Welcome! Tally ho!

Our B.V.I. Adventure is designed to give our family, friends and any other interested followers a look into the life of two expatriates making their way on the island of Tortola. Tortola is the largest island in the British Virgin Islands.

So, why did we move 2,000 miles away from our home in Knoxville, Tennessee? Michael accepted a position as the director of retail and international sales for a Caribbean clothing brand.



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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 77: Full Moon Party

We took Travis to the Full Moon Party on Sunday night.  And what a night it was!  We started things off at Pusser's East, where we sat on the porch and enjoyed some delicous grouper.  (Thanks Jeff!) 

Travis is an incredible photographer as you will quickly realize.  Check out this photo he took of the full moon...

I just love the reflections in this photo.  We're just getting started though!  It was a photographer's paradise at Trellis Bay.  Here are some of my favorite shots that Travis took:


The fire throwers were absolutely mesmorizing!  Particularly, this guy...

The even did a flaming jump rope!  I was worried the guy jumping in from the right side there was going to get burned...he didn't, thankfully.

There was a live band playing that night, so the flame throwers were also flame dancers! 

And the last one:

What an incredible night!  Big day tomorrow though...we are getting up early and heading out on the White Squall 2 - a day sail to the Baths and Cooper Island.
Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 76: Travis's Arrival

Travis, my friend and coworker from Ackermann, made it to the BVI in spite of the hundreds of cancelled flights.  Take that, snow storm!  This is T's first visit to the Caribbean and we have a lot of fun things planned for him!  Whoo hoo!!! 

Unfortunately, the battery in our camera died before Travis arrived, so the photo taken with a camera phone is a little dark.  We thought about going back to the airport and re-enacting the whole thing!  Ha! 

We went to the house, dropped off his luggage and headed into Road Town.  We enjoyed a late dinner at Bar Fly (which is connected to The Dove, one of our favorite restaurants on the island.)  It was really good and there was a great crowd. 

Tomorrow night is a full moon and that means one thing!  Full Moon Party!  We haven't been to one since New Year's Eve...
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 72: Work it out!

After two-plus months of relying on swimming for our exercise, we joined the Tortola Sports Club on day 72!   {Apparently it doesn't count as "exercise" when you're drinking a bushwhacker or other alcoholic beverage.} 

We were given two options, the Tennis membership or the Squash membership.  You can see from the photo below, which ones these expats went with...

They have a regular work-out facility there with treadmills, weights, and such, along with a bar and grill.  We hear the restaurant is quite good - it overlooks the tennis courts though, so you better be on your game! 
Saturday, February 20, 2010

Movie Ticket

It was a rainy Saturday so we went to see Valentine's Day at U.P's - our movie theatre.  This wasn't exactly the ticket stub Michael and I were hoping to leave the theatre with...

Take a closer look - that's right, a $100.00 ticket for parking on the curb, (the same curb we've parked on previously when we've been to the movies.)

Not that it is any consolation, but the cars in front of us and behind us also received tickets.  Oh, and the best part?  We get to go to court to pay the ticket!  There is no mail-in option. 

Well, at least the movie was great!

Exit Survey: Caty & Matt

Rather than continue the day-by-day recap of Caty and Matt's visit to the BVI, I came up with what we'll call an "exit survey."  We just packed so much into their trip, I'm finding myself rather exhausted trying to capture it all in a few blog posts.  As you will read below, Caty's answers to the survey should give you a great overview of their trip.

So, away we go!

Of the 5 Pusser's locations, which ones did you make it to during your visit?
Answer:  Soper's hole, Road Town, and Marina Cay.  Although, we did pass Pusser's East several times.  I loved the atmosphere at Marina Cay!  It was a great night!! 
 {Pusser's Road Town}

How likely are you to adopt "Good afternoooooooooon" as your greetings to friends back in the states?
A) very likely          
B) likely          
C) maybe         
D) unlikely          
E) never in a million years
Answer:  You know, I really like the "Good afternoooooooooon" and "Hello.  Good morning."  I'm thinking of incorporating both phrases into my regular vocab.  So, I'll go with C) maybe.

How annoyed are you by Amelia and Michael's use of the phrase "back in the states"?
A) didn't notice        
B) not at all    
C) slightly annoyed    
D) very annoyed  
E) more annoyed than they'll ever know
Answer:  B) not at all.  In fact,  I think I said it a couple of times.

Best Restaurant experince on the island?
Answer(s):  Ooooooh...this is a tough one.  We had so many great eating experiences.  I think I'm going to have to break it down into several categories.

