I think it's safe to say that Spanish Town will get the short shrift here in terms of both prose and pictures. Why? Easy enough...it's a town, sort of, and not a very centralized one with no central square or "cool place" to wax poetic about. The Baths on the other hand are one of the most recognized spots in the BVIs. I do not think there has ever been a promotional brochure for the BVI that does not include a picture of the caves.
|This shot or something like it...in every BVI brochure ever made.|
We headed to Spanish Town out of a need to provision - boatspeak for "go shopping for food", but we do it differently on boats. We sometimes shop for weeks or months in advance, finding deals and vacuum sealing or packaging things for long term storage in the boat. This does not work so well though for fresh vegetables and fruits, milk, and other perishables. So despite the fact that we could now, as I type this, probably feed ourselves for several weeks on what we have under the floor boards and in the freezer we do on occasion want to get something that wasn't canned, frozen, powdered or boxed. Spanish Town is a short ride from The Baths and has several places to shop, as well as some restaurants and other things to see. We did some of our shopping, we went to a waterfront 'Spanish Night' pig roast at one of the restaurants...all good stuff.
But it all pales next to The Baths.
The Baths are part of a National Park, and there are several parts to this waterfront area. Mostly it's the rock formations, and the crystal clear waters studded with patches of coral and sea life. The Caves are a walk through the rock formations, underground, through the water. Very beautiful and interesting. The Caves come out at Devil's Bay, another clear cove with excellent snorkeling.
Arrival at the Baths is at the top of the bluff over looking them. There you will find Mad Dog's bar (we didn't stop this time, but ten years ago when we were here we did), as well as a restaurant and gift shop associated with the park. There is a path that wends down some 35 yards or so through the boulders and trees to take you to the water front.
At The Baths you can go in at the beach at the bottom of the walk, we opted instead to head through the Caves to Devil's Bay. In Devil's Bay we started our snorkeling, checking out the rock formations and coral there. One of the cooler things we saw was a small school of cuttlefish. As you can see from the picture, they can change color, they do it quite rapidly. The reddish one if the foreground is rather upset with me and my persistence in following them for this picture. Shortly after this the whole group took on this reddish cast and aggressive stance. It was amusing to me that I immediately picked up on their aggression/threat response - it was so obvious in their quick color change and change in posture. We gave them some space and they quickly calmed down. Squid and cuttlefish are really fascinating to watch in the open water; usually we think of them fried with a bit of garlic butter and hot peppers but these are really fascinating creatures capable of some sophisticated and impressive behaviors.
Don't get me wrong, in no way am I giving up calamari!
Kathy and I had been to the Baths about ten years ago, when we took a Windjammer Barefoot cruise in the BVI for our tenth anniversary. A few things have changed; the restaurant with a pool at the top of the hill wasn't there that we recall, and we didn't remember the Poor Man's Bar down at the Baths either. But it wasn't a bad stop for lunch. After snorkeling in Devil's Bay and a round trip traverse of the Caves we all needed some refreshment and the Poor Man's Bar was surprisingly good for a beach snack bar, and reasonable for Virgin Gorda. We bumped in to a group of friends there from the Salty Dawg Rally and had a pleasant if brief reunion as they stopped for drinks.
After lunch it was back for some more snorkeling. The one question Kathy and I had was about the difference between now and ten years back. Ten years ago we had a guide of sorts, some instruction on where to go to see the coolest things. Not that we didn't see a lot of interesting and beautiful things but we both felt we didn't replicate our experience of ten years previous. Oh well, we can always do a bit of research about what we might do differently and come back!