We found a great secluded beach on Prickly Pear island, off the northern end of Virgin Gorda, with a view of Necker Island (one of Richard Branson's private islands). The beach had just enough space for a couple of families to play. Even though there was a bit of a swell the snorkeling was very nice.
Next we headed to explore The Baths, an area of gigantic smooth boulders that form pools and caves, on the southern shore of Virgin Gorda. We dingied over and swam to shore from the dingy tie up, about a 100 yards off the beach. This place is very popular; visited by many charter and tour boats but that did little to dampen the experience, as the place is very impressive with a wonderful mix of cool geologic formations, narrow water-filled passages and nice beaches interspersed amongst the boulders. See video below for a sample. The Baths are so popular that we weren't able to find a mooring close and thus ended up anchored off Spanish Town. The anchorage in Spanish Town was rolly, with lots of wind shifts and currents to boot. Boats were lying in all directions, and almost colliding. After one night we were ready to move on. We found Banera's Bay on Norman Island to be a respite from the crowds, a nice quiet place to snorkel and a great place to swim and play off the boat. We finished our tour of the BVIs on Jost Van Dyke, known mainly for rowdy beach parties. The scenery was classic Caribbean (white sand, gradients of blue water) with cool swings, hammocks and hang out spots on the scenic beach. The locals seemed very burnt though, too much partying?
In general the Virgin Islands weren’t as crowded with boats as we originally thought. We tried to see the highlights and know that much more time could be spent exploring the many nooks and crannies. Even though the charter population was high, the density was much lower than in the Grenadines where it caused more frenzied anchorages.
We enjoyed a nice downwind sail from Jost Van Dyke to Culebra, Puerto Rico. Pablo was very excited to use the spinnaker pole successfully as a whisker pole as we expect a lot of down-wind sailing for the next few months. The spinnaker pole had been a piece of equipment that we've been carrying for 4000 miles that hasn’t seen much use. We plan to further explore the anchorages of Culebra with the crew of sv Arwen.
|Sealife off Prickley Pear Island|
|Pablo "testing" the new launching system|
|Our friend, Kai, relaxing in Jost Van Dyke|
|A local relaxing in Jost Van Dyke; looks like he has a little more practice|
|Jost Van Dyke|