North Sound on the Rebound

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North Sound Virgin Gorda


The fresh breeze of vitality is evident across North Sound, Virgin Gorda as our favorite watering holes start to reopen in time for the 2022 season.

Saba Rock circa 1970

A perennial favorite of sailors and water sports enthusiasts, North Sound Virgin Gorda is coming back to life as both Saba Rock and Bitter End open for the 2021/22 season. It has been 4 years since Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Virgin Islands, laying to waste some of the favorite watering holes in the BVI. As we approach the start of a new season, with relaxed protocols in place, we are delighted to report that North Sound will once again enjoy the ubiquitous sounds of island music, the taste of painkillers and everything water sports. 

Tarpon feedingSABA ROCK has a colorful and fascinating history. Originally the private island home of famed scuba pioneer and marine archeologist, Bert Kilbride and his wife, who became frustrated with the constant stream of “visitors” who would swim or dinghy up to their dock on a daily basis. Not one to pass on an opportunity Bert decided to open up a low-profile island bar they called the Pirates Pub. The island became an interesting bar come museum of Bert’s memorabilia from his wreck dives, including a natural aquarium and a variety of canons, coins and assorted salty characters replete with a blue and yellow macaw. The bar became so popular with sailors, with music and partying continuing well into the early hours of the morning, that it caught the attention of John

Saba Rock pre-hurricaneMcManus who purchased the island in 1997 and transformed it into a resort that became one of the main attractions for charterers visiting North Sound along with Bitter End, Biras Creek and Leverick Bay. The long wrap around deck was a perfect platform for dining 

The new Saba Rock Resort & Marina aerial view

or to watch the Tarpon being fed at cocktail hour. That all changed in September 2017 as Hurricane Irma tore through the islands. Four years later Saba Rock is back under new ownership, completely rebuilt including seven luxurious rooms and two suites, two bars one upstairs and one downstairs serving signature cocktails in an open-air environment. Alain Prion, the resort manager states that notwithstanding the upscale accommodations the new Saba Rock will stay true to its island roots and remain fun and casual. 



The Bitter End pre HurricaneMuch like Saba Rock, The Bitter End started life in the late 60’s as a small rustic bar/restaurant with a couple of sparse cottages and dock. Charter skipper, Basil Symonette sold the property to the Hokin family in the early 70’s and under their stewardship it was gradually transformed into a world class resort and water sports center. The Bitter End has been synonymous with the North Sound since that time and has largely supported the growth of the marine industry as chartering increased through the 80’s to its present size. The Bitter End pre hurricane

Like Saba Rock, Bitter End was pretty much leveled by Hurricane Irma and the decision was taken by the family to completely rethink the entire project. The ground was leveled, and Bitter End 2.0 started to take shape. Covid-19 set the time schedule back a year but now the opening is set for December 15th in time for the start of the 2022 season.

The first stage of the construction project was for the completion of the Quarterdeck Marina, several cottage style accommodation units, a restaurant and small water sports center. The large mooring field of 70 moorings will be replaced and ready for the opening. The Club House will return as a sea-to-table waterfront restaurant joined by an exciting new beach bar recalling the pre hurricane heritage of Bitter End.

Oil Nut Bay DockOIL NUT BAY VILLAGE & MARINA, Deep Bay, Eustatia Sound 

Located within Eustatia Sound to the east of Saba Rock, the Oil Nut Bay Marina Village is designed to accommodate vessels up to 130’ with a total projected capacity of 93 berths. The marina was spared much of Hurricane Irma’s wrath and thereforeNova Lounge has remained open throughout. The village offers relaxed outdoor dining at the over-water restaurant Nova. There is also a market, coffee shop & bakery. Ten mooring balls are available for yachts up to 60’ and one larger ball available for a yacht up to 120’, fuel, water, provisions and ice are available. 


Leverick BayBuilt in the early 80’s, Leverick Bay Resort & Marina is a full-service facility including a pool, grocery market, 24-hour laundry and air-conditioned rooms. The restaurants offer different venues, the upstairs terrace offering a seasonal menu of classic cuisine and the downstairs beach bar (Jumbies) offers a variety of pub options and Caribbean specialty drinks. The entertainer and would be pirate,Michael Bean showman and musician, Michael Bean turns “Happy Arrrr” into a two-hour beach party. For shoppers there are two gift shops with a selection of tropical clothing and gifts. Leverick Bay is also a good base for exploring by land or by sea. There is also water sports center offering, jet-ski tours, fly boarding, clear bottom kayaks, SUP’s, Hobie cats. In addition, BVI Snuba offers a hybrid of snorkeling and diving, where no certification is required to explore the surrounding waters of North Sound. The marina has 25 slips with available fuel, water and ice. There is also an extensive mooring field. 



The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands 2022 edition



  Purchase The Cruising Guide to the Virgin Islands 2022 Edition here

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