Soper's Hole, Tortola

This is our 4th stop in the BVI’s and we think the best so far and we have just spent our second night on a buoy in this very sheltered former haunt of pirates.  Our previous stop was at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour to check in with customs & immigration.  We had a lively 8 mile sail there under jib only and dropped anchor in St Thomas Bay near Spanish Town in clear but choppy water.  We were there to check in with Customs and Immigration at Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour so we sped over to the marina hoping to do so before lunch.  Unfortunately, the immigration man was at lunch himself so we had to come back later!  Still we had an enjoyable snack and beer in a breezy bar on the marina front and caught up on some emails there.  We seem to be spending a lot of time this voyage sitting with our little laptop in various bars.

The big attraction in this corner of the BVI’s is an area of truly massive granite rocks scattered on the sea’s edge called “The Baths” – carried there by lava and since eroded into fantastic shapes of awesome dimensions.  The place is so popular that by all accounts it’s too busy to enjoy by 8 a.m., so next day we were up and zooming off in the dinghy before 7 a.m.  It’s only 15 minutes or so at top speed and we got there before anyone else and explored in complete isolation.  We tied the dinghy on a buoy (they are not allowed onto the beaches) and snorkelled in through quite a difficult surge onto the sand.  Following the trail we found ourselves picking our way through a truly amazing maze of huge rocks, using fixed ropes and wooden steps over the most difficult bits.  We passed under one “boulder” which must have been well over a hundred feet long and 50ft around; looking back from the other side it was pierced with a fantastic water eroded cavern, quite a sight!  We had the place to ourselves for the time needed to explore the area, then just as the first tourists arrived we were ready to snorkel back to the tender.  A truly unforgettable place.

The Baths from the dinghy; not really doing the site justice:

Our second stop, after another gentle morning sail, was Road Town, Tortola, the main town of the BVIs in order to do some shopping and check out before departing to the American islands.  This was another slow process as the authorities were dealing with ferries when we got there.  So we went off to explore the two main dusty little streets, sleepy on this Saturday afternoon with most places shut.  The town was an odd mix of traditional Caribbean with brightly painted wooden shops and souvenir shacks but also a number of large bank buildings and shady sounding offshore business premises. 

We returned to the boat a bit disappointed with the location and at the last moment decided to press on to Soper’s Hole on the western tip of Tortola.  We got here just before dark, found a buoy in a rather nice bay.  It’s totally sheltered from the chop the trade winds always throw up, but nonetheless nice and breezy.  It’s also well served by bars and shops, all in the bright Caribbean livery.  We decided to stay an extra night, which it a bit naughty having already checked out of the BVIs.  On to the US Virgins today!

Soper’s Hole in the dying light:

 

On the subject of visiting the Virgin Islands, we think that it is probably the perfect location if you just want a holiday cruise in lovely, unchallenging (if crowded) surroundings.  As travellers more than holidaymakers (although some of you probably think of us as permanently on holiday), we are always looking for a bit more interest from our surroundings.