AM
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Jimmie; We cannot go to Watermelon Key, which I agree is very good, because it is going from the B.V.I.'s to U.S.V.I.'s and most vendors are licensed to stay within the BVI's.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 09:49 AM
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No, Monkey Point is at Guana Island on the north side of Tortola near Trellis Bay -- pretty much the opposite end of the world. Have you thought about adding a snorkel at the Rhone? It is really close to you (so maybe you can get there via the Peter Island boat). The snorkeling isn't as good as a dive there, of course, but the wreck is shallow enough at one end that you can see quite a bit. If I were you, though, I would just really enjoy a full day around Norman Island - a long snorkel around the Indians, then an even longer snorkel at the caves, then go into the Bight and finish up with drinks at the Willie T. Perfect day.
tejana is offline  
Apr 16th, 2010, 10:32 AM
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The snorkeling off JVD is not in the same league as Waterlemon Cay and even farther from anything on Grand Cayman's North Side and East End. I have found the best from shore to be off the beach by Sandy Ground Estates on the east side of the island. But there can be a current, so be aware. Some larger coral heads and occasion rays and turtles. Another good area is the east side of Sandy Spit, probably the best in the immediate area. Can be rough sometimes since it is on the channel side. Usually rent a dinghy and spend the day. The reef in White Bay is mostly dead, but on the far edges it is or was still hanging on.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 02:39 PM
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TurtleTagger; If I am at Peter Island where is Sandy Ground Estates?
tejana; You referenced the Bight. What is it? Would you say that 1 stop at Norman for say 45 minutes *where should I tell the Captain is the best spot?) then a stop for 1 hour at the Indians and about the same at the caves or a bit more, is that correct? I doubt they will stop more than 3 times for a total of 3 hours in the water to snorkel considering they will pick us up at Peter Island at say 5AM and probably want to bring usback before 5. I think the charter they use is a 42ft. Pierson sailboat but I have no idea of the engines (plus they do not want to use too much fuel) or the masts or jibs.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 07:23 PM
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StanKase,

Sandy Ground Estates is a small "villa" development on Jost Van Dyke. It is located on the eastern end of the island, not far from Foxy's Taboo Restaurant and Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay (two popular islets for visiting boaters). If you are chartering a boat, the crew should know the snorkel spot I am referring to. It is usually done as a drift snorkel.
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Apr 16th, 2010, 07:30 PM
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Take a look at a map of Norman Island (Google Maps works well - after you enter "Norman Island, BVI" you can switch it to satellite mode for some nice detail). The names of the major bays are superimposed on the map, even in satellite mode. The Bight is the large bay on the northwest side of the island -- the biggest bay on Norman. Just north of Norman is Pelican Island, and The Indians rock formation is just west of Pelican (on google maps it has a little cloud over it, but you can see all of the dive and snorkel boats moored there). The Indians is a great snorkel - be sure to snorkel completely around the formation because the sides are completely different. Due south of the Indians are the Norman Island caves, just around the point from the Bight on the Privateer Bay side (where google maps has a marker for Treasure Point). Excellent snorkeling. In both of those locations the yellowfins are so used to snorkelers that they will hang around waiting for food (bread pieces in a 20 ounce plastic coke bottle works great). In addition to turtles and the usual cast of characters, we saw a school of squid and a giant angelfish. Your captain can certainly suggest a third snorkel location around Norman, but The Indians and the caves are the two that are classic. After you finish snorkeling, your captain will probably suggest (and I would concur) a sail into the Bight for a visit to the Willie T, a boat in the middle of the Bight that is one of the great bars of the BVI (google Willie T Norman Island for more information).
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Apr 17th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Thanks to tejana and TurtleTagger. Thought the sail charter will cost about $750 for the day I will email the folks in advance and tell them of my expectations and make sure they can satisfy them. Hopefully we will not have winds and they say they cannot get there. But, I think I will have them check that out before they pick us up but then again the winds do shift.
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Apr 17th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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hi, StanKase--hope your upcoming trip isn't disappointing, snorkel-wise. I haven't visited since 2007, but the best snorkeling I've ever experienced was a tour that included Norman Island's Caves and the Indians. (We also stopped at Peter Island (not so good) and the wreck of the Rhone (interesting, but a bit more fun in theory than in practice). We also had lunch at the Willy T. Our charter was out of Virgin Gorda, but it was a motored craft, not a sailboat, so we made great time getting to each location, enabling us to stay longer in the water. Any chance you can book a non-sailboat for your snorkel trip? It might be just what you're looking for--that way you'd have time to snorkel around Cooper Island, too, which was also pretty good the last time we were there (2006).
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Apr 17th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Hello ejcrowe; I am not expecting too much considering we just returned 3 weeks ago from the an Indo-Pacific expedition on the Clipper Odessey through the Indonesian Islands.It was awesome!! That said a sail charter is quoted at $750-$800/day while a power boat is $1300 /day. I think I rather go on 2 sails, though we likely will not than 1 outing. Actually 3 hours in the water, if the Captain says they can accomodate where we have said we wish to go,is more than enough and it give them 5 hours to sail/motor there and back. Is your point based on your experience that they may not be able to even do what I am requesting in a sailboat?
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Apr 17th, 2010, 07:54 PM
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Wowzers--that's an expensive power boat rental for a day! Yes, the reason I mentioned it is that I thought you'd have more time for snorkeling with the power boat. Now that I think about it, though, when we did the daysail, it was from Tortola, so we were covering a longer distance with our two short stops at Cooper and the Baths.

