Tortola and Virgina Gorda, British V.I.

Trip Start May 20, 2006
Trip End May 28, 2006

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Thursday, June 1, 2006

Day 5, Thurs May 25 - Our last island stop was Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Not at all far from St. Thomas, but we spent 12 hours zig-zagging around in the ocean before we docked around 8am or so. I guess the ship didn't want to pay all the docking fees - plus I'm sure they want to keep you on board to keep spending money there!

At this point I had terrible sunburn that hurt reeeally bad, the worst on the tops of my shoulders and upper back and neck. I don't usually get this bad. I was putting sunscreen on everyday and reapplying. What I realized had happened was when I was in St. Thomas at Magen's Bay, I had gone swimming, THEN I got in the kayak for half an hour, and THEN I reapplied. So all that time in the kayak I was just baking under the sun. It was so sore to have any pressure or clothes on or to sleep on it. I was planning on keeping a thin t-shirt on for this day for protection.

So in the morning I tried a different brand of sunscreen - it was a spray sunscreen - and after I had put some on I started getting bumps all over my body. So my skin didn't like that kind too much, and the reaction was annoying and unpleasant. But on with the day anyway...

Our shore excursion was a trip to The Baths at Virgin Gorda - just mom, Melissa, and me. We got off the ship when it docked and got on a little ferry boat right across the ship. Didn't even really set foot on Tortola. This boat was just a bunch of seats with 2 levels. We sat on the bottom level out of the sun.

The ride to Virgin Gorda was about half an hour. Melissa and I dozed for part of it, and part of the time we just watched as we passed Tortola and other little islands all over the place. It was really gorgeous - a nice day, clear skies, beautiful blue water. Tortola, and other BVI, are less developed than St. Thomas and the USVI - I liked that. :)

We arrive at Virgin Gorda and where the boat pulled in the water was sooo beautiful - so many shades of blue. All the guests hopped on some more "open-air buses" and we had a 10 minute drive to The Baths. Our guide explained some stuff over the speaker but I couldn't understand anything.

We were dropped off at the top of The Baths. It's a 300m (I think) downward hike to the beach. Not that difficult, just have to be careful not to trip over any roots or stones. A very pretty hike. When we got there we rented snorkling gear - but only the masks - it was a $25 deposit cash for each rental! How crazy! Then we started the cave-hike to the more secluded beach. There are these huge stone boulders that form these caves and you have to walk through them - it's not THAT bad but sometimes it's hard to know where to go, but you'll find other people walking through who point you along, or you know if you get to deep water you've gone the wrong way. One boulder you hold onto a rope as you climb up so you don't lose your footing. Others have ladders against them for going up and down. Sometimes you have to duck down to get under and through a real tight, low, narrow spot. It was really fun! Unfortunately we didn't know exactly what it would be like so I didn't bring my camera. When we made it to the other beach I was kicking myself for not having it. It was GORGEOUS!! Sooooo beautiful. The beach is small, but there are stones on either side, and on the far side they wrap around so you have a small little bay. The water is such a beautiful color, and the stones are great at breaking up the flat horizon of sand, water, sky. I want to get married here! Since I didn't get any pictures of this exact spot, here is a link with some good ones:

We only had about an hour left, so we snorkeled. The boulders in the water are like iceburgs: they stick up above the water but when you look down they are so much bigger and go so deep. We saw lots of neat fish, and neat passage ways to go between the boulders. You can climb up onto some of them for the baths. It was really an amazing place. I wish our time wasn't so short. But it was, so we headed back to the bigger beach, and I grabbed my camera and ran into the caves again for a few quick pictures, took pictures of the other beach, and we hiked back up. We had a few minutes to stop at the shops at the top - I bought a little painting of the Baths beach - I have a thing where I like to buy paintings when I go on vacation. I have 2 beautiful paintings from Tobago - one compliments from Mike :) And a simple little painting from the Keys I bought, and another my parents bought me.

Before we'd had hardly enough time at all it was back on the bus, then back on the boat, then back on the ship and we were off! The rest of the day was usual ship stuff, nothing much worth writing about. Until the next night....
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