Make Salt Island Part of Your Caribbean Yacht Charter Itinerary!
Salt Island, one of the less well known, must see, sailing vacation destinations is located next to Norman Island in the archipelago that forms the British Virgin Islands. It is most notable for the wreck of the Royal Mail packet steamer, RMS Rhone which was driven onto the reef of Salt Island during a hurricane on October 29, 1867.
Most of the ship’s crew were lost and buried in a mass grave on Salt Island. A circle of stones marks the grave.
The Wreck of the Rhone is the most popular diving spot in the British Virgin Islands. The wreck is a great dive because it is in shallow water, has swim-throughs, and its massive propeller can be seen from above the water.
On the island itself, the large salt pond is a remarkable feature surrounded by a thick, white “beach” of salt crystals where the water has evaporated. Island natives use the salt for facial scrubs and tonics as well as for seasoning.
There are currently no residents living on Salt Island, but a few derelict structures are still intact on the beach. The small population of around 20 people that lived there paid an annual rent to the Queen of England of a one pound bag of salt.
The harvesting of salt was once an annual tradition going back to 1867 and the reign of Queen Victoria. The administrator of the British Virgin Islands would present the pound of salt to the Queen during her annual birthday celebration. This tradition gradually fell away, but it was renewed in 2015 by the current Governor of the British Islands.
Charter catamarans such as Knot Anchored and Elixir make Salt Island a regular stop on their BVI itinerary. There are excellent photo opportunities to be found on the island, and the crew encourage their guests to bring a jar and pack it full of their very own Caribbean sea salt to take home.