Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Over the past couple of days we’ve learned there are countless reasons to love the British Virgin Islands. With over 450,000 registered offshore companies here (compared with just 25,000 human residents), the overwhelming #1 reason to love the BVI is for its usefulness in evading taxes in your home country – there are almost no taxes of any kind here, so parking a few million or billion in the BVI is a favorite hobby of the world’s elite…. try it out sometime!

For the rest of us, the BVI is about hopping around the spectacular islands in an environment so perfect that it feels like a movie set. Unlike most of the Caribbean, the islands in the BVI are small and bunched closely together, so you can hit a few different islands each day…. provided you have a sailboat of course. Many of the islands have nearby coral reefs, which means the underwater scenery here is incredible and makes us wish we had our diving certs, although basic snorkeling gear does the trick to.

Our entry into the BVI was through a very narrow reef opening on the east end of Virgin Gorda. With waves breaking on the reef on either side of us, and just a few inches beneath our keel, it was a sketchy moment that had us holding our breath. Since then we’ve been bouncing westward with the wind dutifully behind us. The good wind here isn’t good luck, it always blows from east to west in this part of the world. On the west end of Virgin Gorda we hit “the Baths”, which is a collection of massive granite boulders on the beach that look like a Martian land. It’s impossible to do this place justice without using photos. After waking up this morning, we headed over to Salt Island for a swim at the site of the famous Rhone Shipwreck, a 310 foot passenger ship that sank here during a surprise hurricane in 1865. We minimize risks like these on Tamarisk thanks partially to daily forecasts we download, but mainly because we don’t sail in any place during its hurricane season. The captain of the Rhone may think that’s all a very wimpy way to sail, but we’re not about to change our ways. Actually we’re not bothered at all being called wimps by people who died in a hurricane.

As always seems to be the case, our pace is very high as we blast through these incredible islands. The BVI deserves much more than the one week we’ve allocated for it, but these days it seems we’re saying that same thing about a lot of places. Luckily we’ll have plenty left to do in our retirement years…. provided we stick to our wimpy ways.

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