Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Islands of Pirates

Caribbean Sea, 50 miles east of Puerto Rico. The small twin-engine has just been lying on the dusty track of Tortilla, the island of turtles. From the scenery was nothing short of spectacular: some sixty green islands, islets and reefs. The first sensation I felt on the ground is just off the warm embrace of the wind light. We look around. Across the street, to greet us, there is a tiny airport. After the formalities for entry rented a car and just outside we see to have arrived in holidays paradise. The road that runs along the sea of endless beaches seem to follow ... Stroke from time to time by the wind gently sways the palms look like elegant ladies and sinuous.

The British Virgin Islands have preserved intact for centuries throughout their shocking beauty still boast the most beautiful beaches and desert of the world, a sea warm and crystal clear with a thick barrier reef that encloses an extraordinary variety of fish and the remains of beautiful Spanish galleons lie on the bottom with great chests that are the delight of divers. For the less experienced enough to have a mask, suddenly, the sensation of swimming in an aquarium filled with coral and colorful fish. For the more fortunate can also happen to hear the calls of whales that number reaches these seas as early as can spot from a boat, and in these cases it is good to switch off the engines, or from the sky, with Fly BVI departing from Beef Island. They allow you to attend for just 150 yards to one unforgettable sight: the girls take refuge in the coves where they give birth to children with whom then swim together, boys, off, competing for mating. Some whales sighted reach 15 meters and are able to do seem very small boats that cross many of those seas.The BVI, so the habitue chiamano the British Virgin Islands, however, are primarily a vacation packages paradise for sailors around the world. Dotted with dozens of marine resorts and deserted bays, the coasts of the BVI are all a perfect harbor for the boats sailing on the sea are carried away by the constant trade winds blowing. For those who can not afford the luxury of a boat for himself, there are many rental companies that offer places for mini cruise boat to measure. The most beautiful anchorages are located in Sopers Hole Road and Harbor: the first is deep and sheltered and offers daily connections by boat to St. Thomas and St. John, the other is the largest port of the island and you can breathe atmosphere a little 'retro thanks to the many colonial buildings that skirt and the swarm of people who work in the shipyards.

Leaving the sea from where to explore Tortola. The island has 15 thousand inhabitants, its old city is Road Town, the administrative capital of the BVI. The city looks cheerful dozens of pastel houses alternate with stalls of fruit and colorful coral beaches: from Long Bay to Smuggler's Cove up to Apple Bay, the surfer's beach. Nearby is the Bombas Shack Bar sgangheratissimo a bar decorated with things picking up here and there. The owner, a former surfer, is rivers of beer and rum to the patrons, an accomplice to the Caribbean music and the roar of the surf. The local rum is now a rarity. The only distillery on the island is the old remains Call wood Distillery in Cane Garden Bay, producer of the famous Arundel. It was owned by a buccaneer, Richard Call wood, great grandfather of the owner and still the rum is produced following the old recipes handed down from generation to generation by the Afro-Caribbean population: the sugar cane is cut and pressed, the juice collected in large boilers and boiled, and after a series of steps the rum is finally ready for the aging of four years in old oak casks.

On the island, near Mount Sage, you can also go trekking. The area also contains an ancient rainforest. Along the paths, some practices, even on horseback, meet rare species of colorful birds, frangipani trees, agave plants and ginger. From Road Town, in the direction of MacNamara, take an old mule track that leads to the ruins of Fort Charlotte, an old fort built during the years when the pirates infested those seas. Strategically located on Sir Francis Drake Passage, the place is a great lookout point for the whole island. To the south, however, the gaze is lost in the vast expanses of plantations of sugar cane, bananas and pineapple.

From Tortola reach in half an hour, with a ferry boat, Virgin Gorda. Columbus named the island "Fat Virgin" because of its slender shape the sides and round the center, is long and 16 km wide just three.It has excellent docks: from North Sound, a veritable oasis for those who practice water sports in Anguilla Point famous for the spa overlooking the sea where you can enjoy huge lobsters and oysters just caught up to Calquhon Reef suitable for boats that exceed five feet of draft. Near Spanish Town, the marina, is The Baths, a beach characterized by huge granite rocks as high as ten meters that form caves and coves of exceptional beauty, unspoiled natural pools and lagoons. Just go up a bit 'inwards to enjoy a wilderness: twisted mangrove roots provide an excellent refuge for pelicans, herons and iguanas whose presence is marked by characteristic signs that read "Caution Iguana Crossing".

But you can not leave without first having BVI Anegada. The best way to achieve it to travel by sea. This can be seen just, its highest point so far only eight meters and is for this reason that Columbus called it "Anegada", or submerged. The tiny coral atoll is also accessible by small planes from Beef Island or Tortola, in just 15 minutes. From above, what you see is only a thin strip of white sand lost in a turquoise sea. Its reef over the centuries has caused the sinking of numerous sailing ships and for this motivoera formerly inhabited by the buccaneers who used it as a basis for spotting ships in distress and pillage. The island is now home to just 150 souls who live by cultivating the land and fishing.

Simple people, the courteous and quiet, dallandatura almost dancing. Their days are punctuated by the rise and the sunset. There are few tourists, no fun at night but only untouched nature and silence. At sunset, near Flamingo Pond, will be showcased dozens of pink flamingos, undisturbed, fishing in the lagoon small fish. Continuing along the road, you come across a small wooden resort run by a lovely lady who has left the English to England to settle on the island. Lives alone with a kid named Charlie and leisure that is written in the local newspaper. Facilities include exotic breakfast on the beach and dinners of lobster and crab that she fisheries. He has a gentle manner, but the view is a bit 'sad, like someone who has fled from God knows what. Even Steven, a former U.S. Navy Seals, a kind of Rambo, lives on organizing tours for tourists from sharks in search of strong emotions. He left behind a life certainly not common. With him, lives his brother, a fire-eater who suddenly shows on the beach.

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