Best Breakfast:
Gecko Manor...Amelia's grits are awesome.  {Awww, thanks!}

Best Lunch: 
Deadman's Chest - Peter Island....the pizza and view were amazing!!!  Unfortunately, the wedge salad was a disappointment. 
One Love - Jost Van Dyke...great seafood!  
Smuggler's Cove - Tortola...Matt really liked the jerk chicken.

{Deadman's Chest - Peter Island}
Best Dinner:  
The Dove and Barfly...tops many meals we've eaten "back in the states." 
The Last Resort...awesome food and entertainment.  A "can't miss" for any visitor.  Great animal watching!  
Sugar Mill...it needs a shout out too!

 {The Last Resort}
Best Bushwacker:
Village Cay Marina, Pirates Bight and Smugglers Cove.  Heck!  I liked them all!!! 
True of False:  By the end of your trip, you were used to seeing cars driving on the left side of the road.
Answer:  False.  No!  I wanted to scream every time we pulled out of your drive way. 

How many wild chickens and/or roosters did you see while on Tortola?
Chickens/Roosters- 5 million
Goats - 200k
Cows - 12 on way to Sugar Mill
Donkeys - 1 maybe 2
Kitty cat - 2
Rabid Beast, named Scott - 1 He was that crazy guy at The Last Resort  (See below)
{The Rabid Beast}
He may look harmless here...but he's banging that glass bottle on the bongo drum!
Favorite drink? 
Answer(s):  Bushwacker, Carib, and Naked Lorna!
What was the strangest thing you saw on the island?
Answer:  The Rabid Beast named Scott, the "percussionist" at The Last Resort.  

{The Rabid Beast again, this time sans shirt.}
What is your favorite memory of your time in the BVI?
Answer:  Good friends and good times.  It was great to experience paradise with some of our favorite peeps...the Daniels!!!

Thanks for the fun Kayes!  (And for participating in the exit survey!)  We love you and hope you make it back to the BVI very soon!   

Oh, and if future guests will continue to indulge us, all who come to visit us will be given an exit survey upon their departure from the BVI to be returned within 48 hours of their arrival "back in the states."  Now, who's ready to book their trip???  Michael's family just bought their tickets last night! 
Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 62: Island Time!

They say there's only one way to truly experience the BVI and that way is on the water.  So on Saturday, we rented a boat from Island Time in Nanny Cay. 

Priscilla gave us a quick overview of the Contender {a 24" center console power boat} and then we were off! 

We were a party of five on this day, as Adam joined us for some sun, sea, tranquility! 

Caty scored a mooring just off of Norman Island.  She looks like a pro, doesn't she?  She had plenty of practice when she was here back in August for her honeymoon. 

To get to beach and Pirate's Bight, the restaurant in the cove, we had to swim about 200, maybe 300 yards.  Rather than use the ladder at the back of the boat, Michael sat on the side and fell backwards into the water as if he was going on a scuba mission.  Check out his fins!  That's me in the water, cheering him on! 

After a great lunch, we headed to the nearby William Thorton, a 98-foot schooner better known as Willie T's.  This floating party is known for a few things, including the infamous jumps off of the second story.  From what we hear, clothing is optional.  As you can see the three people in this photo who are about to jump are fully clothed, scratch that, wearing their bathing suits at least!

Here are a few photos from our afternoon...

Before sunset, we headed back towards Nanny Cay and stopped off at the Indians.  These beautiful rock formations are stunning, especially as the sun sets low.

Adam treated us to a concert at here.  I must say, even though we didn't experience the snorkeling at the Indians on this particular Saturday {because of a strong current}, singing some of our favorite songs by the Grateful Dead, Johnny Cash, and Jason Mraz was the most fun!     
Of all the experiences we've had here these last 62 days, this one ranks pretty high.
Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 61 continued: The Dove

We took Caty and Matt to The Dove on Friday night - it is one of our favorite restaurants on Tortola.  They loved it!  I didn't know this, but The Dove cures almost all of its meats.  We tried the charcuterie plate and enjoyed some delicious pate, chorizo and other cured meats.

We stopped by Pusser's Pub in Road Town after dinner and introduced Matt and Caty to Charles and Joanna!  

Charles gifted them with a bottle of Pusser's Rum and a few of the signature grog mugs.  These particular ones are specific to the painkiller. We had a really great night, but it didn't end there...We headed over to Le Cabanon next door where we met up with our friends, Jerry and Felicity.

SIDE NOTE: I had the pleasure of meeting Paloma, one of the owners of The Dove on Friday night.  She came over and introduced herself because she had received a "Google Alert" for The Dove which led her to our blog!  She was so complimentary and said she was a fan.  Paloma, the feeling is mutual!

Day 61: Smuggler's Cove

For Caty and Matt's first day, we thought a trip to our favorite beach, Smuggler's Cove would be a great first on-island experience.  (Caty and Matt chartered a boat in the BVI for their honeymoon so they are quite familiar with the water attractions.)

