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, June 30, 2012

Night on Virgin Gorda

On our recommendation, the Shands wanted to try the new restaurant on Virgin Gorda, CocoMaya.  And they were kind enough to invite us to tag along!  They picked us up from Trellis Bay and off we went!  No offense to the BVI ferry companies, but taking the Shands' boat, Camanoe Cadillac, is much more comfortable - just look at Michael!  He looks relaxed, doesn't he?

We docked in Spanish Town.  Here's Shae assisting Captain Rodney.

 The light was so pretty as we pulled into the marina.  Here's a great shot of Leslie and Shae.
We arrived at CocoMaya before our 7pm reservation and took in the stunning sunset on the beach.  I love the color palette in this photo below...
The restaurant looked beautiful in the daylight, and don't those beach lounges look comfy?
Dinner was delicious!  Just like we did when we went with Liz & Jeff, we ordered a variety of tapas and shared some sushi.  And for dessert?  We had a delicious white and dark chocolate mousse.  Decadent!
 After dinner, we took some photos on the beach.  Here are the Shands and the Orrells!

For a restaurant that hasn't even been open a full month, CocoMaya is doing great.  The food and service live up to the cool atmosphere which is saying a lot.  I guess that's why we've been three times in three weeks!  Ha!
Friday, June 29, 2012

Birthday Surprise

Since my birthday fell on a Monday this year, I wasn't expecting much of a celebration - at least not one that happened on the actual day.  But Michael had other ideas...

He got together with some of my friends and planned a little surprise party, which came off without a hitch despite a few near spoilers.  They completely fooled me into thinking we were running an errand for a friend late in the day.  The prevarication?  We had to pick up a stand-up paddle board for our friend Andy.  When we got to Paloma and Scott's house to get the alleged SUP board, my friends (and their babies) were all gathered at the pool, sipping champagne.

At first, when we arrived and saw my friend Lisa in the driveway I thought she was leaving.  My rationale: Lisa is Scott's sister so it made sense to me that she would be at the house in the middle of the day.  I said goodbye to her and figured she would just get in her car and drive off.  She went with it and hopped in the car.  Ha!

Then on our walk down to the house, I passed Paloma's mom and my friend Vanessa.  The two looked as if they were in the middle of something, so I just waived - again not realizing Vanessa was there to attend my surprise party.  My rationale: Vanessa grew up on Tortola and her family and Paloma's family are long-time friends.  I figured she had some business with Paloma's mom and didn't have time to chat.

It wasn't until I was walking to the pool and I saw two more of my friends that Scott finally shouted "Happy Birthday Amelia!"  It was then, and only then, I realized this was all for me!  They totally got me!  And we had the most fabulous time!  It's hard to tell who's who, but from left that's Lisa and her baby Maisy, then Alice and her baby, Flora.  Paloma and Jude are in the middle, followed by me and Anna Drake, and then Vanessa and her boy Eli are on the end.

I highly recommend a Monday afternoon swim with a glass of bubbly!  Never will I complain of a Monday birthday again!

Monkey Point

In an effort to hit all of the best BVI snorkeling spots in one weekend, we went back out on the boat with the Shands on Sunday.  We picked up chicken rotis from Trellis Kitchen and enjoyed them on the porch of their house on Camanoe.  I just love it over there...  The most beautiful breeze hits their home in Indigo Plantation.

The gang headed for Diamond Point while Anna Drake and I hung out at the house.  After spotting the largest stingray any of them had ever seen, they came back for us and we headed to Guana Island which is a private island in the BVI.

Monkey Point is on Guana's north side.  The water was so incredibly flat in this protected bay.

This is a fantastic snorkeling spot.  We took our time and combed over the rocks where we found some of the most fascinating creatures, including a lion fish!!!  Now THAT is a first for me!  I can't believe what an incredible shot Shae was able to get!

We also spotted this flounder below.  He was almost completely camouflaged, but when one of our fins got too close, he started to flutter.  And his eyes would turn in 360 degrees, opposite from one another!  It kind of freaked us out!  I did fall in love with the pattern on his back though.  It was electric blue!

The sweetest part of the day happened on the way back to Tortola, when Rodney put Anna Drake in his lap and let his BVI grandbaby drive the boat!  Do you think she was enjoying herself?

What a splendid day!  Huge thanks to our Captain, Rodney!  (And if you're wondering where his wife, Ginger was...she had to go back to the states for the weekend to attend the christening for her youngest grandchild.) 

Oil Nut Baby

We had a few "BVI firsts" on Saturday - which is becoming increasingly rare as we creep up on our 3rd anniversary of living here.

We went boating with the Shands who have a house on Great Camanoe, and while we've done that plenty of times, we stopped at two snorkeling destinations that were new to Michael and me!

One of Ginger and Rodney's daughters, Leslie is visiting with her husband Shae.  You may remember, we hung out with them during their last visit in 2010.  They too have had a baby recently, but their little girl stayed back in Mississippi.  

