Anchoring at Paraquita Bay
Paraquita Bay is located south of Maya Cove on the way to Brandywine Bay. It’s near Nora Hazel Point and Whelk Point, and one of the largest natural harbours in the BVI.
Enter Paraquita Bay through the extremely narrow entrance in the middle of the east coast. The less than 2-meter depth means it’s best suited for small keelers or multihulls.
“Paraquita” is Spanish for “parachute,” appropriate since parasailers would get a striking view from the air. Mangroves surround the bay, which Yachting World described as a frequently used hurricane hole, a place for charter and private boats during a storm.
History of Paraquita Bay
Originally, Paraquita Bay was watched by Whelk Point Fort, built by the British during the beginnings of the American Revolutionary War. The fort overlooked the narrow passage into Paraquita Bay. It would have been extremely difficult for a sailboat of that time to enter the bay while experiencing gunfire from the fort. None ever did. The fort has since been torn down, though remnants remain on private land.
Unfortunately, Paraquita Bay was one of the hardest hit by Hurricane Irma in 2017. Boat recovery efforts have been ongoing since the hurricane. Paraquita Bay experienced the loss of several large structures due to the hurricane, according to an ABC report on hurricane damage.
What to do at Paraquita Bay
Virgin Islands Maritime Museum
Founded in March 2005, the Virgin Islands Maritime Museum features boat-building tool displays, photographs, ship models and educational outreach programs aimed at accomplishing its mission of preserving the islands’ maritime history. There are also artifacts from the RMS Rhone, which is a popular dive site off Tortola Island, and two wooden boats created more than 50 years ago.
The museum is on the second floor of the Centre for Applied Marine Studies at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College.
H. Lavity Stoutt Memorial Collection
In the west wing of the Learning Resource Centre at the college is a collection celebrating the life of H. Lavity Stoutt, who died in 1995. He was the first and longest serving chief minister of the BVI. He won general elections in 1967, 1979, 1986, 1991 and 1995. After his death, March 7 – his birthday – was declared a national holiday.
Opened in 2008, the H. Lavity Stoutt Memorial Collection includes photos, speeches, videos, plaques, and other materials that document his life in government as well as his personal life.