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Virgin Gorda: An encounter with wild dolphins at the BVIs

Written by Renato Matiolli

We started our first week in the BVIs (British Virgin Islands) with the right foot. We had Duda back to the boat and we met a super nice Brazilian couple that is sailing around the world in their boat called Cascalho. We dove and had wild dolphins paying us a visit. We kited around Necker Island. Now we can’t wait to visit some of the other islands around here.

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To start with, our sail to the BVIs was fantastic. Again we had an easy downwind sailing with gentle waves from behind pushing us forward. To get things better the arrival scenery was breath taking as we sailed though the Virgin Sound channel. We got the drone flying, even with the sails up, just to capture the moment.


As soon as we arrived, we went directly to immigration, customs and veterinary service at Gun Greek. They were all non-bureaucratic and after a few minutes of our arrival we had completed all formalities and with almost no costs, except for Feijão entrance fee, the “money-draining machine”. We then moved to a beautiful empty anchorage in an amazing place near Mosquito Rock. It was shallow, sandy, next to some pristine reef with tons of soft corals and no boats around. We secured the boat, lower the dinghy, got our diving gear out and we went straight to the water.

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After a few minutes underwater admiring the reef, a group of wild dolphins decided to surprise us and paid us a visit. What an incredible felling! Sarah was soon crying like a baby (even underwater!) and I was playing with the energetic swimming mammals, just like a 5-year-old kid would play for the first time with their recently arrived puppy dog. We felt like the luckiest people in the world. We had just arrived, we were diving in a spot that doesn’t show up in any classic diving map and we were just there, only the two of us, happy we had arrived in the BVIs, when this group of dolphins decided to show up. And of course we couldn’t help thinking again: “What have we done to deserve this life?!” It is quite hard to describe the degree of interaction and connection we (humans) have with these incredible strong and wild animals that could toy with us like a rag doll. Yet we felt very peacefully just like we were playing with a big group of swimming hyperactive Feijões on steroids. That moment felt eternal and we know we will certainly never forget this day.

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After this “dolphin place” we have done a series of other classic diving and snorkeling spots. We didn’t see any mammals again, but they were all great dives as the water here is very clear and the marine life is abundant. Just like in St. Barts the diving spots are well marked and have buoys on top of them, which makes things very easy for everyone.


Next day, Duda, took a few flights, ferries and cab drives to show up at Ipanema for the third time in ten months! We love to have him on the boat as he is up for anything. He always asks us not to change our routine and do whatever we would do if he was not on the boat.

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So we moved to Necker Island, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson, the “Virgin-everything Dude”. The place is not only beautiful, but also not many people go there, so we were the only boat anchored around the island during the night.


Next day the wind was blowing quite strongly and we decide to explore the island kite surfing. There is a charming three coconut little Sandy Island just off of Necker Island creating a perfect flat-water spot. There is also some small waves around to play with. Again we took off with the kite from the boat and again we didn’t make a big mess, so we are very proud of it.

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Feijão always goes wild when we go kiting. He chases the kite from one side of the boat to the other. We even thought he wanted to go kitting when we saw him with the harness on, but we didn’t let him do it as he needs to learn how to swim better before new adventures. So he went to do what he does best. Eat and sleep.

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After Necker Island our (until that moment) virtual friends from the Cascalho boat came to visit us. It was like meeting an old friend. In a few minutes we became best friends. The crew, Luiz and Mauriane, has been out sailing for three years and they know a lot of the Caribbean and the BVIs. They took us under their wings and off we went to explore the rest of the islands with them.

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Amongst other places they took us to The Baths, a very special place with unique granite formations that creates natural swimming pools, narrow passages and beautiful caves. This place is certainly worth a visit.

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Amongst other stuff Luiz is also a great underwater hunter. So he thought us how to spot and hunt lobsters with our bare hands, which is the only way you can do it legally in the BVIs after you acquire a license to fish with the local authorities! It not an easy task, but it is certainly entertaining and rewarding.

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This has been an amazing start to the BVIs and we can’t wait to get to know the remaining islands.

About the author

Renato Matiolli

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