The first stop was Great Dog, where was saw some beautiful parrot fish and some harmless jelly fish.  Thank goodness they didn't sting - one ended up in my bathing suit!  Here is half of the crew on the boat.  Leslie was missing her baby girl so she stayed with Anna Drake while the rest of us snorkeled.

Anna Drake sure was taken with Shae...or maybe it was the other way around.  How cute is that?

Our next stop was Saba Rock for lunch.  This tiny island pretty much consists of a restaurant and a small hotel.  That's it!  We had the lobster tacos and they were really good!

We also traveled beyond the North Sound on Virgin Gorda, past the Bitter End Yacht Club and Saba Rock and onto one of the most beautiful bays in all of the British Virgin Islands.  Oil Nut Bay is unlike any other spot, I've ever seen.

The water is crystal clear and shallow - that's the big difference.  It reminds me of the Bahamas.  There are stretches of white sand, that reach from one of the big bay to the other.  And where there are patches of seagrass you can find inhabited conch shells and other sea things.  I found this queen conch and brought it up to the surface for this photo!  It was huge!

The inside of the shell was the most beautiful shade of pink; the photo does not do it justice!  We also saw a beautiful sting ray and a few sea turtles.  It was stunning!

We got Anna Drake in the water and she loved it too!  Thanks to Leslie and Shae for taking all of these wonderful photos...  We have misplaced the cord for our underwater camera, so we haven't been able to recharge it for months now!
As you can see, it was an absolutely gorgeous day.  And one, we were grateful to spend with our dear friends!!!  What could tomorrow possibly hold that could top this???
Monday, June 18, 2012

Peter Island Friday

One of our favorite islands in the British Virgin Islands is Peter Island.  It's directly across the Sir Francis Drake Channel from our house on Tortola.  All that's there is a stunning resort.  We'd taken Liz and Jeff there on their previous visit to the BVI and it was on the list of things to do again.  That's when you know it's a must-see!  The ferry ride from Tortola is $20 per person, but the babies ride for free.

Once we arrived on the island, we took a collective deep breath.  There's something so calming about Peter Island - the surroundings instantly relax you.  A nice gentleman from the resort took us for a ride in his golf cart and dropped us off at Dead Man's Beach.  We set up under some palm trees and enjoyed the cool breezes.

Since at least one of the babies decided to take a nap upon our arrival, we put Liz to work modeling some clothes for Michael's company, HIHO.  This is the St. Barth's dress.  Doesn't she look stunning?

Before we knew it, it was lunchtime.  And off to Deadman's Beach Bar & Grill we went!  The staff was so accommodating, as they rounded up not one, not two, but three high chairs!  While Michael and Jeff had big, juicy burgers, Liz had the jerk chicken wrap.  I had the blackened mahi mahi sandwich, and Alison had a yummy salad.

Michael had a few more products to shoot, but I got behind the camera to snap this sweet sibling pair.  (They too are wearing HIHO, Jeff in a long-sleeve suntek shirt and Alison in a lycra perfect for the water.)

We headed to The Dove for dinner that night!

It was a lovely way to end the week...PEI mussels, a middle course of tortellini, Dove steaks and prawns.  We couldn't possibly order dessert!  
Thursday, June 14, 2012

CocoMaya on VG

After two fun-filled days, we opted for a low-key day on Wednesday.  We ran some errands in town, took the girls to the park, and relaxed at the house.

Later on, we headed out for an "adults only" evening on Virgin Gorda.  The ferry companies run a late ferry on Wednesday nights, so we caught the 6:45pm boat (which was really more like 7:30pm - gotta love 'island time.')  Our destination?  The new restaurant, CocoMaya!  And when I say "new" I mean new!  As in only open for 4 days!!!

The restaurant was on the cover of the Property and Yacht magazine this month, so we knew what to expect from the photos, but the beauty of the restaurant took our breath away.  It's essentially a massive, upscale cabana on the beach.  The ambiance is warm and intimate despite the cavernous feeling of the restaurant.  Love the juxtaposition!  

The staff could not have been more helpful with their cocktail recommendations and personal anecdotes about the menu.  You could tell the owners made a genuine effort to train their staff, which was predominantly made up of local Virgin Gorda islanders.

I tried the champagne cocktail that had hints of ginger and peach, and it was very refreshing and not too sweet.  When it came to ordering dinner, we had been warned that the portion sizes were small, almost tapas-like.  So between the four of us, we ordered seven or eight dishes.  Some of our favorites were the soft-shell crab sushi roll, the duck nachos, the snapper curry, and the beef short rib empanadas.  The food arrived in two rounds which was perfect.

We enjoyed a bottle of sauvignon blanc and topped off the meal with a walk around the property that included a view from the "VIP lounge," a turn on the bar/porch swing and shuffle in the sand around the fire pit.
It was a lovely evening!  And before we knew it, our taxi driver was there to take us back to the ferry dock to catch the 10:30pm ferry home...

