Great Camanoe Island is the jewel in the crown of this cluster of tiny islands that make up the British Virgin Islands. This private island has approximately 40 private homes located on the southeast tip of the island. The larger northern end of the island is totally uninhabited and it is a breeding ground for many tropical birds during the summer months. The two sections of Great Camanoe Island are divided by a flat area of land which belongs to the BVI National Park and encompasses Cam Bay to the east side and Lee Bay to the west.
There is a choice of three anchorages around Great Camanoe. To the east in-between Great Camanoe and Marina Cay Island there are a large number of mooring buoys, however there is still room to drop anchor. In the winter months this anchorage can be open to the strong easterly winds and swell, but if you are lucky you can tuck in behind Marina Cay for more protection. There is excellent snorkeling in this location on a reef called Diamond Reef. Due to its location you will often be rewarded with large fish swimming past into the deeper water like large Porcupine Fish, Spotted Eagle Rays, Turtles and if you’re lucky which l was, a rare free swimming Atlantic Black Seahare, our charter guest was really pleased to see this. This site is also a dive site.
The second anchorage is in Lee Bay here you will find a rocky bottom but the holding is good. This anchorage is untenable if there is any northerly swell. The snorkeling here is good and the topography is huge granite boulders. Again you can expect to see larger shoals of big fish swimming past, however there are fewer reef fish in this location. One of my favorite dive sites in the BVI is located in this bay called The Maze. This is an interesting dive with boulders, ledges and a great cave. You swim along large channels that have been cut into the ocean floor and you will see a good selection of fish and coral including Redlip Blennies, and if you are lucky a Spanish Dancer Nudibranch. The current can be strong in this location.
The third anchorage is for shallow draft vessels ideally suited to catamarans that can anchor in Cam Bay. This is a lovely anchorage if the conditions are right with no northerly swell. You approach the anchorage through a narrow gap in the reef and anchor in sand in front of the white sandy beach of Cam Bay. There is a tiny path that links Cam Bay through to Lee Bay, so you can always walk through the National Park if your draft is too great to anchor in Cam Bay.
Pacific Wave regularly visits Great Camanoe Island during a week cruising around the beautiful BVIs so why not join us to explore these fantastic anchorages. We’ll take you to all the best snorkel sites in the BVI where you can see the true treasures of the BVI.