The British Virgin Islands are known the world over for phenomenal underwater life. Divers flock to the area, so every boat should be stocked with a full array of snorkel gear. Three of our favorite spots are the Indians, west of Norman Island; The Caves, located at Treasure Point on the western tip of The Bight, Norman Island; and around Cistern Point off Cooper Island. Norman Island is often the subject of tall tales of buried treasure, and I’ve certainly kept my eyes open for a few coins in an effort to figure out how to pay for the next adventure. The snorkeling around the Indians is in deep water and is absolutely breathtaking. Tip: Invest in an underwater camera such as the Kodak Play Sport. After an hour or so each night with a program like iMovie, you can create short takes of the day’s adventures that kids and adults will enjoy.
Jost Van Dyke
The only time I suggest avoiding Jost Van Dyke is during New Year’s Eve. (Unless you enjoy stepping over drunk Neanderthals lying face first in a puddle or getting yelled at by grumpy, smelly live-aboards at anchor who decided to give up showers and manners for the New Year, and who have no clue about proper seamanship. You know who you are. More about that in a future column.) Other than during this especially crowded period, we love Jost Van Dyke! In fact, every time I go to the BVIs, I make White Bay our first stop. Why? It just sets the tone and instantly propels guests into vacation mode. The beach is spectacular. There’s casual food and entertainment, and if you can’t start to relax here, you may have other issues. Walk down to Seddy’s One Love Beach Bar and ask for a little magic show. The Painkillers at the Soggy Dollar are wonderful, and their chicken roti is darn tasty as well.
To the east of White Bay is Great Harbour. Bars and shops line the beach, including the notable Foxy’s. We also like Corsairs, although if you have time and the stamina, each one has a unique atmosphere that’s worth visiting. If you’re in the mood for a lobster dinner, be sure to head around the corner to Little Harbour and experience the all you can eat lobster night at Harris’.
Every time I take a mooring from the Cooper Island Beach Club on Machioneel Bay and enjoy a tasty dinner with my feet buried in the sand, I suggest that we return here for our entire vacation, rent a cottage, bring a trunk of books, and simply chill, sans boat. The small resort was completely renovated under new ownership in 2009. The staff and management are welcoming and hospitable. The view from the deck toward the west at sunset makes for a special evening. As noted previously, the snorkeling is also brilliant at Cistern Point, located at the southern tip of Machioneel Bay. Yes indeed, the boat may stay at the dock next time, and we’ll head right over to Cooper.
This newly opened resort and marina is now on the must-stop list. Log onto www.yachtingmagazine.com/scrubisland for our complete review after our August visit.
Paradise Found: British Virgin Island Favorites