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Virgin Gorda post hurricane / wrecks

Discussion in 'Lesser Antilles' started by Murphy in NC, Feb 3, 2019.

  1. Murphy in NC

    Murphy in NC Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: North Carolina
    103
    31
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    Putting together a trip for July

    Looking for feedback on current post hurricane conditions in Virgin Gorda.

    Looking for shallow easy diving though we will have advanced OW by then.

    Does anyone have idea of current conditions, area to stay, dive ops, and how do we get there?
    We have heard ferry or puddle jumper. Coming from Charlotte, NC area

    We know it is not commercialized and less to do topside and that is great, wife is good with beach and book while my son and I want to dive, wrecks which aren't extremely deep if possible.

    If conditions aren't good or if its not a good fit then we will go back to Grand Cayman which we love however want to go somewhere different.

    Hope this is correct area of forum,
     
  2. diversteve

    diversteve always tired Rest in Peace ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location:
    26,281
    5,854
    113
    The north end of Gorda took a big hit - I have no idea on the rebuilding progress. I do follow Little Dix Bay resort and they keep re-extending their re-opening but were already renovating b4 the storm.

    To get there you fly into St Thomas then either cab to the ferry port in Charlotte Amalie or the farther one Red Hook. Depends on whether you want to spend more/less time on the ferry. They are pretty reliable as well - it's not more than abou 90 mins. from Red Hook to Gorda - my friends took the public ferry - I dropped them off at 9am for their 1pm flight from St. Thomas - they had time to shop. I'm sure you've seen it but the ferry schedules are here - The British Virgin Islands | NATURE'S LITTLE SECRETS

    It's also possible to get to Tortola and back in one day with time to look around if you want something else to do.

    The puddle jumper to Gorda really is. The airport was down the hill from our villa, my friend flew out a day b4 the rest of us left. He sat next to the pilot in the twin Cessna. It wasn't even a Caravan - just a 4-seat twin.

    Gorda is pretty small population wise but they have some surprisingly exceellent restaurants - there's a lot of large villas up in the hills and that brings in money. Also the yachting crowd.

    It seemed really safe. We rented a big villa - when we asked the property mgr. for door keys - he said they don't have them - no one would insult the owner by stealing from his guests. I left HD video gear and hundreds in cash (boat charter wanted cash) in my room all week. None was touched. And both the maid and some appliance repair people were in while we were gone.

    The shop you want is DiveBVI. It's really about the only option, they have several boats and 2-3 locations. My group was their business all week and they took us where we asked as well as recommended good options. They provided more staff in the water than we really needed - we were all pretty experienced divers. Once a diver and his teen son joined us - they had their own DM. All their DM's are actually instructors. They're SSI.

    As of October 2018 they're diving. Dive BVI - Your stop for BVI Adventures!

    Arguably one of the nicest, most professional staff we've dove with. And real valet diving, They keep your gear, clean it daily, and you show them how you like it setup and it will be the next morning.
    The last day they'll have it clean and dry for you,

    Unless you dive the wreck alley or the Chikuizen I don't believe there's a dive there over about 80' deep. Part of the Rhone is 70' at the keel. The top is closer to 45' and the back half is all shallow - good snorkelers can reach it.That may be the deepest we did all week - 4 dives/day except one break day.
    The Rhone is the signature wreck in the BVI's - if you remember "the Deep" it was filmed there. It was a huge ship that broke in two. The front is an easy swim-trhu - the sides are collapsed and open so no special training is needed. And it's big - the hallways are still big enough to stand in in some areas. The back is a separate dive - they'll probably move the boat on your SI and although collapsed has all this massive ineresting machinery on deck. Go to the back and swim thru the rudder - the prop is about20' tall. You don't even realize it's the prop at first.

    My friends also did the airplane wreck - which is a commercial fuselage. Not sure on the depth.

    They also recently put down another wreck - Yukon somtthing. There's also a small wreck alley - they do a wreck week occasionally but I believe they're all deeper. The Chikuizen certainly is and although it's a huge ship - it's deep and we were not able to get out there even though the weather was great all week, DiveBVI said the conditions would be too rough.

