Welcome to Beach Week 2011 here on Basset's View of the Islands!
With the cessation of the rains (finally) and the start of the warm summer, it seemed like the ideal time to profile some of the amazing beaches Tortola has to offer. The lack of residential A/C means there's no better way to keep cool in the BVI from June through September than going to the beach.
And so I'll be bringing you info and photos on a different Tortolan beach every day this week. We start Beach Week 2011 with Long Bay Beach East. There are two Long Bay Beaches on Tortola. This is the one at the East End, near the airport. Truly, Long Bay Beach East is located on Beef Island, connected to Tortola by a short bridge.
In a former life, the bridge between Beef Island and Tortola was a toll bridge, but as the shuttered look of the tollbooth can attest, that is no longer the case.
Once you cross the bridge to Beef Island, look for a sign pointing you to the left to Long Bay Beach. You'll drive through a marshy area with a brackish pool, a good spot for bird watching, although I saw nothing more than a few cow egrets the day I was there.
Past the marshes, there's a broad, sandy parking area under some trees, and once you cross the barrier of sea-grape lining the beach, you emerge onto a perfect, mile-long crescent of white sand and blue-green waters.
Long Bay East is popular with locals for catching a few rays after work, and it's clear why. The beach is vast -- one of the longest on Tortola -- and was pretty empty, even on a holiday weekend. There's little shade, so if you're sensitive to sun, like me, you might want to take an umbrella. But if you're looking for a great place to lie out, you could hardly ask for better. The complete lack of surf and the shallow sea floor provide a nice place to take a dip to cool off when the sun gets too intense.
All-in-all, Long Bay East was a pristine, near-empty stretch of tropical sand, that I wish I had explored sooner. I don't think it's a stretch to say that HB and I will be back, especially in winter when the sun isn't quite so strong.