Logo-BVIGuide.gif (2185 bytes)

Page Contents
Benures Bay
Pirates Bight Bar & Restaurant
The Bight
The Caves
Diving & Snorkeling
The Indians
Pelican Island
Spy Glass Hill
Willie T

Getting There.
Many daysail boats and dive companies as well as bareboat and crewed charters come to this area. For landlubbers, see the Pirates Bight ferry.

Sir Francis Drake
lost in Hurricane Lenny at St. Martin

SirFrancisDrakeTallShipSailing2.jpg (7276 bytes)

In Memorium:
One of the most elegant of the remaining tall ships, this historic 165' top-sail schooner rounded Cape Horn many times under sail alone.
Continuing the rich tradition of sailing, as seen above at The Bight on one of its many BVI cruises, the Sir Francis Drake will be remembered fondly by its shipmates.

 

Norman Island, locally known as Treasure Island because of legends of pirates and buried treasure,  is believed to have inspired the Robert Lewis Stevenson classic, Treasure Island.

Now, people seek   the "treasure" of being in climes of a waterworld adventure and unspoiled beauty (photo: Jere Lull). Its many visitors will be delighted to know that Norman Island is being perserved in a natural state.

The Bight.
A traditional first day "easy sail" for bareboaters, The Bight at Norman Island is right across the sheltered "Sir Francis Drake Channel" from Tortola.

Everyone's favorite, the Bight is an ample and sheltered anchorage. With moorings to pick up, The Bight also has anchoring, the best of which is toward Billy Bones on a 15-30' shelf.

Good snorkeling is available over the seagrass or on the reef at the south end of the beach.

Pirates Bight Beach Bar & Restaurant A beach bar & restaurant, Pirates Bight (VHF 16 & 69, 496-7827), open 11 AM 'til late, offers favorites such as Pirates Wings, Cucumber salad, Lemon Mustard Chicken, curried shrimp and Mango/Papaya Mousse (see menu).

Sail Caribbean Divers has a dive operation here.

Ferry service will be provided from Sea Cows bay for the grand opening on June 2, 2002.

Deliverance. This small supply boat (VHF 16) offers its wares about dusk, including ice, fruit, and great fresh baked goods. Also, picks up trash bags and delivers to Cooper and Peter islands as well.

Map-NormanIsland3Emboss2.jpg (23843 bytes)

Kids' Treasure Hunt

First we must research the search for buried treasure by reading stories about pirates. The book, Treasure Island, is a good choice for local knowledge and possible clues. Also see Prince of Pirates.

Next we must outfit for our voyage and sail to The Bight. Don't forget your snorkeling fins, mask and snorkel. Also be sure to bring an underwater flashlight and some zip-lock baggies with bread or crackers to feed the fish.

Once in The Bight, check your treasure map above to locate the pirates' treasure in The Caves. Remember "X" marks the spot!

To go to The Caves, get in the dinghy and follow the craggy shoreline to Treasure Point on the lower tip of The Bight. Round the point and tie up at the dinghy mooring.

Slip into the water with your snorkeling gear. Stop to feed the fish at the entrance of The Caves.

Explore the northermost Cave which goes 70' back to a small room. Watch for the surge!

Look for secret markings on the cave walls with your flashlight. Just remember, if you find the buried treasure, it's YOUR turn to pay!

aClearGIF15h-15w.gif (829 bytes)

Water Touring
Many boaters leave their boat at the Bight and travel in the area by dinghy. At the lower tip of the Bight, is Treasure Point with dinghy moorings for The Caves. Likewise, the Willie T and Pirates Bight, both of which are in the Bight, have dinghy docks.

These offer relaxation, a cool refreshment and time to chat, and food, partying and other forms of booty or "treasure" for grownups.

Also, many boaters dinghy to The Indians, one of the top sites in the BVI. Nearby is Rainbow Canyons.

Similarly, Ringdove Rock, Sandy's Ledge and Angelfish Reef can be reached by dinghy.

In particular, Sandy's Ledge is excellent for novice snorkelers who have finished The Caves and are eager for more snorkeling nearby.

The South Shore can also be toured by water.

The Caves. Lending to the continuing legend of buried treasure, the famous Caves, pictured at the top, are only four feet deep, although they drop off to 40 feet near their entrance. Typically explored by snorkeling, the Caves are fascinating rock formations.

The variety of tropical fish, the life-encrusted walls of cup corals and sponges with their brilliant colors, and the abundant waterfowl, including pelicans, tropic birds and laughing gulls, make this a popular area.

The northern-most Cave stretches 70' back into the island. Bring an underwater flashlight to see the gorgeous purples, rusts and deep veins of the above water walls. Underwater, it's like a night dive, with the coral polyps extending their tentacles to feed. At the end of the cave is a small room.

