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Virgin Islands


Gryphon’s lair This charming three-bedroom home benefits from North Shore breezes.

Roger downing’s legacy A retrospective on the acclaimed Virgin Islands architect’s influential design.

GUANA ISLAND The Virgin Island that feels more like a nature sanctuary than a private resort.

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Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

Virgin Islands


August 2012

F e atu r e S 23

IC-24 Intergalactics By Dan O’Connoer

This competetive event hits the Sir Francis Drake Channel for its 11th consecutive year..


Scaly Stowaway By Clive Petrovic

Our resident researcher takes a look at the friendly household gecko and hypothesises its unexpected journey to our shores.


Artists’ Corner


By Dan O’Connor

S p e l l bo und at G ryphon’s La ir By Traci O’Dea

Perched high above Lambert Beach, this three-bedroom home boasts a priceless view at an affordable cost.

Newbie oil painter Jane Clatworthy shares her stunning realistic portraits just in time for Carnival.



Roger Downing’s Legacy By Traci O’Dea

We take a look back at the life of a man whose architecture helped shape the way we view the Virgin Islands.

Property Tax On the Rise By Willa Tavernier

Our expert property lawyer sits with JOMA’s Colin O’Neal to discuss proposed legislation that could raise property taxes in the BVI.

39 Functional Sculptures By Traci O’Dea

41 Agapé Approved By Steve Fox


Guana Island Comes Alive By Dan O’Connor

An overnight trip to this nature reserve reveals its pulse that sets it apart from its neighbours.

45 Provisioning By Susie Younkle

48 Classifieds

British Virgin Island’s BEST

Virgin Islands


Virgin Islands Property & Yacht announces our second annual Readers’ Choice Awards, giving our readers a chance to rank their favourite people, places and projects. Winners will be published in the October issue. All participants who fill out a survey will be entered to win a dinner for two at the winner for best restaurant.

Readers’ Choice Awards


Name: Email: PROPERTY

Best British Virgin Island:

Best Architect:

Best Neighbourhood to Live:

Best Real Estate Agent:

Best Sunset Lookout:

Best Spa:

Best Museum:

Best Landscapers/Nursery:

Best Historical Ruin:

Best Pool:

Best Villa Rental:

Best Proposed Government Project:

Best Resort:

Best Eyesore:


Best Marina:

Best Sailing School:

Best Beach:

Best Dive Shop:

Best Place to Skinny Dip:

Best Snorkel Spot:

Best Yacht Club:

Best Day Sail:

Best Sailor:

Best Charter Company:

Best Watersports Instructor:

Best Place to Provision:

Best Regatta:

Best One-Day Regatta:


Best Restaurant:

Best Artist:

Best Place to Find Fresh Threads:

Best Photographer:

Best Full Moon Party:

Best Late-Night Haunt:

Best BVI Cocktail:

Best Bartender:

Best Local Musician:

Best Shack Bar:

The survey can be faxed (284.494.8777) or dropped off at our Road Reef Plaza office—or completed online and e-mailed to For social networkers, like us on Facebook,, to take the survey there. One entry per email address. Only entries with valid email addresses will be accepted into the prize pool.

Edito r ' s L e tt e r , A u g u s t 2 0 1 2

Summer is a time for celebration. Chief Editor Dan O’Connor

Contributors Steve Fox Traci O’Dea Clive Petrovic Susie Younkle Graphic Design aLookingGlass Advertising Sales Owen Waters Stephen L. France

This month on Tortola, we’ll dance in the name of freedom to honour the soul rebels of the past. August is a great time for reflection; it’s a time when tourism traffic slows, but good times with close friends and family flourish. Many of us who call the Virgin Islands home use these slow summer months to plan off-island vacations. In my case, I’ll fly north for the next two weeks and reflect on my life here from afar. Many times, separation allows us to appreciate what we have. I’ll undoubtedly feel a sense of jealousy when I check the calendar and realize I’m missing things like J’Ouvert or Carnival Parade or reggae great Barrington Levy performing live at the Festival Grounds. Surely, these are some of the more obvious reasons for loving where we live. For this issue, I was able to hop over to the less traveled sister island of Guana. Although a part of the Virgin Islands family, the nature reserve feels nothing like its bustling island neighbours. On Guana, things like busy roadways and responsibilities feel a world away. Immediately after returning from Guana by ferry, I hopped in my ride and met up with writer Traci O’Dea and Sotheby’s agent Maritha Keil, who greeted me at the property Gryphon’s Lair overlooking Lambert Beach. From the three-bedroom residence nestled in the trees, I witnessed one of the most amazing views which encompassed my new favourite Virgin Island, Guana. These pages also pay tribute to Roger Downing, who is responsible for more than four decades of influential architecture across the territory. The Virgin Islands lost the 72-year-old pioneer in May, but his work remains testament to his lifelong love for the Virgin Islands. This issue gains momentum with the help of the colourful artwork of Jane Clatworthy, who recently shared with us a series of paintings that focus on the children of Carnival. Their wide-eyed gazes and innocent gestures remind us of all the little gifts we’re left to cherish this festival season. As we move through this festive month, it’s important to reflect on everything and everyone we’re thankful for.

Make room for appreciation. Cover: Gryphon’s Lair, its pool and its epic view over Tortola’s northeast coast. Photo by Dan O’Connor.

Virgin Islands Property & Yacht is published eleven times a year (February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December/January) by aLookingGlass Ltd., Road Reef Plaza 6 and 7, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110. Copyright 2012 by aLookingGlass Ltd. All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright by the creators or by the contractual arrangments with their clients. Nothing shown may be reproduced in any form without obtaining the permission of the creators and any other person or company who may have copyright ownership. The publisher of VI Property & Yacht, assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the content placed in its publications. For the avoidance of doubt, aLookingGlass gives no warranty or guarantee in regards to any information placed in its publications.

Direct all inquiries to: Email: Phone: 284-494-7788 Fax: 284-494-8777 Mail: aLookingGlass PO Box 3895 Sea Cows Bay Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110

Editorial and Business Office: aLookingGlass Ltd., Road Reef Plaza 6 and 7 Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. Web: Email: Phone: 284-494-7788 Fax: 284-494-8777 Mail to: aLookingGlass PO Box 3895 Sea Cows Bay Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110

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Spellbound by Gryphon’s Lair

By Traci O’Dea

At Gryphon’s Lair overlooking Lambert Beach, I sat in a wooden chair on the pool deck and became hypnotized by the two most soothing sounds in the tropics—the breath of the sea and the chatter of wind through palm leaves. Each lapping wave and rustling breeze sent me deeper into a calm trance enhanced by the visual pleasures of pink oleander, red hibiscus, golden butterflies, periwinkle skies, white clouds, multicolored sailboats and turquoise waters.



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Opposite page: The view of Guana Island from the pool deck. Right: The house is protected by its hillside; the view from the master bedroom. Photos by Dan O’Connor.

The same sights and sounds can be experienced from different settings on the property—a grassy, boulder-bordered lawn; balconies with white railings; ceramic-tiled patios; and an open-air, covered breezeway that operates as the nucleus of the home. The breezeway, overlooking Lambert beach and Guana Island, connects the one-bedroom main house to the two-bedroom guest cottage, the balconies, the outdoor cooking deck and the pool. In addition to the sizeable teak dining table for entertaining, the breezeway also features a small, two-person cocktail table for more intimate conversations. Behind the breezeway extends a large wooden deck with a professional barbeque. While the home faces the sea, it is protected by the surrounding hillsides, so outdoor areas remain comfortable year-round. The ebullient flow of light and breeze through the main house originates from the exquisite, hardwood floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to the sea-facing balcony and open breezeway. The great room includes a kitchen with tiled breakfast bar, a reading area and the living room for relaxing in front of the television—that is, if occupants can pull their eyes away from the mesmerizing panorama. Off the great room, a bedroom with the same tongue-and-groove cathedral ceilings also boasts the same view, either from the room or from the intimate adjoining balcony. Past the breezeway and up a few stairs, the guest cottage’s balcony shares the view as well and also looks over the property’s pool and vast deck. Beyond the pool deck, a sunning platform is tucked away between mature fruit tress and the BVI’s trademark granite boulders in a private side lawn that features a fire pit, spongy Bermuda grass, and comfy lounge chairs. I again paused to absorb the sounds and sights. The view across the wind-patterned sea to Guana Island reminded me of the fictional impressionist paintings Proust observes in Remembrance of Things Past where the sea and land and sky become interchangeably distorted. Proust wrote, “…the churches of Criquebec which, from far, encircled by water on all sides because one saw them without seeing the town, in a powdering of sun and waves, seem to have emerged from the waters, blown from alabaster or foam and, trapped in the ring of an

The ebullient flow of light and breeze through the main house originates from the exquisite, hardwood floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that open to the sea-facing balcony and open breezeway.



