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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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Friday, October 29, 2010

A "Country" House

Country music singer, Kenny Chesney is selling his estate on nearby St. John.  The $9.9 million home near Cruz Bay has 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.  Any takers?  We'd be neighbors!



In unrelated housing news, we're moving!  Seriously, we are.  Not to Kenny Chesney's house, but to a new house here on Tortola!  It's just a short ways up our hill, so we are keeping are same great location.

Here is a sneak peak of the house before we moved in:



 A full recap is sure to follow!
Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 312: The Keith Richard's Rumor

In the days leading up to Da Tree Men's Sunday night gig, several attempts were made to lure Rolling Stones guitarist, Keith Richards to the Jolly Roger.  Richards has been in the BVI for the last two weeks as chronicled on bvimusic.com.

Da Tree Men even played a few of the Stones' hits, including a reggae version of Wild Horses. Their encore song was Sympathy for the Devil and they killed it!  Keith would have loved it. 


The band also performed some originals, including Tropical Paradise (Jost van Dyke), Bushwacker, and Cane Garden Bay.  It was great to hear so many people in the crowd sing along!  Many of them had already downloaded  Bushwacker and watched their videos online. 

Da Tree Men's rendition of Folsom Prison got the crowd dancing...check it out:



A huge thank you to the TTOL Catfighters!  They specially requested Da Tree Men play for their kick-off event!
Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 310: We Be Limin'

Michael's band has been gearing up for a few big gigs...  Da Tree Men have even recorded a few songs, written by the band's leader, Adam.  If you haven't already heard their first single, Bushwacker, it's a must listen!  {I think it's even for sale on CDBaby...}

Da Tree Men will play at the Jolly Roger on Sunday night.  It should be a good time.  The event got a shout out on the cover of the Limin' Times!  Check it out:
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 309, Part Two...

I think we can all agree that getting a flat tire is no fun.

But getting a flat tire on Tortola???  That's really no fun.  Triple-A?  Forget it.  There is no such thing in the BVI.  {Although after a quick search, Triple-A is in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  Who knew?}

So, what does getting a flat tire on Tortola entail???  Calling a local garage, waiting two hours for them to send someone, just for that person to tell you that they don't have the tools with them to help??  Yeah, that sounds about right.

Once we were able to get the car to the garage, Michael purchased four new tires.  It was a mess out there!  There had to be at least 20 people standing around watching one guy work.  There was absolutely zero organization.  
"Customers" were grabbing the tools and jacking their own cars hoping that would increase their chances of being helped.  Michael joined in (yellow pants, needlepoint belt, loafers and all) but when it was finally his "turn" a few stubborn bolts provided the perfect excuse for the guys to call it day, with a promise to return on Saturday to finish the job.  "Saturday?!?! Today is Thursday," Michael thought.   Then he remembered, Friday is a holiday.

We went home feeling defeated...the BVI got the best of us on Day 309.

Day 309: The Pearl, Painkillers and Peeps from the Past

The Norwegian Pearl was in port on Thursday.  And on the ship?  Two friends I hadn't seen in a long time!  After their morning excursion to see the Baths on Virgin Gorda, we met up with Angie and Dan at the Pusser's Pub for a Painkiller! 
Angie and I worked together at WATE-TV in Knoxville.  She's still a producer there in fact!  It was wonderful to catch up with them and hear about their travels so far...  They had been in St. Thomas the day before and still had a stop in the Bahamas ahead of them.

Oh, and notice Dan's shirt!  He rocked the Tennessee orange just for us!  Michael was extremely appreciative of the gesture.  Even though I bleed orange and blue, my little Gator heart fluttered at the sight of an SEC tee.  It's the little things...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 308: Random Tugboat

It's not unusual to see dinghies trailing behind catamarans all over the BVI.  These little boats shuttle sailors (and their crew) to shore when their vessels are either anchored in the bay or on a mooring ball.

Never have I seen this many dinghies behind one boat before!  They look like little sausage links floating along...

