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Frequently Asked Questions
When you are on board we will give you a full safety briefing and yacht cabin briefing. We can also chat about your desired route when you arrive and are happy to plot it out on a map for you at the end of the week. You can purchase maps at most stores or use the free one inside the local Welcome Aboard magazine from the airport. The Crew will normally take pictures of your party during the week and burn you a free CD. We will do everything possible to give you the trip of a life time, but please be aware that weather is a factor when planning the week's route and sometimes changes need to be made to accommodate shift in weather patterns. The fabulous thing about the areas we sail in is that all the islands and locations are so close, so it may be a case of going from one beautiful bay to another! Not too shabby!
Food Menu and Contacting the Crew:
We will send you a sample menu based on your preferences and our current menu, for your party to approve. So have a look at the online sample menu and this will aid you in filling in the preference sheets. Feel free to let us know if you have any favorite foods or food allergies. Everything is subject to availability, as we are in the islands, but we will do our best to satisfy your needs.The Crew will be in touch with you via email before the charter and they will also call you before the charter to answer any last minute queries that you may have.
We have a standard fully stocked bar on board Ad Astra and will stock the bar and fridge according to your preference sheet. Please note premium liquors and wines will be at the charterers cost. Drinks requests are also subject to availability.
When in the BVI's we are based out of Village Cay, Road Town Tortola and will confirm your particular pick up with you via telephone/email. Your broker will inform us of where the pickup is (e.g. Trellis Bay or Village Cay). The standard charter runs from noon to noon.
Luggage, Dress Codes and Dining Ashore:
The areas we cover are very casual and you will probably spend most of your time in your bathing suits! Pack light in flat pack bags if possible, as all luggage is stored on board. If you are planning to dine ashore, the dress code is casual for most restaurants (you can wear your flip flops). Certain places like Peter Island Resort in the BVI's have a more formal dress code. If you wish to dine ashore you can indicate this on your preference sheet or let the Crew know during the week. When in the BVI's there are plenty of wonderful restaurants, but eating Lobster ashore in Anegada is a favorite!
No shoes are to be worn on board the yacht (unless there is a medical reason), you will probably only need some flip flops for shore and some running shoes if you enjoy hiking.
Please avoid bringing spray sunscreen as they stain the decks and teak. Lotions are better and the best place to apply them is on the trampolines/nets upfront!
There is snorkel gear on board for you. There is wonderful snorkeling throughout the areas we visit as most areas are protected National Park. We keep pool noodles on board and these are helpful if you are not an excellent swimmer and would like something to float/rest on. They are also an excellent beacon and yacht and dinghy Captains can identify you more easily
Scuba Diving and Diving Equipment:
Diving is free for certified divers only; this includes tanks, tank fills, weights, belts and the services of the dive master/guides. If you do not have your own gear, you can rent it for $30 per day for a BC and regulator (or $15 a piece) or a flat fee of $150 for the week per person. The crew will organize this based on your sizes and the money is payable to the crew at the end of the week depending on the number of days you have been diving. The crew does not take a percentage of this money as it has to be paid to the correct parties for use of the gear. If you need a wetsuit, please bring your own or we can take you to a shop to try one on when you arrive (it is best to try these on yourself). Please bring your certification card with you as diving is only allowed by those with certification, it is also recommended that you have dive insurance. See our section on diving for more information.
Scuba Diving Courses:
If anyone is interested in finishing a certification or doing a discover scuba course, we can organize this for you by rendezvousing with a local dive school.
Number of Dives:
Your crew can offer you 2-4 dives a week and this is a great number, especially if you are a group who is mixed with divers and snorkelers, or if you simply want to see more of the islands and enjoy sailing. However if you are a group of only divers, who are happy to move a little less and dive a little more than the crew are more than happy to accommodate your request and will do their best to give you 4-5 dives. Please understand the some sites are weather dependent, trust your crew as your safety is their primary concern.
Linen and towels:
All linen is provided including bedding, beach towels, bath and hand towels, as well as facecloths.
We try to use environmentally friendly products that are not harmful to the ocean. There are small shampoos and conditioners as well as body wash in your bathrooms. You are welcome to bring your own. We also have two hot water showers on the transom/back steps of the yacht, if you prefer to have a sunset outdoor shower!. There are hair dryers in each cabin, but the wind generally will blow that mop dry!
As you can see from viewing the website we have a number of water toys at your disposal. Hopefully you are looking forward to escaping technology for a week, but we understand that some people like to stay connected. In the BVI's we have Wi-Fi on board, so feel free to bring your own laptop. We have an iPod on board with selection of music, but please bring your own too! There are games on board and a small DVD library if anyone wants to watch a movie in the saloon, but once again feel free to bring your favorite movies/games.
Currency & Timezone:
BVI uses USD currency and is on Atlantic Timezone (UTC - 5 Hrs)
Feel free to join in and learn or sit back and relax! BE SAFE.
We are happy to draft an itinerary for you based on your interests. We are also happy if you have some idea of where you would like to go. We will tailor make the route to suit your needs and to work with the week's weather. We will bring out the chart every morning and chat about the day's plans with your party and we will call you up to the foredeck at each spot and explain what exciting things await you. Charters with lots of diving tend to have shorter sails and tend to be focused on dive orientated sites/islands, however most dive sites are snorkel sites, so snorkelers will not lose out. If you are a group with no divers or a few easy going divers, then you will have more time to play and can have lengthy sails! There is so much new information when you come on board a yacht and each yacht and crew is different! So hopefully this was helpful and we won't have to overload you with too much new information when you arrive! A lot of these tips are also based on FAQ's so hopefully it has also saved you and your broker some time!
We look forward to sailing the turquoise waters with you.
Thanks for reading.
We have a zero tolerance policy for non prescription drugs, including marijuana. Please do not Keep any drugs on board the vessel. Customs do regular checks and the vessel can be impounded and Captain arrested for any illegal drugs found on board. If drugs are found on board, your charter will be terminated and no refunds will be given.
Tipping the crew
The crew derive most of their earnings from tips. They work extremely long days to provide you with an amazing trip. They are your tour guides, Captain, first mate, engineer, dive/snorkel guides, cooks, cleaners, servers and they also have to keep up with regular maintenance and boat jobs. They do all of this with a smile on their face and professionalism. Please reward them at the end of your week. Its customary to leave the crew 15%-20% of the charter fee you paid. A good guideline is 15% for a normal trip, 18% for a great trip and 20% for an excellent trip.