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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Saturday, March 31, 2012

The BVI Easter Bunny

We had such fun taking my parents + Anna Drake to the beach on Saturday.  We always see the usual BVI animals along the way...  goats, chickens, even a donkey every now and then.

But who knew the Easter Bunny would be at Smuggler's Cove???

This hooded bunny towel was a gift from one of my best friends, Caty.  It's the cutest thing ever, don't you agree?  "Anna Drake" is even embroidered on the back.  Can you tell she is teething?  Ha!

In addition to the cute bunny baby photos, Michael snapped a photo of a gorgeous boat that made its way into the cove.  The BVI Spring Regatta is happening now, so we've bee seeing some stunning sailboats these last few days.

It was a great Saturday.  Smuggler's cove, sweet baby girl + grandparents, oh, and a savory lunch from Crandall's!  
Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Parents Arrive!

It was a quick turnaround, but we were happy to welcome my parents a week after Whitney's departure. 
It was a long day of flying...  Their JetBlue flight from Jacksonville to San Juan was diverted; the plane had engine trouble and was forced to land in Orlando.  This was one day after the highly publicized JetBlue pilot had the midair meltdown.  The airline made a second plane available within an hour of being on the ground in Orlando, but that meant they missed their connecting flight to Tortola.  Fortunately, Cape Air was able to accommodate them on a later flight and finally, about 8:00 p.m. they arrived safely!!!

We were so happy to see them; although Anna Drake was a bit confused.  It was after her bedtime, so she stayed asleep in her car seat - can you blame her?

This visit marks my parent's fifth visit to the BVI!
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Airport Runway Expansion

There's been talk about a runway expansion at Beef Island airport for years now, but it looks like real plans are beginning to take shape.  If you've flown into Tortola, you know, the runway is small.

But the question is being asked - is an expansion really needed?  And if so, at what cost?  The nearby Trellis Bay and the cays, Bellamy and Marina would be drastically affected by the proposed expansion.  

Right now, to fly (commercially) to the BVI, you must first stop in Puerto Rico from the US or Antigua from the UK.  Or, you can fly direct to Saint Thomas and catch a ferry to the BVI.  We've done it both ways, as have many of our guests.

In today's paper, the owners of The Last Resort, a very unique and special restaurant, authored an op ed on the subject.  It questions the expansion and highlights the sad reality that would result for many of the businesses that call Trellis Bay home:

Attempting to get larger numbers of visitors to a destination quicker and cheaper by destroying the very thing that attracts them in the first place doesn’t make any sense. The VI has been blessed with unique and magical natural beauty, yet some residents seem hellbent on sacrificing their inheritance to this blind and voracious god called “Development.”

Let's hope a compromise is found!!!
Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Tortolan Treat

On our way to Smuggler's Cove, we stopped by Crandall's to pick up a Tortolan treat.  We only recently discovered this fast-casual restaurant, and by "discovered" I mean we finally stopped in to give it a try after driving by it a thousand times.

They pretty much serve one item; akin to an empanada, the fried dough pouch is filled with a savory meat filling.  You can choose chicken, beef, turkey, salt fish or conch.  As I type this, I realize it doesn't sound that appetizing, but it is.  We picked up three chicken pastries and headed on our merry way.  

With simple wax paper pouches and brown paper bags, Crandall's doesn't necessarily 'wow' with the presentation, but it doesn't need to.  At only $3 per pastry, this has to be the best deal on the island!
Monday, March 19, 2012

Mystique Day Sail

On Tuesday, we headed out for a fun day of sailing on the Mystique - a beautiful 45' catamaran.  We headed over to Jost van Dyke for a snorkel around Diamond Point.  Our captain, Nico (sp?) suggested we look under a particular rock on the south side of the point.  There, he said, we would find lobster!  And sure enough...

Do you see the tentacles sticking out from underneath the coral?  We dove down to see it better, but unfortunately our accuracy with the camera while diving was not so good.

Our next stop was the always beautiful White Bay.  The water was the perfect shade of blue.  Here's Whitney on the bow of the boat:

Nico escorted us to shore via the dinghy, which was really great since we had Anna Drake in tow.  She wore her sporty life jacket!

Before having a Painkiller at Soggy Dollar Bar, we had to decide where to have lunch!  There's One Love on the far end, Jewel's Snack Shack for hamburgers, among other restaurants.  We knew we wanted lobster and this looked too good to pass up!

We ordered the lobster pizza plus half pepperoni and half jalapeno.  It was delicious!  We highly recommend it!

After lunch, Whitney snapped this family photo!  Christmas card, maybe?  :)

Here's the crew in line at Soggy Dollar Bar!
By three o'clock it was time to get back on the Mystique and return to Torotla.  Anna Drake loved it aboard the boat.
We will absolutely choose the Mystique again!  It was much easier than renting our own boat for the day, especially now that we have a little one!

Pink Sky

We enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets this week...

The sky turned pink!  I especially love the reflection of the sky in the unusually still harbor.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Aunt Whitney Arrives!

We were so excited to welcome Anna Drake's Aunt Whitney on Friday!  This trip marks her 6th visit to the BVI since we moved here in 2009.  (She's in the lead of all of our friends and family for the most visits!) 

She hadn't seen Anna Drake since New Year's, but from Anna Drake's reaction, you could tell she remembered her Aunt Whitney!
We have a lot of new and exciting things planned for Whitney's visit, along with some old favorites.  (Smuggler's, Jost van Dyke, etc...)