In the case of the view from Gryphon’s Lair, the sea appears to be above the pass between two of Guana’s hills—like a looming, permanent wave between the green hillsides

Opposite page: The spacious pool deck. Above: The main living area; outdoor dining and entertaining.

PropertySummary iridescent rainbow, to form an unreal and mystical painting. In the foreground of the beach, the painter has accustomed your eyes not to recognize the established boundary, the clear demarcation, between the sky and the ocean.” In the case of the view from Gryphon’s Lair, the sea appears to be above the pass between two of Guana’s hills—like a looming, permanent wave between the green hillsides. Again, I felt spellbound by the sensations surrounding me. The spacious bedrooms in the guest cottage offer white cathedral ceilings, immense storage space, and white-tiled bathrooms with hand-painted cobalt blue designs. The white ceilings, walls, tiles and railings with accent colours in the bedrooms, bathrooms and balcony add to an overall sense of crisp freshness that pervades the entire property. This crispness is only reinforced by the outdoor spaces—the balconies, patios, decks and lawns. The secluded Gryphon’s Lair sits on over a half-acre of land a short walk or drive above Lambert Beach Resort and has access to all the amenities of the property— beach chairs, pool, restaurant and gardens. The airport, east side restaurants and shops, and popular North Shore surfing beaches are all between five and ten minutes away. PY

Neighbourhood Bedrooms Bathrooms Swimming Pool Size Price Resort Access


Lambert Estate, Tortola Three Three Yes .542 acres US $950,000 Yes

For more info contact: Maritha Keil t(284)494.5700 m(284)340.5555 e



Roger and Jana Downing at the first RDP offices on Main Street in 1969. All photos courtesy of Roger Downing and Partner Co. Ltd.

By Traci O’Dea

R o g e r D o w n i n g’s

Le g a c y On May 7, 2012, the British Virgin Islands lost 72-year-old architect Roger Downing, BVI resident since 1969 and Belonger since 1979. Though he is gone, Roger’s architectural legacy endures. His manifested designs boldly define the business district of Road Town, subtly blend in to the boulder-strewn landscape at Rosewood Little Dix Bay, and warmly accommodate residents and visitors to Peter Island Resort, Oil Nut Bay, Chalwell, Setting Point and Belmont. “There’s no doubt that he has done some very unique and different things in the BVI. He set a new standard, especially in resort work, homes and office buildings,” said engineer Miles Outerbridge, Roger’s business partner. The work of Roger Downing & Partner Co. Ltd. has helped create the structures that identify the British Virgin Islands—a boast-worthy achievement for someone known for his humility.




Roger Downing and Partner Project Highlights


Pusser’s Outpost

Roger Downing & Partner Offices

LDB Sugar Mill Restaurant Roger & Jana Downing Residence, Chalwell Alfred Penn’s porch

LDB Administration Building




Little Dix Bay Marina

Peter Island Beach Bar

1980 The commercial district of the territory’s capital is anchored by the strength of Roger Downing’s design. Projects by the firm include the Roger Downing & Partner offices tucked back on historic Main Street, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court across from the ferry terminal, the Banco Popular building in the territory’s banking center, and JOMA Properties Ltd.’s The Barracks Building and The Commerce House in the heart of the financial district. Of Roger’s designs for JOMA Properties in Road Town, Colin O’Neal relayed to me, “I think he accepted that at some point, you have to move away from trying to recreate the past.” The JOMA CEO added, “He was someone who was open to ideas that perhaps didn’t exactly match his own design preference but he could take it on… and still achieve the same objective which was to build an office building with an efficient volume envelope and something that had a landmark presence.” Across the Channel from Road Town, at Rosewood Little Dix Bay in Virgin Gorda, Roger’s firm designed about two thirds of the current structures and outbuildings—including the spa, villas and Sugar Mill Restaurant. Since their first collaboration in 1970, Roger’s designs have contributed to the vibe and luxury of the five-star resort. For the July 2010 issue of BVI Property Guide, I interviewed Roger about his “invisible architecture” at Little Dix. At the time, he had spoken of how he employed a different approach for each project at the resort to camouflage the buildings. For the spa, the architect had matched the roofs to the granite boulders; the villas used lush landscaping for privacy; and the Sugar Mill Restaurant borrowed design from the nearby copper mine ruins to evoke historic design. Miles Outerbridge told me, “He was famous for making buildings blend in with



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Neptune’s Treasure, Soares Family, Setting Point, Anegada Necker Island Main House

the environment. If there was an overgrown area, and a client wanted to build on it, and after it was built, you could go a short distance away and not be able to see it, that was Roger’s idea of success. Particularly in homes and resorts—where things should be natural.” Colin O’Neal added that a lot of the buildings Roger designed are “outstanding without standing out.” He said, “You could almost approach them and not even realize that they were there, particularly in Virgin Gorda.” Roger’s decades-long relationships with Little Dix Bay/Rosewood Hotels and JOMA Properties Ltd. are indicative of his first goal as an architect— making the client happy. “One thing he was most proud of were the long relationships with clients,” said Thor Downing, Roger’s son, now President of RDP. Thor and I spoke about the diversity of Roger’s creations as we flipped through the firm’s project list, starting with Roger’s first design in 1969— former Deputy Governor Alford Penn’s porch. Over the next half hour of looking through the document, I noticed the same names appearing over and over. The O’Neal family, Little Dix Bay, Pusser’s Ltd., Necker Island, H.


HLSCC Marine Building

Treasure Isle Condominiums The Moorings, Crewed Yacht Building The Eastern Caribbean BVI Commercial Court House

Speedy’s Garage

Tortola Sports Club


Prospect Reef Resorts

HLSCC Roger Downing Mangrove Boardwalk

The Barracks Building

O’Neal Residence HLSCC Culinary Arts Centre


Banco Popular

Lavity Stoutt Community College, the Soares family, the Haycrafts, and many others have maintained protracted relationships with Roger and his firm. One of the main reasons that Roger established a following from the beginning was the quality of his work. When discussing the early years with me, longtime RDP employee Ruth Solas said, “He took pride in his work. He wanted everything done up to par. RIBA [Royal Institute of British Architects] standards was what he based his work on. Top-notch.” Thor emphasized how his father believed in building for the future—always allowing for possible additions or developments and seeing the property as a growing, evolving entity instead of a finished unit. Roger’s ability to foresee the possible evolution of a property came in part from his close relationship with his business partner, engineer Miles Outerbridge. Miles and Roger visited the BVI together in 1969 and soon thereafter established Roger Downing & Partner Co. Ltd. “I had been [to the BVI] before,” Miles said from his home in Bermuda, “and I thought it had




Royal BVI Yacht Club Oil Nut Bay Beach Pavilion & Villa


Commerce House

good business potential…We spent a whole week talking to people to see if our business was wanted there, and they seemed receptive to the idea.” The first office was on Main Street where the Roti Palace is now located. Since the beginning, Thor said, every design was a conjunction between architect and engineer. “It was great working with him as an engineer,” Miles said, “because Roger had an ability to understand how buildings worked, how they went together and how to build them. He was very cognizant of the fact that we were working in a hurricane zone and a seismic zone, so buildings had to be structurally sound.” He added, “He would talk to me about these things before he put them on paper. We’d chat about it as it progressed. He liked the idea of having an Engineer as part of the firm...this way, he got input all along.” Colin O’Neal praised the work of the architectengineer team and laughingly described the charming duo as “gentlemen with a slight touch of the swashbuckler.”



