Island hop this cruiser’s paradise in which scenery, characters and proximity appeal to novice and experienced boaters alike.

The dinghies approached us as if they had suddenly materialized on the water, before we even had a chance to grab onto a mooring. Time to pay up the mooring ball fee, we thought. Instead the men broke out singing. “Oh, what a beautiful morning,” belted out Sacko Sam under the high noon sun. That’s the kind of unforgettable welcome you get in the British Virgin Islands, where the serenity of the islands, majestic sceneries and colorful characters charm and invite you for a new adventure, no matter how many times you’ve cruised their turquoise seas.

In early August the Southern Boating crew composed of my family and friends took off for a seven day cruise aboard two powercats from The Moorings charter fleet, the 514PC and the 393PC. The trip was to give us quality time together, and while one cat would have accommodated all 10 of us, I had an ulterior motive: a learning experience for the younger generation (my children) to learn to navigate, read the waters and charts, monitor the onboard machinery, and master anchoring and mooring techniques. In short, they would man their very own vessel in unfamiliar waters. From the distance of my powercat, I watched (as a proud father, teacher and captain) as they gained confidence and at times took the lead, guiding them when necessary.

After a quick stop in Road Town on Tortola (The Moorings’ base) to pick up our powercats, we departed for this archipelago of 60 islands, where one seemingly hops from island to island—a boater’s cruising paradise (and an ideal learning ground).

First on our journey: an easy and short southeast cruise to Cooper Island less than 7 nm away—a perfect way for the crew to familiarize itself with the vessels, take the dinghies out and relax in the crystal waters.