24 January 2011

Marina Cay, BVI Day 6/10 Continued

We reached Marina Cay by late afternoon and dinghied over to the dinghy dock to look around the Pussers store.  I really like Pussers multi pocket poplin pants, but at $100 a pair, I just couldn't bring myself to buy them.  I'm sure I would be a much better sailor if I had a pair.  There are a lot of great items at Pussers, and they have a lot of affordable items too.

From Pussers, we walked over to the Marina Cay beachside restaurant to look over the menu, and then explored the small island a little.

Marina Cay has a romantic history, having been purchased by Robb and Rosalie "Rodie" White in 1937.    The little 8 acre island was uninhabited then, and they were seeking escape from nearby Tortola so they moved onto the island.  For water, they dug a large atop the little island, which is still visible today.  They carved out a life for themselves, with a little subsistence farming and a lot of fishing.  The Whites weathered a hurricane, fought off a nazi captain, aided Jewish refugees, and had many other adventures.  Eventually, Robb was drawn into World War II as a soldier.  He and Rodie lost Marina Cay to the British Government.  The story is contained in Robb White's own memoirs (some of these are collector's items): In Privateer's bay (1939), Our Virgin Island (1953), and  Two on the Isle: A Memory of Marina Cay (1985).  The story has also been made into a motion picture Virgin Island (1958).  

Looking through the palm trees on Marina Cay
A musician was playing on Marina Cay, so we spent some time listening and taking in the views atop the island.  Marina Cay has several services for cruisers, including a fuel dock, water, ice, and laundry.  We decided to run some laundry through while we went to dinner, the laundromat being not far from the restaurant.  (Actually, nothing is very far on this tiny island.)  With the laundry going, we walked around the corner of the island to the restaurant which overlooks a small beach and snorkeling reef.  The view of the sunset is terrific here, complete with thatched beachside umbrellas and silhouetted sailboats.

This restaurant had our favorite food of the whole trip, and is definitely worth visiting.  The Marina Cay restaurant had a wider selection than most other restaurants, and the quality was fantastic.  Our favorite was dessert, a dish called the "Crazy Coconut".  A chocolate bowl, shaped like a coconut and encrusted with toasted coconut, then filled with a premium vanilla ice cream.

There are water shuttles available to run back and forth between Marina Cay and nearby Trellis Bay.  One note of caution though, be sure and check the shuttle schedules carefully as they have certain limitations and are planned to keep visitors on the islands through the dinner hours and happy hour music or comedy shows.

The mooring field on Marina Cay is a little more exposed than Trellis Bay, but is also a little breezier (Trellis Bay can be a little warm as it is somewhat less windy than Marina Cay.)


  1. I worked for a summer on Bellamy Cay at what was then called The Trellis Bay Yacht Club whose proprieters were Ron and Helen Prentice. I remember
    Marina Cay was run by the Batham family who were British. None of this timeline history can be found! Does anyone have any information?

  2. Hi. There is 15 years of missing history here. Ron Prentice, mentioned above, was employed by Allan and Jean Batham to run Trellis Bay for them in the early 1960's. At that time Jean and Allan were creating their resort on Marina Cay. Jean and Allan moved on to Marina Cay, which was unoccupied and derelict in 1959 and proceeded to first entertain local charter boats and their passengers for dinners ashore. Later residential accommodation was created and by 1 Feb 1963 Marina Cay was featured in Time Magazine. The original Bathams finally left the BVI in 1969, although Michael Batham and family continued to develop Camanoe island until 1971 when they departed for New Zealand..(Michael Batham)