At the groundbreaking for the Barracks Building in Road Town: Refugio Rochin from Systems Engineering, Percey Rhoden and Richard Starkey from Meridian Construction; David Hildred of Systems Engineering; JOMA Properties’ Colin O’Neal and Fayola Wilson; Roger Downing; and Paulo Santana from TRS Services.

Roger’s true gift came from being able to put his clients’ visions to reality. Colin O’Neal said, “He was able to listen to you, garner from you what you wanted, and steer you in the direction of a design where form met function…The project ended up being a collaboration, or a meeting of minds.” Barbara Myers, Office Manager at RDP, said, “He had a wonderful way of turning things around if there was a problem…He listened to what people thought, then managed to turn it around to be exactly what he thought was best.” Colin further praised Roger’s ability to collaborate as a project manager. “This is a high-testosterone kind of environment with a lot of egos, a lot of bullying, a very tough environment to work in, and Roger was someone, and it’s happened many times around this conference table with engineers and builders and so forth,” he said, and gestured to the large table between us, “he was able to deflate egos very effectively and by the force of his personality, broker positions which didn’t give everyone what they wanted, necessarily, but everyone walked away satisfied.” Paulo Santana, director of the construction firm TRS Services, said, “He was the most experienced architects I ever worked with. Nothing was ever a problem. Wherever you work in the world, you look for people like that.” Ruth Solas added, “It was teamwork. When you work as a team, you get much accomplished.”

When it came to his own signature style as an architect, Roger tended to shy away from incorporating unnecessary elements into a work simply for the sake of aesthetic design, but he did often use natural materials— especially stone—whenever he could. When I visited the RDP offices in Road Town, Barbara Myers shared a photo of Roger and his wife Dr Jana Downing from the 1970s in an open-air patio in St Barth’s surrounded by stone columns. “It was a building that inspired him,” Barbara said, and I recognized design elements that I’d seen in Roger’s work. “He always used to love going down [to St Barth’s] to check out the stonework and try to get the guys here inspired about it,” Thor said. After Thor and I compiled photos for this article, I noticed masonry in most of Roger’s designs—at their offices on Main Street, at The Sugar Mill Hotel and even at The Barracks Building in town. Miles Outerbridge contributed that Roger also used exposed wood in his designs. “He liked the warmness of wood, and he wanted to show as much of that as possible,” Miles said. “He enjoyed the combination of stone and wood. He liked natural things and wanted them to blend in to their natural environment,” he added. Of Roger’s design tendencies, Colin O’Neal said, “He wanted his buildings, his houses to work with the environment...He didn’t like radical excavations of a site in order to situate a house or building…he

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“His greatest legacy is in the practice that he’s left behind.”— Colin O’Neal worked around boulders, he didn’t fell trees if he could avoid it. He didn’t want a house to break the skyline of a hill, for example. He preferred it to be more organic.” “One of the things that made Roger an interesting person was that he wasn’t just an architect,” said Miles Outerbridge. “He got involved in many different projects that he did for his own pleasure or to help the community. He was very proud of having become a Belonger of the BVI and wanted to help out whenever he could, to be a good citizen.” Roger donated his architectural expertise to such organizations as the Old Government House Museum, National Parks Trust, the Royal BVI Yacht Club, the Tortola Sports Club, H Lavity Stoutt Community College, Rotary Club, BVI Philatelic Society and the BVI Diabetes Association. Of his contributions to the Old Government House Museum, Governor Boyd McCleary said in a written tribute, “His expert architectural and technical knowledge and his sheer interest in the development of the museum were driving forces that helped the Board achieve so much.” When I asked Thor, Barbara and Ruth to describe the philosophy of the Roger Downing & Partner offices in one word, they simply said, “Family.”

The RDP building, built on the site of an old foundry on Main Street, exemplifies this word—Roger once shared the space with the medical practice of his late wife Dr Jana Downing, and the current office, now run by Thor, also houses Virgin Island Surveying Services, son Marc Downing’s surveying company. Throughout his lifetime, Roger extended his family to include colleagues, clients, employees, friends and peers. I had the distinct pleasure of dining with Roger, Thor, Marc and Marc’s wife Amanda Georges at Roger’s cozy home in Chalwell. I also truly enjoyed interviewing him at the RDP office where he humbly discussed his work—giving credit to all the others involved and taking none himself—while he showed me a portfolio of stunning projects spanning his expansive career. He started a business in the BVI over 40 years ago that will continue to thrive and define the islands. Colin O’Neal said, “His greatest legacy is in the practice that he’s left behind.” PY

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Guana Island comes Story and photos by Dan O’Connor

The short boat ride from Tortola’s Trellis Bay to Guana Island’s White Bay exposes a familiar view I’ve admired from Tortola’s north shore beaches countless times. Around its eastern Monkey Point, Guna Island reveals its dramatic iguana rock head and its sugar-fine White Bay belly. But instead of enjoying the mystical island from afar for a fleeting moment, today I get to experience all its splendors for my personal enjoyment. From the short dock that leads to White Bay, I’m greeted by assistant manager Andrea Starkey, who leads us to our golf cart buggies that act as our transport across the island’s few, quaint roadways. As we board the buggies, I look down into the bright blue water; a vast shoal of shining Caribbean herring look back at me. The waters are teeming with life. I’d soon find out that so is the rest of the island. Andrea suggests a scenic introductory tour of the island to help me get acquainted with this starkly unique Virgin Island. We first traverse through the nine acres of flatland that lead to the orchard and past the salt pond to the North Shore. As a Tortola resident and regular visitor to the VI’s outer islands and



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cays, I’m still taken aback by the serene and unscathed ambiance as we navigate the smooth terrain. From the island’s flats we travel a short, flora-canopied trail that opens in dramatic form to the island’s salt pond. In its foreground, ruins from an 18th century Quaker sugar mill stand as a reminder of Guana’s past and its inhabitants that likely first developed the island. To the mill’s side, a blooming flamboyant tree shades a romantic nook that overlooks the pond and its lurid flamingo inhabitants. Today, nine feathery friends wade in the warm and mineral-rich waters. While three are considered full-time residents of the pond, six have flown over from either Necker Island or Anegada. In the mid eighties, Guana’s current owners, Henry and Gloria Jarecki, worked hard to bring flamingos to Anegada, where they have since successfully mated and now call several BVI salt ponds home.

Opposite: The pristine White Bay Beach. Above: Guana’s salt pond and flats.

The Jareckis, who’ve owned Guna Island since 1975, have brought their environmental ethos to the islands and have made every effort to bring their idea of preservation to Guana. They’ve since declared the island a nature reserve and turn it over to a group of researchers for two months of the year—August and September—when they study its unique land and marine life. As a result, Guana boasts one of the largest catalogued ecosystems in the Caribbean. According to longtime Guana researcher Dr James “Skip” Lazell, who wrote the literal book on the island’s natural history (Island: Fact and Theory in Nature), “Guana has more flora and fauna than any island of its size yet studied in the Caribbean, and possibly the world.” As I explore the islands 850 budding, chirping and crawling acres, I can see how this could be true. As we continue onto the Island’s rugged north shore, we stop by the recently refurbished Jost House. Before entering, we stop to feed the endangered red-legged tortoises, which are also on the verge of being successfully reintroduced to their new setting. The large and curious creatures wobble toward Andrea as she cautiously feeds them hibiscus blossoms—a favourite treat. We make our way into the large and luxurious Jost House, which Andrea explains as a prided yet unique villa for visitors who prefer a more extravagant stay while tucked away among nature’s wonders. The other retreats on the island, which can collectively accommodate as many as 32 guests at a time, maintain a rustic yet comfortable charm, true to its previous founder’s vision. Upon the neighbouring peek, the cozy line of hillside bungalows and the resort’s clubhouse line the terrain once inhabited by the 18th century Quaker estate. As we stand poolside on the lavish deck outside of the recently refurbished Jost House, I admire the entire resort and question whether I would prefer the luxurious amenities of the Jost House, or the historic charm on the neighbouring hill.



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The Jareckis, who’ve owned the island since 1975, have brought their environmental ethos to the islands, and have made every effort to bring their idea of preservation to Guana.

