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Virgin Gorda trip report and photos

Travel discussion for Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and beyond!

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Virgin Gorda trip report and photos

Postby Maggy » Sat May 14, 2011 1:04 pm

I have more pictures from the trip here:

http://maggy1960.smugmug.com/Vacation/B ... 61_8ThcxgZ

For the sixth time Christer and I went to Virgin Gorda. This island is the one that is closest to my heart and was the very first island we visited in the Caribbean (if you exclude Bermuda, which I'm not really sure of counts as Caribbean). Well, we usually go the same time of the year when we travel there. That is of course, if any Icelandic volcano doesn't have an eruption.

We always stay at Guavaberry Spring bay vacation homes and we just love it. To us it couldn't be more perfect. They are basic but very nice wooden houses with one bedroom (or two) and a kitchen and a lovely deck with a more or less gorgeous view over Sir Frances Drake’s channel. You can see Tortola, the Dogs, Great Camanoe, Scrub, Ginger island and you can see St John.

When you are visiting the same time of the year, means that you get to meet a lot of people who does the same. Over the years we have met some great friends and this year we were a group of 9-11 people that did a lot of fun things together. We also travelled with my brother and his girlfriend this year, so it was great to show the how beautiful the Virgin islands can be. They loved it. And we stayed in separate houses, so we could get together when we wanted and be on our own also. It worked out perfectly. We shared one rental car though.

Our house this year was Cedar house and we really like it. Wonderful views from the deck. All houses have names after flowers, plants or trees. Here are a couple of pictures from the house.

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View from the house

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Spring bay was our base, which is to me one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s just on the other side of the Bath’s but not the crowds. We also went to Savannah Bay, Mahoe Bay, the Baths (early before anyone else was there), Devils Bay and other beaches as well. We had one lunch at Saba Rock, which is a great little place and makes a perfect excursion from Guavaberry. You drive over Gorda Peak with gorgeous views.

Spring Bay

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The Baths

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Valley Trunk Bay
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Savannah Bay lookout. Never seen it so calm.

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Savannah Bay

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Me at Saba Rock

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Brown Pelican

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North sound

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One day the whole group went with Dive BVI (which to me is the absolutely best dive operation I have ever experienced) on a combined snorkeling and diving trip to Norman islands. First we visited The Indians, then lunch at WillyT and then another stop at Spyglass wall. I was the only one diving, so I got a private divemaster. The conditions were just great and we saw lots of nice stuff. I saw turtle, nurse shark, eagle ray, lionfish, indigo hamlet, spotted drum and more. Everyone was really pleased with the day and the guys we went with and we agreed that we had to do that again next year.

The four of us also went on an afternoon snorkeling/dive trip to the Dogs at a site called Bronco Billy. It was so much fun watching my brother and his girlfriend enjoying the snorkeling.

From WillyT

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Redband Parrotfish

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Indigo Hamlet

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Good visibility at the Indians

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Smooth trunkfish

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I had met this wonderful lady named Joan Soncini on TTOL (Traveltalk online) and we have had contact for many years, but never managed to get together. We had plans last year to do that, but the volcano put an end to that. She is a writer/photographer/PhD and has written a lovely book about Virgin Gorda called “An intimate Portrait”. Anyway, she owns a villa with her Italian husband on Mahoe Bay and we were invited to them for lunch. It was a really nice day. We started with snorkeling Mahoe Bay, which by the way is one of the best places to snorkel in VG and we found a turtle. It was my brother and gf first turtle and it was just great to hang out with that fellow for a long time. After that we went up to her villa, had a swim in the pool and got a glass of wine, which we enjoyed up in her gazebo. The view from there is to die for. And then we had lunch and talked for a couple of hours. Christer also played tennis with her husband a couple of days later. We have got new friends and we might see them again next year. She also invited me and the girls in the SOTB group to come over in November (as it happened that they planned to be there at that time too).

Turtle:

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From the villa

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Mahoe Bay

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Well, every good trip comes to an end and so did this. I have never in my life appreciated a vacation more than this one. We only had 11 nights on VG, 10 days, which might be a little too short, but the weather was just perfect and I know all about having bad weather. The only bad thing was that we had box jellies the last two days in Spring bay (and other beaches as well) due to it was very windy the last days. Several people got stunged (not anyone we know) but the ambulance came and got one person from the Baths.

On the way home (outbound too) we stayed one night in Newark. We stay at Marriot Newark hotel right in the airport and I can really recommend this hotel. It was very good, nice rooms with comfy beds, very soundproof and a great restaurant. Very close to the airport. Free wifi in the first floor (lobby, bar, restaurants etc).

