Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Jost van Dyke

Last Friday, HB and I decided to get away for half a day to Jost van Dyke. It was our first visit to Jost van Dyke, which is is probably the best-known island in the BVI chain, and I don't know why we put it off for so long.

The ferry leaves from the West End Terminal, and this is definitely the slow boat. Although Great Harbour on Jost van Dyke is only about 4 miles from West End, the ferry ride takes about 25 minutes. At $25 per person round trip, though, it's fairly inexpensive.

The ferry terminal in Jost van Dyke is fairly picturesque, and there are good views of Great Harbour to be had. As we climbed in the taxi to White Bay, HB spotted a sea turtle swimming in the shallows near the dock.

Prior to leaving Tortola, we had done a bit of research on the best snorkel spots on JVD. While the consensus is that the very best spots can only be reached by boat, and that there is little good snorkeling from the beaches, we found one website that extolled the snorkeling virtues of the west side of White Bay, so that's where we headed.

Wow are we glad we found that website! Going out from the beach at the far west end of White Bay, we swam through enormous schools of fry before reaching the reef, which was vibrant and active. Plenty of reef fish, including blue tang, parrot fish of all kinds, and an occasional angel fish. The highlights for me were watching the underwater part of a pelican's dive, and the three amberjacks we saw hunting the schools. When HB first pointed them out to me, I thought they were small sharks, but closer inspection proved that they were just very large amberjacks.

It would be impossible to talk about White Bay without mentioning the Soggy Dollar Bar, a small portion of which is pictured above. The Soggy Dollar Bar is known for inventing the painkiller, and was formerly only accessible from the water. After trying the painkillers and hanging out for half an hour, we're resolved on spending plenty more time there in the future.

After snorkeling in White Bay, we headed back to Great Harbour to check out the barbecue at Foxy's, a very popular dinner option in the BVI on Fridays and Saturdays. Unfortunately, since it is low season here, the BBQ and live music at Foxy's weren't getting started until 7:30, but we still enjoyed their microbrews and relaxed ambiance, even spying a tarpon from the pier.

Our half-day on Jost Van Dyke concluded with the relaxing, slow ferry ride back to Tortola at 5:00pm. All in all, an excellent afternoon.

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