As we continue onward, over another rolling hill and through pathways tunneled by neatly manicured tree limbs, we reach the island’s dramatic North Beach. The windward facing bay is bordered by imposing cliffs of volcanic stone that fall abruptly into rocky shallows. Its shoreline is completely consumed by sea treasures left behind by shellfish and sharks. There, amid the resort’s most secluded location, a one-bedroom cottage finds a prime setting for privacy-seeking honeymooners. As we make our way back to the main resort, Andrea questions what I’d like to do with the rest of the day. Like the inquisitive tourist that I am today, I decide to play the part and explore the nature reserve on my own. First, though, we dine on a lunch buffet on the clubhouse’s verandah, where I chat with Howard Watson, the lead architect and construction manager of the island. As the previous director of OBMI, Watson was called upon to lead the reconstruction and refurbishing efforts of the resort; over the past three decades he has led operations on Guana. As a longtime resident on Guana, Howard has a firm grasp on the island’s history and knows the type of visitor the unique destination attracts.

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“We attract those visitors that aren’t looking fort the luxury of the Peter and Necker Islands,” he explains. “It’s the nature of the place that brings people in, and you can see that simply by walking around. It’s echoed in the fact that those [who] stay here become firm friends in their stay, and they find this common interest that is based in the natural beauty in the place.” Howard described Guana as “an island of substance,” and said that he kept this very idea in mind when doing renovations to the resort. “I’ve kept it all very modest; that’s the [Jarecki] mantra,” he says. “Also, they want to keep the place understated and low-key, so the island itself is the intrinsically beautiful part of the experience.” After a delicious lunch centered on Cajun shrimp and famed Guana chili, I hit the road— then the trails. Guana’s dramatic and lively terrain has been transected by 27 different trails, each leading to awe-inspiring panoramas of the Virgin Island. Each trail has been methodically cut and manicured to expose all the hidden beauties that lie within the island’s undisturbed bush. After trekking through a few of the island’s impressive trails, I meet Dr Liao Weiping, the Chinese gardener and naturalist who came to the island more than 20 years ago and has since been

Guana’s landscape, teeming with life and ripe for adventure or relaxing.

responsible for mapping out its trails and tending to its orchard. Approaching 80 years of age, the charismatic and unstoppable Dr Liao retains an undying love for Guana Island. I meet Dr Liao in the orchard, where he explains his strong friendship with the Jarecki family, and the story of how he came to work at the resort after meeting Henry Jarecki in China. We share a basket of breadfruit, mangoes, sugar cane and plantain as he smiles wide and shares his tall stories. He often breaks into song to express his original poetry professing his love for Guana. His affinity for the island is contagious.

With amazement, I listen as he describes how he has spent more than two decades carving out the trails leading through Guana’s deep and sometimes rugged interiors. “The trail comes from my eye,” he says with his thick Mandarin accent. “I need to find some beautiful tree—some special rock. My eye will follow me there and that’s how I make a trail.” I return for dinner after dusk and meet with a few of the resort’s guests. Two couples have just been married and chose Guana as a romantic retreat. They speak glowingly of a vacation quiet enough to enjoy the simplicities and complexities of








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nature and of each other. I also speak with a family who seems to be enjoying all of the adventures of the island. The mother, still in her trainers and wearing the look of exhaustion from a day of hiking and kayaking, says she needs a shower before sitting for dinner. The children bypass the community iPad to share a coffee table book about private islands around the world. I sit for lobster dinner with Andrea as we share a bottle of wine and discuss the day’s activities. The Tortola resident explains to me that she will be living on the island for the next couple months to



help with operations. I voice my jealousy. Although Tortola and Guana share the Virgin Islands family name, I remember what Dr Skip Lazelle said about Guana and think to myself that there really is no place on Earth quite like it. Tonight, to the lullabies of coqui frogs, I sleep in pure bliss, knowing that I will be back on Tortola tomorrow. I know, though, that just like with years past, Guana will remain pristine and unscathed, ripe for future adventures. PY

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Hosted by QUANTUM SAILS & The Royal BVI Yacht Club

Above: IC-24s fight for the pin end of the starting line. Below: Chris Haycraft and crew maneuver prep for a windward mark rounding. All photos by Paul Hubbard.

The IC-24 QUANTUM Intergalactics, previously known as Worlds, traditionally draws some of the most competitive racers in the region. Last June, under near-perfect sailing conditions, sailors largely from the Virgin Islands faced tough competition from the St Martin-based Coors Light team, helmed by the friendly island’s own Frits Bus. The team won six of twelve races to finish on top in an event that favoured local sailors who practice the familiar Channel routes weekly. Pre-race favourite Colin Rathbun of Tortola rounded out in fourth place behind Chris Haycraft in third and Andrew Waters in second. The event, sponsored by Quantum Sails Tortola, dished out $500 to first place, $150 to second and $100 to third. Bob Phillips, chairman of the Royal British Virgin Islands Yacht Club, said that the race remained friendly but still brought with it aggressive racing. “It was very competitive,” he said. “Frits was sailing at a slight level above the other guys, but they were right there as well. One race finished by less than six inches, with Frits just nudging out Colin.” It was Frits’ attention to detail and consistency that won him the race, he surmised. “Frits’ consistency won him the regatta, and with very few exceptions, he was always right there,” the chairman said. “The other boats were just off the mark—they weren’t as consistent.” The Intergalactics, in its eleventh year, was lightly attended when compared to years passed, Phillips said, adding that conflicting timing with Puerto Rican holidays may have had something to do with the low turnout.



“It’s especially nice to beat Colin, since he has beat us so many times before.” —Frits Bus

However, he added, racers in attendance couldn’t have asked for a better two days on the water. “Conditions were near-perfect,” he reiterated. “We had anywhere from 12 to 18 knots of breeze, and we were running fairly long courses, averaging 30 to 40 minutes. Altogether, this made it more competitive, because you had a good chance of racers catching up with one another.” Frits was able to use the conditions to his advantage, frustrating other competitors with his consistent reads and seamless sailing strategy. The seasoned racer has only recently entered the world of IC-24 racing here in the Virgin Islands, and said he’s hooked on it. “I got into IC-24 sailing a few years ago because of the one-design aspect and because many of the top sailors are involved in this class,” he said. “It’s a treat to compete against the best: Peter Holmberg, Chris Rosenburg, Fraito Lugo from Puerto Rico and Colin Rathbun from here— these are always the top guys to beat.” In his second Intergalactics competition, the St Martin resident said he now feels accepted in the Virgin Islands waters. “Last year we came in second, and after a third place in [St Thomas] Rolex Regatta, and winning class in BVI Spring Regatta—a win here, too—it makes us feel that we belong,” he said. “It’s especially nice to beat Colin, since he has beat us so many times before.” PY Design Management

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Frits Bus leads team Coors Light downwind to victory.

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Scaly Stowaway

By Clive Petrovic

One evening not long ago, I was enjoying dinner at a local outdoor restaurant. As I took in the tropical ambiance, I noticed a small moth flying around a light on the wall. After a few circles, it landed just a few inches from the fixture. In the blink of an eye, the moth disappeared, snatched from its perch by the lightning-quick strike of a small cream-colored lizard. Just as quickly, it retreated to the safety of an overhang, the fluttering moth gripped firmly in its jaws.



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A gecko uses its setae-covered toes to scale a leaf.

