Visit Salt Island on your luxury yacht charter in the British Virgin Islands
In the southern shadow of Tortola, the largest spit of land of the British Virgin Islands, sits a simple, but divine haven. Once home to more than 100 residents, Salt Island is now uninhabited. Unlike its neighbor to the north, this island does not have the interrupting clamor and commotion of resorts and parties. Rather, it is known for its solitude and peace.
“Be quiet, be happy, that’s my way,”—that was the motto of Norwell Durant, the last remaining resident of the island who passed away in 2004, according to writer James Anderson. Old Norwell lived by this ideology, and passed on his beliefs to the yacht charter guests visiting the island.
Named after its salt ponds, which were once an important resource, Salt Island is now famous as a scuba diving destination.
Things to see on Salt Island
Scuba divers from all corners of the world find themselves visiting the beautiful and humbling shipwreck of the RMS Rhone. Located just west of Salt Island, near its Black Rock Point, this sunken ship holds interesting treasures of centuries past. The enormous 310 foot British steam engine packet ship was wrecked during a hurricane in 1867, leaving nearly all of its crew and passengers dead. Since then, the area has been turned into a national park by the British Virgin Islands. Divers can find each of the two halves of the lost ship decorated in coral, and reclaimed by wildlife including barracudas, eels, octopi, turtles and stingrays. Among the many wonders of the vessel is the intact “lucky porthole” in the stern that many divers rub for good luck.
The island is also famous for its numerous salt ponds, once harvested to preserve food before the time of refrigerators. The past residents of this island would each pay their British motherland a yearly rent of one pound of salt, in honor of the Queen’s birthday. By the ponds there is a graveyard, commemorating those lost in the RMS Rhone, as well as the many island folk who have passed since. For yacht charter guests, the ponds serve as a place to read a book under a palm tree, or take an uninterrupted swim.