This is probably our best trip ever… from the moment we landed on Beef Island to being picked up by our wonderful friends, Steuart and Fran and whisked away to their 57 foot Catamaran. The British Virgin Islands are such a civilized place to dive and sail.
The first morning we headed off for The Chimneys. And what a re-introduction to diving it was, after a nine month hiatus.
We anchored the boat at the Ocean’s Edge and slowly entered the water to descend to forty-five feet and head towards a spectacular site called The Chimneys which is, as you guessed it, a chimney-like vent which starts at forty-five feet in a large cavern and ends at the surface as you make you way through a small but comfortable opening ten feet below the surface. The light pierces it and forms a spectacular spotlight effect when you are at the base of the vent. Just Wonderful.
After snorkeling around a while, we also discovered that you could swim through the rocky outcrops above the water and within one of them was a hollow area which was just great as well. A deep pool surrounded by rock and coral engulfs you while inside, but you had better be a fairly strong and confident swimmer.
Later, we lifted anchor and headed off towards The Bitter End Yacht club and anchored off a small island just west of the club for the night.
The next morning, we set sail around the tip of the island and while we had plans to head to Anegeda, we chose to tack off towards the Baths on Virgin Gorda, a simply spectacular spot which is featured on this page to the right.
The Baths are truly amazing. Boulders the size of apartment buildings are leaned up against each other and in the center form a walkway which is incredible as you wander your way through 100 ton boulders perched inches above your head.
Our next stop was the world famous Wreck of The Rhone. Widely regarded as one of the best wreck dives in the Caribbean, the two halves can be dived separately. The Bow lies in 60 ft – 90 feet – divers can swim inside the ships hold and see coral encrustations along with many fish. Diving inside a wreck that has great ambient light is always fun On our first dive, Yim and Fran stayed above the wreck and followed our bubbles through the dive.
Lobsters and crabs apparently often hide inside the wreck. And I mean crabs. I found one that had at least a four foot span.
Outside of the wreck, the foremast and crows nest can be seen along with the boilers, condenser, wrenches and winch.
The stern, often done as the second dive (15 ft-60 ft), shelters lobsters and octopus hiding in the metal work of the boiler gear box housing, the rudder and the propeller. Many fish varieties including Barracuda, Southern Stingrays, Eagle Rays and Turtles live in this National Park area.
We swam through the open area beside the propeller… it’s a great spot to boost a divers confidence in safe conditions.
After leaving The Rhone, we headed down to Peter Island and anchored in a deserted bay for the evenings, snorkeled around watching the rays search for food ten feet down and came on board for some yummy rum drinks.
Next morning, we headed off to the Peter Island Resort and were wowed… Wow. Visit it if you are in the area at least for breakfast.
Then, off to the Caves. Located on the southwest side of Norman Islands, these really are Treasure Caves.
You can swim right inside them and with a flashlight, can easily enjoy the huge colonies of anemones attached to the surface of the openings. It’s a great mornings snorkel trip.
Then out to The Indians.
Three rocky outcrops which reportedly rise 55 feet above the water and 55 feet below. Whether that be accurate or not, this is one great dive and once is not enough. Fran led us on this trip through an underwater garden the likes which are rare today on any dive before heading us back to the base of The Indians.
Swimming along at the base of these slabs of rock closely will reward you with dozens of different soft corals clinging to the surface before you come to a short wide tunnel which we easily swam through and entered another small world.
It’s just a really cool spot. Little caves to enter, tons of fish, huge rocks anchored all around you and beautiful soft coral.
And a maximum bottom depth of 55 feet. What else could you ask for?