8 May 2012
Still in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda. This is such a well protected place with great moorings that it is easy to stay. We decided to use the dinghy as our means of transport to visit some of the areas. Obviously we went to Bitter End Yacht Club as shown prior. We also took the dinghy out around the island of Prickly Pear to the north. Good name for the island as it is dry and full of cactus. However, on the north shore there is a great beach with nice protected snorkeling. Simply take the dinghy around, making sure not to run aground on the bordering reef, and run up on the sandy beach. Snorkeling is best along the northern end along the rocks. Further west along the sandy beach has much less coral but does have some large fish hanging around. Barracuda, trunk backs, palmettos abound. Barracuda like to watch you closely. They just hover close, curious with a big toothy smile.
We found that the Bitter End Yacht Club was convenient to get a few groceries and they had a great Sunday brunch. Of course they have plenty of souvenirs and other tourist stuff. Across from them is the new YCCS yacht marina. This is a newly built place to cater to the super yachts. It is a part of the Italian, Sardinia based yacht club and should be very nice. It had its grand opening this year and from the pictures posted it was a great time. Now it was just a deserted dock with no boats at all. Looking at the prices, 4 dollars per foot per night, I think even the Super yachts decided to anchor off for free. It does not have much to attract anyone as it is just a self contained place with no beach, no easy access to town. A big yacht can provide all the meals and catering for clients at anchor. Why go into the club’s restaurant when the yacht food is probably better and easily had! I think this is a bust as a marina.
We stayed more days than we planned here since the moorings were comfortable and the dinghy rides gave access to everything. But it was time to leave soon in order to see the rest of the islands.
This is the north side of Prickly Pear island. The beach is white sand and calm waves. Snorkeling is best at the far end of the picture which is north. The island is now a national park so no development. Just water, trees and birds.
Just north of Prickly Pear is Necker Island. This is owned by Richard Branson (Virgin Air). It took a few hits recently from the hurricanes and house fire. Work is underway rebuilding the house. His big catamaran was moored here. We had seen this in Mallorca Spain prior.
This is the resort called Saba Rock. It is at the northeast end of the North Sound at Virgin Gorda. In fact you may think it was part of the Bitter End Yacht Club facility. They have their own moorings that come with free 250 gallons of water if you use them. We did not stop in since we had already been there a decade ago when we last came here. Still a great place to visit and take a few days ashore at the hotel.
These are Cuttlefish. Related to squid and octopus, these appear on menus as a meal in many places. The one on the far left is in the normal stance. At the far right he/she is making a fierce look since I got close. Of course they are around 6 inches long so no real threat. They can change colors to match the environment.
We would turn the stern deck light on at night to see what we could attract. Not much at first then a big splash and swirl. It took a while to determine what this was, shark?, tuna?, Bessy? After some time we saw that is was several Snook. These are larger sport fish that feed at night. They have large scales like a freshwater carp to Americans. Our light attracted many small fish which then attracted the snook. They do make a large splash when the surface to snatch some dinner. We also attracted some rays who swam by. It makes you think twice about swimming off the stern of the boat in the morning!