The next Cave is deeply indented into the rock face. Still another Cave is above the water line.

The southernmost Cave has a rounded rock bottom on which to stand, underneath a natural skylight. This is a good place to take photos from the inside. Watch for surge so as not to damage yourself or the wildlife.

"Willie T"

WillieT2Icon3(JereLull).jpg (5818 bytes)

A replica of a 93' top-sail schooner has been converted to a bar- restaurant and anchored in the Bight. Affectionately called the "Willie T," (a/k/a the William Thornton II for the designer of the U.S. Capitol, a BVI native), it is a BVI tradition (the old Willie T is now a dive wreck--now you can jump off the roof in slow motion), known for its casual ambiance, patroling barracudas and wild carousing like the old-time pirates with belly shots on the bar. The Willie T monitors VHF 16 (photo: Jere Lull).


See at YouTube:
Willy T in the BVI

Sargeant majors, easily recognized by  their distinctive five vertical bars, patrol for bread handouts at The Caves, followed by yellowtail snappers, pictured here, a
popular table fish in the BVI. Note how the yellow midline strip extends back into the yellow tail.

Snorkel Touring
After The Caves, the most popular BVI snorkeling site may be The Indians. The east side toward Pelican Island is excellent for snorkeling, especially the "fish bowl." In the shallows, damselfishes chase the algae-grazing schools of blue tang. Look for colorful flatworms as well.

Inexperienced snorkelers should be careful of strong winds that kick up waves and generate surface currents here!

Snorkelers with good skin diving talents may attempt the tunnel exiting the fish bowl.

Nearby off Pelican Island is Rainbow Canyons with good snorkeling in the shallows.

Other good snorkeling sites are Spy Glass, Sandy's Ledge and Angelfish Reef.

Pelican Island.
T
he Indians
, nearby rock pinnacles off Pelican Island reminiscent of an Indian bonnet, is a not-to-be-missed dive site, which also offers great snorkeling. Here in the shallow "fish bowl," swirling clouds of bait fish are pursued by jacks and snappers below and dive-bombed by pelicans above

IndiansRockPinnacles(JGoldy).jpg (9363 bytes)

Dive Tour of The Indians

These rock pinnacles rise and descend roughly the same fifty feet above and below the water (photo: JGoldy). Pick up one of the numerous moorings, and then proceed to circle the four pinnacles in about 50 minutes.

From the northwest mooring, descend 50' and swim over to the base of the cliff. Go to the right for various corals, such as elkhorn, brain and star, and sponge laden ledges, along with sea fans and gorgonians. Trumpetfish, black durgons and blue chromis are abundant here.

Further on, a steep walled canyon is formed by a sunken Indian or pinnacle on the right. At its far end is an active cleaning station serving creole wrasse, bar jacks and others.

Coming around the last Indian, you will enter an area of large coral heads with elegant trunkfish, bold parrotfish and orderly schoolmasters.

Up over a ledge lined with elkhorn and brain coral, you will enter the famous "fish bowl" described above.

A narrow tunnel about 15' deep and 12' long leads out into a smaller bowl. Turn right at two smaller Indians, and follow around into the reef shallows and back out. Sun anemones with shrimps cover the rocky walls here.

A small cave on the way out is filled with a fascinating school of resident glassy sweepers. Their shimmering bodies against colorful sponges are quite photogenic. Continue between two Indians back to your boat if running low on air or seeking a shortcut. Or you can turn right and make a complete circumnavigation (photo: UBS).

Rainbow Canyons. A great dive site for novices, Rainbow Canyons, on the lee tip of Pelican Island, offers great variety and fine snorkeling in the shallow areas as well. Explore the spur and groove reefs by following the sand canyons, especially the one near the point. This is also an excellent day anchorage with a fine beach.

Land Touring
This area is generally a water related world.

However, the Benures Bay anchorage affords a nice hike over the hill to Money Bay for a good snorkel or dive.

In The Bight, you can dinghy over to Pirates Bight and, from there you can hike to the top of Spy Glass Hill. Watch out for wild cattle and goats.

Benures Bay.
An alternative anchorage from The Bight, Benures Bay is a good overnight anchorage that is protected when the wind is from the south. Anchor off the northeast pebble beach in about 20 feet of water. There is good snorkeling at the western end.

Spy Glass Dive Site. Just east of Benures Bay, is Spy Glass (named after the hill of pirate lookout fame), one of the best mini-walls in the BVI. Dropping from 20 to 60', the wall is covered with purple tube sponges and little holes with small fishes. Snorkel the 10' top as well as the large coral heals in the shallows  Eagle rays often can be seen out in the blue water.

