Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands

  • I wrote this post on my blog february 9th, 2008. I was adjusting  blog posts tonight ( June 2017) and found this, without any of the pictures that had originally gone with it. I went through to see if I could find the pictures and updated this post a bit. The fact that I took the pictures back in 2008 is the reason the pictures are not that high of quality, but I thought it was interesting to look back at how (poorly) I wrote back then and put it back up as a flashback. I would still say these are among my top favorite anchorages in the British Virgin Islands today.

There was a thread tonight about “what’s your one particular harbor” from the Jimmy Buffett Song, “But there’s this one particular harbor So far but yet so near.” These are ONLY in the British Virgin Islands, I have others in different parts of the Caribbean. We tend to like anchorages that are out of the way and deserted with great sunsets, snorkeling and SCUBA diving and no people around. I don’t think I can keep it to just one, I will try and stick to 6!

1) Muskmelon Bay on Guana Island

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- anchored at Muskmelon Bay on Virgin Gorda
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- anchored at Muskmelon Bay on Guana Island

Muskmelon Bay has only a couple sand patches to anchor in there, so no one ever is in it. It being a pelican and booby bird roosting area, if we tie the stern of the boat onto the rocks, we wake up in the morning and feel like we are in Disneyland, but better watching the birds dive bomb the silversides, and then snorkeling and watching the Tarpon round them up from underneath. You can dive left here, you can dive right, it does not matter it will be spectacular. This is one of the few anchorages where guests “never want to leave” and indeed, we have ended up spending two nights here quite often. It is the only place that i have ever spotted a batfish in the BVI and that was right underneath the boat in the muck! We often see bioluminescence in the water here and the fishing is good at night.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Batfish found in Muskmelon Bay on Guana Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Batfish found in Muskmelon Bay on Guana Island

You can water ski, kayak, or just about anything you want. You can take a walk up to the top of the rocks and watch the worlds most glorious sunset. There are steps going up to the point and then a trail that runs along the ridge top onto the small stoney beach in the north corner of Muskmelon Bay.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Ridge trail at Muskmelon Bay on Guana Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Ridge trail at Muskmelon Bay on Guana Island

More On Muskmelon Bay

2) Money Bay

Money Bay is on the back side of Norman Island. Could possibly be the overall favorite. You feel like you are going on an adventure as you have to go around to the outside. The fishing on the corners on the way around usually means that we will be having Mackerel for dinner that night.

It is really a one boat anchorage so you watch expectantly as you go around the corner waiting and waiting to see if anyone else is going to be in it! You are so excited for your guests when it is empty! Another anchorage where we tie ourselves in by our bum to a tree. The guests are always amazed that there is an anchorage there.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- the old beach at Money Bay before any development
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- the old beach at Money Bay before any development

Once we get ourselves positioned there is maybe 3 inches under our stern. The snorkeling is spectacular, there are always sand dollars to pick up. If there is a bit of swell then we can use the kayaks as surfers on the swell that comes around the corner. At one time, before the housing crash of 2008, Norman Island decided they were going to build some high end homes in Money Bay. They bulldozered their way to Money Bay from the Bight, and starting putting in rocks for a seawall. This ALMOST destroyed this anchorage, and certainly changed its course. Since then it has been left alone. Certainly not as spectacular as it was before then, but still one of my favorite anchorages. I am not telling you WHERE exactly on the south side of Norman Island there, but astute water people may be able to figure out where, there is a few cannons from a few centuries ago, and old fishermans anchor, and tons of cannon balls and lead shot to be found. We are still looking for the “Money” in Money Bay though!

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Money Bay on the back of Norman Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Money Bay on the back of Norman Island

Once we are tied in there, there is no room for anyone else. There is no cel service, no lights, (except maybe the haze of St Croix at night). In fact, we never put up an anchor light so we can see the stars at night. This is the place if we are going to have a beach bonfire that we will have it. Without fail, every person we take back there says that it is exactly what they were looking for, and it is the one place they insist we go back to when we return. I will say the stories of pirate ships from there for another day (think about it, Money Bay?? Of course there is a story!) Very sad those couple years watching the roads being cut over here from Willy T’s and the Bight and the salt pond filled in and leveled. They also have built a barge ramp right in the little corner where there was the worlds most romantic tiny white beach. The one anchorage that made me literally cry when I saw it being developed and still brings tears to my eyes. The memory will never go away from this one. Still worth a visit if you are experienced in the Virgin Islands and looking for a spot out of the norm.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- sunset from Money Bay on Norman Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- sunset from Money Bay on Norman Island

