Some 80km (50mi) east of Puerto Rico and the Greater Antilles, the Virgin Islands represent the beginning of the Leeward Islands. Like other islands on the outer arc of the Lesser Antilles, they are the peaks of submerged mountains rising only a few hundred feet above sea level. The 4 larger and 42 smaller islands consist mainly of rolling green hills and white sandy beaches, open to the Atlantic swell. Shallower waters offshore means that waves can't reach the size of those seen on Puerto Rico, however big winter swells will awaken the famous line up at Cane Garden Bay. On Tortola, there is a distinct lack of spots that work regularly, so utilising a boat will increase the likelihood of finding surf. Unlike the US Virgin Islands to the south, the British Virgin Islands have maintained a strict development and environmental policy and can't be accused of having sold their soul to the tourism devil. Foreign surfers started tapping into the BVI's potential in the late '60s, sometimes using a sailboat to cruise around the different islands.