Home to one of the most protected anchorages in the region (known as The Bight), Norman Island, British Virgin Islands, is located on the Flanagan Passage and Sir Francis Drake Channel (south of Tortola). A favorite of sailors, it's an uninhabited, mountainous island with beautiful beaches, caves, good snorkeling and several good dive sites, including some underwater caves. Said to be the setting for Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, stories of hidden fortunes are still traded about. It's accessible only by private or charter boat.
If you go there, be sure to snorkel into The Caves, one of the region's most-visited snorkeling destinations. Some of the caves extend deeply into the island, and the reduced amount of sunlight makes the experience more like a night dive. Take an underwater flashlight if you want to do it right.
There's a beach bar on the island and just offshore in The Bight is the William Thornton, a Baltic sailing vessel dating from 1915 that has been converted into a pirate-ship-style floating bar and restaurant called Pirates Bight. Drop in for grog or dinner if you happen to be sailing by, but be prepared for some booze-fueled shenanigans. Phone 284-496-7827. http://www.piratesbight.com.
Near both Norman and Peter Islands, an area called the Indians is a great place for both snorkeling and diving. Four large rock formations jut out of the water, marking the spot where you'll find innumerable varieties of fish and coral. Charter boats regularly visit, and the surrounding mooring balls are often full, so don't expect to have the place to yourself.
Watersports equipment rental, day trips and scuba diving to Norman Island are provided by Sail Caribbean. Phone 284-495-1675. http://www.sailcaribbeandivers.com.
Note: The British Virgin Islands sustained severe damage during Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017. Recovery will take months or even years. Travelers should investigate current conditions prior to planning a visit.
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