- Ron and I in Virgin Gorda
by Gerald Singer www.seeStJohn.com
Last year Habiba and I met the Van Cliefs at Sapphire Bay on St. Thomas. We became close friends with a lot in common, not the least of which is the friendship between their son, Kai and our son, Jacob. They seem more like brothers than friends, which is how I feel about Ron and I.
- Simina and Habiba at Virgin Gorda
Taking it one step further, I’d say the same about Habiba and Simina, being like sisters.
We’ve been talking about taking a trip together for some time and we finally settled on traveling locally.
We opted for a nice quiet getaway at a resort called Mango Bay on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
- Kai and Jacob Virgin Gorda BVI
Ron Van Clief appeared in numerous Hong Kong Kung Fu movies in the 1970s. His character’s name, the Black Dragon, was given to him by Bruce Lee and Ron became the first African American martial arts superstar.
Among his many achievements, the one that impresses me the most, was his fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship IV, full contact, no rules, at the age of 51.
Simina was a professional basketball player in her native Romania. She was a personal trainer when she came to America and now teaches physical education at Antilles school on St. Thomas
Habiba, Jacob and I made the journey from St. John in the US Virgin Islands all the way to Virgin Gorda in the BVI in our 15-foot Carib hard-bottom inflatable.
It was a beautiful ride!
We checked in with BVI customs and immigration at Sopers Hole (West End) on Tortola.
From West End, we continued around the north side of Tortola, past Apple, Carrot and Cane Garden Bays. After Cane Garden Bay, there is noticeably less development and the scenery is more natural.
We then past Brewers Bay and Shark Bay, now a BVI National Park preserve.
After Shark Bay we rounded the dramatic sheer cliffs of Rough Point, so named, I’m sure, for the unstable sea conditions produced by confused winds, currents and tides that cause steep tricky waves that seem to come from every which way.
The cliff walls are pockmarked by numerous small holes with openings about one square foot, which are populated by boobies and other seabirds who perch inside and use this inaccessible location to lay and hatch their eggs.
From Rough Point we continue down the channel between Guana Island and Tortola, passing by two of the most magnificent beaches in all the Virgin Islands, Trunk Bay and Rogue Bay, better known as Lava Flows for the sharp black lava-like rock field on the southern end of the beach.Past Josiah Bay, famous for its winter surf and then through the narrow passage at Monkey Point after which you can see the airport on Beef Island. On past Marina Cay, made famous in the book and the movie starring Sidney Pottier called My Virgin Island and past Great Camino Island where they are making a development that makes Sirenusa look like a low impact eco-resort in comparison.
Finally across the channel to Virgin Gorda, leaving the Baths and Spanish Town on the starboard and on to our destination the resort at Mango Bay.
The Van Cliefs arrived by ferry. We all reached Mango Bay within ten minutes of each other.
Our two-bedroom cottage was fully equipped, two bathrooms, full kitchen, air conditioning, satellite TV, beach chairs, floats and kayaks. The manager, Gino was friendly and helpful.
- Ron, Simina and Kai
The white coral sand of the beach extended into the water for about 10 yards until the beginning of an extensive reef that stretched the whole length of the beach. Unfortunately, almost all the coral, mostly elkhorns and brain coral, had died and all that was left was their calcified skeletons colonized in parts with fire coral and algae. This must have been a coral wonderland when the reef was alive. Nonetheless, this is the state of affairs throughout the Caribbean with some reefs better off than others.
Well, we kayaked and swam and snorkeled and just laid around relaxing. We visited the Baths and had lunch at the Fat Virgin, our favorite restaurant on the island.
- Jacob and Gerald Kayaking at Mango Bay
The highlight of the trip for me was when our three-year old son, Jacob, kayaked for the first time. He actually handled the paddles.
The downwind trip home was easy and comfortable.
It was a nice, easy getaway – and we plan to do it again sometime soon.
See a slide show of our Virgin Gorda trip photos
- The Baths