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VIRGIN GORDA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CARIBBEAN
Just 8 1/2 miles long, Virgin Gorda is the third largest in the Caribbean island chain. Its population is 3,500. Dramatic slopes plunge from Gorda Peak to the waters below with many deserted beaches such as  Savannah Bay, Handsome Bay and Big Trunk Bay.

VIRGIN GORDA

THE BATHS

NORMAN ISL. TORTOLA JOST VAN DYKE COOPER ISL. PETER ISL. ANEGADA

Feb 21-23

Drake's Bay

Bad weather was on its way so we made a quick departure from St. Martin. After a super-slow over-nighter with not enough wind and banging sails all night, we happily arrived in the British Virgin Islands.  We anchored in Drake's Bay, which we remembered from our previous cruising in the BVIs 12 years ago. It was g reat to be there again! And the boat is working fine.

Although the waves were pounding outside the reef and the wind was howling all night, we sat flat as a tack and had a very comfortable night.

Getting to Spanish Town to check in proved more difficult than anticipated. We preferred to be anchored in the protected waters of Virgin Sound than in the exposed waters outside Spanish Town. The ferry/taxi ride was going to be $80 !! so we opted to rent a car with Stardust for $50 and explored the island, after our check-in procedures were finished.  We moved the boats over to the Bitter End and picked our way through the mooring balls, finally finding a spot to drop the anchor away from the charter boats.
After a free ferry from Bitter End Yacht Club to Gun Creek, Speedy's picked us up with their bus. Although the other passengers each paid $20 for their ride to Spanish Town, ours was free because we were renting a car. The road to Spanish provided fabulous views of the gorgeous jewel blue and turquoise waters overlooking the bays.
After formalities were completed, we drove our big roomy 4 door Samrai jeep, along the narrow road that cut across the main part of Virgin Gorda. We stopped at all the viewpoints to take photos but unfortunately the day was hazy and didn't completely portrait the azure waters sparkling with the jewel blues and turquoise depth contours.

Our drive took us through lazy villages and past brightly painted shacks, my favorite being the Hospital/Fire Department/Jail - Gone Fishing!!     *      Above right: Savannah Beach is the longest beach on Virgin Gorda.

We hiked to the tallest summit on the island, following a rocky creek-bed like trail through the forest. At the lookout, there were a series of platforms accessible by ladders so you could get a view over the tree tops.

We explored side roads that cut through the hillsides, covered with mahogany, as they wound their way to vantage points overlooking Drakes Day, Leverick Bay, Mosquito Island and the Sound. White sails peppered the tranquil turquoise waters; amber reefs broke up the kaleidoscope of blues.

The Baths

Our primary destination was a visit to the Baths, huge boulders that seem to have been arranged by a playful giant to provide a myriad of rock pools, secret beaches and trails. We had vivid recollections of our last visit to the Baths and we weren't disappointed the second time around. more........


Copper Mine

Then a drive to the old Copper mine, where silver was mined in the 1400's by the Spanish and, later, Cornish miners. The remains of the chimney, boiler house, cistern & mine shaft standing guard against the blue Atlantic seemed almost surreal.


We ended the day with drinks at Leverick Bay Marina with Bob & Becky from Stardust.
We returned to Gun Creek and parked the car, jumped on the waiting ferry and headed back to the dingy at Bitter End Yacht Club.

Bitter End Yacht Club

Famous throughout the Caribbean as a sailing destination, the Bitter End Yacht Club has become a top-end restaurant, expensive fine dining with a dress code.

February 24

We hiked past the Yacht Club, along a sandy road that lead to the trail head that took us up and over the ridge to Biras Creek.

Biras Creek is a new luxury resort with villas on the beach, a stable, beach, tennis courts, marina and all the amenities you can imagine. We were met at the main road by some huge iguanas. We were told that they liked to eat hibiscus flowers. So armed with their favorite food, we soon became friends!


Bercher Beach at Deep Bay is absolutely gorgeous, empty and inviting. But we hiked onward, over the cactus covered hills, which afforded more fantastic views of the surrounding reefs, Mosquito island and the other outer islands.


A walk along a logging road brought us to a resort that was being built at Oil Nut Bay at the end of the island.


The route back to Bitter End was along a trail through the mangroves. We passed our boat lazily bobbing at anchor.

After our long hike, we deserved a cooling drink. Saba Rock, the unique restaurant on the rock, was the perfect spot!
Saba Rock

Saba Rock had been our favorite haunt many, many years ago. But it was very different then. We remember a shack on a rock. A couple of barbeques. A cook flipping burgers. Our legs dangling in the water as we ate our lunch sitting on the edge of a narrow dock, not big enough for tables and chairs.

Today, Saba Rock is a complete resort, with luxury rooms, boutique shops and sandy beach (!) and a HUGE restaurant. They still serve the best "Painkillers" ever! (rum, orange juice and coconut)

The Bitter End was getting far too crowded so we headed back to Drakes Bay. On the adjacent Mosquito island, we hiked along a cobblestone walk that led to a beautiful, palm fringed beach. However, we were told that the beach had been rented to a private party and we had to climb up the hill to circumvent the area so as not to intrude. The hike up was a little more challenging than anticipated but the views at the top were spectacular, and me without my camera! It was an interesting walk through the fan palms and spider plants, the leaves crunching at our feet.

On our way back to the boat we explored the reef by dinghy to check out the snorkelling potential. The reef was mostly grass and the home of giant turtles that skittered by the dinghy. We were amazed how fast they could swim.

That evening it was yummy enchiladas aboard Stardust, followed by game of Blokus, fast becoming a favorite pastime.


 

April 11, 2011

We hiked around Virgin Gorda with Annie & Liam. Pictured right is Biris Creek Resort.


Leverick Bay

A night out with entertainment by Michael Bean and the Happy ARRRRH... Pirate Show. Great Fun! A conch blowing contest brought out the hot air in Gord!

We enjoyed drinks while the sun set over the bay.

>>>Baths

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