    DiveBVI lists site depths on their website - most of the dives we did were above 60' some closer to 40' Not a lot of depth there - we're all advanced but they just don't have much deeper.

    And they don't watch time at all so you get some long dives. A couple cover a lot of ground, I remember one that we circumnavigated a whole islet. It's really "soft" diving, lots of soft corals, fans, if you get to Painted Walls - it's named for the colors of the coral.

    There's another shop also - maybe Sail Caribbean? but they're based at Bitter End which is a long way North and East - rich people get there by helicopter. There's nothing nearby.

    If you have any questions call DiveBVI and ask for Casey(F) - she and her husband Jeff run it. Nice people, you'll meet them both on the boat. They've both lived there a while.

    On Gorda Leverick Bay is a resort on the north side. It took a hit - I saw aerial photos. Otherwise there's Magen's Bay, Nail Bay and a few other condo complexes. I don't know them as we rented a villa. Look on vrbo.com also - I've seen some smaller condos around The Baths which is close to town. DiveBVI's main shop is in town at the port - next to the ferry dock. In fact if you arrive early enough, walk over meet them and drop your gear there. There's no shorediving (just one) so you won't need it. And the one shore dive is also a DiveBVI 2nd shallow dive so you'll probably do it. There are no motels/hotels on Gorda - just the few resorts. There's a car rental place but they provided cars for us at the villa included in the price so I don't know where it is.
    One smallish food store and we heard there's another one. We had the villa pre-stocked so only shopped once.

    Other Gorda things to do. Snorkel the Baths - it's world famous. Huge rocks in shallow water. The hard way down is the path, there's also snorkel trips on local boats - IDK the details on those. If you like sailing there's all sorts of large catamarans that do 1/2 day trips. It looked fun. I saw jetskis once but no idea where they came from.

    The Mineshaft restaurant is decent - nice patio and I believe there's an ocean view - it was dark when we got there. They have an old mini-golf course on the property. Rock Cafe is a lot better than it sounds - nice dining in an area surrounded by the cliffs near the Baths. We went there twice. Sometimes live music in the bar.

    If you dive all day with DiveBVI they'll return at lunch - there's a little outdoor cafe in the same complex that's decent. Tell them you have a 1pm boat - they don't rush things there.

    If Leverick Bay resort is open, they do a beach BBQ on Friday night - everyone goes, resort guests, us,locals, - we met the some of the dive crew there. Later we went dancing at Chez Bamboo near town. LB is a pretty far drive north if you stay around town.

    Gorda has some stunning beaches. Some your wife will be the only one there. A few require a boat to get to. Have lunch at the Willy T - ask DiveBVI to take you there - it's near one of the islands you'll dive.

    Gorda is the most pleasant,laid back place you can go.
     
    Erwin Poliakoff likes this.
  3. VGdiver

    VGdiver Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Virgin Gorda, BVI
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    Will agree with diversteve on most things he said :)

    Mineshaft and Rock cafe are closed, no idea on plans to rebuild. Coco Maya is open, as well as Chez Bamboo for dining.

    The diving is still good and the fish didn't go anywhere! Unfortunately, the airplane wreck at Coral Gardens disappeared during Irma. We're still looking for it, and if you find it, you get a free day of diving with us! You can email my team at info@divebvi.com directly - they look forward to hearing from you.

    Cheers,

    Jeff
     
    Erwin Poliakoff likes this.
  4. Murphy in NC

    Murphy in NC Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: North Carolina
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    Thanks all for replying, changed plans, headed to Grand Cayman instead
     
  5. VGdiver

    VGdiver Dive Charter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Virgin Gorda, BVI
    79
    7
    8
    No worries! There's great diving in Grand Cayman and some good dive ops there too!

    Jeff
     
  6. altaskier

    altaskier Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Chicagoland, USA
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    We went to Virgin Gorda five years in a row (2004-2009) as new divers, and loved it. Then our daughter (who was 14 at the time) wanted more activities in a vacation destination... Now it's just Chris and Holly, and we are really psyched to return to dive with DiveBVI in April 2020! We've dived around the world, including Philippines and Truk, but are eager to take it easy on Virgin Gorda once again.
     

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