VI Property & Yacht July 2012

Page 1

Virgin Islands


Dive into summer savings Find out where to locate the hottest deals, from SCUBA to villa staycations.

the rise of road town A tricky game of supply and demand unfolds as commercial buildings rise.

bvi poker run Miss all the frolicking fun this year? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered.

Keeping a steady course with your investments is a precondition for reaching your goals, whether you rely on our advice or entrust us to manage your portfolio along the course you have plotted. VP Bank – your partner.

VP Bank Group Domiciled in Liechtenstein – is quoted on the Swiss Stock Exchange SIX in Zurich. Providing bespoke banking services in Liechtenstein +423 235 6655, Switzerland +41 44 226 2424, Luxembourg +352 404 7771, British Virgin Islands +1 284 494 1100 and Singapore +65 6305 0050.



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

Virgin Islands


July 2012

Features 24

A Comfortable Fit By Steve Fox

A local architect takes a personal look at finding a perfect-sized fit for the prospective homebuyer.


Fishing for a Photo By Dan O’Connor

St John photographer Steve Simonsen shares some of his finest, fishy snapshots.


A Port to Paradise By Dan O’Connor


The port at Gun Creek in the North Sound opens for international traffic.

This Summer...Stay and Play By Dan O’Connor and Kelly Bos

Before you make plans to get off the rock this summer, check out some of the hot deals happening around the Virgin Islands.

38 Artists’ Corner By Dan O’Connor

43 Conversation Pieces


By Traci O’Dea

The Rise of Road Town By Dan O’Connor

Developers, building owners and lenders speak about the ups and downs of owning rental space in a shifty economy.

44 Staycation Libations By Stephen L France

48 A Tasty Affair By Traci O’Dea

51 Across the Channel By Dan O’Connor


54 Provisioning By Susie Younkle

One Wet Game of Poker

56 Classifieds

By Dan O’Connor

We relive all the excitement from this year’s Poker Run, with the help of gorgeous aerial photos by Todd VanSickle. 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 advertising sales inquiries to: Email: Phone: 284-494-7788 ext. 103 Fax: 284-494-8777 Mail to: 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

With you every step of the way. Real estate in the BVI is at a premium and tightly regulated. Our expertise is practically unmatched. From conception to completion, we understand the challenges of both booming markets and down-cycles, and have the depth and experience to advise on a broad range of issues – from title verification, planning and design approval, to corporate structuring and financing. This is why hundreds of buyers and sellers, including every five star resort in the BVI, have turned to us for representation in virtually all real estate and development matters.

A leading BVI law firm

Simmonds Building, 30 DeCastro Street Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands. tel: +1(284) 494-5808 Ëš fax: +1(284) 494-5811 Contact: Mrs. Willa Tavernier

Cover: A sunset dive into summer waters. Photo by Armando Jenik.

Editor's Letter J u l y

Chief Editor Dan O'Connor Contributors Steve Fox Stephen L. France Traci O’Dea Susie Younkel Art Director Nick Cunha Graphic Designer Akiya Brewley Web Developer aLookingGlass Advertising Owen Waters Stephen L. France Distribution Coordinator Debi Cashen (USVI) Francoise Frank (BVI) Distribution Cool Air (BVI) Speedy Services (USVI) Publisher aLookingGlass Ltd. Road Town, Tortola British VIrgin Islands Colin Rathbun, CEO Nick Cunha, COO

2 0 1 2

Dan O'Connor

This summer,

switch it up a bit. There’s really no good reason not to take advantage of all this utopia has to offer, but sometimes things stand in the way. Silly things, like money and time and obligations. But, hey, that’s what the summer’s here for, right? In the Virgin Islands, the pace has slowed with the season, and while work still goes on for most of us, opportunities for exploration present themselves now more than ever—if you know where to look. Beaches clear out—perfect for private parties; businesses cut their rates drastically and extend special offers to residents; and free time seems to become more prominent, begging for new adventures. Break free from the norm and try something different. I say this as I admit to you that in my almost four years on island, I have yet to become SCUBA certified. It’s time for a change. I started my summer scheduling early this year in preparation for this issue by calling numerous businesses from Anegada to St Thomas to find out who has the best deals this summer. I was also able to pin down the best closing parties on the islands—another reason for sticking around during these slow months. While your plans for summer might differ, I plan to take advantage of discounted SCUBA rates, an inexpensive villa visit with friends, and a tour through St John’s national park to finally get a glimpse of their famous petroglyphs. Summer also seems to be a time for construction—a driving reason for many businesses to close. I questioned builders and property owners about the projects in Road Town, many of which are raising commercial developments that are fast creating a six-storey skyline for the BVI capital. I found that these are trying times for landlords, many who remain optimistic for tenants to fill their largely vacant buildings. I was also able to cool off while reporting for this issue, during the 11th annual BVI Poker Run. To quote CNN’s Erin Burnett, a newbie as I was to the event, “It was a lot of boats, it was a lot of beers, and it was a heck of a lot of bikinis.” I admire your simple yet precise description, Erin. Continue reading and you’ll stumble upon the work of two talented St John artists— photographer Steve Simonsen and sculptor Gail Van de Bogurt—both who have made a name for themselves as teachers and innovators. Find a shaded spot on an empty beach and enjoy this month’s issue. I hope it sparks inspiration for your next summer adventure.

