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52Isea& iIWINTER 2010 named, the site is often referred to as a fantasy due to its overhangs, vibrant colours, huge mushroom- shaped corals and plethora of colourful sea creatures, ranging from conch to butterfly fish. After your fill of diving, cruise through Sir Francis Drake Channel to The Baths of Virgin Gorda. Reclining to the east of the island chain, Virgin Gorda is the third largest in the group, and The Baths, located on the southwest coast, are a natural formation of colossal boulder- formed pools, caves and grottoes created by volcanoes. Kayak around the dramatic boulders or take one of The Bath's trails to Devil's Bay Beach to snorkel in seawater pools teaming with colourful fish and coral. Cap the day with sunset cocktails at the aptly named Top Of The Baths restaurant. Island inspiration Just a short cruise away you can anchor off the reef and swim around Little Dix Bay, or step ashore and head to the spa at the resort of the same name. Around the headland of Blowing Point, Savannah Bay beach is a beautiful arc of secluded sand - the perfect spot for your crew to prepare you a picnic on the beach. Spend the night anchored in the huge expanse of sheltered waters in the North Sound, which is enclosed by reefs and mini islands ( including Mosquito, Prickly Pear and Necker Island). Activities abound, from snorkelling the reefs off St Eustacia to water- skiing to testing your skills in small- boat sailing at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Having recently been through an extensive refurbishment, the resort maintains its seafaring tradition, but has managed to sneak in a spot of glamour, too. Only accessible by boat, it has two restaurants and bars, an English- style pub, boutiques and spa facilities. Rendezvous with fellow seafarers at the clubhouse for fresh fish, lobster, steak and West Indian cuisine. Nearby Guana Island is also an interesting spot to visit as it is a wildlife sanctuary with some of the richest collections of plants and animal species to be found in the Caribbean. Anchor off White Bay Beach and take the tender to this stretch of white powder sand for a picnic lunch ashore. From here, you can walk to six further secluded beaches, or hike the island's scenic nature trails. The sandy island of Jost Van Dyke is the last stop on your itinerary. One of the liveliest islands after Tortola, there are several restaurants and bars in Great Harbour and White Bay. Swim to the Soggy Dollar Bar, sway to reggae tunes and tuck into a feast of lobster at Ivan's Stress Free Bar, then celebrate your final evening with a Painkiller at the infamous Foxy's. The island's trademark cocktail is made from rum, orange juice, pineapple and cream of coconut - the perfect toastto an excellent cruise. n For further information on chartering in the BVIs, contact your nearest CNI charter broker, see page 6 for details. This page, clockwise from below: the islands have an idyllic low key vibe; one of the BVIs' local residents; Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke serves up the island's speciality Painkiller cocktail Opposite page: most of the islands are hilly and covered in scrub; The Baths on Virgin Gorda are a natural formation of colossal boulder-formed pools that are perfect for snorkelling

WINTER 2010I sea& iI53 aboardashore YOUR PERSONAL GUIDES Graham de Zille, yacht owner Yacht owner, yacht- racing enthusiast and avid charterer, Graham de Zille has made an art form of entertaining guests on board. One of his favourite areas is the British Virgin Islands. " It is an ideal charter ground as sailing between anchorages is never more than a few hours," he explains. " This is reassuring if you are entertaining first-time charterers, or guests who are less confident sailors." But the BVIs also score highly in many other ways. " Superyacht charter is all about inspiration, relaxation and variety," says de Zille. " These islands have the best of everything. One day you can wander around centuries- old ruins such as Fort George on Tortola, on another you can dive in fantastic bays and reefs, such as White Bay off Jost Van Dyke, the Norman Island caves or the wreck of RMS Rhone off Salt Island. Then you can have fun ashore. You can hike up to Virgin Gorda Peak, take lunch at a fabulous hotel, spot sea turtles feeding on Peter Island. the options are endless. Add in the sunshine, stunning waters, friendly locals and fantastic scenery and you can count on pleasing everyone." Captain Marcel Dekker, Symphony II Having cruised around the BVIs for many years, Captain Marcel Dekker knows the islands well. " On Virgin Gorda I would recommend lunch at Savannah Bay, a favourite setting for the crew who will set up a picnic on the beach. Spend an afternoon on this stunning sweep of sand followed by cocktails at the Bitter End Yacht Club or dinner ashore at the Biras Creek Resort and a party at Saba Rock's calypso bar." Dekker also suggests snorkelling off Guana Island's Monkey Point, and swimming among the tarpon, sea turtles and numerous reef fish. Helios, 45.2m ( 148' 7), 10 guests. Prices from US$ 150,000 per week Savannah, 36m ( 118'), 8 guests. Prices from US$ 49,500 per week Symphony II, 34.1m ( 111'), 8 guests. Prices from US$ 49,500 per week Sea Shuttle, 28.35m ( 93'), 6 guests. Prices from ? 20,000 per week