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Tortola, the turtle dove, is the largest island despite its mere 21 square miles. The capital of the BVI's is Road Town - with its numerous marinas, hotels, thriving ships chandleries and boatyards, it is abuzz with social activity.

It is six miles from Road Town to West End. There you will find a protected harbor bordered by flamboyant architecture known as Sopers Hole. This is one of the hot spots for shopping, dining and entertainment for the yachting community. It is also an ideal place to anchor when going to the infamous Bomba's Shack full moon party.

The peaks of Sage Mountain dominate the west side of the island. The area is a natural rain forest which is preserved as a national park for the enjoyment of hikers and future generations. The lookout platform at the summit affords a superb panoramic view.

On the largely undeveloped north side of the islands there are many natural and historical sites of beauty and interest.

Cane Garden Bay, the subject of many postcards, has a white palm fringed beach stretching the entire length of the bay. The Callwood Rum Distillery is housed there in a musty stone building dating back to slavery. Arundel rum in old and new bottles line the shelves. Also to be seen are the copper boiling vats, the old still and the cane crusher. Brewers Bay is without question one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Virgin Islands. Fortunately it is seldom used by visiting yachtsmen owing to the extensive coral formations which make access to the anchorage difficult for the novice. While the snorkeling here is excellent, time should also be taken to explore ashore. For those interested in taking a short walk, there are the ruins of Tortola's only remaining windmill on the slopes of Mount Healthy. The entire north shore is scattered with numerous beaches and coves, many of which are unknown to the visiting yachtsman.

• Smuggler's Cove (click here, then scroll right)
• Trellis Bay Panorama (click here, then scroll right)