Try something different.

Dougall & Associates

Real Estate BVI

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JULY 2012


Stay & Play

This Summer…

By Dan O’Connor

Why not play for a day at Bitter End Yacht Club? Photo courtesy of BEYC.

For year-round residents, the summertime affords the ability to slow down

renovations. For many businesses still feeling the hit from the economic

and experience the less traveled and often unattainable gems of the

downturn, these slow months can be detrimental if not met with a strategic

Virgin Islands. Less tourism traffic on the islands means those pristine

plan. Dr Birney Harrigan, executive director of the BVI Chamber of

beaches open up from shore to shore as if they belonged entirely to a

Commerce and Hotel Association, shared her thoughts on the looming slow

fortunate few. It also means that the resorts, villas, charter companies

season during a recent chat.

and other marine-based facilities drop their rates to entice summer

“Occupancy for some is looking better than where it was last year, but for

travelers and residents to help keep their businesses afloat during the

others it’s still very, very bad,” she said. “The villas in particular have suffered

trying months ahead.

most, and the resorts have also experienced low occupancy, so what many

Each Virgin Island carries its own unique allure, from the flatlands and

have done have offered deep discounts.”

mystique of Anegada to the marvelous boulders and high-end destinations

For many, the days of charging top dollar for this high-end paradisiacal

of Virgin Gorda; and in the USVI, the endless amenities of St Thomas and

location are currently on hold while the market attempts to figure itself out.

national parks of St John entice endless adventures. For this issue, we invited

“At this point in time, it’s better to have the rooms filled than not to have

businesses from across the Virgin Islands to fill us in on their hot summer deals

them occupied at all, and that’s what many resorts have had to do,” she

for residents and visitors alike. And after a couple dozen phone calls and

said. “And I’m not just talking about the Virgin Islands—that’s everywhere in

emails poured in, a few of us here chucked our plans for mainland vacations

the region.”

in exchange for summertime staycations on the rock.

So, during these summer months, Dr Harrigan suggested that residents

Summer rates for most locations drop considerably—from 10 to 30

take advantage of all that the VI has to offer by giving back to the local

percent for most and more for a select few. Others close their doors to cut

businesses that have spared our economy devastation from the global

down on costs related to operating a business or for maintenance and

economic crisis.



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

Facilities at Leverick Bay stay open year-round. Photo courtesy of Leverick Bay Resort & Marina.

Virgin Gorda

Leverick Bay keeps their doors and marina open year-round.

There is plenty to do on the water, but for those who prefer

Owner Nick Willis explained this is because of the fluctuating

a waterfront view, a restful retreat is never far. On Virgin

traffic they receive from yachters who travel in numbers

Gorda, the high-end seaside resorts of North Sound provide

from Europe, and also because they run a bit of a monopoly

affordable access to the prestigious playground before

during the summer months on the provisioning and fueling

the area largely closes up next month. At Yacht Club

capabilities near the North Sound. “I make sure all the charter

Costa Smeralda, beers and wines have been dropped to

boat companies know we’re open and extend letters to

$5 a pop, and non-members are always welcome. The

everyone to say, ‘Come and visit!’” Willis said. For those looking

clubhouse there closes down on August 25. Next door, at

for a room, the hotel is available for $80 a night to boaters and

the Bitter End Yacht Club, overnight and weekly rates will

residents, and the bar and restaurant remains open five days

remain dropped to summer discount prices ($2,700 for five

a week.

nights) until they close their doors on August 18, and residents

Rosewood Little Dix Bay Resort, the luxury locale that

receive an additional discount upon presentation of ID (call

claims a stake as VG’s first high-end resort, drops their rates

for information). The resort is also offering a weekend day

substantially for those looking for a taste of the good life. Open

package running with North Sound Express from Trellis Bay.

year-round, the resort offers summertime rates starting at $305

Biras Creek Resort remains open to guests until August 27,

per night, with access to its spa and amenities.

with a local rate of $295 per night.

