By Corey Sandler, Destination Consultant Silversea Cruises
We’re back in Tortola, the largest and most populated of the British Virgin Islands, which is a very relative term.
There are about 60 islands and rocks in the B.V.I., about 15 of them inhabited, and the total population is about 28,000 with nearly all on Tortola. We have come to the dock near the capital city of Road Town.
As recently as the last ice age of about 15,000 years ago, the sea level was 300 feet lower. No cruise ship was needed: you could walk to Puerto Rico.
Today, the British Virgin Islands stand as peaks of a drowned mountain range.
The first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the Americas in 1493. He gave them the fanciful name Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes (Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins), after the 5th century legend of the martyr Saint Ursula.
And the particular island we have come to visit was named Santa Ana.
Dutch colonists who came later renamed it Ter Tholen, after a coastal island that is part of the Netherlands.
When the British took over, the name evolved to Tortola, which happens to mean “Turtle Dove” in Spanish.
We are visiting Tortola three times this season. We came first on February 2, and will be back again on February 18. I’ll be posting more commentary and photos about Tortola on those days, and you can check back for more details.
Text and images copyright 2016 by Corey Sandler. All rights reserved. If you would like to purchase a high-resolution image, please contact me.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE AN AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF ONE OF MY BOOKS, PLEASE CONTACT ME.
SEE THE “How to Order a Photo or Autographed Book” TAB ON THIS PAGE FOR INSTRUCTIONS