 It's hard to tell from this angle, but I think there are 15 of them!
Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Star of our Saturday SUP

We joined the BVI SUP club for another day of paddling on Saturday.  We started off at Trellis Bay on Beef Island and paddled two miles to the Beef Island Bridge.  Here's a map of the area, if you're interested in following this journey geographically:

View Larger Map
We headed over to Little Camanoe and checked out the beach there.  For the most part the paddle was downwind...
At one point though, our fearless leader, Andy directed me towards a reef somewhere between Beef Island and Camanoe.  He wanted me to see the reef through the window in my board.  Well, the current took me too far to the right and I missed it.  I turned around (ever so carefully) and headed straight into the current, hoping to catch a glimpse of this reef.
Andy estimates the water was moving at two knots.  So there I am paddling my little heart out and not getting anywhere.  It was like trying to walk up a down escalator.  I could see a piece of brain coral through the window in the my board - it stayed in sight for a good minute or so as I paddled left, then right, right, then left and again and again.  By the time I actually made forward progress, I was too into my own paddling stroke that I missed the reef completely!  Andy so coolly says to me, "It can be quite the work-out."  Understatement of the day.
So, after a story like that - it's clear I was not the "star" of the day, as the title of this post may have led you to believe.  This was the star or the day...
We saw three or four starfish in this shallow area off of Beef Island.  We also paid a visit to the conch mound.  A few people in our group hadn't seen it before.  Here are some photos from day...
All in all, it was another great paddle!  Our longest yet that's for sure!
Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Tis the Season

Before you start humming holiday tunes, let me clarify...we're talking what's called "busy season" here in the islands.   Remember all of those closing parties we attended a few months back?  Excluding mother nature, things have been pretty quiet around here.  Well, we're happy to report all of the RE-OPENING events are happening now.

The bar-that-flies {a.k.a. BarFly} reopened on Tuesday night. We stopped in for some late night eats and thoroughly enjoyed a few items from the new menu.  Tonight, Al and the crew at The Last Resort will tune their guitars and welcome guests back to Bellamy Cay for the first time in two months.

Michael is over on Marina Cay today getting the inventory back in the Pusser's Company Store which will reopen when the Interline Regatta stops by next week.

Busy seasons brings with it a few negatives of course...the wait at the one red light gets a little longer and the tourists seem to get a bit tackier.  But for the most part, this is the best time in the BVI.  The weather improves (let's hope for no more hurricanes!) and it truly is a playground for those not only those escaping the cold, but for those of us who live here too.

Today, one of the most obvious signs that busy season is upon us???  Carnival Freedom is here.
While we've had some sporadic cruise ship activity over the last month or so, this marks the beginning of continuous stream of ships that will make their way through the US and British Virgin Islands. 

According to the cruise ship calendar on TravelTalkOnline.com, we can expect between 5 - 7 ships a week for the next several months.

In fact, one of my former colleagues from WATE-TV and her husband will be aboard one of the ships one week from today!  We plan to meet in Road Town for a painkiller!  Looking forward to seeing you Angie and Dan!
Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weekend of SUPing

We joined the BVI SUP Club for a Saturday morning hike on the water.  I must admit, only having paddled once before I was a little nervous to paddle side-by-side with avid SUPers.  But we put in underneath the Beef Island Bridge and it was very calm, which made getting up and staying up really easy.

 Michael wore his new lycra HiHo shirt.  You like?


After an extremely pleasurable SUP experience, Andy put the boards on top of our car to use again on Sunday!  We wanted to come back to some of the same spots, but this time with our camera!

Check out what has to be one of the coolest things I've seen in the BVI since moving here in December...  A conch mound, tucked away in the back of a bay on Beef Island:

Andy told us this mound has been here for 20+ years.  Locals (and I imagine a few gutsy tourists) would dive for conch, then leave the shell on this pile after removing the meat.
We were able to get our boards right up to the edge of the mound.  And since my board had a window in it, I was able to see straight to the bottom!