Looking for a romantic couple’s retreat at one of VG’s

Each Virgin Island carries its own unique allure, from the flatlands and mystique of Anegada to the marvelous boulders and high-end destinations of Virgin Gorda; and in the USVI, the endless amenities of St Thomas and national parks of St John entice endless adventures.

exclusive villa rental properties? Try Villa Valmarc for just $1,300 a week. The four-bedroom Mahoe Bay villa offers seaside luxury at a remarkably affordable rate. Or try one of the Nail Bay villas for a week with one night free. Over at 100 Pond Bay, enjoy a summertime-only special three-night stay at this fivebedroom, five-star villa (usually a seven-night minimum). In Spanish Town and to The Baths, things tend to quiet down a bit, but drinks remain cold at Bath & Turtle year round. Stop by Mad Dog Restaurant & Bar or Top of The Baths and grab a bite after a long day of exploring the deserted boulder playground. Both locations will close their doors for the season next month. For the underwater enthusiast, check out DIVE BVI at VG Yacht Harbour, Leverick Bay or Scrub Island and flash your resident card for a 25 percent discount on an open water diving course during the month of August.

JULY 2012



take advantage of cheap local dive rates. Blue Water Divers also serves up

If you’re pipelined into the local scene on Tortola, it’s not difficult to find a

summertime rates, offering residents a two-tank dive for $70 and the discovery

happening weekend beach bash or jamming house party—they’re great

SCUBA course for $75 ($40 savings each). If you’re into marine life, stop into

ways to become better acquainted with the small yet close-knit community.

Dolphin Discovery near Prospect Reef and try interactive swims starting at $79

Many bars and restaurants also stay open, but you’ll find that the majority

for adults and $69 for children; residents receive a special summer discount

close their doors for maintenance or cost-cutting reasons.

of an additional 30 percent. A special “dolphin impressions” program is also

In Cane Garden Bay, Myett’s Garden Restaurant stays open all year; the

offered at the low rate of $39 for 15 minutes in the water.

beachside hotspot dominates the bay as neighbouring businesses close

Most bars and restaurants tend to close after the Emancipation Festival,

for the season. “We can’t close our doors—we don’t have any,” quipped

which officially kicks off with J’Ouvert and Carnival Parade on Monday, August

owner Val Rhymer, who noted a few enticing incentives planned for the

6. Raucous festivities last well into the week—a must for first-timers and those

summer. Through the summer, Rhymer said they plan to have weekend

who come out to party down year after year.

volleyball tournaments on the beach and Wii Bowling competitions during

The Tamarind Club in Josiahs Bay holds their closing party well into the early

the week. She’ll also offer up hotel rooms and the Indigo House beachside

morning hours of August 6, and revelers usually take to the J’Ouvert march

villa for four nights at the price of three. Also, the bay will open up with dive

after a few cups of Irish coffee. Later that month, on August 25, The Last Resort

packages offered by Jost Van Dyke SCUBA with special local rates.

on Bellamy Cay will hold their infamous closing party which, if in tune with

There’s plenty to do on the water, too. Why not learn to sail over at the BVI

year’s past, will bring out the freaks from near and far.

Watersports Centre? Contact Alison Knights Bramble for more information. Or



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

From the ruins and parks of St John, to the secluded beaches and underbelly of BVI waters, summer offers adventure or relaxation. Photos by Dan O’Connor; and courtesy of BEYC, Dive BVI and Leverick Bay.


transport available from the CYS ferry dock in Road Town. They also offer

In the USVI, the Department of Tourism has partnered with numerous hotels

daytrips to their spa, with a 10 percent discount for residents.

and resorts, offering travelers an opportunity to save $350 on a visit during

Scrub Island also breaks out the summer incentives for local residents,

the summer months. The offer includes a $200 credit toward any booking

offering 20 percent off spa services and numerous other savings incentives at

for a minimum of five nights, $50 in shopping certificates, $50 in attractions

their Ixora Spa.

certificates and $50 in dining certificates, as well as a fifth night free stay at

On Jost Van Dyke, head on over to White Bay, where Mic or Shaneek shave

participating establishments. The offer is good until September 30.

off world famous painkillers from Soggy Dollar year-round. On Anegada, the

For a great daytrip, I always prefer the vast vegetation and trails of St John’s

Anegada Reef Hotel also remains open and is able to serve up fresh lobster

national parks. There, it’s business as usual, as the National Parks Service center

upon request. Give a call over to Loblolly Bay, where they also may be able to

stays open for guided hikes, snorkels and tours year-round.

dish out a cold drink along the white sandy beach if a bartender’s available.