First stop after picking her up from the airport?  The Loose Mongoose in Trellis Bay!  For anyone flying into Beef Island Airport, the Loose Mongoose is a great spot for happy hour.  It's so close to the airport, that within mere minutes from touching down in the British Virgin Islands, you can enjoy a cold drink at the water's edge.  What a way to start your vacation!   
Monday, March 12, 2012

UPDATE: BVI Beach Photo Finalists Announced

The BVI Beacon has revealed the finalists in the Beach Photo Contest.  Some of my favorites made it, including some late entries.  If you want to vote, just follow the link and "like" the one you like best.

 This one was submitted by Gary Felton Yacht Photography.
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Caribbean Arts Festival

We enjoyed a leisurely morning stroll through the Caribbean Arts Festival today.  The weather was perfect for it.  Anna Drake enjoyed her view from the Baby Bjorn.
The festival, which was held at Trellis Bay (also the site of the Full Moon Parties) featured local artists as well as many from other islands like St. Thomas and St. Maarten.  My favorite piece was this abstract on plywood of Tortola's waterfront in Road Town.

The artist was on hand creating another work during the festival.  She doesn't use the bright, cheery colors that are typical of Caribbean art.  I think that's what I like about it...  The black, white and shades of grey work harder to tell the story.

We also enjoyed yummy lattes at D' Best Cup Coffee.  (Okay, and we also had one massive chocolate chip cookie.)  With no Starbucks on the island, this is about as close as we can get.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dove Date Night

Michael and I enjoyed our first "date night" since arriving back on island.  And where did we head for our romantic night out?  The Dove, of course!

We enjoyed a delicious meal, as always, that included champagne cocktails, PEI mussels in a creamy artichoke sauce, an amuse-bouche that consisted of a salty shrimp sushi roll, followed by perfectly prepared Dove steaks.

Oh, and I can't forget the delicious chocolate dessert!  Our wonderful waitress, Lauren, informed us our dessert and after dinner drinks were compliments of the owners and dear friends, Paloma and Scott, in honor of our first date night back on island.  How sweet!?!

Big Waves

Apple Bay is the hot spot for surfers on Tortola.  The break in front of Bomba Shack attracts surfers day after day, but on Saturday it was almost crowded out there.  Take a look at this video I shot while watching from the sidelines:

It makes me wish I could surf...  Instead I'll stick to my flat-water paddle boarding.  (Sigh.)
Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to H. Lavity Stoutt

In honor of the BVI's longest serving Chief Minister, we're taking the day off along with the rest of the territory.  Today is a public holiday - one of four holidays in March!

Hamilton Lavity Stoutt was not only the longest serving Chief Minister, he was the first.  Since his death in 1995, the BVI has declared his birthday a public holiday.  We'll take it!

The beach is beckoning...
Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Noble Duke

The Noble Duke of York; he had two thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill; And he marched them down again
And when they're up, they're up; And when they're down, they're down
And when they're only halfway up; They're neither up nor down
This week, we're changing the words of the nursery rhyme, "The Noble Duke of York," to the "Noble Duke of Gloucester."  His Royal Highness will be here in the British Virgin Islands, beginning Monday and the territory is all a buzz.  

Prince Richard, who's the youngest grandson of King George V and Queen Mary, will take part in several public events while on Tortola.  The guidelines for interacting with His Royal Highness are floating around Facebook, though they were originally published on the government's website.

Most of our UK-citizen friends that live here wouldn't necessarily classify themselves as "royalists" but I imagine the Duke will receive a warm welcome from locals and expats alike.  We're thinking of meeting up with his Highness along his tour of the territory.  He plans to take a walk down in Cane Garden Bay and see the Callwood Rum Distillery (something we've yet to do ourselves!)  I wonder what the protocol is for taking photos with him...

Of course, all of the royal rules went out the window when Prince Harry visited Belize this weekend.  Have you seen the footage of him drinking and dancing during a street party?  Maybe we should get the Duke over to Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke for a painkiller...

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday Routine

We're getting into a routine on Saturdays...

It starts off with an early morning SUP at Smuggler's Cove.  The drive to West End gives Anna Drake a chance to nap.  I love her reaction when she wakes up on the beach. Michael and I take turns on the paddleboard, before taking Anna Drake for a swim.  She is loving the water more and more.

By 11:30 it's time for her second nap of the day, so we put her in the car and head to Nanny Cay for lunch.  There are two main lunch options at Nanny Cay.  The Beach Bar serves salads, sandwiches, and pizza.  The other restaurant is Gennaker's, located in the courtyard of shops and maritime businesses.  We opted for Gennaker's on Saturday.  We can never decide what to order, so Michael and I settled on splitting a delicious cold curry chicken salad on top of greens, and a spicy pork sandwich.  Both were yummy!

Then, we headed back to the pool for a quick dip and some "limin'" under the big umbrellas.  By 3:00, it was time to head home for afternoon naps.  Yes, plural.  We had to take naps too!    
Thursday, March 1, 2012

4-Month "Jabs"

So remember how I poked fun at Michael for throwing around British-isms?  Well, I'm guilty of it too apparently.  We had Anna Drake's 4-month check-up this week, which included her "jabs" (aka vaccinations.)  

All of the mums (whoops! there I go again) refer to the shots as "jabs," and if you've ever held your infant while he or she has been stuck with a needle, the term is pretty accurate.  This is the "before shot."

While getting her jabs was for the most part unpleasant, our surroundings at Penn Medical were lovely.  This doctor's office has the best view on the island!  Check it out:

We were so proud of our little girl, and very relieved to have such a wonderful, caring staff looking after her in the BVI.