Updated: Oct 22, 2021
No sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands is complete without a visit to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke or Pirates Bight, Norman Island. Both are lively stops with world class beach bars, multiple restaurants and great beaches. We like to build into our cruising itinerary a few quiet stops. These stops allow us to watch the sunset, enjoy some spectacular star gazing, and take an early morning swim in deserted cove or bay. These stops truly give you the opportunity to connect with the natural beauty of the British Virgin Islands. Check out my recommended Seven Day Cruising Itinerary for the British Virgin Islands and then add a night or two at one of these quieter anchorages.
White Bay, Guana Island
Guana Island is one of my favorite quiet anchorages. With less than 10 mooring balls, it can give you all the feel of staying on a deserted island. Guana is a privately owned island with a small exclusive resort above White Bay. While exploring the island is not allowed, you are welcome to enjoy the glistening white sands of their beach. The beach is about 3/4 of a mile long and is a delightful place to stretch your boat weary legs. Between the mooring field and the beach there are several large coral heads. For beginner or tentative snorkelers this is a very comfortable place to snorkel. At the southern tip of White Bay is Monkey Point, a wonderful snorkel spot with a walk through to the beach on the other side of the Point. Watch out for the Fire Coral as you are getting in and out of the water. The sunsets are especially spectacular as you watch the sun sink over St. Thomas, USVI.
Last fall I purchased an HD Snorkel Mask. It makes a huge difference in the clarity of viewing while snorkeling. I love it. I also wear a scuba shirt while snorkeling in the winter and spring. I admit I am a cold water wimp and the scuba shirt allows me to stay in the water much longer. I am very careful to use reef safe sunscreen while snorkeling.
Kelly Cove, Norman Island
Kelly Cove is a quiet cousin to the often hopping Pirate's Bight. As you enter the Bight on your left is a small cove with 4 overnight mooring balls and two national park day use only balls. Kelly Cove offers dingy access to the beach, gift shop, hiking trails and restaurants of the Bight and the Willy T as well as dingy access to the Caves. If you are interested in snorkeling the Indians, the best thing to do is make it the first stop in the morning leaving Norman Island or the last stop in the afternoon when entering. The rock face cliffs of Kelly Cove are beautiful snorkeling in their own right. It is a great place to catch the sunset over St. John USVI or view the Milky Way in the southern night sky.
Diamond Key, Jost Van Dyke
Diamond Key is the jumping off point for several BVI highlights. It was originally only 5 mooring balls. It has expanded to 12, which gives you greater access to Sandy Spit, Sandy Key and the Bubbly Pool, a natural jacuzzi created as the waves crash into the north shore of Little Jost Van Dyke. To get to the Bubbly Pool, dingy to the dock at Foxy's Taboo on the western side of the mooring field. Walk along to shore line to the northeast from behind Foxy's Taboo, until you get to the hill with the caution signs on them. Turn left and follow the trail to the Bubbly Pool. Grab a bite to eat at Foxy's Taboo or B-Line Bar on Little Jost Van Dyke before heading back to your vessel to enjoy some amazing star gazing to the North.
Soldier Bay, Norman Island
These last three quiet anchorages we discovered were because they were approved quarantine anchorages during the Coronavirus Pandemic. Soldier Bay is on the northwest side of Norman Island. It has 5 mooring balls and space for a couple of boats to anchor. It is a quiet, peaceful place to connect with the natural beauty of the BVI. The sandy bottom of this cove is home to rays and turtles easily spotted while snorkeling. It is a small but calm cove where you can perfect your paddle boarding skills.
Benure's Bay, Norman Island
Benure's Bay is the next bay to the east of Soldier Bay. Lot's of sea turtles call this bay home. The tropical fish and coral are nice viewing for snorkeling on the rocky points of this bay. The southern views here makes the star gazing exceptional. This was a protected anchorage even in high winds and north swells. This bay is also accessible on foot, by taking the north fork of the hiking trails on Norman Island. You can pick up the trail behind the beach in the center of the cove. To the west it will lead to Pirate's Bight and Spyglass Hill. To the east it will take you to Money Bay.
Hallovers Bay, Copper Island
This scenic bay is directly to the south of Manchioneel Bay and Cistern Point on Cooper Island. There are two National Park Day Use Only Balls in this bay, as well as places for a couple of boats to anchor. The view is spectacular with Ginger Island in the background. Because of high winds and a northern swell, we were not able to explore this bay or snorkel there. It is definitely on my list when we return later this year.
Exploring the quiet anchorages of the BVI gives you an opportunity to absorb with inherent charms of the BVI, the majestic hills rising out of azure sea, colorful fish and playful turtles swimming below and an inky sky sparkling with stars. These lightly developed islands have a treasure trove of places to explore these charms. Have you visited the BVI? What are your favorite anchorages? Leave your favorites in the comment section below. Considering a day or two on land in the BVI, check out the low rates at Booking.com.
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