Monday, March 25, 2013

2030, March 25, Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda

Today we stayed on Virgin Gorda, and instead of travelling by boat, we took to the roads. Yesterday evening, we arranged to rent cars to be dropped off here at 9 a.m. today. So, at 9:00 sharp we showed up at the office, but instead of the cars being where they were supposed to, eventually we got a call saying they would send a taxi to take us into Spanishtown to pick up our cars at the car rental office. Not really a big deal, but it put us about an hour and half behind what we wanted. Since we were planning to go to the Baths, which by all accounts can get very busy during the middle of the day, we were a bit anxious to get on the road.

After a remarkable drive over the top of Virgin Gorda, we arrived in Spanishtown, and the very professional woman at Speedy Car rentals apologized kindly about the delay, so it was hard to stay miffed. We got into a couple of Suzuki SUVs, and headed off down the wrong side of the road towards the Baths (which is the correct side of the road here). Fortunately, the lady at the car rental place told us no cruise ships were scheduled to be in the Baths today, so we weren't as worried about crowds as we might have been.

The Baths on Virgin Gorda are a remarkable jumble of huge boulders right at the edge of the ocean. Lots of cruisers moor their boats just out off the shore a bit, and dinghy in to the beach to explore the baths, but we came by road. You can work your way through the boulders from one beach to another, and it is really a fun "spelunking" experience. The most fun was going off the prescribed path to find your own way through the caves and pathways formed by the boulders. Unfortunately, even without cruise ships, there were enough people to bottleneck up the main pathway, so that at points we were stuck in large crowds in fairly small spaces, waiting to get through a narrow passage or up a flight of roughly built stairs. It got a bit unpleasant for everyone at points, and I can't imagine what it would be like if cruise ships were in. Overall, though the kids had a blast in the caves, and we all did a bit of swimming and snorkelling off the beaches. After a quick lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs from a beach side restaurant, we headed back out to explore in the cars.

After the Baths, we toured the island a bit, heading up to one end to check out an old copper mine that we had heard about. The old mine works weren't that interesting, but the view out to the open Atlantic was pretty inspiring.

We then headed back into Spanishtown for a little shopping, and to get a bit more cash from the bank. Interestingly, two of the three banks in town were Canadian – Scotiabank and CIBC. Spanishtown wasn't anything too special, but the yacht club in town was quite nice, and it had the best breakwater I have seen yet in the BVIs. All the marinas and mooring fields we have been in so far have been quite exposed to long stretches of water, and where we are right now suffers from big wakes as cruise ships go in and out, which has created a pretty rolly sleep every night so far. On catamarans, which are relatively stable, this is pretty unusual. I suspect the monohullers around us are having even more disturbed nights.

On the way back to the boat from Spanishtown, we happened by a beautiful beach called Savannah bay, and headed down there for another quick swim to cool off. It was definitely the most stereotypically Caribbean beach we have been on so far, with clear turquoise water, soft sand, and an interesting reef just off shore. It looked like a great place to anchor, as long as there was no north swell coming in.

In the picture above is Kara, our niece, with Sara and Katie. We were in the first car, so managed to get to this beach.

We then headed up and over the island again, this time on the other side. On the way, we got a great view of Leverick Bay, and could see our boat (Catywampus), and Rich and Kim's boat (Galeaux) moored far below. In the picture below, our boats are the two catamarans near the middle of the closest mooring field, in front of the blue hulled monohull that is rear center of the pack.

We finally followed the narrow, windy road back down to Leverick Bay, and headed back to the boats. Everyone was exhausted, so we skipped a trip back into the beach to hear a pirate themed singer's show, and had a quick swim off the boat to cool down, followed by dinner, tucking some kids in, and soon all of us will be in bed.

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