Updated: Sep 25
Eleven miles north of North Sound, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, sits the sand and coral island Anegada. This long flat island is a gem in the Virgin Islands archipelago. It is fringed with white sand beaches.To the north those beaches are protected by Horseshoe Reef, the third largest barrier reef in the world. Because of the shallow seas and abundance of coral heads, exploration of the reef is limited to those who hire a local guide. .
On our recent visit to Anegada, we contacted Kelly Tours to explore the reef, Conch Island, and teach us about Conch and Lobster hunting. Kelly and Thomas, both commercial divers, exceeded our expectations! We learned about how and why Conch island was created, snorkeled the most pristine coral heads in the BVI, watched the intricacies of lobster and conch diving, and took back to the boat two meals worth of lobster and conch.
First stop Conch Island. This 'island' was created by generations of conch divers stopping at this place to clean their catch before returning home. Through carbon dating, it was determined that divers have been cleaning their catches here for almost 200 years. It is quite a site to see, with thousands of conch rising out of the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Next we were off to Horseshoe Reef and snorkeling. Snorkeling is my absolute favorite thing to do in the British Virgin Islands. I have snorkeled all over the world and the spots that Kelly Tours took us to were some of the most beautiful spots I have ever seen. The golden, red and lavender coral swaying gently in the currents, while thousands of tropical fish swam between them. The coral heads were home to Tangs, Angel Fish, giant Clown Fish, a few Grouper and an Octopus.
Second stop, Thomas got in the water and dove for lobster and conch. We were able to get into the water and watch him work at his craft. After watching for awhile, I swam around exploring another stunning snorkel spot.
Thomas brought up five conch and four lobsters. Some of these lobsters were huge! All were within the guidelines for a tour group in the BVI.
Next stop Conch Island to clean our catch. We shared Conch Island with a commercial diver, cleaning his catch.
Legend says that if you make a wish when you toss the shell into the pile, it will come true. I jumped in to explore the shells up close and toss a shell into the pile. My wish was to make a return visit Anegada, soon!
Using Captain Kelly's recipes we feasted on Conch Ceviche, Cracked Conch and Grilled Lobsters when we returned to the boat. We had a second meal of Lobster in Spicy Tomato sauce over pasta, the next evening!
It was an educational and amazing experience exploring Conch Island and Horseshoe Reef with Captain Kelly and Thomas. We snorkeled some gorgeous spots and learned about Conch and Lobster diving. You can reach Captain Kelly at the What's App number above to schedule your explorations of these unique areas.
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