This fabulous barrier reef begins just north of the island at Ruffling Point on the westernmost point of Anegada and continues along the entire north coast. It extends several more miles from the north east shore in a semi circular, SSE direction towards Virgin Gorda and is one of the longest reefs in the Caribbean.
Since Columbus stumbled upon the British Virgin Islands in 1493, the Anegada Reef has commanded a great deal of respect from BVI sailors aware of its reputation. It is approximately 18 miles long and has claimed hundreds of shipwrecks, yachts and small boats as well as the lives of untold seafarers over the centuries. Even in recent years and despite numerous navigational aids such as GPS (Global Positioning System) as well as reasonably accurate charts, this very formidable reef still wins new victims from time to time.
With a maximum elevation of 28' above sea level, Anegada is very difficult to see from aboard a yacht, even from a relatively short distance away. In fact, there are certain times of the day when you cannot see this island at all due to healthy wave action and swells. If sailing from North Sound on Virgin Gorda, plan to leave around 8:00 a.m. & use the sun to your best (visual) advantage.
As you approach from the southern side of the island, hundreds of submerged coral heads and shallow water make access to Setting Point anchorage an interesting challenge. Sailors would be well advised to brush up on your navigational skills and be confident before setting sail. Better yet, first time sailors might want to follow an accomplished skipper who knows his way! GPS is highly recommended as a secondary aid to navigation ... but nothing beats being able to read a chart and sailing your course accordingly.
If you wish to sail to Anegada, you may need to request a waiver from your charter company. Each company has different requirements. Based upon information supplied in your sailing resume, the operations manager may approve your trip or recommend that you hire a skipper for this particular passage.
As you see can in these aerial photos, blue water ends rather abruptly at reef's edge and hundreds of coral heads dot the southern shore. Though reasonably well marked, close attention to your charts, compass headings and entrance markers is required to successfully negotiate the entrance to Setting Point anchorage. Nothing is easily seen until you are quite close.
The British Virgin Islands have something for everyone! As one might expect, there is great bone fishing and deep sea fishing to be had near this spectacular barrier reef!