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British Virgin Islands - Activities

British Virgin Islands Activities

The yacht 'Treazzure' anchored off Sandy Cay

Bareboating, or self-crew yacht chartering, is the most popular way to cruise from island to island, and if you have access to a vessel you'll find deserted coves and beaches even at the height of the tourist season. One of the best places to drop anchor is at Cane Garden Bay on Tortola, which has a fine beach and two reefs to explore. A large anchorage at uninhabited Norman Island, the furthest island south of Tortola, has been called the 'Bight' since pirate days because it has good holding and is well sheltered. Neighboring Peter Island is where Blackbeard is said to have left 15 men with a bottle of rum and one saber to fight out their differences. Moorings at both islands are shared with spotted lobster and lettuce sea slugs and are only a few minutes' ride by dinghy from excellent dive sites. Norman Island also has caves that can be explored by snorkelers.

There's more great diving at Salt Island, northeast of Peter Island, which is famed as the site of the wreck of the RMS Rhone. Sunk in 1867, the sailing steamship split into two pieces, which means double the diving pleasure. Neighboring Cooper Island has strong currents that attract abundant marine life. Nearby Ginger Island has rough waters because it's exposed to the southeast trade winds, but 50ft (15m) below the surface are huge mushroom-shaped star corals and multicolored sponges.

Horseshoe Reef off the southern shore of Anegada measures 11 miles (18km) long and is the third largest reef in the world. It has claimed hundreds of ships over the years, making it a great spot for wreck diving. Other watering holes on every diver's list include the Baths on Virgin Gorda, a pile of gigantic boulders that form amazing underwater caves; and West Dog, a tiny national park islet a few miles off the western portion of Virgin Gorda. Smugglers Cove, on the far western tip of Tortola, is a remote cove that offers super snorkeling.

There are numerous short but stiff walks in the islands' national parks and if you want the views but not the leg-action, a number of stables will saddle up a nag for some horseback riding.

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