Sombrero Island Yacht Charter Caribbean
Sombrero Island Yacht Charter will make you feel like you may be on another planet! A deserted planet with ruins on it, in the middle of nowhere with absolute beautiful water and SCUBA diving around it where you are SURE to see sharks? Not only sharks but every type of Boobie Bird you can imagine? Sombrero Island may be the place for you to stop at. Sombrero Island is part of the island nation of ANGUILLA. And it is located about 34 miles from Anguilla itself. It is also called HAT Island.
How do you get to Sombrero Island?
By Yacht Charter, of course! We have pulled up and anchored at Sombrero a couple of times, the last time being several years ago. If you plan a one way charter from St Martin taking in Anguilla and making a one-way trip to the Virgin Islands, you can stop off at Sombrero. The seas HAVE to be calm and flat even to stop there. I will refer you to Yacht Guiding Lights Blog entry on how to get there as there is no need for us to write that part again. Find the link at the bottom of our article here.
What is Sombrero Island used for?
You are not going to find white sand beaches here. You are going to find a dramatic cliff that rises straight out of the deep open to a flat surface. And Sombrero Island has a lighthouse operating on it as well as the ruins of previous towers. Sombrero is 36′ above sea level and 93 acres. It USED to look like a sombrero from the sea until guano mining took the top off the hat. No one lives on the island now.
History of Sombrero Island
- In 1807 a sailor was marooned on the island. Sombrero is on the trade route between the United Kingdom and South and Central America so pretty sure it had been stopped at before then.
- British Geologists wrote reports on the amount of Guano (Bird poop) that is on the island in the early 1800s.
- In 1856 the Americans claimed the island and mined approx 100,000 tons of guano! Eventually, it came back to Britain in 1867.
- IN 1871 a lease was purchased for 55000 pounds, and the New Sombrero Phosphate Company worked the island until 1890 when it was abandoned.
- The first lighthouse was erected in 1868 by request, as many boats were wrecking on Horseshoe Reef by Anegada.
- A hurricane heavily damaged the lighthouse in 1960 and rebuilt in 1962.
- The lighthouse became automated in 2002, and now there is no longer a need for a lighthouse keeper to live on the island.
Bird Sanctuary Sombrero Island
We were lucky enough to be there in the nesting season. Birds included Brown Boobies, Blue Footed Boobies, Terns, and Noddies. There is approximately 5% of the Caribbean population of these birds on the island, which I find amazing. Wikipedia tells me that there once used to be giant tortoises that lived on the island.
SCUBA diving on your Sombrero Island Yacht Charter
SCUBA diving is a treat! When the conditions are flat enough to allow you to anchor on your Sombrero Island Yacht Charter, the clear blue water is TEEMING with animals. We found turtles of many kinds, including Hawksbill Turtles, and sharks by more than one or two. Lobsters walked around, eyeing us on the seafloor. I had expected to see more fish life than what I had SCUBA diving there. However, I understand that fishermen often fish over there when it is flat enough.
Getting ONTO Sombrero Island
Getting on top could be the fun part. And another reason why you need to be here in flat weather. Imagine this island looking like the white cliffs of Dover, and there is no real harbor or sandy beaches. You get in your rubber tender and head to where there is a dubious-looking ladder that you have to pull yourself up onto from your tender and then climb up the side of the cliff.
You have to have some coordination and arm strength! Once you get on top, though, you will feel like an explorer from centuries ago! There is plenty of buildings to explore, old machinery, ruins, old generators, and holes in the surface looking like the moon to keep you amused for hours on end. Also, you can find old chimneys in ruins. Be warned that the entire time you are exploring the island, the seabirds will be squawking at you! You will have land crabs under your feet everywhere you walk.
Look over the landing cliff on Sombrero Island
Here you can see the remains of a crane that they used to haul supplies up and down the cliff face.
If you look over the cliff you will have no problem seeing sharks and turtles in the water. Look closely at our picture here to see them too.
Can you get to Sombrero Island from the British Virgin Islands?
Yes, with flat seas and approval from the Anguilla government in advance. The island is approximately half distance between St Martin and the BVI.
Book my Sombrero Island Yacht Charter
This can never be a guaranteed stop on a yacht charter, unfortunately. It all depends on the weather. The best time to attempt this trip is in the summer season when the weather and winds are much lighter.