Location: Leverick Bay - Virgin Gorda, BVI
by Wayne & Karen Brown
We are back on Virgin Gorda Island and Leverick Bay where we started our expedition (Day1). We got here after breakfast. On the way here we got to see Virgin Gorda as Columbus may have first seen it. We can see why Columbus called this island the "Fat Virgin" (see Day 11 for more information). We took a picture to show you what we saw.
We are tied up to the dock at Leverick Bay. Yorktown is bigger than the dock so our ship sticks from the dock front and back. Today we will be investigating the most popular place to visit in the Virgin Islands. It is a maze of huge boulders called "The Baths". The Baths are on the other side of Virgin Gorda so we are taking one of the open air taxis like we have on the other BVIs (Day 13 & Day 14).
Our taxi driver today is Moe. Moe is from the island of St. Vincent. (We visited St. Vincent on our Caribbean Sea Expedition in Spring 2000.)
Moe drives us past the start of the trail to Gorda Peak. (We climbed Gorda Peak on Day 11.) Along the side of the road is a lookout. Moe stops at the lookout so we can see the view. We are high on the side of Gorda Peak looking down across Virgin Gorda. We can see the main village of Spanish Town and the airport along the shore that we flew from for our visit to Anegada Island (Day 8). At the far southeast end of the island we can see the jumble of rocks where we are heading -- The Baths.
After a 20-minute drive we arrive at the top of a hill where The Baths are located. We see that The Baths look like a bunch of boulders piled on top of each other. Some of these huge rounded boulders are as big as small houses! All of these boulders are granite. This granite was formed from molten rock that was squeezed up into volcanic rock layers. The molten rock cooled underground and formed a hard crystalline granite layer. (Do you have an granite rocks where you live? How have the land and rocks been formed where you live?) Underground cracking formed gigantic blocks of granite covered in softer volcanic rock. Over thousands of years the softer volcanic rock eroded away and exposed these huge granite blocks. More time passed and the corners of these granite blocks were weathered and eroded away until the rectangular blocks were rounded and became the huge boulders that we see all around us today.
From the top of the hill we follow a narrow, windy, sandy path down to the beach between the boulders. Along the beach this pile of huge boulders has created a giant maze. It's like a boulder version of a corn maze. We walk around, between, over and under boulders as we look for a way through this maze. Sometimes we take a wrong turn and end up in a dead end, then we have to try another direction. We have to be careful not to bump our heads on low hanging boulders. (We did bump our heads a couple times.) Some of the passageways lead to pools of water surrounded and covered by boulders. At one point we come to a huge pool of water we have to wade across. On the other side of the pool is a steep rock that we have to climb to get out. This rock is covered with slippery, green algae. Fortunately there is a long rope that has been bolted onto the side of the rock. We have to hang on to this rope to keep from slipping as we climb up the rock.
After about a half hour we reach the other beach which is a small cove hidden among the boulders. We put on our masks, snorkels and fins and swim out to explore the maze of boulders in the water. The boulders only have a little coral and sponge growing on them. Among the boulders we see many of the same kinds of fish we have seen on our other diving and snorkeling explorations in the Virgin Islands. These fish use this underwater rock maze as a place to live and find their food. The small fish hide from the big fish and the big fish hide from the small fish. Eyeing us curiously from a distance is a barracuda. (We are not able to show you any pictures underwater because we didn't bring the underwater case for our digital camera. We were afraid we would damage it by dropping it or banging it against a rock.)
After we get back from our snorkeling and dry off we notice that it is time to leave. We have been here over two hours! We need to leave and meet Moe back at the top of the hill for our ride back to the ship. Our hike back through the boulder maze is faster this time since we now know the way and don't make any wrong turns. We are sorry we have to leave. We could have spent the whole day here! There are lots of places and passageways to explore.
Back on Yorktown we are looking forward to tomorrow's adventure. We hope tomorrow's explorations are as much fun as today's!
Wayne & Karen Brown
Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI
Position: 18º 29' N / 64º 23' W
Air Temp: 85ºF
Weather: sunny, scattered clouds, light breeze
The "Fat Virgin" is laying on her back. You can see her big belly that we climbed to the top of on Day 11.
Yorktown Clipper is tied up to the dock at Leverick Bay.
We are at the lookout that overlooks Virgin Gorda. On the far right side of the picture is Spanish Town. On the far left side of the picture are The Baths.
The Baths are jumbled piled of huge granite boulders. These boulders are on land and in the sea.
Wayne is lit up under some boulders by light shining in from a crack between the boulders and the sunlight reflecting off the water.
At a beach hidden among the boulders, Nathan (one of our student explorers) rests on a rock.