VI Strong

Now that I have finished writting about our time in Morocco, I want to talk about the Virgin Islands for a bit before I get back to telling you all about the rest of our travels.

As you may or may not have known, three weeks ago the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico got slammed with a second catagory 5 hurricane less than two weeks after the first one. There is much damage, but these islands will rebuild and be the paradise we all know and love well before the media expects them to be. With this said I figured this was the best time to share an article I wrote and submitted to several magazines two months ago. It is about the places I love in the US and Spainish Virgin Islands. I hope you enjoy it.

LIFE OUTSIDE THE BVI
By: Shane McClellan

If you want to partake in beach bars and a very cool and fun party scene then the British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a great place to visit. Almost every island has a nice anchorage with a beach bar/restaurant and mooring balls for your convenience. It is the “charter capital of the world” for good reason, but with that said if you want to have solitude and quite anchorages to enjoy nature this is not necessarily the best choice.

I have come up with several alternative Virgin Island locations for different things people look for and will be way less crowded than in the BVI.

BEACHES – Who doesn’t like a great beach? The BVI has some amazing ones from White Bay with the Soggy Dollar, Sandy Cay, and Anegada to just name a few. These are all great, but what about some with solitude when you visit?

Cinnamon Bay – This gem on St John is one bay over from the famous Trunk Bay. This is where the National Park Service campground is located. It attracts a very different traveler than the day trippers at Trunk Bay. In fact, if you swim a couple hundred yards (or walk over the rocks) to the west from Cinnamon Bay you can find a beach that is wonderful and usually empty.

Vieques west coast beach

The natural and empty beach on the west coast of Vieques

Frenchman Beach – This beach is on the south side of St Thomas. It used to be an unspoiled stretch of beach outside Charlotte Amalie harbor, where you could be the only boat anchored. Over the last year a beach bar has been built there, so you get a fun relaxed day at a beach bar and you will still most likely be the only boat in the anchorage.

West Coast of Vieques – This beach is in the Spanish Virgin Islands and is not maintained at all and is a wonderful mix of great shade, good sand, and rustic appearance. You will find palm trees uprooted and laying around. What you will not find is trash or people, making it an idyllic location.

SNORKELING – This is the reason so many of us come down to the Caribbean. We want to swim in the crystal-clear water and see all the amazing sea life up close and personal. From the colors to the variety, you never get tired of the coral or fish. In the BVI the Indians, Dogs, and Rhone are some of the favorites, but sometimes it is so crowded with people you get kicked in the face more than you see fish.

Otter Creek - Mangroves - Half Out Of Water

The mangroves in Hurricane Hole on the south side of St John.

Tektite Point – On the south side of St John is one of my favorite snorkeling sites. It is at the south end of Great Lampshur Bay and has everything you could ask for, from the fish and coral to the amazing rock structures. Additionally, there are underwater chambers and tunnels to swim through. The depth is 5 to 50 feet deep and this is the best place to see nurse sharks. A lot of my guests say this is their favorite place I take them including all the BVI sites.

Otter Creek – This is a site I have written blogs about several times, because it is rarely known and unbelievable gorgeous. This bay is in Hurricane Hole, also on the south side of St John. The bay is lined by mangroves, which are trees, and swamp so you would not expect much. Then reality sets in and you have very colorful coral growing right on the roots of the trees and fish hiding in the roots that are not at all afraid. This one is becoming one of my favorite spots. Every time I go I slowly drift around the edge of the bay without encountering another soul.

Otter Creek - Mangroves - Brain CoralWaterlemon Cay – On the north side of St. John island you will find Waterlemon. This cay is hiked to by people staying on St John and has more visitors than the other two, but still the numbers are way lower than in the BVI. Why come here? Well in my opinion, this is one of the best places to see soft corals in the Virgin Islands. Plus, the fish are numerous, colorful and large.

I will publish the rest of the article on Saturday in order to keep this post from becoming to long. 🙂

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