Virgin Islands: Snorkeling Norman Caves

January 16, 2009 at 8:30 am 9 comments

Our last Saturday at the Virgin Islands, we headed over to Norman Island. Norman Island was supposedly the inspiration for the book “Treasure Island” and is home to the floating bar the Willy-T. Most importantly, according to our ship’s crew, Norman Island has the best snorkeling site in the British Virgin Islands. Our entire clan, including the water weary ones, piled into the tender and we went snorkeling at The Caves.

I didn’t have a camera on me, but Flickr‘s got me covered. Thank you to Walkabout Polly, Jalawebber, Paul Garland and Lazslo Photo for allowing me to use their pictures to compliment the post!

Snorkelers at Norman Island Caves (Photo by jalawebber)

Snorkeling the caves was AMAZING. I had seen plenty of washed up coral on the beaches of Virgin Guana and Peter Island and now I got to see what those creatures looked like alive. Resurrection… on a time delay.

Dead Brain Coral (Photo by Paul Garland), Live Brain Coral (Photo by Lazslo-Photo)

The diversity under the surface was incredible. There were so many different types of fish to look at. Ahead of time, one of our crew members described the experience to me. I found her description amazingly accurate:

“It is like swimming in a fish tank.”

Snorkeling with fish (Photo by Walkabout Polly)

Lots of fish (Photo by Walkabout Polly)

There were so many colors– many of them extremely vivid. And you had every range of texture in the mix. There were delicate, silky purple plants(?) swaying with the gentle tide and then on the other hand, spikey little black urchins camped up in the harsh rock crevices. There was so much to see, so much to explore and so much to get inspired by. I felt like I was floating over a miniature forest.

Coral Reef at The Bight in Norman Islands (Photo by jalawebber)

The Caves at Norman Island (Photo by jalawebber)

This outing was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. I highly recommend it. You get to see dead things live. You get to swoop effortlessly over an entire world and absorb all its goings-on. And if by chance, you happened to have a can of Cheez-Whiz on you, you are worshiped by all the fish around.

Snorkeling at The Caves must be what it feels like to be God.


Entry filed under: Norman Island, Snorkeling, Travel, Uncategorized, Virgin Islands.

Virgin Islands: Sunset Loop on Peter Island links for 2009-01-16

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lee Pannell  |  January 16, 2009 at 10:13 am

    Wow, what amazing pics. My favorite part of Jamaica was snorkeling through the underwater caves of Negril. However the water in your case is bluer, and there is a ton more wildlife and vegetation. Jamaica there was less at the bottom, and the most exciting wildlife were some sea-snakes, which can be freaky if you’re not expecting them!

  • 2. tgaw  |  January 16, 2009 at 10:35 am

    @Lee – Thanks, I am a little irritated that I just missed the barracuda. Some of my relatives got to see it because they were in the water first. Stupid mask, needing me to adjust it. 🙂

  • 3. scienceguy288  |  January 16, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I can only dream of snorkling. The warm clear water washing over your face as you view amazing animals and coral formations.

  • 4. tgaw  |  January 16, 2009 at 11:17 am

    @scienceguy288 – Give it time. I’m willing to bed at some point during your lifetime, you’ll get to snorkel!

  • 5. Lee Pannell  |  January 16, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    A Barracuda–wow!! I’m still in awe of your coral pics.

  • 6. TGAW  |  January 16, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    @Lee – Whoops– sorry for the confusion– those pictures are of Norman Island, but are from various other Flickr users. They were gracious enough to license their photos via Creative Commons (w00t!) or give me permission to use their copyrighted photos.

  • 7. miranda cooper  |  October 12, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    i bet that is a great expirience , not everybody has the chance to go to the norman island , i want to go! hahahahaha

  • 8. miranda cooper  |  October 12, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    cool it is great to go to the norman island ,not every has the money to go their

  • 9. Lucy Brown  |  July 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    Norman Island, home of Pirates Bight Bar, Restaurant, and Gift Shop, is perhaps most famous for being the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, Treasure Island. However, Norman Island also has a rich documented history of acting as a hiding spot for Pirate booty.Documented history for the island dates back to the early 18th century when a Spanish galleon called Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe buried 55 chests of silver coins after the crew mutinied aboard the ship.


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