Earlier this year, we announced our Member Expedition Sponsorship Program, where we invited members to submit their upcoming trips for gear sponsorship. Matt just returned from his field expedition sailing through the BVI – and this is his account of the trip.
By Matt Weidert: Florence Member & Test Pilot
My return to the British Virgin Islands, after a five-year absence, was not just a sailing trip but a reunion with the sea. Our previous bareboat charter trip in 2019 came shortly after the devastating one-two punch of hurricanes Irma and Maria. I was eager to witness the resilience of nature and of the local communities.
This year's journey marked the third chapter of what had become an annual retreat of sorts - a motley crew of close-knit friends seeking camaraderie, adventure, and the thrill of the catch against the backdrop of these beautiful islands. Our week-long expedition was a whirlwind of exploration, covering over 175 nautical miles in a clockwise loop through the archipelago.
With a wide beam, a sailing catamaran makes a great fishing vessel, and our Lagoon 46 proved to be the ideal chariot. We had all the trappings of a seasoned fishing outfit—a trio of trolling rods in a formidable line astern and a hand line thrown into the mix for good measure.
The journey took us from the historic waters of the Sir Francis Drake Channel to the tranquil palm tree-lined bays of Jost Van Dyke to the remote, coral-laden shores of Anegada - the sunken island. Our mission was clear: to fish, sail, and explore the raw beauty of the islands and their surrounding waters.
Putting Florence to the Test
As seasoned sailors and amateur anglers, we were keen to see how Florence Marine X gear would fare in the diverse conditions of the BVI. We equipped ourselves with a range of products – from the Sun Pro Adapt UPF Shirts to the Sun Runner Hat.
We wore the Utility UPF Tops most days after the sunscreen had worn off. While fishing the famed North Drop, where some of the biggest blue marlin in the world are caught, they proved their mettle, keeping us protected from the Caribbean sun. Its comfortable fit also made it a favorite for me while free-diving Horseshoe Reef with a local guide.
The Sun Runner Hat was a faithful companion of mine both on deck and in the water. It's light, packable design made it effortless to stash when the winds picked up, and the breathable mesh was perfect for those hot afternoons on deck. This hat is built for the sea and sun.
In the Spirit of Adventure
We spent a lot of time fishing during the first part of the trip amidst light, finicky winds. The remaining days of our bareboat charter were a blend of showcasing the BVI's iconic locales to our crew's newcomers and chasing more angling exploits.
We glided into Cane Garden Bay, where the pastel-colored houses always offer one of the most picturesque settings in the BVIs. At The Baths, we crawled through the monstrous granite boulders strewn across the beach, each crevice a gateway to another secluded nook or natural pool.
North Sound greeted us with its tranquil waters, one of the Caribbean's finest natural harbors. At the Indians, we free-dived along the sheer walls of the rock pinnacles, teeming with marine life. And on our last evening, our escapades reached a crescendo at the infamous Willy-T's, a floating pirate ship-themed bar.
Our final fish count? 24 - the best fishing I've ever had on a bareboat charter.
In the end, our trip wasn't just about the tally—it was a voyage of camaraderie, the laughs, forging new memories, and in the words of Jimmy Buffett, the profound joy of being "out on the sea for adventure".