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Virgin Gorda is the third-largest, after Tortola and Anegada, and second most populated of the British Virgin Islands. Christopher Columbus is said to have named the island "The Fat Virgin", because its silhouette resembles a rotund woman lying on her back.

The main town is Spanish Town on the southwestern part of the island. An unusual geologic formation known as "The Baths" located on the southern end of the island makes Virgin Gorda one of the BVI's major tourist destinations. At The Baths, the beach shows evidence of the island's volcanic origins, as huge granite boulders lie in piles on the beach, forming scenic grottoes that are open to the sea. North of the Baths is the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor, formerly owned Little Dix Bay. The most notable ruin on Virgin Gorda is the old Copper Mine.

Some have called the British Virgin Islands one of the world’s Top Five Dive Destinations. Others have named it the top shipwreck diving spot on the planet with an endless collection of wrecks and rocks to explore.

The British Virgin Islands have some of the world's best dive sites. Dive shops offer expert instruction for beginners and completion of your certification program for more experienced divers. With access to a wide range of dive sites, it's easy to accommodate divers of all skill levels.

The Wreck of the Rhone is the first and only Marine National Park in The British Virgin Islands. It is the most celebrated dive site in the British Virgin Islands, and a major recreational attraction. The park includes examples of fringing reef habitat and sea grass beds. The wreck is that of a Royal Mail Steamer which sunk during the hurricane of 1867 with 125 persons on board. At 310 feet long and 40 feet wide, the wreck of the Royal Mail Steamer lies in two main parts in waters between 30 and 90 feet deep. Much of it is still intact and visible, including decking, parts of the rigging, the steam engine, and propeller. The Marine Park stretches from Lee Bay on Salt Island westward to include Dead Chest Island. The ship's anchor broke away outside Great Harbour, Peter Island, and this site forms the second portion of the park. The park is used by several commercial dive operators daily. Other dive sites in the park include Rhone Reef, Blonde Rock, and Painted Walls. Anchoring is strictly prohibited in the area in and around the Rhone.

The National Parks Trust has installed mooring buoys for use by all commercial, charter and private vessels. If moorings are unavailable around the Rhone, vessels are required to use the Salt Island Settlement or Peter Island anchorages.

More information can be found at: www.bvitourism.com



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