Since Michael had to work, it was just the three of us.  We went over the hill and stopped at this roadside bar... 

It was a beautiful day despite the rain clouds that had blanketed the area earlier in the day.  Once they moved out, we were free to enjoy the sun (and a few bushwhackers!) 

The water was refreshing!  (below: that's Matt on the left.)

By the afternoon, the waves were HUGE!  We stayed out of the water once these guys rolled in...

On our way home, we stopped at Soper's Hole to see Michael. He was visiting the Pusser's store there.  He was able to join us for a drink, but we couldn't stay too long.  Dinner reservations at 8:00!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 60: They're Here!

That mid-Atlantic snow storm may have caused their original flight out of Knoxville to be cancelled and the volcanic activity on Montserrat may have caused them to miss their rescheduled flight, but Caty and Matt were determined to get to the BVI!  After a few frustrating hours in San Juan, they caught the last flight to Tortola and arrived around 10pm!  WHEW! 

SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good to see them!!! 
Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Reservations Are Filling Up at Gecko Manor

Caty and Matt arrive tomorrow!  We are so excited...we've been busy preparing for their arrival.  We have a lot of fun things planned. 

They were here for their honeymoon back in August, so they know their way around the BVI.  We're actually counting on them to show us a few things!  We'll be renting a boat and taking it over to Jost Van Dyke, one of the islands I haven't been to yet, as well as to Willie T's and who knows where else?!?!

In other vacation news...it looks like Jeff and Liz are going to make it down here for a last minute trip.  And when I say last minute - they're coming on the 18th of THIS month!  We were just messaging about it tonight on Facebook.  Jeff claims it's the best last-minute Valentine's gift ever and I would have to agree with him!

McRee is also booking his trip and will be coming in March!  Cannot wait!

UPDATE:  Unfortunately, due to an appointment on Jeff's calendar that could not be rescheduled, Liz and Jeff are going to have to push back their trip to the BVI a month or so... 
Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 56: Meeting the Shands

As we know, it's a small world and when Facebook came on the scene, it made it even smaller.  That's where, like so many of you, I've reconnected with friends from my childhood, college, past jobs, etc...

Well, when we announced our move to the BVI on Facebook, I got a message from one of those college friends, Dustin Bass.  We went to the University of Florida together.  He wanted to let me know that his in-laws have a place on Great Camanoe which overlooks Marina Cay, the island that Pusser's owns.  I was excited at the prospect of seeing a familiar face when he and his wife Nancy came to visit!

Two months after that initial exchange Dustin sent me another message: his in-laws were coming down for two weeks.  While his own family wasn't going to be able to make it, (they have an adorable baby boy, Jackson) his in-laws were open to meeting us!  We exchanged numbers, which led to Day 56: Meeting the Shands, aka The Honorable Rodney and Mrs. Shands of New Albany, Mississippi!

Ginger met us at the dock at Trellis Bay at 11am.  We took their rib over to Great Camanoe, where they live in Indigo Plantation.  It's an amazing set up with a private docking area, sheltered from the sea.  That's their home there, with the three peaked rooftops:

Rodney met us up at the house.  I have to admit, hearing southern accents and talking SEC football was really nice.  There were no "Go Gators" exchanged though; you see the Shands are HUGE and I mean HUGE Ole Miss fans.  Even with the Ole Miss flag flying high above their home, it is beautiful!  It's divided into three sections with these deep porches.  Here's the view between two of the sections:
Rodney gave us a tour of the island on their "gator" and showed us their wild orchid garden.  Truly amazing! 

Some of their friends who also have a house on Camanoe joined us for lunch, Jim, Denny and Denny's sister, Christie.  Ginger made us the most scrumptious Southern fare:  chicken salad and pimento cheese sandwiches.  Then it was time to hit the water and head out on their boat!

It was a gorgeous Sunday; we went everywhere!  Past the Dogs, over to Virgin Gorda, beyond Mosquito and Prickly Pear Islands, all the way to Necker Island. (That's the $36,000 per night resort belonging to Sir Richard Branson.)

Here are a few photos from our trip, including a stop at Saba Rock for some rum drinks:

{above: Ginger and me - Ginger is so sweet!  Love her!!!}

{above: Necker Island}

{above: Christie and Denny}

{above: do we really need a caption?}

{above: the boys}

{above: check out The Baths off in the distance!}

We ended up snorkeling Diamond Reef near Scrub Island.  We saw our first baracuda, along with some gorgeous parrot fish and elkhorn coral.  It was stunning!!!

We enjoyed the day immensely and cannot thank Dustin enough for introducing us to our new friends, Ginger and Rodney!