Anegada – The Gem of the British Virgin Islands
From the LIBERTE' Charters Monthly Newsletter written by Captain Gordon Monsen
There is an Island that is not often visited by the bigger charter boats in the British Virgin Islands. This Island lies about 15 miles North of Virgin Gorda and is the Northernmost Island in the British Virgin Island chain.
Anegada, an Island that boasts the most beautiful beaches, famous lobster dinners and some of the best diving and snorkeling in the BVI. This Island has something for everyone!
Anegada is the only inhabited Island in the British Virgin Islands that was formed by coral and limestone and is not volcanic like the other Virgin Islands. At about 15 square miles it is the second largest Island in the BVI's, but it is also the most sparsely populated of the islands with a population of about 200. Anegada, because of its makeup, is a very flat, low Island especially in comparison to its neighboring BVI Islands which are all mountainous; its highest point is only 28 feet earning it its name which translates as the "drowned land". Anegada has numerous Salt ponds and miles of white sandy beaches as well as the largest Coral reef in the Caribbean.
The salt ponds, which cover most of the West End of the Island, used to be home to thousands of Flamingo's, but they were hunted for food and feathers through the 18th and early 19th century which caused the Flamingo's to disappear by the early 1950`s. They are now being re-established into the ponds and the number of Flamingo's on the ponds are growing.
This habitat is perfect for the Roseata Flamingo, these fascinating birds feed on microscopic aquatic creatures such as Brime Shrimp that contain carotene which gives these flamingo's their distinctive pink rosy tinted feathers.
Besides being known for its pristine white sandy beaches, Anegada is also well known for its Horse Shoe reef, an 18 mile long reef, the largest coral reef in the Caribbean, and the fourth largest in the world! It is no wonder Anegada is home to large populations of reef fish, Turtle, Lobster and Conch. This reef plus many other smaller reefs makes Anegada a great snorkeling and diving destination. Horse Shoe reef is home to thousands of beautiful marine animals and is also responsible for the majority of the fish breeding that takes place within the British Virgin Islands.
The massive reefs that surround Anegada make this area a major navigational hazard, and for thousands of years ships of all kinds have been wrecked on this Islands reefs. There is said to be over 300 ship wrecks lying in Anegada's surrounding waters, many of them still undiscovered. Pirates used these reefs as hide outs for many years. There are stories of Pirates and local folk who would make their living off wrecks on Anegada. These folks would guarantee fresh wrecks by moving the navigational lights so that passing ships using these lights to usually sail safely away from the reefs would instead sail straight toward the dangerous reefs and wreck, the cargo would then be collected and distributed amongst the Islanders.
Besides this cruel way of having ships wreck on Horse Shoe reef, there is a more interesting reason for all these hundreds of ships wrecking on this reef. When ships were sailing from Europe towards the Caribbean, many Captains believed that Anegada was Puerto Rico and not Anegada, and therefore did not think about any hazardous reefs around the Island that they could possibly wreck on. The other interesting fact is that although Horse Shoe reef is 18 miles long it only extends out to sea for approximately 8 miles. In the older days of sailing the visibility was only about 7 or 8 miles from the top of the masts, so when a ship spotted land they were in fact already nearly on the outer fringe of the reef, and almost always about to go aground onto the reef. Besides many complaints to all kinds of officials in many governments there has never been a lighthouse installed on this dangerous shore and to this day no one seems to know why.
Anegada is home to some of the best Lobster and fish dinners in the Caribbean and almost all of the Lobster and fish served in the BVI's are caught in Anegada. We will make sure that you make a stop at the best beach bar/restaurant for dinner, sit outdoors and feast on spiny lobster pulled fresh from the water that day. Or, enjoy a succulent fish from the local fishermen, or try the unparalleled baby back ribs, barbecued chicken, lamb chops, or steak.
Cow Wreck Beach, Flash of Beauty, Bones Bight, and Windlass Bight are some of the beautiful beaches where you can relax under the shade of a palm tree or sea grape tree in perfect harmony with nature, undisturbed by the modern world.
One of the highlights of a trip to Anegada is the excellent snorkeling the reef provides. There is a maze of tunnels, drops and caves, all boasting rich marine life. Beyond the reef scuba divers will find angelfish, stingrays, triggerfish, parrotfish, blue tang, and horse-eye jacks have made their home around the many ships that have been wrecked here.
Anegada has an indigenous reptile, the Anegadan iguana, it is listed as an endangered species, and the Island has a special rehabilitation program for these unique animals to rejuvenate their population.
The yacht LIBERTE' is typically anchored just off the the entrance channel to the Reef Hotel. This channel is the only navigable channel to access the island, it runs in between the surrounding reefs. The channel itself is too shallow for LIBERTE' to sail into, but once anchored outside Libby`s dinghy can speed eager guests ashore to explore.
Due to its remote geography, sparse population and indigenous culture Anegada is truly a world apart. Come Visit this majestical Island onboard our classic, LIBERTE'!
Superb accommodation and splendid cuisine are just part of the LIBERTE’s overall holiday experience. Within each of the four guest cabins, the feeling is one of luxurious comfort, your home away from home. The large lounging deck has a shaded cockpit. The spacious salon and dining area are complemented by a well equipped galley, complete with icemaker. For your added home comforts, we have air conditioning, a water maker, TV, VCR, stereo CD as well as a CD and Video Library.
LIBERTE’s charter rates range from $10,000 to $18,700 a week All-Inclusive depending on the number of guests and season. For more information on rates and availability call Dennis at Charter Sailing Unlimited – 888-856-8310.