Tuesday, June 7, 2016

British Virgin Islands - Natural Wonders & Activities


One of the coolest things about my trip through the British Virgin Islands were all the excursions and activities we got to experience.

When you control the boat and your own schedule, you can really make the most of your trip and see a lot of really cool things!

I keep a pretty detailed journal when I travel; reading it over after my trip I counted 16 remarkable things we did, not including restaurants or day to day activities. That's a lot of stuff for 7 days at sea!

Some of the coolest things we did though were the natural wonders of the BVIs. Hidden coves, enormous caves, pirate islands and fabulous snorkeling spots. 

Below is a list of my favourite things we saw that I urge you to visit if you find yourself in the BVIs

1) Snorkeling at "The Indians" & "The Caves"

One of the first things we did when we cast off from Road Town was head to "The Indians". 



The Indians are a set of rocks that climb out of the ocean and resemble a Native American headdress when seen from a distance (hence the name). Appearing seemingly out of no where, there is a beautiful reef that surrounds the rocks that you can swim around and enjoy.

It only takes about 45 minutes to enjoy the area and it's really really beautiful. Watch the waves though, this isn't a particularly well protected reef so you can get battered around if you're not a strong swimmer and the sea is a bit rough.

If you catch it on a calm day though, like we did, get ready for some spectacular coral and fish! A great start to the trip.

Not too far away, "The Caves" on Norman Island are another fabulous snorkeling spot. 

Follow the rocks and coral into deep caves for a unique under water experience. We didn't manage to capture it on the video, but we saw an enormous sea turtle swimming along the ocean floor. 




The caves are really popular, we had to get there really early to secure a mooring spot so we could experience them. TOTALLY worth the early start! 


2) Walking through "The Baths"

The Baths are a set of tide pools hiding inside enormous granite boulders that create a series of caves on the coast of Virgin Gorda Island.


Photo Taken From: http://www.boatbookings.com/

There's no motoring up to the beach here, it's a protected spot, so you either need to swim for it or row to shore. We opted for the swim, giving us an opportunity to spot a sting ray!

Once you're on shore, follow the path through the tide pools and caves (seriously, ENORMOUS boulders) until you reach the hidden beach at Devil's Bay on the other side. 




The crystal clear, almost icy blue water that fills in the tide pools is really beautiful to see, and the way the reflection bounces off the granite makes this a magical place.


3) The "Bubbling Pool"

The Bubbling Pool on Jost Van Dyke was one of my favourite stops on the whole trip. I'd heard about it before I went down and was really hoping we could stop there.

It did not disappoint.

Boating to shore, we found ourselves walking once again down a path to a hidden cove (noticing a trend?) where you find the pool.

The bubbling pool is a small natural whirl pool at the end of a narrow and rocky channel from the ocean. When the waves crash through the channel and reach the pool, the create the "bubbling" effect.




It's hard to stay on your feet when the bigger waves come crashing through. the eight of us had the place to ourselves for nearly an hour and laughed like crazy every time we got thrown around. 

When we were done, we walked back along the path and stopped at the beach bar right at the end of it. You can't go more than 10 feet without hitting a good beach bar in the BVIs, which makes the adventures that much more fun.


4) Exploring Sandy Cay Island.

On our last full day, we explored Sandy Cay Island. 

The best way I can describe it is as the kind of place that Captain Jack Sparrow would bury his rum for safe keeping. Total pirate island!


Photo Taken From: http://www.odysseyexpeditions.com/discovery

It also used to belong to the Rockefeller family, but I'm sure there's no connection...

Sandy Cay is another spot that you either swim or row to. The reef on one side of the island has unfortunately been destroyed so they ask you not to swim or disturb the water there while they try to rebuild it.

Of course, the gorgeous beach is free to use!



What makes Sandy Cay so neat, aside from the gorgeous beaches, is the interior forest paths. Feel free to walk barefoot past the gorgeous trees with glimpses of ocean in the background, or incredible mangroves.

And watch the ground! There are hermit crabs scuttling about everywhere. Some are tiny, some are as large as your hand. They're very shy so while we didn't worry about pinches, we kept our distance just in case.

No rum or treasure to be found... but I'm convinced it's there somewhere.




With so many natural wonders and activities to fill in our days, and incredible restaurants and bars to keep us busy at night, it's no wonder that we managed to get so much done!

Check out my first two posts for all the details! And there's still one more to come later this week on my day as a Pirate (yarrrr!)






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