Tortola SCUBA Diving Trip Report, ‘03



This page describes my dive trip to Tortola from 2 August to 8 August, 2003. The opinions are those of the author, S. Lott.

This trip report is prepared in the rec.scuba tradition of detailed trip reports. I have found these invaluable in planning dive trips, and feel that I owe the dive community similar detailed trip reports.


I went to Tortola to enjoy a mixture of SCUBA diving and sailing during a one week family vacation. I have been diving in Bonaire, the Bahamas, St. Maartin, Saba, Monterey and Florida, (not to mention New York, Massachusets, Florida, Maine and California). I have been sailing in San Diego, Tampa, San Francisco, the Chesapeake, Lake George. It was my opinion that Tortola has an optimal mix of low-key caribbean island life-style, good diving and outstanding sailing.

I’m an avid diving adult. My family includes a reluctant diving adult (my wife, CAB), and two avid diving children: my 18 year-old son, ABL, and 16 year-old daughter, HBL. We vacation together often, and I think we get along quite well. My children are experienced travelers, having been to Bonaire three times before.



We booked the trip manually, using USAirways dividend miles and Caribbean Sun Airline. We booked the Caribbean Sun leg through TravelNow. We were pleased to have a call confirming the credit card charge.

Detailed cost information can be found at Cost Details.

Packing Checklist

Item Qty
Bathing Suits 3
Casual Shirts 4
Dress Outfit 1
Hat 1
PJs 1 or 2
Sandals 1
Shorts 4 pairs
Sunglasses 1 pair
Towel 1
Underpants 7 days
Dive Gear (BC, Regs)
Exposure Suit
Still & Video Cameras, batteries, chargers
Knife & Slate
Logbook, Tables
Mask & Snorkel
Tools & Spares
Water Shoes
Item Qty
Adhesive Tape 1 roll
Band-Aids Mix of Sizes
Benadryl person/day
Dramamine person/day boating
Gauze Pads A few
Ginger Pills person/day
Kaopectate person/day
Motrin 1/day
Sting Kit person
Sudafed diver/dive
Swimmer’s Ear diver
Tums person/day
Tylenol person/day
Item Qty
Amusements (Books, Cards, Toys) Including rules for Zilch, Zonk, Greed or 10,000.
Cash $100/day
Credit Cards
DAN Card 1/diver
Driver’s License
Gear Bag & Mesh Bag 1 ea.
Journal 1 ea.
Passports 1 ea.
Photocopy of passport
Tickets 1 ea.
Traveler Checks $100/day
Water Bottles 1 ea.
Pre-Trip Tasklist
Task Person
Final Timesheet CAB & SFL
Mail Stopped CAB
Timers Set SFL
Voice Mail Greeting CAB & SFL
Water Plants CAB
Confirm Flights CAB





For more information see my summary of Tortola sailing and diving. Also, see the BVI Guide, British Virgin Islands, and BVI Welcome web sites.

Getting Around

The capital is Road Town, in the south center of the Island. We spent most of our time at East End. There are several resorts at West End, also.

Electricity is 110V, 60Hz, and our US battery chargers worked perfectly.

Tortola, being part of Great Britain, is a “drive left” country. Vehicles, however, are universally American-style left-hand drive. This is not for the faint of heart. Roads are paved, but steep in places, and all wheel drive was helpful when it rained.

Not everyone uses government water. Places that have cisterns buy their water and watch it closely. Village Cay Marina, for instance, sells tokens to run the showers to limit water consumption.

The main grocery store is east of Road Town, easy to find. Products are plentiful, and prices are as expected for a small island.

There are no rental car agencies at the airport. A taxi driver will take you to a rental agency and issue you a BVI driver’s license.


August is the depth of the “off-season”. The first Monday in August is one of the four big holidays in BVI. Almost everything is closed.

Josiah’s Bay Inn

The place was small enough that they couldn’t afford a complete web site, but the property agent responded promptly to emails.

See BVI Tourist Board and search for the Josiah’s Bay Inn. Personally, I hate search-only sites, but I can’t locate a single URL for the Inn’s online descriptions.

Dice Game

We played some serious Greed (a/k/a Zonk, Zilch, 10,000). Many variations:

Saturday, 2 August

This is a travel day.

  • 06:15. Arrive at ALB for USAir flight to CLT and SJU. Then Caribbean Sun flight to EIS (Beef Island).

  • 03:30. Meet Deadman. He took us to the rental car agency, issued our BVI Driver’s license. There are no car rental agencies at the airport.

    I followed him to the Condo - a short drive to the intersection at the police station, then over the hill to Josiah’s Bay.

    Go to grocery store and get fixings for dinner. This is a tougher trip down to Road Town from Josiah’s Bay.

    HBL wins two games of Greed.

Sunday, 3 August

Diving with UBS. We arrived at their shop on Fat Hog’s bay at 9:30 AM. It’s a short drive up the hill, down to the post office and then east toward Beef Island.

We secured our rental equipment and weight belts, discussed the dive site. We took the inflatable over to Merry Go Round, and from their to Marina Cay.

The dive on Merry Go Round. The dive on Marina Cay.

Lunch at Harbor View restuarant.

Diane wins at Greed.

Monday, 4 August

Festival. Most everything is closed.

Board Sailing (“Wind Surfing”) with Boardsailing BVI.

Dinner at Fat Hog Bob’s restuarant.

Tuesday, 5 August

Diving with UBS.

Took the big boat over to Norman Island and Pelican Island. The dive on Caravel Rocks. The dive on The Indians.

Dinner at Village Cay Marina.

Wednesday, 6 August

Sailing with Horizon Yacht Charters.

Lunch at Pirates, Norman Island.

ABL wins at Greed after a rare double upset. SFL breaks 10,000, but is bested by PDB with 10,100 on her final turn, who is beaten by ABL with 10,500 on his final turn. ABL, after sticking with 3050, rolls again to see what he could have had and reaches 3900 in a single turn.

Thursday, 7 August

Diving with UBS.

Took the big boat over to the Rhone and Wreck Alley. The dive on The HMS Rhone. The dive on Wreck Alley.</P>

Dinner at La Cabanon.

Friday, 8 August

Sailing with Horizon Yacht Charters.

Dinner at C+F’s.

Saturday, 9 August

This is a travel day.

  • 06:00 Deadman arrives to take us to the rental car agency. We turn in the car.

    Deadman takes us to the airport.

  • 06:30 Check in for flight, pay $3/person fee at airline counter, plus $10/person airport tax.

    Fly to SJU, and wait for 3:00 flight to CLT and ALB.

  • 22:30 Home.

Cost Details

The following were direct cost items for this trip.

Pre-Trip Tasklist
Item Vendor USD
air for four USAirways Dividend Miles + Caribbean Sun 736
air for one USAirways + Caribbean Sun 900
apartment   1013
car Dede’s 441
dinner C+F 177
dinner Fat Hog Bob’s 170
dinner La Cabanon 193
dinner Village Cay 157
diving UBS Dive Center 1213
groceries   70
groceries   6
groceries   77
groceries   145
groceries   12
groceries   17
groceries   19
lunch harbor view 84
lunch pirates 81
sailing Horizon Yacht Charters 700
Windsurfing Boardsailing BVI 365
tip maid 20
tip taxi 30
TOTAL   $6,626.00
date:Dec 20, 2017