I had just witnessed the nighttime foray of the wood slave, or tropical house gecko. This small, innocuous lizard lives quite happily with humans. It fact, houses are its favoured habitat. Wherever there is an outside light that attracts insects, the wood slave is not far away. It easily scampers up a vertical wall or upside down on the ceiling. The gecko owes this remarkable ability to its toe’s pads. Expanded toes look like little suction cups. However, instead of suction, the toes are covered with tiny hair like structures called setae that grip smooth surfaces with what scientists define as van der Waals forces. The setae allow the gecko to adhere to surfaces as smooth as glass. That’s why they can fly up a wall or sleep suspended from a ceiling. In fact, recent scientific studies reveal remarkable additional properties of gecko toes. For example, natural body chemicals called phospholipids help speed the attachment process of the toes. Such discoveries often lead to useful products for humans. Geckos have a worldwide distribution wherever the climate is warm. In fact, there are nearly 1,500 known species. In addition to our house gecko, there are approximately a half dozen native species in the Virgin Islands. They range from the turnip-tailed gecko, the second largest in the world, to the diminutive Virgin Gorda dwarf gecko, one of the smallest vertebrate animals on land. While most of the native geckos are secretive and rarely seen, the house gecko is quite conspicuous and often seen at night. Our house gecko belongs to the genus Hemidactylus, and is native to West Africa. No one knows for sure, but it’s presumed they arrived several centuries ago as scaly stowaways on slave ships. Since their arrival, they have adapted well and are now common throughout the American tropics including much of the southern US. Their impact on our native fauna is probably minimal. Just to be sure it might be useful to conduct some studies on their ecology and behavior. Meanwhile, we can probably assume the gecko’s association with human settlements and their presence here for several centuries means their impact on native ecosystems is minor. Of course, understanding a bit of gecko life history might help our evaluation of these little critters. All geckos are primarily insectivores. That’s why our wood slave hangs around lights. Best of all, they eat mosquitoes. If you observe a wood slave for any length of time, you will notice that they can change colour. They can vary from nearly white to dark grey and brown with darker markings. Colour changes may signify mood, perhaps anger at another gecko, physical condition, or simply an attempt at camouflage. One interesting feature of all geckos is the lack of an eyelid. Instead, the eye is covered by a transparent membrane that is cleaned by licking. A gecko cleaning its eye with the tongue has been photographed many times and has even made it into the world of advertising. Ever see the Geico Gecko commercial? Hobbyists occasionally keep these little lizards as pets. They are generally easy to care for, given the basics of warmth, humidity, and plenty of small insects. However,



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Rather than with fear, the wood slave should be treated as an interesting part of our natural world.



handling them is an absolute no no. Geckos have a very delicate thin scaly skin. Holding one would be a bit like trying to hang on to a piece of wiggling wet tissue paper. It is almost impossible without tearing the skin. Such an injury could be fatal to a captive specimen. In addition, when threatened, the gecko can drop its tail in a process called autotomy. It will eventually grow back. As lizards go, geckos can be quite vocal. Their call is best described as a “chirp� that may sound more like an insect. Since the wood slave has been associated with human settlements for a long time, it is not surprising that superstitions and fears have arisen. Many people are afraid of these innocuous animals. They are sometimes attributed with spiritual characteristics, usually bad. One superstition says that if a wood slave falls and lands on a young lady, she will become pregnant. While such an event may have occurred in the past, it is doubtful the gecko was to blame. Rather than with fear, the wood slave should be treated as an interesting part of our natural world. They are completely harmless. In fact, any lizard that eats insects, especially mosquitoes, should be protected and considered beneficial. Next time you are sitting outside near a light, pay attention and look for our denizen of the walls. Listen for the chirps and be happy that there will be a few less mosquitoes to spoil your evening. PY

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Artists’ Corner: Jane Clatworthy

Consumed By Her Canvas

Jane Clatworthy’s oil paintings now hang at The Gallery in Road Town.

By Dan O’Connor

Jane Clatworthy would say she was “born with a crayon in hand.” Through school, that crayon and an assortment of paints would colour canvases inspired by her Zimbabwe surroundings and driven by the people who brightened her days. After graduating school, though, her life “took a turn,” she said, and her passion for art took a back seat. As a new mother, her creative devotions transferred to her husband and her children, she said, but her desire to paint lived on. For years, after moving to South Africa and then Tortola in 2009, she collected paintbrushes with the hopes of one day rekindling her love for art. It wasn’t until last year, when she dipped her brush in oil paint and stroked an almost forgotten canvas, that she awoke a raw talent from hibernation.



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“These kids were just so interesting,” she said, admiring the doeeyed children in their festive garb. “I love to catch that moment— especially this one with the girl and the hoop.”



“With portraits, it’s about [capturing] that human factor.” —Jane Clatworthy

“It was an incredible experience,” she said of her brush-to-canvas reunion. “It was overwhelming; like a cork had been taken out of the bottle, and everything poured out like woosh. I’d paint every day if I could.” Jane has since focused largely on realistic portraits, which stand out in vivid likeness to the photographs she uses as her guides. Many of her paintings currently hang on the walls of The Gallery off Main Street in Road Town. Her realistic oil paintings remarkably capture details revealed from sharpened photographs—like the crease of a bare-skinned fold, or the twinkle in a toddler’s eye. However, the artist with an undeniable knack for detail admits that her work needs guidance—that her skills still need to be developed to bring her personalized touch to the painting. “With portraits, it’s about that human factor,” she said during an interview from her quaint home studio. “But I struggle sometimes with a voice—a feeling—that hinders me from letting loose. I just want to lose these habits and really be able to let it all out. “I’m also struggling with technicalities of paint itself; OK, you can have a raw talent, but that’s not enough,” she continued. “You can’t be a carpenter just because you have a load of wood—you have to develop and work with your skill set.” Jane admittedly wants a mentor to help her develop her own personal skill sets. As a realistic painter, though, she has had a hard time finding a partner versed in her genre. Many gifted local painters use watercolours, or paint historical interpretative scenes. Jane, however, would like to be inspired to develop her realistic portraits with more personality—not just a mirrored version of a photograph.



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Jane poses by a self-portrait in her studio. Photo by Dan O’Connor.

Recently, she attended a workshop in Puerto Rico led by renowned artist Caroline Jasper. It was this stimulating encounter that helped motivate Jane to create in her studio on almost a daily basis. She delved into a batch of Carnival photographs that depicted the bright colours and animated gestures of youthful revelers. “These kids were just so interesting,” she said, admiring the doe-eyed children in their festive garb. “I love to catch that moment—especially this one with the girl and the hoop. You’ve got all of this hubbub, and there she stands—like nothing is happening. I saw this photo and I thought, ‘I have to paint her.’” During a recent showing, the mother of two of the girls in Jane’s series came up to the artist and acknowledged her work. “She said, ‘But why didn’t you catch my [third] child?’” Jane recalled. Jane said she’s going to push forward with the passion to paint. She wants to move away from photographic realism and instead work to “capture the likeness” in her subjects. With her two children now busy with school and time to devote her energy to art, she said she can now be consumed by her canvas. “When you become a mother, your creativity goes entirely into that,” she said. “You’ve got little left over. And when I paint, I’m giving so much of me into that painting that it’s tiring. Living in the BVI, being able to relax, it’s just much easier for me to let loose and give it all back.” PY

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Property Tax Increase:

Up for Debate A Q&A with JOMA’s Colin O’Neal By Willa Tavernier, O’Neal Webster BVI

Since news of Cabinet approval of the Department of Inland Revenue’s request for a property tax increase was revealed earlier this year, the matter has been under debate in the House of Assembly and the court of public opinion. According to recent news reports, Premier and Finance Minister Dr Orlando Smith affirmed the measure was approved by the Cabinet of the former government prior to this government taking office in November 2011. The measure was debated in Standing Finance Committee among current legislators. Currently on the table is a proposal to increase property tax to 1.5% of market value, per year. With many properties in the BVI appraised at a market value in the million-dollar range, this could equate to a large dollar amount. It is expected that government would approve a more modest increase, but to the best of this property lawyer’s knowledge, to date this has not been settled. Premier Smith is recorded as stating that the current government will look at how raising property taxes in a recession will affect the population, and seek public consultation prior to the measure being taken to the House of Assembly for final approval. To be fair, property taxes in the BVI are unusually low. Property tax has two components—house tax and land tax. House tax is 1.5% of the assessed annual rental value of the property. Land tax for properties owned by BVIslanders/Belongers is $10.00 for the first acre or part thereof and $3.00 per additional acre. For all other persons land tax is $50.00 for land up to a half-acre or $150.00 for land greater than a half-acre up to one acre, then $50.00 per additional acre or part thereof. Colin O’Neal, CEO of JOMA Properties, a real estate management and development company in the BVI, thinks raising taxes in a recession is a bad idea and has been leading a discussion around that theme in the LinkedIn group he spearheads, BVI Business Roundtable. I sat down with Colin to hear his views on the issue.

