Last month we shared some of our favorite trails on Virgin Gorda and Anegada. Today it’s the turn of Peter Island and Norman Island.
Rising from the waters to the south of Tortola, these dry, hilly islands border the Sir Frances Drake Channel on one side and the Caribbean Sea on the other. Both are reachable by ferry for those based on Tortola, but the best way to enjoy them is to include these island stops as a part of your BVI sailing vacation. Of course that means we hope you’ll be joining us on the Cuan Law! With our two tenders, there is no better, nor more flexible way to head ashore and explore the tracks and trails of the BVI!
Peter Island, named after the 17th Century Danish Commander Pieter Adriaensen, is the more accessible of the two islands. We suggest you begin exploring the isle at Sprat Bay, the current dockside for the luxurious Peter Island Resort. Don’t let the manicured hotel grounds fool you; there is some stunning and largely uncultivated scenery as you head uphill. Eventually, after a pretty steep climb, but on an even trail, you’ll reach the top of the 470ft bluff running along the south spine of the island. Signs of human habitation are visible on te ascent. You will pass the entrances to the Crow’s Nest and Hawk’s Nest - two beautiful and exclusive private villas - and can even spot a helipad from the summit. However, you are sure to feel close to nature as you breathe in the world’s freshest air, wafted in by the easterly trade winds, while marveling at the picturesque ocean views and landscape of rough, dry brush that provides a home to birds large and small.
It’s not hard to stand here at the island’s peak and imagine the next sail on the horizon will be part of the notorious buccaneer Edward Teach’s fleet. Legend has it that Teach, more familiarly known as Blackbeard, marooned several of his fellow pirates on Dead Chest - the small islet just to the northeast of Peter Island’s Deadman’s Bay, both of which are clearly visible from the hilltop. His cohorts were caught taking more than their fair share of loot so were left on the uninhabited rocky outcrop with no water source and only rum to ease their suffering. An unsuccessful attempt to swim to safety resulted in their grisly remains washing ashore on the nearest beach, Deadman’s Bay, giving one of the world’s most beautiful stretches of sand an incongruously macabre name!
Norman Island, to the west of Peter Island, is also steeped in pirate history, and the tales here are far better documented. Your most likely dropping off point for trail walking is near the Pirates restaurant on the beach of the well-protected cove called the Bight. This west-facing bay is also an idyllic spot to settle in for an evening to watch the spectacular Caribbean sunset; it even has a floating bar, The Willy T! Rounding the western tip (called Treasure Point) at the mouth of the bay you reach The Caves, a favorite Cuan Law snorkeling spot and reputedly home to some of the treasure lost, in a very convoluted tale, by an 18th Century Spanish galleon.
If you follow the trail away from the Pirates restaurant though, don’t take the right hand fork. Instead bear rightish up a more rugged track through the dry scrubby trees. On arriving at a T, turn left and after a scramble (as usual in the BVI!) you arrive at the ridge trail that will bring you to Money Bay. The colors of the water and coral here are breathtaking and well worth the trip. You’ll also not feel at all guilty in enjoying a frosty beverage once you make your way back to the Bight and your boat ride home!
Contact us to book your luxury liveaboard BVI sailing adventure on the magnificent Cuan Law - the best way to explore the idyllic islands, tranquil waters and scenic tracks and trails of the BVI.