There was one more ruin site (what classifies something as a ruin anyway?) we saw on a local Virgin Gorda map and wanted to check out. I searched for more information about the location online before we drove over to check it out...there wasn't much info (it is on Google maps though) and hardly any pictures. We were looking for the stone ruins of a centuries old sugar mill plantation. The search engines kept taking me to some fancy rental property (which turns out is right next door).
We chanced it and drove to Nail Bay looking for, well, something, anything...and we found it. Okay, we at first drove past it, scratched our heads a little bit, then turned around and finally found it (it's by the sign, who would of thought?). Pretty cool stuff! It's on the way to the North Sound - let's call it the scenic drive to the North Sound. It's an almost completed road that actually goes around Gorda Peak instead of straight up and down it like the other road! There's not much to it but it's worth a look - don't expect to make a day of it.
~Paul, Ann ETC
Everyone's Travel Club is back on Virgin Gorda, exploring as many beaches/bays as we can before our time is up and we head back to the Pacific Northwest. Today we visit Little Trunk Bay, which is just North of Spring Bay National Park
. We actually swam/snorkeled from Spring Bay, around some rocks, and made it just fine. If you do do it this way I'd be careful and wear a PFD just in case you get tired. There is also a 'secret' trail through the trees/rocks from Spring Bay and word is it keeps going to Big Trunk Bay...
This is still Spring Bay, Little Trunk Bay is around those rocks at the top of the pic
Here we are!
We're not alone.
I'd have to say that this was some of the best snorkeling of the trip. I liked it better than Devil's Bay, Fallen Jerusalem, Savannah Bay, and Mosquito Island.
Here's that trail from Spring Bay...Go there now!
~Paul, Ann ETC
Well, we've been kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, hiking, and pretty much adventuring the heck out of Virgin Gorda so we thought we'd take a little day-trip to nearby (30 min ferry ride) Road Town on the island of Tortola.
I knew it would be a lot busier than VG with traffic, more people, etc. When we arrived it felt worse than I had expected. We immediately headed the wrong direction - towards the busy, crazy, not-like-Virgin-Gorda part of town. I was ready to head back on the next ferry. But we turned around, came back closer to the ferry dock we had arrived at, and went the other direction...ahhhh, that's better.
Stick to old Main Street - directly behind the Pusser's General Store (you'll see this place when you arrive, it's across the street from the ferry dock).
Bamboushay had great coffee...
This place had great spices & gifts...
Pusser's had great rum...
There were lots of great alleys to explore...
We discovered some historic buildings farther down main street...
...and a great view of the harbor. I guess the big city wasn't so bad after all!
~Paul, Ann ETC
Everyone's Travel Club continues with posts from the Virgin Islands! We took another kayaking trip, this time in the North Sound (where we had sailed earlier). We launched from the beach at the Leverick Bay Marina and then did a counterclockwise (in the picture above) paddle around to the Bitter End, Saba Rock, Prickly Pear, and then across the main channel and back. The paddle only took about 2 hours, even with our little pit stop on Prickly Pear due to a little storm cell moving through.
Telephone booth on the Leverick Bay Marina dock
Finally! Something British here in the British Virgin Islands!
Gun Creek on our right. Water taxis leave here throughout the day for the Bitter End, Saba Rock, etc. These places are inaccessible by road.
Bitter End Yacht Club
Saba Rock - a little bar, resort, mini-beach on the smallest island ever!
Then, just moments after I took the Saba Rock picture in the blue, crystal-clear water, the winds picked up, the clouds blew over, storm! We took refuge under some mangrove trees on Prickly Pear Island and waited it out.
This gave me time to track the locals.
So this is why they call the island Prickly Pear, I see...
As the weather settled a bit we continued on past Vixen Point and what appeared to be the only settlement on the island, the Sand Box Bar & Grill, and then across the channel to Leverick Bay where we started.