Willa Tavernier: What’s your involvement in the property tax debate? Colin O’Neal: As CEO of JOMA, up to this point property tax has not been a factor which occupies too much attention in terms of how we run our business. Current property tax is nominal, and most of our leases are triple net leases, meaning that the tenant is responsible for insurance, common service charges and property tax. The commercial relationships between landlord and tenant would need to be adjusted. While it doesn’t impact the legal relationship, if the regime were to change substantially, the commercial impact for tenants would be significant, and in an unplanned way, with an adverse impact on the tenant’s part not having known beforehand that such a substantial impost would be introduced. The long-term knock on effect could be less tenants willing to enter into leases or tenants seeking some other arrangements other than triple net leases which we’ve made our practice. It would also affect the cost of commercial space. Those taxes have to be paid somehow, and it becomes a matter of who is going to pay. There are developers who have not protected themselves by having triple net leases, which means that tax is going to come straight off of their bottom line. In this tight real estate market, that slice off the bottom line might be what makes the difference between profit and breaking even, or between breaking even and a negative cash flow situation. WT: On the BVI Business Roundtable discussion board, the proposal’s potential effect on villa rentals was raised. Owners already pay Hotel Accommodation Tax, and, if there are employees, Social Security Contributions and Payroll Tax. Could this adversely affect that sector? CO: It certainly will affect them, except at the very high end for which there will always be some sort of demand (or where owners are not dependent on rental income). Vacancies are higher than 3-4 years ago, and an additional tax burden must have a deleterious effect in an already depressed market. I think the truism that you should not raise taxes in a depressed market will be borne out. It will put the BVI at a competitive disadvantage.



There’s a very essential—almost primal connection—of a BVIslander to his land. For many people it defines their very identity. Government also has to be mindful of the fact that property development is one of the few areas in which BVIslanders retain a strong role in the economy, and property still remains largely in local hands. This has the potential to be very disruptive in terms of long term property ownership by BVIslanders, many of whom are land rich, but not very liquid. WT: Could an increase in property tax be threatening on the societal level? CO: I don’t think you have to go very far for the answer to that. If you look at the USVI, landowning families had to either sell property or lost property because of inability to pay the tax on it. Social dislocation resulted from that—with the land passing from local hands into, in their case, the hands of what they call continentals. The same thing will happen here. The land will pass into the hands of those with the ability to pay the taxes, whether BVIslanders or outsiders. It will signal the end to a unique pattern of landownership. In the BVI, as distinct from most of our West Indian neighbours, the vast majority of land is owned by private individuals rather than government. Government here has relatively small landholdings outside of Wickham’s Cay. There’s a very essential—almost primal—connection of a BVIslander to his land. For many people it defines their very identity.



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WT: Can reform be achieved without causing inequity and hardship? CO: I don’t pretend to be an expert in taxation, property or otherwise, but one starting point is that it should not in any way be tied to the market value of the property, however that is defined. Were that to happen, property in the BVI changes character completely from an identity—defining resource, to something more along the lines of a commodity. If property tax is assessed on market value, the strongest financial players eventually come to dominate any market, and I think that ought to be avoided. Property tax should remain nominal but at a higher level. It could be doubled or tripled without causing hardship. There are many other areas of revenue enhancement that a government can look at. Consumption tax, road tax for use of vehicles, and improved collection of customs duties among others. At the risk of sounding like a republican, I don’t think we have a revenue problem in the BVI, we have a spending problem. Not that we spend too much, but we don’t always get the value for money for what we spend—and you can quote me on that. PY

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FunctionalSculpture By Traci O’Dea

Photos by Traci O’Dea and Dan O’Connor.

On a recent trip to Mexico, Roy Keegan from Arawak Interiors discovered an artist who crafts illuminated sculptures from recycled glass and metal. Roy thought the subject matter—frogs, turtles, flowers, suns and fish—would suit his clients in the BVI. He was right. “They have really been selling,” manager Mandy Gorringe said. “People love them because they’re hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces in an unusual combination of metal and glass that lights up. They’re lamps, but they’re also interesting pieces of art.” Rental villa manager Lynn Johnston was one of the first customers to purchase the pieces. “I bought three,” she said, “a flower for my own home and a flower and a turtle for Tingalayo,” the luxury villa she manages. “The turtle looks really dramatic at night,” she said, “when the lights are off, and it radiates this blue glow from the corner.” The flower adds a whimsical touch to Tingalayo’s media and music room. In fact, its shape, reminiscent of an old Victor phonograph from the early twentieth century, fits right in with the various percussion instruments and top-of-the-line stereo system that also occupy the bright space. “We try to source funky pieces that stand out,” Roy said. “While we do a lot of classic, simple styles, we also like to find accents that add personality to a property.” PY

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Local businesses aim for Green Globe certification

The cottages perched footsteps above Cane Garden Bay beach. Photos courtesy of Agapé Cottages.

By Steve Fox, Managing Director OBMI BVI

A year ago, I wrote here about the Green Globe system for certifying the sustainability credentials of hotels and resorts. I discussed how, at the 2011 Green Globe Summit, I had met some of the pioneers in eco-tourism, and I gave an overview of the complicated world of green hotel certification, the increasing consumer awareness and demand for evidence of verifiable sustainability efforts when choosing a destination, the wide range of different certification systems, and the need for hotels and resorts to keep pace with the ever-changing marketplace. I talked about how we at OBMI had come to the conclusion that Green Globe is the most appropriate certification system for hotels in the Caribbean and how we would be working to introduce the system locally in the British Virgin Islands to help to provide a framework for focused improvement for long-term economic, social and environmental sustainability. At the same time, the BVI Tourist Board was setting up its Sustainable Tourism Environmental Programme (STEP) and was looking for local properties to participate. Their goal was to help hotels and resorts to get themselves organized, and for them to achieve a credible level of certification for sustainability.

Four small BVI properties were selected to take part, and Jamaican consultant Hugh Cresser was hired to assist each of them in undertaking an extensive Environmental Assessment and in developing an Environmental Management System (EMS) to be tailored to their unique needs. This six-month process of analysis and assessment looked at all aspects of the operations and management of the properties, using the Green Globe Standard as a target, and concluded with recommendations for future improvement. In order to be certified, a property needs to be assessed by an independent auditor. The first property to be ready was Agapé Cottages in Cane Garden Bay. The Tourist Board and Agapé owners Tom and Donna Abraira were keen to have the audit done before the summer, so I was called out in late June to visit the property, meet the staff and owners, and review their progress. I was happy to find that Tom and Donna had taken the process very seriously. They were very well prepared. Agapé Cottages is a small family property—only seven guest units, with a maximum occupancy of twentyfour people and only three staff, including the two owners. There had been some concern that the extensive documentation and analysis required by the process may be too much of a bureaucratic and logistical challenge to all but the most dedicated and well-organised owners. The certification programme is comprised of over 300 indicators—standards by which the property should aim to meet. In order to achieve certification, the business needs to comply with 50% of the indicators, including a multitude of critical, mandatory ones. Every aspect of the management and operation is considered: management



property can systematically evaluate its environmental performance and establish, achieve and sustain its objectives. The potential benefits of EMS programmes are numerous; going through this process helps the owners take a good objective look at their operations and to identify targets for ongoing improvements. The assessment took a good close look at fundamental operational issues, such as water and energy consumption in relation to the occupancy of the rooms, and the property scored consistently high marks in most areas, with an impressive list of best practices already in place, including:

A rendering of the property.

practices (legal compliance, staff training, communications, health and safety), design and construction, social and economic issues (community development, local employment, fair trade, exploitation, employee protection), cultural heritage (historical sites and artifacts, incorporation of local culture), and environmental practices (conserving resources, reducing pollution, conserving biodiversity, ecosystems and landscapes). wBut in talking to Donna, it was evident that in this case, despite the paperwork and thanks to a lot of hard work, the process had been very useful and informative. With a relatively small and successful business such as Agapé Cottages, the owners already know their business inside out, but an EMS provides an additional management tool through which a

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1. Minimal use of air conditioning, with good natural ventilation throughout the property 2. Excellent community relations and involvement in community organizations 3. Solar water heaters, made from reclaimed materials 4. Support given to Green VI’s glass recycling Studio in Cane Garden Bay 5. Self-sufficiency in water use 6. Natural landscaping requiring no irrigation, pesticides or fertilisers 7. Plentiful fruit and vegetables grown on the property 8. Good guides and advice to visitors, giving up-to-date information and local recommendations

With all these positive practices, Agapé Cottages sailed through the audit and comfortably achieved the requirements for certification, making it the first Green Globe certified property in the BVI. One of the requirements for next year’s audit will be to demonstrate improvements, and the assessment highlighted a number of areas where these could be

made, including more focus on environmentallyfriendly goods and services, use of alternative cleaning products, and development of a composting programme to minimize and make good use of organic waste. I’m looking forward to seeing Tom and Donna again in a year’s time, and hoping things will be even better! PY

The sunset view of Cane Garden Bay from Agapé.


