Unlike other times in life, when one of my charters goes to the Dogs it is a wonderful thing!
The Dogs are a group of small uninhabited islands between Virgin Gorda and Tortola in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. They are named East & West Seal Dog, George Dog, Great Dog, West Dog, and…..Cockroach. Yep you read that correctly, one of the Dog Islands is called Cockroach Island. Really makes you want to walk around there huh? I can’t speak for cockroaches, but the only thing I have seen on the Dog Islands are goats. These are not just any goats, because I have seen them walk down what appeared to be a sheer cliff.
All the Dog Islands are part of the BVI National Trust and mooring balls are available for use during the day. They are wide open to the northern swell, which hammers the Virgin Islands during the winter months, but when the swell is down or during the summer they are fantastic places to snorkel.
My favorite island is Great Dog where on the west side there is a fantastic cove with 7 or so mooring balls. This cove has several ridges making the snorkeling go from 5 feet to 50 feet. Right in the middle there is what appears to be a cave above the water, but it does not go anywhere. On the right hand side as you are looking at the cove there is a rather large swim through about 20 feet underwater. If you continue around the point on the right you will swim to the next cove and find the Chimney. This is a very cool spot, since the island a rock are separated by 10 feet at water level, but almost touching at the top. You can swim right between them and back into the original cove, but a ring of rocks keeps you from knowing you are back in the cove. On the south side of Great Dog there is an airplane wreck in 45 feet of water.
My second favorite Dog is West Dog. I snorkeled this with my nephew and Luke. We found the northwest corner to be the best, because we found sharks, lobsters, squid, and beautiful coral. As you head east you will come to Joe’s Cave, which is a large fissure in the rock and goes back 100 feet or so and is filled with minnows. The northeast corner is The Flintstones, where huge rocks are littering the sea floor and resemble the Flintstone’s stone houses (art is in the eye of the beholder, because I did not see it). This is more of a scuba site, since the rocks are usually 20-50 feet down.
The other Dog Islands have mooring balls and great diving, but these two are my favorite. In fact I could spend two whole days snorkeling these islands and not visit the same spot twice. Of course I am always exploring, so maybe I will find yet another place in the Dogs to call my favorite!!!