Did you post a trip report in the other forum about your Indonesian excursion? That sounds just lovely!
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Apr 18th, 2010, 05:14 AM
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Since Norman is right next to Peter Island, I would think that time will not be an issue (even though I think you are coming from the far side of Peter, right?). You should easily have enough time to get in all the snorkeling you want, plus a beautiful sail.
tejana is offline  
Apr 18th, 2010, 07:51 AM
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efcrowe: Yes, I filed a short report in the Asia Forum about 2 weeks ago. We spent 1.5 days in Singapore, 14 days on the expedition ship and then 5+ days on our own with a pre-arranged guide in Central and East Java. In our 43 years of marriage, averaging 3 trips a year, that was the trip to beat all trips.
tejana; Thanks for the geography lesson. I will now tell them with more confidence of the route I would like to take on the day sail. Therefore, if they pick us up at 8-8:15 we could be back by 4:30, right? We can make a stop at Norman for 45-50 minutes to snorkel, one (1) hr. snorkeling around the Indians and 45 minutes going through the caves and 30 minutes at Tresure Point. Considering they have to anchor, etc. which takes a bit of time, that is almost 4 hr. of snorkeling in an 8 hour day. We will have box lunches from Peter Island so they do not have to supply lunch just water. Is this really resonably or should I cut out Tresure Point??
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Apr 18th, 2010, 09:20 AM
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I think Treasure Point is the marker for the land point on Norman directly above the caves, so Treasure Point/the Caves would probably be one stop. The caves themselves are not much - one goes far enough back that a flashlight would be helpful, but it is cool for the history (pirate treasure and all that). The entire area around there - particularly between the caves and the point -- has very good coral and abundant fish life, so you can cover a lot of distance in one mooring.

When you say you want to stop for a snorkel at Norman it sounds like you want a spot on Norman in addition to the caves, but I have no idea where to recommend, so I would leave that to your captain, as I'm sure he knows other good spots. I think telling them that you want at least 3 locations (with the Indians and the caves being the main stops) would give the captain a chance to show you something that not that many people get to see. Sounds like a perfect day.
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Apr 18th, 2010, 09:24 AM
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stankase - I know you said that you have box lunches from Peter Island, but if are going to stop at the Willie T for drinks you can do lunch there, as well. Just a thought.
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