Type to search

Earthly Delights; Step ashore and discover the BVI


We can all agree that time at sea is time well spent, especially in the outrageous beauty of BVI waters. But here’s a thing that sometimes gets missed – for sailors, time ashore should be equally magical.

Yes, you’ll need to do some provisioning, find gas for the outboard and check to see if the restaurant floats your boat. But when you drop the hook after another fantastic day at sea, don’t forget that shore time in the BVI offers endless opportunities for truly memorable moments, just like water time.

That’s why I started GroundSea Adventures. It made sense after a lifetime of my own adventures, sublime moments and just plain fun in the natural playground of the BVI. I spent many of those years around visitors, which taught me how curious most of them are, how much they value local knowledge and how many secrets we locals hold that they’d love to know.

And I’ve always wanted them to know the secrets, so they could see that those views are even more awesome than they think; to help them see the BVI from a deeper perspective, to help them find even more enriching detail.

Like the simple pleasures of paddling a kayak or SUP through the ‘secret’ mangrove lagoon on Beef Island. Here, in this hidden corner, the vital and glorious systems of the coastal realm are played out in their quiet way, all day, and every day, as they have for millions of years. Untouched. Undisturbed by Man.

This is the ‘nursery of the sea’, a forest that grows in saltwater and offers a safe, protected haven where the next generation of fish can grow and learn skills for life in the open sea. Baby southern stingrays, teenage spotted eagle rays, juvenile sharks, barracuda, trunkfish, bonefish … who knows what you’ll see when you drift through here but you’re sure to see something and it’s sure to be a thing wonder.

Most visitors would never find a place like this. Yachts will sail past without knowing, and moor for the night a mere five minutes from here. Our advice? Step ashore at Trellis Bay and, trust me, we’ll take you to another world.

Or – again on Beef Island – there’s the old hill trail that leads through a dense, virgin ‘riparian forest’; a route to the summit once used by buccaneers also seeking the incredible 360-degree vista at the top of Mount Alma. Three hundred and fifty years ago, real pirates climbed up here looking for ships to prey on, or for early warnings of raids by rivals. It is hard to imagine that they weren’t also in awe of the top-of-the-world view, just as we are when we reach the peak and see islands and ocean from Virgin Gorda to St. John, from the Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea.

And there are more trails – on Tortola and almost all of our other islands. Each one has its own stories, dramatic land and seascapes, sounds, smells and feel. If you’re keen to explore an island, we’ll arrange for one of our guides to come and meet you, show you the path and unlock some of its secrets.

Here’s another suggestion for a different kind of shore thing: come for a surfing lesson at Surf School BVI, our beach outpost on gorgeous Josiah’s Bay. Our instructors, all experienced lifeguards, know these waters. They’ll help you make sense of the walls of blue energy that roll into the bay. It’s a thrill from the first tumble but so soon you’ll be hanging ten, or at least hanging on for the ride.

“Warning: This may change your life!” That’s what our surf school brochure says in clear bold type and that’s because, over the years, guests of all ages, sizes, and fitness abilities are declared at the end of a 2-hour lesson: “I’m hooked!” Some really are – so don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Anyone already bitten by the surfing bug knows that the BVI holds some of the Caribbean’s best waves during the winter months, but few have the local knowledge to truly take advantage of our conditions. If you need a board to rent, or even if you’re planning a trip and looking for a private surf guide, we can help get you to where we know you really want to be: clean, uncrowded waves.

Sharing surfing secrets, just like any intrusion on the natural world, needs a delicate touch. If surf spots become too crowded, no one can enjoy the waves and the same applies to all wild spaces. We’re extremely sensitive to this in all the activities we offer at GroundSea Adventures. That means keeping groups small so that our impact on the nature we’re enjoying remains zero-minimal. It also keeps things personal and means our guests aren’t lost in a large crowd. Our guides are all local or experts in their fields, mature, experienced and safety trained, they’re all, really, somewhat like me – they love these islands, they know them well and they welcome the chance to help curious visitors enjoy our islands even more.

You can find GroundSea Adventures shop at Tortola Pier Park and Surf School BVI at Josiah’s Bay, Tortola.

Find us online at www.groundseabvi.com and www.surfschoolbvi.com or on Facebook, Instagram, and TripAdvisor.


Written by Alex Dick-Read

Next Up