Norman Island

Photo of Norman Island and the Caves, BVIThe Caves, Norman Island

Norman Island has a ton of history and things to do. It is privately owned but there are no restrictions to going ashore. Norman island is the source of the legend that Robert Louis Stevenson writes about in his book Treasure Island.

Inside the cover of his book is a map of Norman Island. The caves are the source of the tale. Back shortly after the turn of the 18th century a local fisherman took his dory into one of the caves to shelter it from one of the many sudden downpours that typifies the tropics.

Once in the cave he noticed shiny fish in the water moving back and forth in the swell, upon closer inspection he saw it wasn’t fish at all but in fact gold coins. He discovered a chest that had been hidden on a shelf at the back of the cave which had broken open and spilled gold into the water.

The man then used part of the gold to purchase the entire island from the government. His family retained possession of Norman Island until only a few years ago when the island was purchased with the intention of building a mega yacht marina in the bight. This was just before the financial crash, so plans for Norman Island have been put on hold indefinitely.

Why people love Norman Island

There are 2 bars/restaurants on Norman Island, both are in the Bight. Pirates restaurant is in the south east corner and has a dock for dingy’s, and is a great family spot to enjoy the water and a cold drink. At 5 o’clock they let off a cannon shot to signal happy hour. In the corner of the bay just next to the jetty you can see an underwater rock wall, this was a dock from hundreds of years ago. This is an indication of how much our sea levels have risen!

The other bar on Norman is the infamous Willy Ts. This is the black pirate looking ship that will be found in the south west corner of the Bight. This bar is what we call our “lowest common denominator” bar. It’s one of those “you never know whats going to happen next” places. Sunday afternoon is a hot time to visit as is most nights.

They have a large following with many people who will come here and jump off the top deck naked. A water ski that holds four shots is also another attraction, as is body shots on the bar from topless women.

There is always a party going on here at night time and if there isn’t, wait thirty minutes and there will be! There is a dingy dock attached to the willy T. The name “Willy T” came from a famous BV Islander named William Thornton. He was one of 4 people who won a competition to design the United States Capital Building.

The Caves

Photo of the caves of Norman Island and the caves, BVIview of Yacht Promenade from a cave

The Caves are probably the most visited spot in the whole BVI. Many day boats from both Road Town and the US Virgin Islands bring hoards of cruise ship passengers to Norman Island for a quick snorkel.

Right in front of the caves are about a dozen national parks moorings. Many of these moorings are very close together so be attentive to other boats around you here.

The boats at the the Bight end of the moorings tend to sit to the prevailing wind direction. The balls at this end are so close together and tend to allow even small boats to bump together! The boats at the other end tend to get sucked back towards the shore by the turbulent wind coming off the island. The balls at this end are much further apart. If the balls are full, an alternative is to pick up a mooring over in Privateer bay or the Bight and dingy to the Caves.

The dingy moorings are the blue balls and snorkeling here is wonderful. There are tons of fish that are used to snorkelers, if you take a slice of bread with you they will come up to within inches away from your face mask to be fed.

Playing with the Fish!

Norman Island And the Caves, BVIAngel Fish at the Caves!

(Just a note on fish feeding, some are against it, some are not, I have always been amazed that many that are against it, when asked, would have no qualms what so ever about putting a bird feeder on there porch! wheres the difference?)

There will be swarms of stripped fish called Sergeant Majors, larger silver fish with a dark black/blue stripe along there back, these are bar jack.

Then there are the yellow tailed snappers, these are silver with yellow fins and patches. Another fish you may see is blue tang, or better known as “dory” fish from Finding Nemo.

Sometimes these fish travel in large schools that go from boat to boat, feeding on the weed coatings on the bottom of the boats. When snorkeling you may see more Sergeant Majors on the bottom and rock walls, these tend to be much darker in color.
Very close to where they are you may see purple patches on the rocks, these patches are fish eggs. The fish are the males that stay on watch the whole time until the eggs hatch. As fish approach their eggs the Sergeant Majors will dart out to shoo them away.
While doing this other fish will often dart in to gobble up some eggs. Many snorkel fins are blue and black in color. The Sergeant Major’s will often dart out to shoo off these colored fins. The darker the color of the fish the longer they have been protecting eggs.

Inside the Caves you will see small fish called glassy eyed sweepers, these fish are not normally seen anywhere but in the darkness of caves etc. You will also see the walls of the caves covered in orange cup corals, these to are normally only seen in dark areas.
Don’t forget to look for treasure while in the caves! Great fishing can be had anchored off Privateer bay at night time.

Contact us for more information or booking!