South Shore.
On the other side of the island from The Bight, there is a world apart of unspoiled, rugged beauty in a primitive setting of cliffs and surf.

Spy Glass Hill
PeterIslandPirateFlag.gif (6940 bytes)

Offering spectacular 360 panoramic views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel and surrounding areas, Spy Glass Hill was used by pirates and privateers to keep a lookout for treasure galleons, back in the days when the Sir Francis Drake Channel was known as Freebooters Gangway (flag: ScubaMom).

Dive Touring
Take a mooring for Ringdove Rock, but use a dive flag and watch for sailboat keels as this location is in a "traffic lane" to the Bight. This is not a snorkeling site.

On past the northern point of the Bight is a small cove that makes an excellent day anchorage. Still further on past Benure's Bay is Spy Glass with its great mini walls.

In the other direction, a short way past The Caves is Sandy's Ledge 150' off the beach, good for snorkeling and diving. Anchor your dinghy securely in the sea grass.

Angelfish Reef, just a few minutes by dinghy, is a good site for a group's divers while snorkelers do The Caves, although advanced snorkelers can join the divers.

Santa Monica Rock should be dived only by the experienced on calm days with a guide.

 

Diving and Snorkeling.
This area abounds in its variety of diving and snorkeling sites,  including Ringdove Rock, Sandy's Ledge, Angelfish Reef, and a half mile offshore, Santa Monica Rock.

Ringdove Rock. Located in front of northern tip of the Bight, Ringdove Rock is the intown, friendly sea mount--a kind of structure usually found offshore in open water. Around its gorgonian covered base, explore the honeycombed coral heads for moray ells and lobsters. Then spiral upward counterclockwise around the formation to explore the sand canyons on top and abundant life in this sea version of a garden. The rock walls here are a favorite spot to see the Sargeant majors guarding their purple egg masses as well massing at the rock's top (photo: Jim Jackson).

Privateer Bay.
Sandy's Ledge.
Past The Caves is Privateer Bay with Sandy's Ledge, blocking the beach but offering great diving and snorkeling. Snorkel the top of the ledge in six feet of water, looking for specimens such as the longlure frogfish, then dive to explore the rocky base and adjacent sand strip, a natural fish highway. Further on is the eel grass with eagle rays and turtles possible as well as miniature coral heads with tiny fish inside.

Angelfish Reef. An inshore dive site with excellent water clarity due to nearby channel currents, Angelfish Reef, past Sandy's Ledge at Norman Island's southwestern tip, is the continuation of the rocky point into the sea as radiating ridges out to a maze of narrow canyons. Abundant fish including its namesake, the shy Queen Angelfish, along with the French variety, thrive here.

Dive Tour of Angelfish Reef. From the mooring, slide down the sloping reef, turning left down a sand channel bordering sea grass (look for conch). Follow the slope around the point over a field of barrel sponges to an undercut ledge.

Turn left and head back up the slope to a rocky coral head teeming with fish. Look for a narrow canyon leading back through and close-in around the rocky point to the start. Check for schools of palometa cruising the underwater surf of the crashing waves above (photo: CSULB). Finish your dive at the innermost mooring, watching for sailfin blennies in the sand below during your rest stop.

Santa Monica Rock. Attesting to the great range of dive sites in the BVI, Santa Monica Rock, 3/4 of a mile southwest, is an open water seamount. Its topography includes a "sink hole," craggy top, gorgonian covered walls and a dual ledge-bowl formation with plentiful marine life. The clarity of the water due to its current swept points are excellent sighting places for pelagic fish such as swift silvery schools of African pompano.

Peter Island now has its own page here

Guide | BVI Map | Island Central | Useful Info | Honeymoons | Transport
Sailors | Charter | Bareboat | Crewed | Day Sails | Schools |
Stay&Sails
BVI Tour | Norman Is. | Peter Is. | Cooper & Salt Is. | Jost Van Dyke
Road Town | Main St. | Nanny Cay | Maya Cove | Fat Hog's Bay | Trellis Bay
Tortola:Villas-Ocean- North Coast | Soper's Hole | Cane Garden Bay
Virgin Gorda:Villas
-The Baths-Beach Coast-North Sound | Anegada
Vacations | Families | Lodging | Dining | Culture | Music | Art | Books
Beaches
| Nature | Guana | Nightlife | Dive| Cooking| Activities| Shops

BVI Telephone Area Code (284)
Local numbers now use prefix 49_

Please ask your questions at
TravelTalkOnline
Free to print out for your own use
And click an ad to support us

1997-2013 B-V-I Guide
All Rights Reserved

Terms of Use         Advertising