11 November 2012

Virgin Gorda: Day 5

Sunrise through a screened door
It's hard to wake up on your last full day of vacation and feel excited.  Sure, you want to make the most of your last day, but it's difficult not to get bogged down with how little time you have left.  Breakfast is a casual buffet of fruit, eggs, toast, juice & coffee, and then we're off to Savannah Bay for the morning.  If we'd had our druthers, Spring Bay probably would have been our first choice, but with DH's arm still bandaged and tender, we opted not to make the short hike down to the beach, ducking boulders and tree branches along the way.

We were the only people on the beach when we first arrived, but the surf was much stronger this morning compared to our previous visit--related to the large storm that passed through overnight, we surmised. We set up our chairs under the sea grapes again; Melanie and I tried to snorkel while DH and Mom opted to read, but the visibility was pretty poor and Melanie wasn't comfortable swimming against the mild undertow.
DH, sporting his Guana cap and Guana shirt

Footprints in the sand...

Black sand patterns on Savannah Bay
After a while, DH and I took a walk and admired the black sand patterns on the far end of the beach. There was also a good bit of erosion at the point where the waves were strongest:
Erosion on Savannah Bay
Savannah Bay viewed through sunglasses
We walked back and sat down to read for a little while longer, enjoying the sound of the waves and being distracted by the chickens.  We made a few more pictures and then I did my little bathing suit change under a sarong before heading to lunch. But first we stopped at one of the lookouts on the Nail Bay road to make yet more photographs, and then we saw the adorable pigs not far from Heavenly Hog.
Mom photographing the view
Love this little piggy!
Leverick marina
The $18 nachos platter
Since we hadn't spent any time at Leverick Bay, we chose to lunch at their beach bar. It wasn't crowded but the service was still fairly slow.  We shared a variety of appetizers, including my mom's favorite nachos (they better have been good at $18 a pop!) and in general enjoyed the laidback atmosphere over our meal.

Talk about multipurpose!
Melanie at Leverick
After that, we made a few photos and then went back to Euphoria to relax for cocktails before dinner. We had time to take a swim, too, so I kicked back with the floating donut ring for once and just floated around.  There's something absolutely relaxing about zoning out, your legs sprawled below the water, and gently floating where the current takes you. Before long, though, we had to clean up for an early dinner, as we planned to visit the copper mine before catching the sunset at CocoMaya.

Main part of Virgin Gorda seen from the Copper Mine
It took close to 30 minutes to drive from Leverick to the Copper Mine and by the time we got there, the sun was behind the ridge, so the light wasn't great on site, but it did throw a lovely, golden color on the main part of the island when we looked back in that direction.

Close up shot of same structure above 

Different angle of same structure above
Melanie and I went down the somewhat-precarious stairs to make photographs while DH and Mom stayed closer to the top.  The ground was uneven and after a certain point there was no rail to hold on to, so they made lots of photos up top.

The uneven steps down to the lower level
Close-up shot of the copper-streaked rock. 
Zoom photo of the goats across the water on the cliff
My guess is that we were there for around 30 minutes or a little less, and then we drove back to town for cocktails and dinner at CocoMay.  We had liked the atmosphere so much there two nights before that we made reservations on the spot, requesting a particular table. Or so we thought.  When we showed up, they were surprised to see us and didn't have a reservation down at all. Oh, well. They had room for us, but they had several tables that night, including one large party with a few small children, so we had a less-than-ideal table location.

That's one high bar. It almost comes up to my husband's shoulders.
Still, the atmosphere was just as fantastic as we remembered, and the bar was still empty when we arrived, so we grabbed the swing and two bar stools and hied ourselves up.  No, seriously, it's a really tall bar and even with the "mounting block" beneath the swing it was a little difficult getting up, and this was before the first round of cocktails.
Looking down at my feet on the "mounting block"
Josey is quite petite, so she's the perfect photographic foil for the tall bar.
Cocktail menu at CocoMaya
But oh, what marvelous cocktails they were.  They definitely get my top nod for any cocktail menu I've ever seen for both creativity and clever twists on current trendy drinks, edging out both Veya and The Sand Bar on Anguilla, my previous favorites. The Cohiba is one of the best cocktails I've ever enjoyed (fresh fruit & mint but not too sweet), and one that I could drink all night, and the Tamarind & Chili Margarita was among the most interesting burst of flavors I've ever experienced. One was enough for me, but it was truly excellent. If you like your cocktails on the sweet side, I definitely recommend the Strawberry Mule, the Mango Mojito, or the Cinnamon Girl, all three of which at least one person in our group ordered (and I sampled).