OBM International T 284.494.2148 BVI PG APR 2012 - Brooks.indd 1



3/8/2012 12:58:41 PM AUGUST 2012

an icy on-board treat

By Susie Younkle

I’m breaking some self-imposed rules this month. First off, my provisioning articles usually feature boat-friendly recipes. However, this month’s topic is more appropriate for those with land-based kitchens—or with very generous galleys. Secondly, I typically have a rule against single purpose appliances, but I bend the rules when it comes to ice cream—which requires an ice cream maker—because I love this quintessential summer treat too much to forego homemade versions. I briefly contemplated having an ice cream maker on my boat. A dear friend of mine cruised the Caribbean with a gentleman who owned a hand crank ice cream maker, apparently designed for boats. After my friend’s adventures, the device was relegated to a dusty corner of her Tortolan garage. When she learned I was setting out for my own down-island sailing adventures, my friend graciously offered me the ice cream maker. I was tempted, but a quick mental calculation of my galley real estate indicated I’d have to make significant sacrifices—perhaps a few bottles of rum or my bin of baking supplies—for an occasional taste of fresh ice cream. Now that I’m back on land, my somewhat bulky ice cream maker is again in my kitchen. While there can be a certain old-school charm to manual contraptions, the reality of ice, salt and hand-churning ice cream is not so appealing. (Plus, if you’re on a sailboat

you already do plenty of cranking by hand; it’s just called winching.) My trusty electric Cuisinart lets me almost effortlessly create delicious cool treats, including ice cream, gelato, sorbet, sherbet and frozen custard. A main motivation for homemade ice cream is an endless variety of flavours. Sure, I make chocolate, vanilla and other supermarket staples. I also make strawberry-rhubarb, lemonginger and mango-passion fruit frozen desserts. Try finding those combinations in a supermarket freezer case! Ice creams are a wonderful way to showcase interesting and perhaps lesser-known Caribbean flavours, such as soursop (also called guanabana or graviola), a fruit found in BVI backyards. Its rough green skin is covered with soft thorns and its white flesh is filled with inedible black seeds. Fortunately, the flavour of soursop is far more pleasant than its name and appearance suggest. I detect hints of strawberry, passion fruit

“Fortunately, the flavour of soursop is far more pleasant than its name and appearance suggest.”



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and pineapple—essentially a delectable fruit punch flavour. Juice and ice cream are two popular ways to use the fruit. The best part about homemade ice cream is that it’s simply really fun to make and eat, especially for children. I have a two year old, and for the past couple of summers I’ve been too busy to bring out my ice cream maker. I’m now compensating for lost time, and little Elizabeth and I are having a blast making and especially taste testing ice cream. I’ve obviously been churning out copious amounts of ice cream this summer and must confess that this article is my attempt (sort of ) to justify all the ice cream in my freezer. I’m certain I should have a rule against such a large quantity of ice cream in my house; however, as I enjoy my first cool and creamy bite of soursop ice cream, rules are the farthest thing from my mind.

Soursop Ice Cream This ice cream is a simple, yet impressive end to any summer meal. ¾c 1 ½ Tbl 1c ¾c 1¼c 1 Tbl

white sugar cornstarch whole milk whipping cream soursop pulp, thawed if frozen (e.g. Goya brand) fresh lime juice

Combine sugar and cornstarch in heavy saucepan, then whisk in milk and cream. Continue to whisk over medium heat until mixture thickens and starts to bubble, about 10 minutes. Pour into bowl and refrigerate. When fully cooled, add sourpop pulp and lime juice to gelato base. Stir well and refrigerate for at least one hour. Pour mixture into bowl of an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and place in freezer to harden. Makes about four cups. PY



Property Listings TORTOLA H9 Lovely Lot at Ballast Bay: Beautiful Ballast Bay Lot now available. Glorious views of Cane Garden Bay and Jost Van Dyke. US$120,000 (284) 495 3000 | | I10 WATERFRONT HOMES WITH DOCKS, NANNY CAY: 2/3 bedroom waterfront townhouses with docks now available at Nanny Cay, Tortola’s premier marina. Full resort facilities and competitive rental program available to offset costs of ownership. US$850,000. (284) 495 3000 | | H8 1 acre Lot, Glorious Cane Garden Bay views: A rare Lot on Luck Hill with fantastic views of Cane Garden Bay. Beautiful sunsets. Very buildable. One not to be missed! US$225K. (284) 495 3000 | | H8 Cane Garden Bay Cottages: Two delightful cottages set within landscaped palm fringed gardens, less than 50 yards from the beach. Set in under 2 acres, prime investment property. US$1.295K. (284) 495 3000 | | J8 3 bedroom Ridge Road Home with 3 bed Apt: Lovely 3 bedroom family home with rental income potential from 3 bed apt beneath. Great views of North Shore and Guana Island. Lush mature garden filled with coconut palms and fruit trees. Motivated Seller. US$750,000. (284) 495 3000 | | G10 Hummingbird House: Located in the prestigious Belmont Estate only moments from Smugglers Cove and Long Bay beaches, this delightful home has been extensively remodeled by the current owner, an English Architect with over 20 years island experience designing first class, luxurious homes. Pleasing proportions and scale, elegant finishes and fixture choices of the highest quality and wonderful ocean, island and sunset views. US$2,495,000. (284) 495 3000 | | H9 Rose Lodge, 3 bedrooms Windy Hill *PRICE REDUCTION*: Beautiful hillside setting with exceptional island and sunset views. Two bedroom main house with lovely gardens and lawn. Delightful views of Cane Garden Bay from very private guest house. US$795K. (284) 495 3000 | H9 Business Opportunity: 1.04 acres of hill side land just 200 feet beyond the picturesque beaches of Cane Garden Bay. The property houses six buildings containing 5 one-bedroom, 2 two-bedroom and 1 three-bedroom units. US$2,500,000. (284) 495 4825 G10 2 BEDROOM, 2 BATH CONDO: Set within Long bay Beach Resort and operated within the hotel rental pool, the apartment has one full kitchen and one kitchenette and affords beautiful ocean views. Direct access to the hotel amenities and within walking distance to the beach. US$299,000. (284) 494 2446 | J9 SPACIOUS 3 BEDROOM VILLA AT KINGSTON: Two separate buildings connected by a swimming pool terrace with split level living-dining area and large kitchen. Master bedroom suite and two guest suites. Prevailing breeze and expansive channel views only five minutes away from Road Town. US$1,099,000. (284) 494 2446 | K9 5 BEDROOM BEACHFRONT VILLA WITH PRIVATE DOCK: Beautifully positioned on historical Fort Hodge Point, with extensive water frontage including two sandy beaches and full serviced dock. The 5 bedroom residence with swimming pool terrace encompasses approx. 4,500 sf and captures spectacular views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Spacious great room with covered dining porch. master bedroom suite and separate pavilion with three guest suites and game room. Self-contained lower studio apartment. US$5,900,000. (284) 494 2446 |

