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What we did

Our main activity when we go to the Caribbean is snorkeling and, when possible, boating. Three of the six days of this vacation were spent on and in the water. We visited Lee Bay, Cam Bay, and Monkey Point. (See maps for locations). We found both Lee and Cam Bays deserted. You could easily walk the 100 yards or so of land between them. Lee Bay had the most shoreline to snorkel along. Monkey Point was a longer boat ride to get to and had more boats anchored there. There were a lot of families moored there. They'd dinghy over to the shore with a boatload of kids to go snorkeling. It was fun watching them spend about 15 minutes getting all the kids setup with their masks and fins. The kids would snorkel for about 5 or 10 minutes and then they'd be done. Then it was about another 15 minutes to get all the snorkel equipment off the kids and then they'd dinghy back to their moored boat.

Lee Bay.

^ Above is Lee Bay and our boat at anchor.

Cam Bay

^ Above is a shot of Diane walking along Cam Bay.

Monkey Point

^ Above is the snorkeling area behind Monkey Point.

The waters were clear and the fish viewing was good. This was the first time we saw sea turtles! We saw them at Monkey Point and in Cam Bay. I enjoyed diving down and swimming with the turtles. We also saw squid in Lee Bay. I was amazed by the way the squid could change colors instantly from a nearly transparent skin to a dark brown color.

Sea Turtle Squid

^ Above is one of the Sea Turtles we saw and also one of the Squids.

Spotted Eagle Ray

^ A Spotted Eagle Ray

Explored Tortola by rental car:
On Monday we rented a car from Dede's car Rental located in East End. We called them on the phone the day before and made a reservation. The next morning, they came over to Trellis Bay to pick us up. After filling out a few quick forms, we were on our way. From East End, we drove to Roadtown. It was too much like a busy city to us, what with traffic congestion and traffic lights. We were anxious to get out into the countryside. We quickly headed up into the hilly interior, and I do mean hilly. The road up to Sage Mountain National Park from Roadtown (Joe's Hill Road) was nearly vertical! The rental car would not go any faster than about 15 mph!

At Sage Mt National Park we parked and hiked some of the trails for about 2 hours. In some places the growth was very thick and in other places we got scenic views out over the island to the shoreline and beaches in the distance. We had to wander around the trails for a while to find the large Fig Tree in the park.

The steep roads of Totola

^ The roads around Tortola were very steep and narrow and twisty.

Here's the entrance to Sage Mt. National Park. >Entrance gate to Sage Mt. National Park

Fig Tree at Sage Mt Nat. Park

^ This is the large Fig Tree at Sage Mt. National Park (the main attraction).

After hiking about the park, we headed for the north shore of Tortola. We passed by several nice beach towns along the coast. First was Cane Garden Bay where we stopped for lunch at an open-air beachside café. From there we continued northeast to Brewers Bay. Brewers Bay was a quieter area with a campground by the beach. The bay is named for the remains of an old distillery built there back in the 1700's. The ruins are visible from the road as you drive past the beach.

North shore of Tortola

^ The north shore of Tortola

Lunch at Cane Garden Bay

^ Here I am enjoying a beachside lunch at Cane Garden Bay.

Leaving Brewers Bay, we headed back inland and followed the Ridge Road across the top of Totola back to Beef Island and Trellis Bay. There we left the rental car and boated back home to Great Camanoe.

Visited "The Baths":
On Thursday we visited "the Baths" on Virgin Gorda. "The Baths", are a batholithic formation of enormous smooth granite boulders, some the size of a bus, that appear to have been casually tossed on the shoreline by some unknown giant long ago. The boulders create a very interesting maze of caverns and chambers to walk thru.

The ferry to Virgin GordaTo get there, we took the North Sound Express ferry from Trellis Bay over to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda, a trip of about 10 miles ($32/pp/rt). When we arrived there, the dock was mobbed with waiting taxis. Our taxi driver told us that they were all waiting for a cruise ship to arrive in about 30 minutes. They were going to be transporting several hundred cruise ship passengers over to the Baths. Oh No !! He wisely suggested that we hightail it over to the Baths right away and get a head start on the other tourists.

When we arrived, we quickly stored our extra gear in beach lockers (about $2) and started the walk thru the boulders. (There's a map and description of the "Baths" at this website). Sometimes you're walking on the beach, sometimes thru the water, and sometimes up ladders to get over the tops of some of the smaller boulders. It was a surreal experience walking about the boulders. At times you would be walking below giant sized boulders, precariously perched above your head. I had trouble following the map and "trail description" that I had downloaded off the web. We usually just followed our noses and got "lost" frequently.

The entrance to the Baths

^ The entrance to the Baths down by the beach.

At times the going got kinda tight. > The Baths

The Baths < At times you were walking thru the water.

At times you use ladders to get over boulders. > The Baths

On the other side of the "Baths" was a small beach called Devils Beach. We found a small patch of beach with some shade and commenced our favorite pastime, people watching. We watched the hordes of cruise boat tourists steadily emerge from the boulders and find the beach. The small beach was soon covered with tourists, all with the same color beach towels that must have been issued by the cruise boat. They hung around for a few hours and then just as steadily as the arrived, they packed up and left. Ahhh, once again the beach was peaceful!

Devils Beach at The Baths

^ Devils Beach at The Baths on Virgin Gorda. Later it was MOBBED!

Eventually, even we had to depart, so we found our way back thru the boulder maze and up to the taxi parking lot. At the parking lot are several tourist trinket shops and two restaurants, "The Top of the Baths" and "Mad Dogs Restaurant and Bar". The first place was crowded and service looked like it was gonna be slow, so we opted for Mad Dogs. There we got a pair of good sandwiches. Then, rather than have to negotiate with a taxi driver for the ride back to Spanish Town, we decided to walk. We had made note of the way the first taxi driver took us to the Baths, plus it was only about 1.5 miles, so we went for it. Along the way back to Spanish Town we stopped off at a bake shop and picked up some treats!

We got back to Spanish Town early and ended up waiting for the water ferry to take us back home. The return ferry was a "local" and so we made a stop off at the Bitter End Yacht Club on the far eastern end of Virgin Gorda before it took us back to Trellis Bay.

Ate out:
For eating, we generally opted out to stay at home were we could dine by candlelight, at our outside dining room table where we could look out over the Marina Cay anchorage. We did eat out three times. Once we had lunch at Da Loose Mongoose (Trellis Bay), and then we had supper at Donovan's Reef (Scrub Island), and at Marina Cay restaurant. We enjoyed all three places. We had hoped to catch the show at Marina Cay; unfortunately, it had ended by the time we were done with supper. We should have gone to the show first.





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last revised : February 12, 2006