Dive in wonderland
Words by Duncan Madden
The British Virgin Islands are a well-known aquatic playground for private yachts and luxury yacht charters in the Caribbean but there are hidden treasures for those willing to explore
Forming a natural border between the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, the BVIs are a scattering of handsome islands, coves and unspoilt beaches widely regarded as one of the best Caribbean destinations to visit on a superyacht.
There are luxury resorts and world-class restaurants, but if you’re in search of solitude and the promise of something off the beaten path, this Caribbean archipelago still has a few hidden gems tucked away along its undulating coastlines. You may bump into Branson along the way, but Necker Island these are not.
1. Dive in wonderland
The British Virgin Islands are a diver’s dream, peppered with flourishing reefs, some of the best shipwreck dives in the world and an abundance of aquatic life; most head for the famed Rhone wreck or Norman Island Caves.
To avoid the underwater crowds, head south east from Tortola across the teal waters of Sir Francis Drake Channel towards Ginger Island, one of the last undeveloped private islands in the BVIs (currently for sale, if you’re interested).
Off the southern shore you’ll find Alice’s Wonderland, a coral garden every bit as colourful and enticing as its name suggests.
Sloping upwards from 24 to 12 metres deep (you can moor directly over it), push through the surface surge and you enter a dramatic seascape of pillar and star coral heads, home to purple and green sea fans and soft gorgonians dancing in the currents. Large grouper, spotted morays, jewfish and African pompano are common, as is the reclusive longsnout butterflyfish.
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