BVI aboard the Juliet
British Virgin Islands February 2004 aboard the Juliet
Vis: 35 to 100 Feet. Water: 79 to 81 Fahrenheit, choppy.
This is the first time I have sailed on the Juliet live-a-board boat. It generally goes out of Miami to the Bahamas but was ported in St. Thomas for the winter months. It is an 104’ 3 masted schooner with 4 sails. There were 12 passengers and 4 crew. The crew is all experienced with three of them being captains. The food was excellent and plentiful with all of the alcohol you wanted at the end of the dive day. The accommodations are excellent. There is plenty of storage and plenty of fresh water. The drinking water and gator aide thermos containers were always full so that no one worried about dehydration. There are three heads and two showers below deck plus a fresh water shower on deck for use after each dive. There is Nitrox available for additional safety and extended bottom time. The dive briefings were excellent with dive master, John Skey always going in before hand to check out the current, surge etc. The dingy was always on hand if you got too far from the boat. This sail boat has a unique ladder for getting back into the boat. It is mounted in the middle of the boat and attached parallel to the boat. It is the most stable ladder I have ever used and was the easiest time I’ve ever had getting back into the boat. I’m an avid photographer and the crew pampered photographers. This was an excellent boat and crew. I’d recommend this operation to anyone. The diving in the British Virgin Islands was not quite as good as in the Bahamas but I’d go again and in fact have already booked another trip next February. The wrecks were great. I missed the dolphins and sharks but the Eagle Rays, turtles, stingrays, lobsters and eels made it worthwhile. The coral had good color and the small fish were excellent. I loved finding the flamingo tongue snails and doing macro photography.
We did 4 dives a day and 5 shore excursions. We left St. Thomas on Saturday around 3:00 p.m. and did our first dive the next morning. We had beginner divers as well as experienced divers on the trip. They accommodated all of us. One diver was doing their check-out dives for open water certification and they took care of them by taking them to shore in the dingy so that they could do their dives without taking anything away from the experienced divers. My favorite dive sites included The Rhone wreck (the bow and the stern), Rhone Reef, and Alice in Wonderland. We had excellent night dives. The fish life was really out and the turtles and lobsters were the biggest I’ve seen anywhere. The shore excursion I enjoyed the most was going to Virgin Gorda to The Baths. It was a beautiful trail with large granite boulders all around.
We had the ultimate surface interval each day with the crew putting the sails up and we all just sat back and enjoying sailing on the ocean. Some of the passengers helped put up the sails. I personally just sat back and enjoyed it. It is a beautiful sail boat with wood trim below deck. I don’t know much about boats but this one had a big galley and area for us to eat in. It was equipped with a TV, DVD, tape player, stereo equipment and best of all karaoke. They had many movies for entertainment in the evenings and Chris, our cook was also a marine biologist. She showed us educational videos and helped us understand and identify the fish we were seeing on each dive. Captain John did everything he could to get the best dive sites that the weather would permit. It was always a little windy and we did not get to dive the Tobago area because it is always exposed and the wind was too strong. No one got sea sick. I’ve done many other live-a-boards and this one is an excellent value as well as the top-notch operation. They have an office manager who works with you before hand to get all of the paper work out of the way so that once you are on the boat, everything just goes smoothly. It really is all of the work that happens behind the scenes that make a dive trip enjoyable. This dive operation knows how to make things run smoothly and will have my business for years to come.
Click below to see all BVI dive pictures.
Weather: sunny, windy
Water Visibility: 35 to 100 Feet
Water conditions: choppy
Water Temperature: 79 to 81 Fahrenheit