Thursday 7 Mar, BVI day 3: Road trip around Virgin Gorda.
We wake to grey sky and pouring rain. Classic…. we rented a car today 🙁 Why do the heavens open each time we arrange a car? But a look at the forecast shows it should clear up by late morning. So off we go.
As we dinghy into the harbour we realize there are 2 cruise liners anchored in the bay and they are ferrying in their passengers. In the harbour a convoy of what can only be described as passenger trucks (pickup vehicles with rows of uncomfortable seats in the back) are waiting to tour the herd around the island.
By comparison, our bright green KIA Soul looks fit to carry a king and queen! We first do a short drive around Spanish Town and quickly conclude we didn’t miss much when we walked it the other day. It’s really just a ram-shackle gathering of buildings and debris interspersed with the odd shop. We doubt Irma was fully responsible for the way it looks.
Out of town we drive to the western tip where among the granite outcrops there are old abandoned copper mines. But they don’t look like much to see and in any case there is already a large herd there along with their passenger trucks. So we do a u-turn, pass through Spanish Town again and head for prettier views on the north eastern end of Virgin Gorda.
Here the road climbs steeply up the hills giving very nice views of the bays we pass and particularly Savannah Bay where we had previously anchored. Along the west coast there are 2 very nice developments (Mango Bay Resort and a cluster of luxury villas), though many of the buildings still need repair after Irma.
A For Sale sign attracts us and on a high peninsula over the bay we find what must have been a spectacular house, perched on the cliff. The only part left intact is the infinity pool – the rest is leveled. But if real estate is all about location location location, this property (land) has all 3 in abundance. But no, we won’t ask the price, but we do fly the drone from it!
A little further on we come across the Hog Heaven hilltop restaurant where they serve everything pork! Too early for lunch but we do enjoy their amazing view over Gorda Sound with Prickly Pear and Mosquito islands plus Necker Island in the distance. We decide that Sir Richard Branson really did pick a fabulous island to buy. It is surrounded by coral reef and white sand that gives the island a turquoise rim. Beautiful. Maybe we will try to anchor there and see if we get invited for tea :). We tried that outside Mick Jagger’s house on Mustique … but it didn’t work 🙂
After a few short miles the road ends at Gun Bay where there are a huge number of parked cars. We learn this is the port that takes all the workers out to the other islands and Bitter End where all the resort reconstruction is taking place. Apparently 2000 workers leave from here every day, to their work places.
Just along from Gun Bay is Leverick Marina and hotel. Their small marina and mooring buoys are all full. Although the place doesn’t look much they are clearly doing well while Bitter End, Saba Rock and all other resorts in Gorda Sound are out of action. We stop for a drink and the bar tender tells us that even they have only been reopened for 3 months. All around this bay the houses are still totally destructed, like a war zone. Most without roofs and some simply flattened – even concrete and steel surrendered to the world’s most powerful hurricane ever recorded (Irma, >200 mile per hour winds ).
From Leverick Marina we take the road back towards Spanish Town but this time by the east coast route which almost climbs as high as the island’s peak, giving us great views.
Then onto The Baths. But not to go there again. This time we want to fly the drone over the area. We find a shady spot to take off and have a great flight over this granite coast. The people between the boulders look like ants! This drone never ceases to amaze me. To think that we can fly it 1Km away from us at up to 500m altitude, totally out of sight, and yet see exactly what the drone sees in full 4K resolution on our screen. Quite amazing. And the aerial view over The Baths doesn’t disappoint us.
And that’s Virgin Gorda explored. We have been on every road and seen everything we can, with just one exception, Little Dixy Bay which was under reconstruction and not possible to drive there. That said, we did try, but security guys were too smart this time. They must have already heard about our “no entry” evasion tactics 🙂
For a last stop we head back to Hog Heaven to eat. The ribs are amazing and reasonably priced too. And such a nice vista to eat at, with a full view over Gorda Sound in the late afternoon light. Infact the visibility is so good now that we can see all the way to Anegada.
We get back to Cloudy Bay just as the sun drops on top of Tortola in a pink haze. It was a very nice day out. Our evening as usual was relaxing on board with the only highlight watching a yacht arriving in the dark and anchoring right in the middle of the mooring field. We tried to indicate to them to anchor next to us but they didn’t understand our flash light signals. Right now they are OK, but if the wind swings they will for sure encounter one of the moored yachts next to them.
Tomorrow we plan to sail to Anegada, the most northerly of the BVI. It’s a low lying sand island which is pretty much deserted, with stunning beaches. Let’s see if it still is.