A Dip in The Baths

Spanish Town Travel Blog

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Island Rocket to Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda is famous for the seaside granite rock formation known as The Baths. I'd seen picture of The Baths and knew that a trip to see the huge boulders amid pools of water was one thing I definitely wanted to do on this cruise.

Carnival Miracle docked at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) early in the morning. (It's not that great a distance between St. Thomas and Tortola. The ship essentially goes out to sea from St. Thomas and stays overnight until it is time to dock at Tortola at 7:00 a.m.) Drew, Julia, and I were making the trip over to Virgin Gorda.

Leaving Tortola
 Susan had elected to stay at Tortola and had an island tour arranged. The three of us were on the dock at 8:00 a.m. to meet The Baths tour and boad the ferry that would take us there. We booked the official Carnival tour to ensure we woud be back to Tortola in plenty of time for the 1:30 p.m. back-on-board call.  

The ferry, named Island Rocket, zipped out of Tortola at 8:15 a.m. The 50 minute passage over the Sir Francis Drake Channel to Virgin Gorda was rough. Several passengers became seasick. But, everyone's spirits were high as we sighted Virgin Gorda. Virgin Gorda is the second largest of the more than 50 islands that make up the BVI. (The many islands of BVI are very popular with sailing enthusiasts.)

Arriving at Virgin Gorda, the ferry docked at Spanish Town.

Virgin Gorda ahead
I didn't see too much of the town itself as we immediately borded jitney busses for The Baths. They drive fast in Virgin Gorda, barely slowing for the many speed bumps in roads! Thus, we arrived at the Top of The Baths in no time at all. The Baths and the adjacent beaches are a BVI national park. From the Top of The Baths, a restaurant and bar at the parking  lot, a 300m trail leads down to The Baths proper. (I was surprised to see much cacti along the trail. That's not the sort of flora I expected to see on Virgin Gorda.) The trail is rocky, but soon you arrive at The Baths and see the impressive giant boulders emerging from the beach and the water. It's quite a sight!

The group divided here. About half were planning to stay and swim, snorkle, and sun at The Baths Beach.

Dock at Spanish Town
The other half were going to ventue on the Devil's Beach Trail leading right through the boulders of the Baths themselves.  Julia opted to stay and snorkle and enjoy the beach time. Drew and I opted to hit the trail. I wanted to see the rock formations from the inside. Both groups would meet back at the parking lot at 11:30 a.m.

The trail through the Baths was an adventure. It's not extremely difficult, but you do have to keel and crouch and squeeze through some tight places among the rocks. A rope is needed to cross one rock face and there are wooden walkways at others. The trail is rocky and you need to watch those sharp boulders! I cut a toe on one boulder. Drew skinned a shoulder.  But, the trail was very rewarding! You can experience the many formations, outcroppings, and pools.

Welcome to Virgina Gorda
Many spots have names. At the other end of the trail is Devil's Bay and its beach. The group spead out, some to swim and others to sun. A number of small craft were offshore, their sunseekers coming ashore in dinghys.

I went for a swim in the Devil's Bay cove protected by looming boulders on two sides and the beach on the third. Clear water, warm, and very pleasant! I could have stayed for a while. Then a rumbling of thunder was heard. Clouds came in. I think everyone knew what that meant, but no one made an immediate dash to get out of the water. Rain drops came and people finally left the water for the beach. This did not develop into a heavy thnderstorm like we are used to at home, but the rain became steady. Time to pack it in!

The group followed a different trail from the first, but similar to it, back to the parking area.  A rum punch was waiting to greet us. Julia was already back, the Baths Beach group had called it a day a few minutes before the Devil's Bay contingent had. The jitneys returned us to the Spanish Town pier and the ferry just as the rain ended! We bid farewell to Virgin Gorda as the ferry once again headed across Sir Francis Drake Channel, now bound for Tortola.

WaltJake says:
I just finished my blog entry of the Baths. We went in July, and our experiance was almost identical to yours!
Posted on: Oct 29, 2008
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Island Rocket to Virgin Gorda
Island Rocket to Virgin Gorda
Leaving Tortola
Leaving Tortola
Virgin Gorda ahead
Virgin Gorda ahead
Dock at Spanish Town
Dock at Spanish Town
Welcome to Virgina Gorda
Welcome to Virgina Gorda
Spanish Town cove
Spanish Town cove
Look whos bus!
Look who's bus!
Spanish Town
Spanish Town
School
School
Top of The Baths
Top of The Baths
Trail to The Baths
Trail to The Baths
The Baths
The Baths
The Baths
The Baths
Trail Guide
Trail Guide
Starting the trail to Devils Bay
Starting the trail to Devil's Bay
Granite Formation
Granite Formation
Pool in The Baths
Pool in The Baths
Rope Walk
Rope Walk
Granite Boulders
Granite Boulders
Me at The Baths
Me at The Baths
Granite formations at The Baths
Granite formations at The Baths
Scrub trail
Scrub trail
Devils Bay beach
Devil's Bay beach
Sunbathing at Devils Bay
Sunbathing at Devil's Bay
Small craft at Devils Bay
Small craft at Devil's Bay
Coming ashore
Coming ashore
Boulders at Devils Bay
Boulders at Devil's Bay
Return to Tortola
Return to Tortola
Spanish Town
photo by: Andy99