Anegada is a truly unique destination within the BVI. It is unlike any of the other islands in that it is flat (just 28′ above sea level) and can’t be seen from he other islands. However, you can clearly see Tortola, Virgin Gorda and even JVD from Anegada because they are so high.
Anegada is primarily made of coral that rises out of the reef that surrounds and protects the island. Anegada is 11 miles long and has miles of some of the most wonderful beaches in the BVI (or anywhere!). The waters surrounding Anegada are dotted with coral heads and have currents of 1-2kn that often need to be considered.
The reef that surrounds Anegada is the resting place for literally hundreds of wrecks. Horseshoe Reef in particular, reaches ~10 miles to the southeast, has hundreds of wrecks that make for some outstanding diving. The reef is also home to some of the best lobster in the BVI.
Getting to Anegada is trickier than any of the other islands for a variety of reasons: 1) it can’t be seen from the other islands, so you are compass sailing for the first 7 or so miles (from the North Sound) before you see Anegada 2) it is tricky to pick up the landmarks as they sit so low on the horizon and 3) Anegada is surrounded by coral.
You shouldn’t be daunted by the approach to Anegada if you are thoughtful and have a GPS, take it slow be prepared and you shouldn’t have too much trouble. The North Sound of Virgin Gorda (~13 miles) and Marina Cay/Leverick Bay (~17 miles) are the two most common points of departure for Anegada.
Anegada is one of the spots in the BVI that you should really only travel to in favorable weather conditions. Many bareboaters typically depart for Anegada from the North Sound and will be underway by 8:00 or 8:30. The reason for this is that there are relatively few moorings (compared to the North Sound for example) and given the open harbor on Anegada, for those who have a preference for picking up a mooring vs. anchoring. If you leave the North Sound by 9, you should arrive Anegada before 1:00 that should put you in good shape to get a mooring and will give you plenty of the day to explore some superb beaches.
As you pass the North Sound entrance buoys, you will head straight out and point your bow to a course of 005 degrees magnetic. It will look like you are headed straight into the Atlantic but will take you to Pomato Point on Anegada. There are typically other boats leaving for Anegada as well, I always find that company nice. You will find that there is a current of 1-2 knots that will push you West. Typically the first visible signs of Anegada are the sailboats leaving. This is a good reference point and way to double-check your compass/GPS.
On the passage keep an eye out for dolphin and whales. Both are commonly seen in this area of the BVI. On one recent passage, we had a whale come up along side only about 30’ away from our boat. It swam with us for a few hundred yards before heading off. It was quite an experience.
Tip: you would rather be a bit too far west than too far east as you approach.
The first things that you will see on he island with be a large group of palm trees marking Pomato Point. They initially look like smoke or haze on the horizon. You will also see similar tree groups to the port (West End) and starboard (Setting Point). As you approach, you will see a buoy marking the entry into Setting Point. As you approach you will turn to starboard and will head in steering ~050 degrees magnetic.
There are four channel buoys, two red and two green. Follow these in, steering left around the final buoy and into the anchorage. I always find it good practice to follow other boats if possible if you are at all uncomfortable about this (or any!) approach. If this isn’t possible and you have questions try hailing either the Anegada Reef Hotel or Neptune’s Treasure on channel 16 for help.
If you would like detailed navigation instructions for getting to Anegada, nwmagnum.com is a great site with outstanding detail including GPS coordinates for navigating to Anegada.
As you enter Anegada harbor, straight ahead and to the right there will be plenty of room to anchor. The mooring field will be around to the left. Boats drawing over 7 feet should anchor in the outer area, which is in 10-15 feet of water. Other boats are OK in the inner harbor with only catamarans and monohulls 35’ or less able to venture towards the back of the harbor to anchor or pick up a mooring. There are a relatively small number of Moor Secure moorings in the harbor. You can pay for these at the Anegada Reef Hotel other moorings are operated by Neptune’s Treasure and like the other harbors, both will send a skiff out to collect the $30 mooring fee.
I have a particular preference for picking up a mooring at Anegada due to the relatively poor protection that the harbor offers from high winds and weather. I find it to be worth the piece of mind to leave early and arrive at Anegada between 11-12 to have a better shot at getting a mooring and also leave the rest of the day to hit beaches!
On shore highlights on Anegada include some out standing beaches and the famous Anegada lobster dinners! I often like to spend two nights in Anegada to hit Loblolly Bay and Cow Wreck beaches. These two beaches are not to be missed, you won’t find better in the BVI (or most of the world!). You can get to these beaches by taxi from the Anegada reef hotel. Actually, the taxis are noting more than seats attached to the back of pick up trucks a very fun (if not exhilarating!) way to travel. You can also rent cars/jeeps, bikes and motor bikes ashore. I find that the Anegada Reef Hotel or Potters is a great place from which to base these ventures.
VHF radio, channel 16 seems to be the best way to communicate with the hotels who can direct the taxi’s. So it’s a good idea to bring your handheld VHF ashore.
There are dinghy docks at several of the hotels and restaurants including Anegada Reef Hotel, Potters, Lobster House, Lobster Trap, and Neptune’s Treasure.
There is dinghy fuel and diesel available at a small gas station across the street from the Anegada Reef Hotel. Not the ideal situation but it’s there. You should plan ahead with fuel, water and provisions before venturing to Anegada because this is a sparse in these areas. However, ice and some provisions can be had at a small market just a short walk from the Anegada Reef Hotel. If you want to venture a bit further from the harbor to ‘the settlement’ there are two grocery stores.
Loblolly is an outstanding beach with a wonderful small beach bar & restaurant and some out standing snorkeling in a wellprotected lagoon just inside an outer reef where the snorkeling is spectacular.
Cow Wreck beach is one you can spend an entire day. There is some great snorkeling, a long white sand beach and very small restaurant with an open air pool table, ping pong table and dart boards. You would be well advised to bring some water or drinks and snacks if you are going to spend the day.
The lobster dinner is a main attraction on Anegada. You will typically need to call ahead the day of by at least 3:00, but the sooner the better so you can be sure that they get enough lobsters in the daily catch. You can’t just show up without a reservation. These dinners are quite a production in terms of the cooking process which involves steel drum grills. It’s a delicious and fun event but also one that is very expensive so be prepared!
You can get a lobster dinner at many spots but popular ones include: The Anegada Reef Hotel, Lobster House, Lobster Trap, Potter’s, Whistling Pine and Neptune’s Treasure.