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.

Cheers!

Adventurers

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

"The Kid"

There's a large grassy field on Beef Island where a herd of goats can always be found.  Their coats are a shiny black and tan.  On Saturday the herd made its way to the parking lot.  One of the kids got away from the others...bless his little heart!  Listen for his little "baah."


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Le Grand Cafe!

There's a new old restaurant in Road Town.  Formerly Le Cabanon, Le Grand Cafe recently changed its name, menu, etc...  While it's still a hot night spot, with live music and/or dj, the lunch and dinner crowds have evolved.


Michael and I met there on Thursday and were delighted with the choices on their lunch menu. Everything looked delicious as the plates passed by our table, from the mussels to the croque monsieur.  Michael went with the beef carpaccio and I had the tomato, goat cheese and basil panini. 


Both were yummy!


We highly recommend Le Grand Cafe for a lunch-time treat.  We had dinner there a few weeks back and it too was delectable.  Anegada lobster bisque to die for!  Bon appetit!   
Monday, January 24, 2011

BVI Newbie: The Guide

BVI Newbie, the guide for new residents and visitors just hit newstands this week. 

This 83-page book is full of great information for "newbies" like us and it's presented in an entertaining, (dare I say cheeky?) sort of way.  Don't you just love the mascot???

From sections on the immigration & work permit process and finding a home, to healthcare and tropical weather warnings, BVI Newbie pretty much covers it all! 

And no worries, if you find yourself thousands of miles away from the nearest BVI business which currently has stacks and stacks of these colorful little books, you can read it online right HERE!

All I have to say is, "Where was this a year ago when we were moving to the BVI?"  Ha! 
Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Cure for the Common Cold: Wakeboarding

So after nearly two weeks of sniffling and sneezing, coughing and wheezing, Michael and I ventured out for a day on the water.  It was exactly what we needed to get over this sickness that's been ailing us lately. 

Michael wasn't sure he was going to feel like wakeboarding, but once we were out there, he got right up.  He even attempted to "high-five" a mooring ball with the board.   (Look for it about 40 seconds in...)



Louise and I went for a swim while the guys took another round on the wakeboard. This is James catching some air:
 And Graham with a hand grab:
We ended with lunch on Cooper Island, which was delightful as always.  Thanks to Louise and Richard for another great day on the water!  A day in the sun and saltwater was definitely the best way to get rid of the cold that wouldn't go away!
Thursday, January 20, 2011

Stealth Yacht

This unusual yacht can be seen moving about the British Virgin Islands this week.  I remember seeing it last year.  The stories about the yacht swirled over dinner...  "I heard a Russian billionaire gave the yacht to his super model wife as a wedding present."  "No, I heard they're not married, but he did name the boat after her."  "Yeah, it's just her initial 'e' so no one knows who it is."  There is some truth in all of these tales...

Maybe you already know all about this yacht from reading an article in the Wall Street Journal a few months ago.  Oh, to be reporter Robert Frank on that assignment!

{photo credit: Todd VanSickle, BVI Beacon}

Andrey Melnichenko - the owner of the yacht with the single letter name "A" - is a Russian billionaire.  A few fun facts about the yacht:

- 394 feet long
- 3 pools on board

- A rotating bed in the 2,500+ square foot master suite

- 44 security cameras

- Wallpaper made from stingray hides  (yikes!)

- 35 member crew

- $300 million price tag


And would you believe that Melnichenko is about to have the second largest Russian yacht?  He will be de-throned when Roman Abramovich's 540-foot yacht named Eclipse hits the water soon.  We'll be sure to snap a photo when the Eclipse glides through the Sir Francis Drake Channel!
Sunday, January 16, 2011

Signage Sunday: It's all in the wraist!

The next full moon party is coming up on Wednesday, so this post is quite timely...  This sign is leaning on the infamous Bomba Shack, where one of the two major full moon parties is held. 

Other than the extraneous "a",  this sign is helpful and informative.  (Can't say the same for the "take pictures" sign to the left.  What???)  Bomba Shack is known for its tea and during full moon parties, $50 gets you a band to wear on your "wraist" so the guy brewing the tea will fill up your Bomba Shack mug with the mushroom concoction as many times as you'd like!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Playing the Part of Tourist

It's amazing to me how drastically the weather changes around here...

For the most of December, and even into the first week of January, the waves on the north side of the island were consistently BIG.  Remember the video from Smuggler's Cove???  When we were "body surfing"???

Well, imagine our surprise when we went to Smuggler's over the weekend and saw this:

It was so calm you could SUP!  I went out in the water to get a closer shot, when Michael and I were approached by a tourist who asked if she could take our picture. 

