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Well, no, not really spelunking, but we were having fun snorkeling in and around the caves on Norman Island.

Norman Island lies south of Tortola and east of St. John. Departing from Cane Garden Bay, we started our travel here yesterday with a nice relaxed downwind sail along the northern coast of Tortola. It didn’t matter to us how slow we were going… we were going downwind! Our entire trip from the Chesapeake to here has been to windward (into the wind) so we were happy to enjoy ourselves. Ultimately we did have to “tap out” and start an engine when, after sailing into the Thatch Island Cut, the wind dropped to essentially nothing and the current helped to cut our speed to nil. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

We’re getting used to seeing bays filled with mooring balls and The Bight at Norman is no exception. We moved close up to the shore though and dropped our anchor in front of all of them, just by the Pirates Bight beach. Too bad their web cam isn’t working! With much of the afternoon left to play, we opted to take the short dinghy ride around the corner to “The Caves.” We’re really glad we did too. As you can see from the pics below, it was pretty cool. Although the coral was not as elaborate as we have seen, it was some great snorkeling, the best we have experienced since Rum Cay (there are no doubt plenty of great snorkel spots between here and there — we just haven’t come across them).

Anchorage: The Bight, Norman Island, BVI
Internet on boat with Alfa: Yes. Free. Fairly fast and consistent.
Internet on boat without Alfa: No.
Internet on shore: NA

37 Comments

  1. I would love for you to do a box (like you do for wifi or in lieu of) at the end of each post about the anchorages….Just a suggestion……..

    • What specifically would you like to know, John? I do try to put info on each place that we visit in the text. You do read them, don’t you John?

      😉

      • I am a simple man who likes the answers laid out for me Mike!

        Anchorage: Cane Garden Bay, Tortola BVI
        Internet Access: Yes
        Moorings: Yes
        Anchoring: Yes
        Restaurant/Bar: Yes
        Rating: 8 (scale 1 to 10)

        I dont know………I just live vicariously through you guys

        • I hesitate to do a numerical rating because, as I have mentioned, one’s personal experience is often dictated by weather, people, circumstances, interests, etc. For example, we just anchored in Cane Garden Bay. We have come to realize that the guidebooks tend to over-sell some places but in general I think Cane Garden Bay is well liked. For us, it was just OK. There was little to see in town and the bay was nice but nothing spectacular. BUT, that was just our experience. Another couple might have a totally different experience and I would hate to dissuade anyone from visiting there just because we gave it a 4 out of 10. Others’ thoughts are welcome.

  2. You should have stopped at the Indians on the way and snorkled there. It is a really good snorkle spot and crystal clear water. If you make it to Sea Cow Bay, there is a couple there that runs an Charter Operation called Barecat Charters. They Cruised on the PDQ32 for a number of years before settling in BVI.

    • Hmmm… not sure we’ll get up to Sea Cow but I’ll keep that in mind. I love talking to PDQ 32 owners (it doesn’t happen often enough).

      As for the Indians, we’re definitely going to stop there. I think we’ll just drop the hook off them and snorkel before we make our way to Peter island. We saw quite a few boats there yesterday afternoon as we made our way here.

      • Don’t believe you can anchor off the indians but the mooring balls are free. Not an overnight stop though. And be careful with the moorings in the Bight. When we were there in December many of them were sketchy. Nice anchorage around the corner on Peter Island – Key Bay. Only room for about 3 boats and very beautiful. One of our favorites. Word of warning if you head towards Cooper Island – the current flows fast through the anchorage between Cooper and Salt Island near Cistern and it can run you up over the mooring ball. Try to get in closer to the Beach Club. Nice snorkle at Cistern Rock but watch for the box jellies just after full moon.
        Hope you get to Anegada before moving on. It is our favorite place in all the BVI.

        • Hi Kirk. You’re right… they were likely on moorings. They had some just outside the caves too. As you said, moorings can be sketchy which, along with having to pay for them, is why we tend to avoid them. I trust our ground tackle much more.

          I think our friend just anchored in Key Bay (I could see from his Spot tracker). And I just read about those Box jellies yesterday. The website said that someone got stung around here. I hate jelly fish!

          Tell us about Anegada. I haven’t heard much about the place.