Lambert Condo: Fully furnished studio apartment in Lambert Beach Resort. Enjoy the pool and amenities of Resort. Beach only a few steps away, as is the restaurant. Nearby laundry and ample parking. US$210,000. (284) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM Turtle Dove Cottages - *NEW*: Tortola, Apple Bay. One 2-bed villa and three 1-bed cottages on 1 acre lot 300 ft above the golden beaches of Long Bay and Apple Bay. Excellent investment opportunity. US$1,500,000. (284) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM G10 Waveland: Waveland is a uniquely private, 3-bed, 2-bath luxury villa with a spectacular elevated position and a magnificent view. A covered lanai with full wet bar connects the living area, two guest bedrooms and master bedroom with unique his and her bathroom suites. US$695,000. (284) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM K9 Hodge's Creek Land: 0.8 acres beautiful parcel of land with a magnificent view over Hodge's Creek Marina. US$400,000 US$275,000. (284) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM G10 Far Pavilion: A spacious deck makes a wide-open living space where a new definition of “lounge” can be created. The magnificent view constantly calls your attention. On the other side of the pool is a charming guesthouse with ensuite bathroom. The proximity to Long Bay Resort provides easy access to all its amenities: restaurant, spa, pool and of course, the beautiful beach. US$1,300,000. (284) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM L8 THREE BEDROOM WATERFRONT HOUSE: Located at the southern end of Tortola with views of Beef Island and the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Close to beaches and amenities. US$795,000. (284) 494 2446 | G10 2 BEDROOM HOUSE AT BELMONT ESTATE: Overlooking Smuggler’s Cove and offering spectacular views of Jost Van Dyke. Main house with great room, kitchen and master bedroom suite. Separate guest cottage. 0.8 acres. US$775,000. (284) 494 2446 | Casa Del Mar: Newly constructed 4 bedrooms exceptional family home located on Tortola’s north side. This home is situated in a very private community, near to Tortola’s great beaches, Cane Garden Bay to the west and Brewer’s Bay to the north. This beautiful home sits on 0.399 of an acre. US$890,000. Contact | (284) 494-2500 | Sea Cow’s Bay Land: Located near Oleander Estate in the hills above Sea Cow’s Bay, these 6 Lots have spectacular views; these lots are perfect to build your dream home. Lots are from .6 of an acre 1.0 acre, these lots are ready to build with water, electricity and cable available. US$85,000+. Contact | (284) 494-2500 | H9 Cane Garden Bay: Hillside Land with stunning ocean views located in Cane Garden Bay; 0.596 of an acre; 1.472 acres & 2.00 acres, any of these lots could be yours today to start the home of your dreams. Contact | (284) 494-2500 | Private Lots for Sales 0.5 Acres: Located on the North Shore are two parcels of land, with stunning views, available to build your own dream home. US$100,000+. View at Contact Monica (284) 494-2500 Great Mountain Area: 4 Lots in a Private Estate for sale | prices start at US$67,000. (284) 495 3000 | | Cooten Bay Home for Sale: Owner Motivated – New on the market - Beautifully designed and finely executed this 4 bedroom, 3 bath main house along with a 2 bedroom, 1 bath apartment located off the Ridge Road, is a steal at this price. Purchase today and use the income from the rented apartment to pay your mortgage. Bring your clothes and move into this architectural beauty which features Brazilian cherry wood flooring, granite counter tops, modern fixtures and luxurious furnishings. US$975,000. Contact | (284) 494-2500 Looking for an Investment Opportunity? We have the deal of a lifetime for you; an apartment complex with 5 income generating apartments and there’s room to add others. At $675,000.00 this property will not be around for long; call us today to finalize your sale!. | (284)494-2500 |

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L8 1/2 acre Lot: available at Hawks Nest. Simply stunning views back to Virgin Gorda. Very buildable. US$145,000.00. (284) 495 3000 |

P8 Sea Grape Condo: Magnificent ground floor 2bedroom, 2 bathroom condo fully furnished, A/C, full use of resort amenities, tennis courts, pool, gym. The option is yours; live on property or rent the condo | US$395,000. Contact Monica @ | (284)4 94-2500

J8 1 acre Lot: available at Trunk Bay. Breath taking beach and island views, all the way down the island chain to Necker Island! US$295,000.00. (284) 495 3000 | |

South Sound Virgin Gorda: Lots available for sale starting at US$200,000. Own a piece of “paradise” today. Contact Monica at | (284) 494-2500 |

K7 ½ acre Lot: available at Little Bay. Walk to beautiful beach from this very buildable Lot. US$185,000.00. (284) 495 3000 | |

R6 Looking for waterfront Land in Virgin Gorda? (284) 495 3000 | |

I8 3 bedroom beach house at Brewers Bay: With direct beach and water frontage, this property is unusual in the BVI. Located right on the beach at Brewers Bay overlooking the bay and Jost van Dyke. US$850,000. (284) 494 2446 |

Q6 Vacant Lot available at beautiful Nail Bay: New life has been breathed into this stunning development. Now is the time to buy and build your dream home.

G10 Exquisite Caribbean style house on the hillside of Belmont Estates: This charming 3 bedroom house offers a perfect balance between elegance and relaxed comfort. Main house: great room with living and dining areas, galley kitchen, master bedroom suite and guest suite. Independent one bedroom guest cottage. Artist’s studio. Lovely swimming pool terrace with covered verandah. US$2,150,000. (284)494 2446 |

VIRGIN GORDA P9 Charming two bedroom, two bath home at Windy Hill: Set on 0.4 acres in a quiet neighbourhood the property enjoys beautiful views of Tortola and Beef Island and a lush tropical garden. | US$550,000 Q7 A Dream Come True, Pond Bay: A five bedroom, cliffside/waterfront home above Virgin Gorda’s most spectacular beaches at Pond Bay and Savannah Bay. Simply stunning. Ask to see the rental history and figures on this property. A phenomenal story. US$3.5m. (284) 495 3000 | P8 THE VILLAS AT LITTLE DIX BAY: A rare opportunity to own a permanent home at Little Dix Bay resort managed by Rosewood Hotels. Situated on the dramatic hillside above the worldrenowned resort these 3-4 bedroom villas offer a magnificent setting, luxurious amenities and remarkable privacy. Rental pool option. From US$3,300,000. (284) 494 2446 | P9 HOME SITE AVAILABLE AT CROOKS BAY: Located a few minutes’ walk to the beach, on a quiet residential estate, this 1.4 acre site boasts spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and benefits from cool tropical breezes. Utilities to site. US$500,000. (284) 494 2446 |

Q6 ‘Mystic Water’, Nail Bay: Three bedroom main house with pool, 2 x one bedroom guest cottages each with own pool and full kitchen, beautiful gardens, great rental villa. $1.8m. (284) 495 3000 | | Q6 ‘Sugar Mill’, Nail Bay: Built close by to the site of an historic Sugar Mill, unique 3 bedroom villa with pool takes its design from the original mill. Stunning views. Walk to the beach. Lots of rental potential. $1.6m. (284) 495 3000 | | Q6 Renovated 4 bedroom villa with access to private beach: Located on 1.6 acres of manicured hillside on Virgin Gorda’s west coast, the house is designed so each bedroom suite opens onto a private deck with panoramic views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Direct access to Mountain Trunk Beach by a private pathway. US$3,250,000. (284) 494 2446 |

NORTHERN ISLANDS M7 CHARMING 5 BEDROOM VILLA ON GREAT CAMANOE: Delightful 3 bedroom Main House with 2 Bedroom Guest house on Great Camanoee. Lots of character. Fantastic island and ocean views, incredible panorama. Easy access to dock. Approx 2 acre Lot. US$1,200,00. (284) 495 3000 | M7 DIAMOND REEF ESTATE, UNIQUE 10 ACRE PROPERTY: A fabulous property, full of character and charm. Upon this 10 acre site sits a magnificent 3 bedroom main house, built largely from local stone in 1968 by the Upjohn Pharmaceutical family. A delightful one bedroom guest house built in later years. Residents treated to glorious views yet completely private. Wonderful landscaping, beachfront, private swim dock. Absolutely one of a kind property. US$6m. (284) 495 3000 | |

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SOL Y SOMBRA Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

US$8 Million This spectacular beachfront villa boasts four beautifully decorated air-conditioned suites, each furnished with custom-made teak furniture. Outside amenities include an ocean-front infinity pool and lit tennis court, bound within lush tropical gardens. Inside, take advantage of a European-style kitchen, private movie theater, daily maid service and state-of-the-art gym. An in-villa cook is available upon request.

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VI Property & Yacht August 2012  

Gryphon’s Lair - This charming three-bedroom home benefits from North Shore breezes. Roger Downing’s Legacy - A retrospective on the accla...