I wasn't really up for explaining the story about living here, why we came, how we like it, etc...so I said "Sure! Where y'all from?"  She said "New York. And whatta bout yous guys?"  We said "Tennessee.  Thanks for the picture!"


Part of me felt badly for misleading her, but figured I offer to take photos of other people all the time, it was just some good karma coming back our way...  
Saturday, January 8, 2011

Haunted House

Now that all of our company is gone, the house is quiet.  Eerily quiet.

Just the other night Michael and I were sitting on the couch watching a bowl game (or some other nonsense) when we heard the sound of shuffling feet.  It sounded like it was coming from upstairs...

But when we went upstairs to check it out, the sound was coming from downstairs.  Confused, we turned on all of the lights hoping to catch a glimpse of who or what was making this noise.

Nothing. We didn't see anyone or anything.  Could it be...a ghost???

We tried to go to sleep, but then we heard it again.  Milly heard it too and started to bark - the shuffling feet sounds were getting louder.  This time the motion sensor light in our driveway came on.  Michael went to the window at the top of the stairs, but didn't see anything.  He double-checked all of the locks and tried (unsuccessfully) to go back to sleep. 

We tossed and turned all night, waiting for the next creepy sound.  We may have slept a total of five hours combined, before morning came.

The next night as we were locking up the house, we heard the sounds of shuffling feet again.  Michael ran outside and there was our mysterious ghost!  Face to face, the two stood there in the driveway.  Michael yelled for me to grab the camera...we needed photographic evidence!  But by the time I got there, the ghost was gone. 

I asked Michael, "WHAT WAS IT!?!?" 
His reply:  "Our ghost is a GOAT!!!!"

I couldn't believe it.  We lost a precious night's sleep because of a goat!?!?  We have seen our fair share of free-roaming goats on Tortola...it makes sense looking back on it.  What fools are we?

If there's something strange in your neighborhood...who you gonna call? GOAT busters!
Thursday, January 6, 2011

Exit Surveys: Mom, Dad & Whitney!

Michael and I were so fortunate to spend time with both of our families this Christmas.  Here's what my family had to say about their BVI adventure! 

What was your favorite beach day and why?
Mom:  Trunk Bay with Milly digging for gold.
Dad:  Probably Smuggler's Cove, the second time when the crowd was smaller, but Jost van Dyke (aka Dick van Dyke, in American) was a close 2nd.
Whitney: I'll always love Smuggler's Cove the best, but this time I'll have to say the beautiful Trunk Bay, since it was new to me.
{Trunk Bay - we were the only ones there!}

Which of the following best describes the roads on Tortola?
A) Smooth as silk...
B) Steeper than I remember.
C) Potholes, potholes and more potholes!
D) More speed bumps that one can count!
E) None of the above.
Mom:  B) Steeper than I remembered, especially on the way to and from Cane Garden Bay!
Dad: All of the above, except A & E.  And "scary" is the best adjective.
Whitney: Definitely D! Every ride is a bumpy one!

We attended a total of "tree" Da Tree Men gigs during your visit. What song did you find yourself humming afterward? Or singing in the shower the next day?

Mom: Jingle Bell Rock, because the Bell Lady did a fantastic job!
Dad: "She wants a Bushwhacker, Bushwhacker, Bushwhacker..."
Whitney: Bushwhacker
And here Whitney is having one the very next day!  "She likes the coconut cream, and the coffee liquor..."

How do the accommodations at Gecko Manor II compare to the old house?
Mom: I love Gecko Manor II for the beautiful kitchen, view, feeling of space and bedrooms upstairs.
Dad: Much better, good hot water all the time, spacious rooms and brand new!
Whitney: Sooo much better! Cooler, more space, more privacy, huge kitchen!
Matouk's hot sauce. Take it or leave it?
Mom:  LEAVE IT!  I don't get it.  Why would you put something on your food to burn your mouth?
Dad:  Take it in a BIG way.  I only bought two bottles, but it's a great new taste for me.
Whitney: Didn't try it.
Which Pusser's locations did you visit on your trip? (Road Town Pub, Pusser's East, Soper's Hole, Marina Cay, Leverick Bay)
Mom:  Road Town, Soper's Hole, Pusser's East and Marina Cay.  Marina Cay is my favorite of all the Pusser's because I am a romantic and I love the story of the young couple coming there so long ago, the unique location and the fact that you have to take a boat to get there!
Dad: We ate at Pusser's East and Road Town Pub (see photo below) and visited the stores at Soper's Hole and Marina Cay.  I also liked the bar and live music on Marina Cay.