          • Mooring Balls – daytime free, pay for overnight only. National park mooring balls – orange, I think – day only and covered if you paid the parks fee when clearing in. Dive Balls – larger and maybe yellow, not sure – for dive boats. So only need to worry about paying for moorings overnight. You will have to use a mooring at the baths but day only- can’t overnight there. Flag poles so watch for red flag if weather is up.
            North end of Virgin Gorda is North Sound (aka Gorda Sound). Great stop. Go to Leverick Bay. Call ahead and check with them. When we were there in December slip was same price as a mooring and you get free bag of ice and water. They have showers, laundry, pool, some provisioning and the best bbq buffet deal in the BVI on Friday nights, I think.
            From North Sound leave early and head NNE to Anegada. Furthest NE island in the BVI. 3-4 hour sail. Flat island, rustic. Moorings but can anchor. Tricky finding the entrance buoy gate but information is at BVIPirate.com. Walker Magnum is the man for all things Anegada and headings and waypoints at his site. 004 or so I think but stay west as reefs surround the SW of the island. You should start to spot it about 2 hrs out of North Sound. Follow others if not sure. Time arrival around 11am and you should see boats leaving the anchorage and that will give you a line on the channel. You never loose sight of VG, JVD or Tortola. BBQ’d Lobster on the beach at Potters or ARH is not to be missed. Taxi or car rental available to explore but hike the beach around NW to Cow Wreck Beach. Taxi back. Perfect chill beach.
            BTW, I think Sandra said she was to be there around this week so look for her. suspect she may chime in here as I think she was staying at Neptunes Treasure and they have wifi.
            For us, we would take a stop in Anegada any day over the Bomba FMP but I think you have a prearranged meeting there. Hope that leaves you enough time to make Anegada.
            Better Party in my opinion is pub crawl of the beach bars Neptune’s Treasure to Lobster Pot, Whistling Pines, ARH, and ending at Potters. All along the anchorage. Very cool.
            And don’t forget Pam’s Bakery. Cheers!

            • Thanks for the Anegada Guide Book, Kirk!

            • Yes, Kirk, I am on Anegada, I have been talking to Mike about meeting up with them.

              I honestly think a trip over here is worth it. The walk from Neptunes Treasure, where I am, to Cow Wreck – along the water – is unmatched for it’s beauty, in my opinion. Miles of beach and not another soul on them. And then you can have lunch at Cow Wreck – take a cab back as Kirk suggested. Also, I think I mentioned the flamingos that live in the salt pond inland. Pretty amazing place.

            • Caveat:
              In case it wasn’t clear from my Anegada travelogue, there is only one (1) harbor/anchorage on Anegada, except for those experts with local knowledge, although the main anchorage is somewhat divided into two sections (kinda dumbell shaped). There is the main mooring field in fromt of Anegada reef Hotel and at the back of it is a narrow cut into a secondary mooring field in front of Neptune’s Treasure. It is usually possible to find an anchor spot in each, especially for shallower boats. The Neptune’s area is shallower. Deeper draft boats (ie. 7’+ typically anchor outside, between the entrance to the main mooring field and the ferry dock. Again, the BVIPirate site has more information.

        • X2 on everything Kirk said.

          Awesome restaurant at Sea Cow, but not much of anything else. Just hail Barecat as you go by, and Mike or Sydney will pick up. We honeymooned on a 32 back in 2003. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-CnkUPqykw

  3. As always you make everyone feel like they are with you on this adventure. Pictures are GREAT!

    Thanks for taking the time each and very day to share!

    Suzanne

  4. Hi Guys!
    Great to hear you have enjoyed it as much as we did. Some of the same great pics too!
    Have you made your way to Willy T’s yet?

    Joel

    • Willie Ts looked dead last night so we didn’t go. Pirates wasn’t really busy either. We have some friends arriving here later today so we’ll definitely go to Wilie Ts tonight though.

  5. Nice! How is the water temp in the caves?

  6. I don’t know if you left Norman yet, but if you take the road that leads out of the back of Pirates and follow it up the hill, you’ll get to a great vantage point for nice pictures of the anchorage and the Atlantic. I’m enjoying following along, love your pictures!

  7. Hi Mike, Your pics are outstanding! What camera are you guys using?

  8. Hi Rebecca & Mike, we were there in March, had a brilliant time sailing around BVI, I am just concerned that you have not mentioned the “Soggy dollar” in white harbour, this is where Painkiller were made. Though to be fair I seem to remember having a great time at Foxy”s!! Enjoy.

  9. Mike, the usual FANTASTIC pictures! Thanks so much for taking all of us along on your adventure!

  10. Hi Mike,
    I just saw your reaction on facebook of trying to get the ropes from Dyneema to the BVI’s…. I was surprised!!! We just anchored in Tortola today!! We are a couple of mile away from eachother.
    I found it nice to read. I keep an extra watch for you these coming period. For the huricane season, we’re heading south as well.

    By the way… I haven’t got my ropes yet as well. 😉

    Fair winds!!

    Regards,
    Denise
    SY La Luna

  11. andy & sonja cru-zinacatamaran - Reply

    Thanks Mike for this page, loads of info. especially from Kirk “cheers Kirk”

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