It was a great and easy little paddle. We stayed close to the shore most of the way, had lots of room to avoid boat traffic (there wasn't much), had lots of places to pull over if the weather got bad, there's about 4 bars along the way if you got thirsty, there's hiking on Prickly Pear (we didn't do it), and you arrive back at Leverick Bay when you're done, which I might add, has a restaurant, bar, showers, laundry, grocery store, free parking...perfect trip.
~Paul, Ann ETC
The Sand Box Bar and Grill on Prickly Pear
Right next door to Virgin Gorda's Baths is Spring Bay National Park. It's tiny but accessible. There's great snorkeling here and probably the best rocks around to jump off of (I don't jump off of perfectly good rocks).
It's a little like the Baths, without the entrance fee, and with a little more open space and picnic tables. I like it because it has more of a local feel than the Baths, seemed like less traffic too. The rocks surrounding the place make it safe to snorkel, there's a giant pool right as you hit the beach called "the crawl" - great for jumping into (off of scary giant boulders) and swimming. The Baths are close, but we couldn't find a decent path there without walking back to the main road and heading over.
~Paul, Ann ETC
Kids jumping into "The crawl"...a natural pool where fisherman used to hold turtles and other fish before they used them...
Have we convinced you to head to Virgin Gorda yet? If not, this should do it. Today we share a few pics from a group of bays/beaches, all pretty much right next to each other.
Probably one of the biggest attractions in all of the Virgin Islands are the Baths (pictured above). Giant rocks all positioned just so to allow a little bit of water in from the sea and a path of ladders, ropes, and walkways that you can explore leading to one of the best beaches on the island. Warning: don't wear socks, you will get wet on the trail.
When you arrive at the Baths, we walked from our cottage in the Valley but there is a parking lot, you may have to pay a minimal admission. I say may because I went to the Baths 4 times and didn't have to pay once. There wasn't anyone there (I thought about acting official and taking admission half of the day to fund my trip). There is a trail that leads directly to the Baths and the Poor Man's Bar. There is also a trail that leads in the opposite direction (think, away from town, over by the admission booth) that will take you on a scenic route past Stoney Bay (super cool) and Devil's Bay. After that it continues on to the Baths.
Yo, that's a real rock by the way...are we at Disney world or what! If you take the trail we mentioned you'll arrive at Stoney Bay (two pics below)...
That island out there would be Fallen Jerusalem, the one we paddled to in an earlier post
After Stoney Bay the trail gets a little hard to find in some places (choose wisely!) but you'll eventually arrive at Devil's Bay (Devils Bay? - I can't get an official word on apostrophe or no apostrophe), arguably the prettiest beach on the island.
Then the trail to the Baths begins!
Amazing stuff. Below, a pic of the Baths from the water while kayaking.
Above are the two bars that are close to the Baths. The first, Mad Dog, is near the start of the trail and the parking lot. It was really nice with friendly service. The other picture above is of the Poor Man's Bar, which was fine but just like the front gate, not always open - don't count on it. It is down the trail a bit by the beach.
The Baths are an amazing place, I strongly recommend putting it on your list of Virgin Island attractions. Take a cooler, snorkeling gear, and a beach towel and spend the day exploring the caves and taking it all in.
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
Everyone's Travel Club heads to land for this post. I recently read a sailing blog where the author brought his family to the Virgin Islands, chartered a boat, and then sailed around looking for ruins to anchor by and explore. He ended up finding only beach bars. Well, there aren't many on Virgin Gorda, and for the two that we found you could sail to one, but not this one.
Coppermine Point is a recently created National Park on Virgin Gorda (2003). It represents the only known site within the West Indies with ties to the British industrial revolution. Natives mined here in the 1400s. The stone structures that are here now are the remnants of the Virgin Gorda Mining Company (1835-1862). They mined copper ore and shipped it to Wales in the United Kingdom for smelting. Two-hundred people used to operate the mine here!
A view of Taylors Bay from Coppermine Point
We highly recommend checking out this park, just don't try and sail to it (it's on the windward and rocky side of the island). We had the site to ourselves and best of all, it's free.