Whitney: None - it's a first! (I did pop into the store at Road Town though.)
What was the most bizarre thing you saw while vacationing in the BVI?
Mom: The brown pelican sitting on the red phone booth while we were getting our photo taken on Marina Cay.
Dad:  Has to be the "Christmas House" covered with lights, blow-up Santas, and movies playing on the concrete wall in the driveway.
Whitney: Hmmm... I'm used to the roaming farm animals and the crazy driving, so probably the typo on the billboard where the beauty queen exclaims, "Blah, blah, blah..." :)


We had such a great visit!  One of my favorite days was the afternoon on Jost van Dyke, and the New Year's Eve party at the Last Resort, oh and the yummy lobster dinner at Jolly Roger, and the relaxing day on Scrub Island...  I could go on and on!  


Saying goodbye is never easy, but staring down a company-free January, it was especially hard...even Milly was upset to see her relatives go. 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mailbag

A few things that you may not know about the BVI... 

There are no mailboxes at the end of the driveways here...no mailmen driving little trucks around the island delivering mail...no house numbers...and very few marked street names! 

So, how do we get our mail?  Well, as you can see in the photo below, it's through Michael's company's  P.O. Box.   

I was delighted when he came home from work yesterday with a huge stack of Christmas cards!  We had received a few before Christmas, but I was afraid we'd been crossed off most of our friends' Christmas card lists this year.  :(  I loved opening them all.  Almost all of them featured beautiful photos of our friends, their children, pets, wedding, vacations, etc..  Thanks everyone! 

Oh, and another unrelated side effect of not having a home address?  "It's not delivery, it's Digiorno."  There is no such thing as pizza delivery on the island.  So next time you pick up the phone to call Domino's, think of us! There are times we wish we had that little luxury!
Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Queen Honours Two BVI Residents

And if you're an avid reader of Our BVI Adventure, then you have been introduced to both of them!


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II recognized the founder of Pusser's Rum, Charles Tobias as a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for his contributions to the British Royal Navy and the community in the BVI.  And fellow BVI resident and friend, Lorna Smith was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to the government of the British Virgin Islands!

What an honor for both of them!  Congratulations!!!  If interested, check out complete list of honorees, that includes Annie Lennox and Steve McQueen. 
Sunday, January 2, 2011

Exit Survey: Sharon & Dennis

Our apologies...
This exit survey is somewhat delayed.  With the craziness of Christmas and the back-to-back house guests, this post has been sitting in the drafts folder for more than a week! 

We had such a great time with Sharon and Dennis and we're so grateful that their trip could be extended due to Mother Nature!  Not only were we able to share Christmas together, but Michael's parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary while in the BVI...Happy Anniversary you two!  {Thanks to the staff at Charlie's at the Moorings who made it so special!  Dinner was delicious!}


Onto the exit survey!

Which Pusser's locations did you visit on your trip?
(Road Town Pub, Leverick Bay, Pusser's East, Marina Cay, Soper's Hole)
Answer(s): We visited Pusser’s East, Marina Cay and Road Town Pub.  The lobster was out of this world at Marina Cay!
Here's photographic evidence:
Approximately how many cruise ships did you see pass by Gecko Manor II?
Answer: I believe there were approximately 18 cruise ships and a few awesome sail boats!!

How do the accommodations at Gecko Manor II compare to the old house? 
Answer:  OMG!! A HUGE DIFFERENCE! We actually felt like we were in the states.
What is your favorite song that Da Tree Men performed?
Answer: Hey Jude! They rocked the night we saw them perform – all their music was great, but Hey Jude was the best!!

Which of the following would you recommend to holiday travelers going through security at the airport?
A)  Pack a lot of patience!
B)  Smile and greet all TSA agents with "Merry Christmas!"
C)  Break into a cold sweat and faint.
D)  All of the above
E)  None of the above
Answer: Breaking out into a cold sweat and fainting really does get you through the line faster, but then you have to deal with the EMTs who will discourage you from flying.
(Bless his heart!  Dennis got off to a rough start in the Atlanta airport, but he forged ahead and got on the plane - BVI bound!  Within 24 hours we had nursed him back to health.  Nothing a painkiller can't fix!)

True or False...
Even though we swapped snow for sand, it still felt like Christmas, even in the BVI!

Answer: TRUE!! When we saw Santa at Soggy Dollar and his three "hoes" it certainly felt like Christmas!! What a fun day!


Much love to my in-laws!!!  A daughter-in-law couldn't ask for a better pair.  And a huge thanks for our Christmas gifts...  We love our Kindles!

RumShopRyan names top Island Lifestyle Blogs

OurBVIAdventure is honored to be on the list of Top Island Lifestyle Blogs of 2010.  What a way to end the year!  Thanks Ryan!


BVIMusic.com got a shout-out along with several other wonderful blogs, like No See Um's and Rum Therapy!