We will definitely be going back!  Soon!
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Three Babies. One Love.

On Tuesday, we headed out with the Campagna clan to the beautiful Jost van Dyke.  We took the Mystique day sail again...I cannot speak highly enough of this boat!  It is in the Voyage Charter fleet out of Soper's Hole.

(Funny side note:  Once we had boarded, and we were awaiting the safety briefing, one of our fellow passengers looked over at me and said - "Do you have a blog?  I googled the Mystique boat this morning looking for their phone number and your blog popped up.  That must be Anna Drake!" While this isn't the first time I've been recognized from the blog, it's the first time in a long time.  So, thanks for reading nice lady from South Carolina!)

We set sail for Diamond Reef, where Jeff and his sister Alison enjoyed snorkeling, while the rest of us hung out on the boat.

The next stop was White Bay on Jost van Dyke.  We took refuge in the shade of the sea grape trees along the beach.  Oh yeah, and we quenched our thirst with bushwhackers!  
Soggy Dollar Bar may have the best painkillers, but One Love makes the best bushwhacker!
We also ate lunch at One Love and it was delicious.  We shared a few savory lobster quesadillas.  How sweet are little Charlotte and Vivian???  They adopted the chill vibe of Jost van Dyke and acted as if this was something they do every day.

We also introduced Liz to the dark and stormy drink.  Have you had one?  It's made with three simple ingredients:  1 part Gosling's Rum (that's the dark) 1 part Ginger Beer (that's the stormy) and then a squeeze of fresh lime.  Here's the finished product:

It was another gorgeous day in the BVI and another splendid day sail on the Mystique.  Thanks to our captain, Nico and hostess, Celia for making it so wonderful!
Don't you just want to dive in and take a swim?  Aunt Alison did - here she is enjoying the cool waters.

Beach Party

On Liz and Jeff's first full day, we headed to Smuggler's Cove on the west end of Tortola.  (No big surprise there!  It is, after all, our favorite beach!)

Some of our friends on island, who also have babies, met us there for a picnic!  See our fancy blue tarp?  That was the boy's attempt to provide some additional shade for the babies.  Aside from scaring Anna Drake, as it loudly flapped in the wind, it worked pretty well!

We all brought something to share and it turned out to be quite a spread!  Crisp apple chicken salad, shrimp risotto, pesto pasta (with fresh-from-the-garden basil, picked that morning!  Yum, yum Lisa!), mustard seed green beans, and so on...  All of it was delicious!  Since the beach bars closed there a few months ago, we had to improvise!

Michael snapped some sweet photos of the Campagna girls...

 This next one is my absolute favorite.  Miss Vivian on the left was having fun splashing in the sea!

It was a fantastic afternoon!  And tomorrow?  We'll be visiting that island off the in distance...Jost van Dyke!

Liz & Jeff Arrive Plus Twins!

If you've been reading Our BVI Adventure since the beginning, then you may remember one of our first sets of visitors...Liz and Jeff!  Liz and I were sorority sisters together.

Well, since they were here in March of 2010, they've expanded their family by two!  Twins, Charlotte and Vivian joined the Campagna clan in February of last year!  All four of them, plus Jeff's sister, Alison made the trip from New Jersey to the BVI, by way of St. Thomas.

Here's Liz holding dear Charlotte as their ferry docked in Road Town.

We have a lot of fun things planned, including a trip on the Mystique, a visit to Peter Island and a few "adults only" dinners to the new CocoMaya on Virgin Gorda and of course, the Dove.
Monday, June 11, 2012

Sushi on Tortola

Until the new restaurant Origins opened in the old Three Sheets building on Road Town's Waterfront Drive, there were only a few options if you wanted sushi on the island.

Michael and I had a date night recently and we broke away from our routine (the Dove) and tried it.  The sushi was delicious!  We mostly had versions of salmon and crab rolls, but all had their own distinct flavors.

And if the weather is nice, take your cocktail or glass of wine to the top floor where you can see a great view of Road Town Harbour.

Where did May go???

Much of May was filled with travels for the Daniels family, so my apologies for the lack of blog posts.  We left the BVI on the third of the month and returned two and a half weeks later.  

And during that time, we hopped on six flights, spent time in five different cities, threw a baby shower for two pregnant friends and attended one gorgeous wedding!   Congratulations to Dana & Matt!  Their wedding was held in the beautiful Palm Beach, Florida.  It was an idyllic setting...almost as amazing as the couple!

And despite the champagne-induced headaches we all had on Sunday, we rallied to throw a joint baby shower for dear friends Cristall and Lisa, who are expecting a girl and boy respectively.  

So, what did we miss in the BVI?  Our friends, the Shands who have a house on Great Camanoe were here visiting!!!  Their visit to the BVI unfortunately overlapped our trip to the states, nearly completely.  We were so sad to miss them, but fortunately they'll be back in June!  Anna Drake needs to meet her island grandparents!  Ha!