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
We hope you've been having a good trip with us this week as we explore Virgin Gorda and the Virgin Islands. I've got more posts than I know what to do with so we are continuing our 'post a day every day' next week too! We've got a few videos coming as well. All of this island blogging is actually warming me up as I sit here in the cold Northwest, I hope it gets you pumped for adventure!
Posts coming next week (not necessarily in this order):
Kayaking the North Sound...while avoiding a storm
Leverick Bay Marina
The Nail Bay Sugar Works Ruins
Virgin Gorda Animals
Day trip - Road Town, Tortola
Little Dix Bay
Well, unless UK's billionaire Sir Richard Branson is a member of Everyone's Travel Club, then I guess we may have trespassed a tad. I will, however, always claim the "Queen's Law", something I read about all of the British Virgin Island beaches being public up to the high tide mark (which isn't that far because they barely have tides anyway, but still) (this whole Queen's Law may or may not even be true, any club readers out there know?). Richard, if you're reading this, we'd love to come and review any of your islands for an ETC review...
Anyway, we rented a Hobie Wave from the Leverick Bay Marina, on the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. We drove over the crazy road
again, this time took a shortcut towards Nail Bay (a lot of local maps say the road isn't complete yet but it is...and it is a way better way to get from town to the North Sound). The interesting man (a nice way of saying not too friendly) behind the booth wasn't going to rent the boat to us because we had 3 club members, the limit was 2, but he finally agreed (it didn't take that much).
We sailed around the Sound, always on lookout for the best beach to break for lunch. We found it on the leeward side of nearby Mosquito Island.
We found a little table/stone grill area under the canopy near the beach and had lunch. There was a cool old road that looked like it went all the way around to the other side of the island.
After lunch we snorkeled a little bit.
As we sailed back we caught a glimpse of a few other islands in the North Sound - Prickly Pear (National Park with only a beach bar) and Necker Island (Sir Richard Branson's private island...$54,000 a night).
Back. So it wasn't till after we got back to the cottage from this adventure did I learn that the island that we spent a lot of the day on, Mosquito Island, was purchased in 2007 by Branson (he owns two now), which means it is private (Queen's Law!). The funniest thing is that I read online that he is trying to bring non-native endangered lemurs from Africa to set free on the island, they are probably there now...it's slightly controversial among local naturalists/scientists (as you could imagine). He's also going to build an eco-friendly awesome resort and stuff. I knew the island felt a little funny...billionaire brings endangered non-native animals back from the brink of extinction and puts them on a far away island (don't worry, they won't escape) and then builds a resort on the island for visitors..."hold on to your butts".
~Paul, Ann, Jon ETC
Everyone's Travel Club set out on one of our most ambitious trips in our 4th post from the British Virgin Islands! We left Spring Bay, near the famous Baths on Virgin Gorda, and kayaked to the nearby island of Fallen Jerusalem. While it's not really that far, it was a crossing. Crossing what you ask? All of the Sea that comes around this end of Virgin Gorda from the windward side of the island. If you zoom out on the map below you'll see what I mean...this meant some fast moving water/current and some decent size waves.
Upon arrival we snuck in the first bay (North Lee Bay) on the leeward (not in the wind...and waves) side of the island, landed, and snorkeled.
We kayaked on to the next slightly hidden bay...conchshell-palooza!
We were the only ones on the island that day, pretty cool! We explored, climbed on rocks, searched for treasure, etc...the trip was great and I was so proud we made it so easily/calmly. While most adventures ETC takes are for everyone, this one is for our more medium to advanced club members. Paddling in wind/currents/waves can get a little tricky - take at least one paddler with some experience and wear PFDs for sure. Watch the weather! Like, not on TV, but watch the actual weather happening around you - storms give a little warning around here...!
For our NW readers: that water is over 80 degrees...
Future sunken ship on the next island along
Litter in paradise - Let's all feel bad about bottled water
Farewell Fallen Jerusalem! ~Paul, Ann, ETC