Friday, May 7, 2010

New shop= new places and new friends!

This week we opened our new location at Marina Cay: a little island, really little island, located off Trellis Bay, on the north east side of Beef Island, Tortola. We have our boat Mustard Seed there, a rental closet, compressor shed, an outside kiosk for meeting and greeting, and a retail section inside the Pusser’s Store retail shop. Getting there is super easy if you are staying in Tortola, as there is a free ferry that runs from Trellis Bay to Marina Cay, and any cab can take you if you are not driving. You should read more about the interesting story of this little island! This is an excerpt from the website
“This tiny island is the subject of author Robb White's novel, "Two on the Isle". White and his wife Rodie bought Marina Cay in 1937 and proceeded to build their home perched atop the peak, an idyllic setting to be sure. Through many struggles, they managed to complete their task ... which was no mean feat in those days. A set of unfortunate circumstances, World War II and an uncooperative BVI government brought their dream to a disappointing end.
Two on the isle is a good read which I highly recommend for anyone who loves the British Virgin Islands or may be considering building a life here. Today, Robb & Rodie's original home serves as a reading lounge/book swap for Pusser's hotel & villa guests. I'm sure Robb White himself would approve!
Charles Tobias, owner of Pusser's, purchased Marina Cay then set about building a very small and intimate resort, gift shop and another Pusser's Restaurant on this charming, 8 acre island.”
So we moved in on Sunday, and before the end of the day we booked our first trip: two Discover Scuba Divers. Next day, Glenn and Erika joined their instructor Vivian (me!) for their confined water session inside the calm and shallow bay by the restaurant beach. We then headed out to a shallow reef known as Diamond Reef for our open water dive. Maximum depth at this dive site was about 35 feet (a little over 10 meters) and we were accompanied by schools of yellow tail snappers and sergeant majors from descent to ascent. The reef was filled with lots of juvenile fish life and the usual critters like hermits and arrow crabs, and flamingo tongues. As a matter of fact, Glenn and Erika had so much fun, that two days later, they booked another trip. The second time around we visited Dip N Scrub, a reef on the south side of Scrub Island. I was surprised by the diversity of the marine life at this site: we saw a juvenile trunkfish, tiny, tiny, then a big adult one just swimming by and puffing at the sand. Trumpet fish of different sizes, different types of parrot fish and some of the biggest sea fans I’ve ever seen. This dive site was interesting because you could choose to stay very shallow at about 20 feet, or if you keep going south you kept getting deeper, 40 feet and over. We also took diving a group of very seasoned divers from Spain: Jose, Daniel and Piedad. We picked them up from Daniel’s beautiful sailboat, "Planeta Azul", which means Blue Planet. (Daniel has been sailing and diving around the world for about 10 years, what a life!). They had their dream dives in mind, so we had to make them happen, as much as possible. They wanted to dive The Chimney and Coral Gardens (aka the Plane Wreck), at Great Dog. The Dogs are a group of islands north east of Scrub Island. They were named after the barking sounds of a resident population of seals (now extinct) used to make. The Dogs are knows for their picturesque underwater scenery. The Chimney is characterized by two huge rocks touching at the top, creating a long and high tunnel-like swim, getting slimmer and slimmer until the end. The end of the chimney is wide enough for one diver at a time, I am small and I felt that I was shoulder to shoulder with each side, so I guess bigger divers do a little bit of a sideways dance! No worries, if you don’t want to swim through the chimney hole, you can also swim on top of the rock formation to the other side. That was a very cool dive, considering the fact that neither me nor Marc, who was driving the boat that day, have been there before. So it was a great discovery experience for us and a phenomenal dive for our guests of Planeta Azul.
In short, I think our first week at Marina Cay was a successful one and can’t wait to keep discovering all the dive sites on this part of the British Virgin Islands. If Marina Cay is part of your trip, don’t forget to stop by and say hi: we can take you diving, or teach you diving, we also have diving and snorkeling gear for rent, and we can fill up your air tanks too!

Photos borrowed from: and

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