The Baths – a picturesque giant’s playground

We arrived in the British Virgin Islands (BVIs for short) from St. Martin and cleared in in Spanish Town on the island of Virgin Gorda. We then doubled back a little to visit The Baths, some strangely beautiful rock formations on the southeastern corner of the island.

Our first voluntary stop in the BVIs was at the Baths. These huge rock formations look like a giant played stacking stones at the beach. Gigantic boulders just lie on top of each other above and beneath the water to form a maze of caves and pools. When the morning group of tourists in their neon-yellow lifevests had taken of, we swam towards it from our boat and were greeted by swarms of reef fish alongside some huge barracudas that roamed these underwater caves. The scenery was stunning. We continued on and found a way through all these boulders towards the beach, where we made our way back above the water. Here the awe-inspiring views just continued – caves and pathways above and beneath the giant boulders lead to small underground (or under-rock?) pools.

Inside one of these we met Brant and Jessica, two fellow cruisers from the US and had the obligatory introductory talk among sailors (“So what kind of boat do you have? Where do you come from? How long have you been sailing? …). They had just started their sailing sabbatical and hadn’t even got around to rename their boat yet – the Sea-duction. One of the many puns you can find in boat names. You’d be surprised how (un-)creative people are… We should really compile a list. Maybe. Someday. Or maybe we should intentionally not write that down and erase those names at least from our history…

We spent the evening some miles down the coast in a beautiful bay, lined by three white beaches. There’s worse places to be…

Arrival in the British Virgin Islands – the Baths from afar.
Snorkeling among the giant boulders.
Look there…
…a big Ocean Triggerfish. 🙂

View of the Baths from the water.
The beach near Devil’s Bay, where we came ashore.

Finding a way to the inside…
Here’s to hoping physics (or more importantly friction) doesn’t take a day off while we’re walking through there…

One of the many cave-beaches.
Can some geologist explain to me, how something like this forms.

View towards the bay.

A serene place, unless…
…you step your foot into the territory of this little guy.
Another damselfish defending it’s territory against uneven odds.

2 Replies to “The Baths – a picturesque giant’s playground”

  1. Schöne Bilder. Unter Wasser sieht es im Hinblick auf Korallen aber doch etwas mau aus. Wirkt das nur so, oder zeigt der Klimawandel bei den BVIs deutlicher seine Spuren?

    1. Das ist von Ort zu Ort extrem unterschiedlich. Generell ist es in unserer Erfahrung so, dass je weniger Menschen in einer Bucht sind und je kälter das Wasser ist (entweder durch die Wassertiefe oder weil die Bucht zur Windrichtung und damit der Wasserströmung des Meeres offen ist), desto gesünder sind die Riffe. Macht auch Sinn, da den Korallen einerseits Chemikalien (Öl aus Schiffen, toxische Inhaltsstoffe von Sonnencreme, Abwässer), andererseits die Wassertemperaturen zu schaffen machen. Es gibt noch andere Faktoren wie aufgewühltes Sediment durch Schifffahrt oder Zerstörungen durch Hurricanes, aber aufgrund dieser Zusammenhänge finden sich überall in der Karibik Buchten mit völlig zerstörten Riffen und andere mit ziemlich gesunden Riffen, teilweise wenige Meilen voneinander entfernt.

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