3) Beef Bluff

Beef Bluff/Hans Creek Beef Island. At one time, we used to be able to go right into Hans Creek way up wiggling our way right into the mangroves and we were perfectly tucked up against any winds (always amazed the guests, no northeast wind gets through to there or seas since we navigated behind the rocks) Being one of the last remaining mangrove areas, we delighted in walking the reef while it was at low tide, we could always count on seeing octopus etc in the tide pools of the reef. This area is such a fish nursery and tons of Pelicans, that we would take the kayaks and explore up as far as we could get.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Anchored at Hans Creek off Beef Bluff
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Anchored at Hans Creek off Beef Bluff

There are a couple spots along here that the fishermen would throw over their cleaned conch shells so we could go and snorkel or walk to grab one. The view down the channel was spectacular, and I have to say, it did not come in as high at Money Bay because we COULD see other boats and lights!

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- abandoned boat at Beef Bluff on Beef Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- abandoned boat at Beef Bluff on Beef Island

4) Salt Island

Salt Island will always have a special place in our heart. We often say that in the British Virgin Islands we have a country home and a city home. The city home is our mooring in Baughers Bay off Tortola, and our country home is at Salt Island. We anchor up by the sphinx, (otherwise known as Manhead Point) and laugh when we see the million boats anchored at Cooper Island who do not know what they are missing! To be fair, there are no mooring balls at Salt Island and many mooring balls at Cooper Island, one of the reasons  for this.  The snorkeling in the corner by the Sphinx is second to none. I have snorkeled that entire bay back and forth for months. I know where to find every little octopus! There is also a conch pile up by the Sphinx (Manhead Point)

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Manhead Point at Salt Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Manhead Point at Salt Island

You can walk on land, beach comb for sea glass,  look for old bottles, go up to the top of the hill for fabulous views, walk around the Salt Ponds or just explore the old abandoned buildings, salt storage sheds and Charcoal smoking building.  It is another anchorage  that we have had bonfires. How can you beat this view?

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- sunset over Salt Island Settlement
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- sunset over Salt Island Settlement

We have also found many old bottles in this scruffy underwater dive, and with it being a scruffy underwater reef, no one ever dives here! I have many friends here. Without a word of a lie, it is the scruffiest reef in the world but the most prolific for sea life and anemones and triton shells! Since noone ever SCUBA dives here, I did get in the habit of feeing my friends. The grouper particularly liked Chicken parmesan but would turn up his nose at bread! They would know when we anchored there, and would be waiting underneath for us, the grouper, the turtles, the eels, the lobster, the Trigger Fish, the Large Snappers and on!

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- My Grouper off of Salt Anchorage
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- My Grouper off of Salt Anchorage

I had to stop feeding them a couple years ago, as they became too aggresive, and I think other people SCUBA dived my spot as they would talk about the grouper who begged for food.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Spotted Eel
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Spotted Eel

This turtle became so friendly, he would let me massage him under his flippers, go up for air, and then come right back down and lay down beside me! I think you can see why Salt Island is very special to us. Plus it is easy to dive the RMS Rhone from here, easy to get to town from here…If there would be one island I would like to live out my live on, it would be Salt Island.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Turtle with a plenty of remoras off Salt Island
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- Turtle with a plenty of remoras off Salt Island

This anchorage is generally too rough for monohulls to sit comfortably here but catamarans have it made. This is home.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- the dock off of Salt Island. This is a recent picture.
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- the dock off of Salt Island. This is a recent picture.

More On Salt Island

5) Horse shoe reef

Horseshoe Reef is on the east side of Anegada. Although maybe not technically an anchorage, we do this whenever we can. If we get flat water that we can get out and dive Horseshoe Reef and the Rocus, this is where we anchor over night! 6 miles from anywhere. We tend to take the big dinghy and go explore Conch mountain on that side of Anegada, as well as make our way into the beaches there which are wonderful for beachcombing.

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- conch mountain off of Anegada, East End
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- conch mountain off of Anegada, East End

Boy, the shells SMELL as well!

Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- conch mountain off of Anegada, East End
Favorite anchorages British Virgin Islands- conch mountain off of Anegada, East End

We feel like we are in the middle of nowhere, the diving, stars, sunsets and sunrises are absolutely amazing.

More On Anegada

I am not sure how things can get much better then these, I have a few other favorites that I will save for another day. This post inspired me tonight!