Mom and I are on the swing here

DH and Melanie, bellied up to the bar next to us
We enjoyed two rounds of cocktails at the bar  and visiting with the lovely Josey (who entertained and educated us about island flora, particularly local herbs) before heading to the table.  I chose not to leave to make sunset photographs because my bug bites from two nights ago were still irritating me and I didn't want to add to their numbers, but I did climb upstairs and make a few photographs of the upper level, which was closed off for the night but had a very comfortable-looking lounge area and almost a private dining room.

Looking down on Melanie & DH at the bar
The upstairs lounge area
The semi-private dining balcony upstairs
Beautifully set table at CocoMaya
This seemed to be the secondary dining space
We decided to order a smattering of tapas for the table. Unfortunately for my mom, the menu was full of items she'd never heard of, much less eaten, before, so they challenged her palate but she gamely tried most of the items we ordered for the table. We ordered the Fire & Ice ceviche, the duck confit nachos (that were more like wantons), one of the rolls of sushi, edamame, and the curried snapper.

Curried snapper

Fire & Ice ceviche
Duck confit nachos (really, wantons)
Virgin Gorda Roll
I'm sad to say that the setting definitely outclassed the food.  It wasn't bad, mind you, but it wasn't the fine cuisine that we had been expecting from the rest of our experience, either. But I didn't find the prices out of line like many reviewers (on TripAdvisor and other travel forums) have. For five tapas, eight (I think) cocktails, two desserts, and five glasses of wine, the bill came to $198, plus additional tip.  We met the sweetest honeymoon couple, Quinn & Benjamin Oglesby, who had just arrived on Virgin Gorda after a few days on St. John and a few days on Jost, so we sent two drinks over to their table, too.  And Melanie was a real sweetheart for picking up our bill on the last night.

The honeymooners

Chocolate Mousse

Signature dessert trio
I'm not a huge chocolate fan, but I enjoyed my two bites of the chocolate mousse.  The dessert trio was pretty interesting conceptually, but not quite as successful in practice.  We all loved the coconut creme brulee and wished it had been on the regular dessert menu in a full portion, but the sorbet tasted just like mince meat pie but with extra spices.  Not unpleasant, exactly, but a little too intense, and the two biscuits were forgettable enough that I can't remember what was in them, but I do recall that we only ate one of them between us.

If and when CocoMaya lays out food that is commensurate with the rest of the dining experience, it will be a force to be reckoned with on Virgin Gorda.  It's hard to believe that the island has been lacking this kind of place for so long, but with a congenial bar scene, a fabulous cocktail menu, interesting dinner menu, and a great location in a beautiful setting, I think there is much potential here.

One last shot of Mom and me in the swing
Savannah Bay again


  1. What a treat on a chilly Monday morning in rainy London to settle down with a cup of coffee and "spend" a day with you on Virgin Gorda. Your pictures are a delight - you're getting so creative (never thought about photographing through my sunglasses!)I really have enjoyed reading about your trip and thank you for taking the time to share so many wonderful details.

  2. Love this blogs its really interesting and fascinating about the Caribbean islands.

  3. more beautiful pictures! those nachos look amazing! not to mention all that gorgeous scenery. I can't believe I've never been to any of these islands.

  4. Oh Emily you and your mom climbing up to that swing - you are braver than me, I think! I don't get away enough and never tire of going on vacay with you vicariously. I do think $18 bucks a pop as you say is a bit high but look at where you are! It's magnificent.
    Really like the sunglass shot - I'm going to have to copy that.

  5. See....there's someone else out there in your viewing audience who likes nachos.....

    1. Liked that Fire and Ice Cerviche shot. Somehow in my mind I had the copper mine looking like the Grand Canyon. It was a lesson in how one's imagination can get the best of you.

      Enjoyed it, thanks!


Please, sir, may I have some more? (Comments, that is!)