Sunsets

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Flowers

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From the hotelroom in Newark. SAS and Manhattan.

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Postby b-as-u-r » Sat May 14, 2011 3:55 pm

Sounds like a great time and as always, great pics! SOTB soon come sister! Ali~
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Postby Pickle » Sat May 14, 2011 4:23 pm

It's so nice to have a place that is so close to your heart and be able to keep returning there. The place looks beautiful, Maggy. Happy to hear you all had a wonderful time.

Shame on me for never having been to Virgin Gorda!
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Postby Lex » Sat May 14, 2011 4:48 pm

Thanks for your report and pics. We also love Guavaberry and I deeply love the boulder beaches and hanging out in the caves. I really have to make myself go over to Savanna or Mahoe, otherwise I'd be totally content to just spend the whole stay among the boulders. We need to get back there before long.
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Postby lisa mcg » Sat May 14, 2011 7:05 pm

Thanks Maggy...we really loved Virgin Gorda too.....still checking out new islands but VG holds a special place in my heart:)
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Postby mindehankins » Sat May 14, 2011 8:07 pm

Maggy, what a great report and beautiful pics!!! I showed them to my husband and he agrees that we really need to see Virgin Gorda. Thank you for taking the time to make your report!
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Postby chrisn » Sat May 14, 2011 9:20 pm

Thanks so much for taking me back to VG! I adore Guavaberry and Spring Bay is my favorite beach in the world! I have Joan's book! The sunsets on VG are hard to beat! I totally agree about Dive BVI. Casey is wonderful! Fantastic report!
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Postby AH » Sat May 14, 2011 9:48 pm

Maggy,

Virgin Gorda is our favorite of the British Virgin Islands. You have captured some wonderful images. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting Joan a couple years ago. She is such a wonderful (and talented women). Hopefully you have her book?
So nice that you were able to share this wonderful island with your brother. I like the idea of traveling with another couple but I agree that having separate living quarters is a good idea.
Thank you for sharing your report and your pictures!
AH
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Postby EagleRayLover » Sun May 15, 2011 8:06 am

Maggie- wonderful report- great sunsets, great underwater shots (as always)- did you get a photo of the eagle- if so I's love to see it- even if it's not your best quality! I think you know Steve and I made our first with Captain John to BVIs this past trip and I am sure we will return. just beautiful! Thanks for sharing! :D
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Postby Jen East End » Sun May 15, 2011 8:24 am

Great picture, thanks!
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Postby FinsUp » Sun May 15, 2011 9:20 am

Thanks so much for sharing...VG is definitely on my list of places to visit!!
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Postby Maggy » Sun May 15, 2011 10:03 am

Thank you so much for you nice comments. For once I'm really pleased with some of the pictures and the wonderful weather sure helped to bring out the colors. I'm sure my Canon G11 also helps.

AH - yes, Joan is a really talented and wonderful person. I bought her book and read it when I came home. Very interesting and great pictures.

Leslie - sorry, but no picture of the Eagle Ray. It was pretty large but too far away to get a good picture of. It was out on the sand at 60ft. I did try to take a photo, but it wasn't even good enough to see it was an eagle ray. I have deleted it. Did you snorkel Spyglass wall? That's where we saw the ray.
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Postby PA Girl » Sun May 15, 2011 11:31 am

I purchased Joan's book prior to our VG trip. I highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Virgin Gorda. (it is not a travel guide but a book about VG history and people)

The best day of our VG trip was spent at Spring Bay.

We stayed at the house below Joan's at Mahoe, I can see the roof in your picture. Sadly, the weather was so awful during our trip, we didn't snorkel at Mahoe.

Guavaberry really interests me for our next trip.

Thanks for the trip report.
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Postby sea-nile » Mon May 16, 2011 8:20 am

Beautiful pictures and great report! It makes me want to stay there some day.
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Postby Maggy » Mon May 16, 2011 8:51 am

Thank you sea-nile and PA-girl.

There are some really nice villas at Mahoe Bay, but they are too large and expensive for us as we usually are just two persons. Otherwise I would love to stay there.

The snorkeling at Mahoe bay is really good. There is a large area of corals and usually you can find turtles. I hadn't been snorkeling there in a couple of years and kind of forgot how good it was. I can really recommend it.

For many reasons, we like Guavaberry and Spring Bay. I think it's the laidback feeling over the place and the cute little houses and all the flowers. The commissary is really well stocked and prices are the same as the stores, so it helps. Guavaberry's staff is wonderful and life feels very easy and relaxed there. If you need to have a pool, it's better to rent one of the private villas they also manage. Otherwise Spring bay is 2-5 minutes from the houses, depending on which house you are in.

Can't wait to go back next April.
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