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A Caribbean Charter to Peaceful Peter Island
If you’re looking for a Caribbean charter boat to an island that has cruise ship docks unloading hundreds of passengers, fast food restaurants and t-shirt shops, a television, or even a structure towering higher than the mast of a sailboat, you won’t find it on Peter Island. Located 4 miles south of Tortola, across the Sir Frances Drake Channel, you’ll find a piece of paradise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Drake’s Channel, 6 breathtaking coves and 20 secluded coves. At 1,800 acres, it is the fifth largest of the approximately 60 islands, cays and outcroppings that make up the British Virgin Islands. Although the island is home to the super-exclusive, ultra-luxe Peter Island Resort and Marina (meaning cruisers are required to tailor their attire to match the tone of the hotel), the rest of the island is private and largely undeveloped. A Caribbean charter to this island offers scenic walks to private beaches, dramatic views of remote islands, great snorkeling and diving, and peaceful seclusion in some incredibly picturesque anchorages.
Little Harbor is the westernmost anchorage. It is a well protected place overnight with good grip over the sandy bottom. Even in high season there are usually less than a dozen yachts. There is no restaurant ashore, so if you are on a Caribbean charter ship, plan your provisions to cook on board.
The Grand Harbor is large, remote and stunningly beautiful, but it is very deep. Therefore, in order to use it as a mooring, you need to take advantage of several mooring spheres available in Buttonwood Bay at the western end of Great Harbour. Once home to Callaloo at the Beach, owned by Prospect Reef, it reopened as Oceans Seven Beach Club. The food is excellent both for lunch and dinner. Every 2nd Saturday there is a roast pig and seafood buffet with live music and dancing. There are water trampolines and kayaks for rent, or simply enjoy lounging on the beach in one of their lounge chairs.
Popular with yachtsmen from around the world (mooring balls, ice, water, fuel and showers available), Sprat Bay is the entrance to Peter Island Resort. You’ll also find a full-service dive shop here. Compared to most Caribbean charters, berthing here is expensive. Expect to pay $65.00 per night versus $20.00-25.00 per night for the rest of the BVI. Once ashore, there are numerous walks to take in, but be sure to take the short hike to the top of the hill on the east side of the harbor for great views of the canal and Dead Chest Island.
Deadman’s Bay is the easternmost anchorage on Peter Island. Because of the wave it is only best as a beautiful day stop. The grassy bottom of Deadman’s Bay can make anchoring difficult, but allows for good snorkeling over the sea grass beds. Watch for green sea turtles. The mile-long white crescent beach lined with sea grapes and coconut palms has been rated as one of the ten most romantic beaches in the world. The west end of the beach is for hotel guests only, so stay behind the line of buoys marking the swimming area. Deadman’s Beach Bar and Grill is located in the middle of the beach. It is a popular place with good food. Barbecues are often held with dancing on the beach. Steel drums play every Sunday with West Indian brunch. Monday is West Indian night with Moko Jumbee stilt dancers.
There are two excellent anchorages on the back (south shore) of Peter Island given the right sea and wind conditions. White Bay is named after the long, sparkling sandy beach. On a long, shallow reef, snorkelers will find smallmouth grunts, a small variety of squid and the occasional tarpon. Key Bay west of Key Point is a small anchorage with room for only a few boats. Since it is open to the prevailing winds, it is free of bugs. Snorkeling is excellent.
Peter Island has 30 dive sites within a 20-minute boat ride, including Black Tip Reef, Rhone Anchor, Fearless Dive Wreck and Truck Reef (a collection of underwater cars and trucks). Some of the most impressive places are:
Shark Point is an advanced dive site formed by the overhang of Peter Island Bluff. Expect to see shoals of butterfly fish, manta rays and sharks along the rocky ridges washed by the current.
Dive down to see old Willie T’s “underwater bar”. This Baltic schooner is the original floating bar and restaurant.
Carrot Flock consists of rocky ledges that resemble underwater train cars on a station platform. This open body of water gets its name from the delicate branches of the protected black coral found here, which look like the lacy tops of carrots.
Nearby Dead Chest Island, an uninhabited national park, has 3 dive sites accessible by boat from Deadman’s Bay:
Painted Walls: This is a shallow dive from the southern point of Dead Chest. Here, divers will be delighted by the kaleidoscope of colors created by the incrustation of cup corals and neon-glowing sponges on the walls of four long canyons. It is possibly the most photogenic dive site in the BVI.
Coral Gardens: This is a great place for beginner divers and snorkelers. It got its name from the many massive heads of brain, star and leaf corals resembling a water garden.
Dead Chest West: Divers will discover coral arches, caves, bowls and mazes.
If soothing coastal waters reflecting endless shades of turquoise and miles of luscious, often secluded anchorages and beaches sound like the perfect definition of peacefulness, then a Peter Island Caribbean charter is for you. Step aboard and let your worries melt away in a sea of calm.
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