I saw a stingray on Saturday then on Sunday, two small barracudas swam beneath me.  They were probably no longer than two feet each.
SUPing the Beef Island Bridge area was only the beginning of our adventure on Sunday.  We headed to Smuggler's Cove where conditions were perfect!  We were able to go long distances and neither of us fell off the board!  Dare I say, we looked liked the avid SUPers from Saturday???

A huge thank you to Andy at HiHo for teaching us and allowing us to use the boards on Sunday.  I highly recommend renting a board for the weekend!

EDITOR'S NOTE:  SUPing is pronounced "supping" like "cupping."
Thursday, October 7, 2010

Get Him "OTTO" Here!

The upgraded Tropical Storm, Otto officially needs to move on out!  Get him "otto" here!  We are hearing more and more stories of flood damage and mud slides.  {I am posted up at Deli France because our internet is not working at the house...everyone in here has a tale to tell!} 

Just take a look at some photos that our friend Adam took while trying to get to work:

 Crews have been dispatched to roads all over the island that are covered in rocks and mud.


The rain just won't stop!

And on the home page of BVIPlantinum.com there's a photo from a flooded grocery store on the island. (This isn't the new one, not to worry!) Check it out:
Schools and government offices remain closed today.  We are still under a flash flood watch until 6:00 p.m. 
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Subtropical Depression Wreaks Havoc on Tortola

Much of the BVI has been under one very large rain cloud these past few days.  According to the local forecasters, if this storm organizes any further, it could become Otto.  Currently, it's hovering at Subtropical Depression 17 status.

Well, "yet-to-be-named" Otto, you could have fooled me.  You've been lashing our little island for three days straight now.  There's flash flooding in Road Town.  The government has closed schools and offices.  We haven't seen the sun in more than 48 hours, which has caused me to - GASP - wear a sweater! 

Here are some photos of the roads...


Crazy, right?  I think it's time Subtropical Depression 17 moves on outta here!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 305: "Speed Is Your Friend"

On Sunday, Day 305, Michael and I tried something new.  It's called SUPing.  A type of surfing, SUP stands for Stand-Up Paddling.  I took my camera inside the waterproof bag and took a few shots of Michael in action.  Even though you can clearly see the bag in this photo, I really like this shot.

While neither of us has ever surfed, we caught on quite easily.  It was more like kayaking, really.  They say it's like taking a hike on the water.  We were able to see fish and coral beneath us as we glided over the reef.



Our instructor was Andy Morrell, the founder of HiHo, a popular Caribbean clothing brand.  (HiHo stands for "hook in and hold on," which is a reference to Andy's primary sport, wind-surfing.)

Andy recently brought SUPing to the BVI with a large inventory of boards and paddles.  He's a great teacher and my favorite quote of his from the day was "Speed is your friend."  Things can get a bit dodgy if you slow down too much.  I fell several times, as did Michael and our new friend Tony who just moved here from Chattanooga, coincidentally enough!

SUPing provided a pretty good work-out.  We paddled around Smuggler's Cove for an hour straight.  By the time we came back in, we had an audience.  Michael took a spin on my board so I could get some footage to share with you.



My most humiliating moment came as I approached the shore and a large group of people sipping on their painkillers and bushwackers...  Unsure of how to complete my SUP loop, I shouted out to Andy's son, Josh.  It went something like this:

Me:  "Hey!  Josh!  What's the correct way - woah, woah - to dismouuuuuuuunt?"
SPLASH!
As I came up for air - full of equal parts salt water and humility - the crowd was laughing.
Random Guy: "I think you just answered your own question!"
Josh:  "What did you say, Amelia?"
Me:  "Nevermind..."

The only real casualty of the day (my pride aside)?  Michael's sunglasses.  On his first fall into the water, his hat and glasses came off and he was only able to grab the hat.  The BVI has claimed two pairs of wayfarers so far...onto #3.