Outer Islands

Rent a car or scooter and explore the island’s flatlands. I hear the flamingos

It’s always nice to get “off the rock,” and onto a smaller one. Sometimes

also remain on the job as a scenic attraction at the salt ponds through the

that can be as easy as a daytrip or weekend to, say, Peter Island. The first

summer months.

week of this month, Peter Island Resort & Spa will celebrate their annual

Across the Virgin Islands, there’s never a lack of things to do—it just takes a

BBQ & Bubbles party, with guest chef Govind Armstrong. Daytime culinary

bit of searching around and an ambition for adventure. PY

packages and access to the facilities range from $70-225 per person, with

JULY 2012


Family Fun By Kelly Bos Despite summer being the off-season, it remains very

kids are looking for, there are lots of options includingthe BVI

much on for the kids. With obvious natural resources to

Watersports Centre, which remains open during the summer

entertain, the Virgin Islands provide beautiful mountains

months; Bamboushay for pottery classes for ages three and

for hiking with spectacular views as well as endless sand

up; or the BVI Dance School’s summer program available for

and surf fun. There are also plenty of playgrounds and

ages five and up, starting July 9 until the end of August.

even indoor entertainment for the days when families

There are also numerous camps offered if parents are still

need a little relief from the hot summer sun; think UP’s,

working during the school holidays or children are looking for

bowling, arcade, and indoor climbers.

some extra entertainment and learning opportunities. Cedar

For a fun-filled day on July 28, kids and parents should head

International School’s kids’ day camp runs for the four weeks

to the Rotary Club of Road Town’s annual Kiddie’s Fiesta at

of July, 8:45 am to 3 pm. Extended care is offered to help

Noel Lloyd Park then watch or partake in the parades and

those who need a later pickup. The day camp is divided into

family fun events at Festival, August 6-8. The fiesta will include

three different age groups from 3 to 12 years and incorporates

a grand parade as well as additional entertainment and

cooking lessons, the great outdoors as well as maths, sciences

refreshment booths for the family to enjoy.

and the arts for the renaissance child.

Many programs are also offered for kids once school is

Willows Summer Camp is available for ages 3 to 8, running

out. If it’s lessons in a new sport or artistic endeavours active

July 2nd to August 3rd with field trips every Friday weather



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

Above: Summer camps are a great option to keep kids happy. Photos courtesy of Willows Summer Camp. Opposite: It’s hard to beat a flat-water snorkel. Photo by Armando Jenik.

permitting. The weeks are separately themed and the children

Motions Studio of the Arts has photography, dance, arts and

will experience everything from pirates, transportation, olympic

crafts, and Tae Kwan Do on the day camp menu. There are three

competitions, beach parties and nature exploration.

different sessions July 2- July 13, July 16-23 and Aug 13-24th with

Harrigan’s Music School offers a concentrated music day camp

different weekly themes so children can participate in one or more

program for young virtuosos. The camp is for children ages 6 to 16,

unique sessions. Royal BVI Yacht Club offers summer sailing camps

and runs from July 9 to August 3. There, children are exposed to all

for different levels. Also, many of the churches offer faith-based

of the instruments the music school offers: piano, bass and acoustic

summer day camps. There is no shortage of options to keep island

guitar, violin and drums.

kids enjoying summer with the added bonus of parental sanity. PY

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Reservations +1 284.494.3555

Biras Creek.indd 1


6/1/2012 4:14:34 PM JULY 2012


Rise of

Above: Road Town from McNamara Hill. Below: The Cutlass Building takes shape.

Road Town Story and photos by Dan O’Connor

Road Town: The British Virgin Islands capital that holds registries from more than 500,000 international business companies and a wealth of physical businesses that exist to facilitate their needs. Since the early 1980s, when double taxation exemption laws began to attract international business companies, the tiny town has grown exponentially to contain the dozens of businesses and thousands of employees that have flooded these shores. And today, during a time when the global economic climate has put a halt to many development projects, Road Town finds itself in a peculiar game of tug-of-war between supply and demand needs. It’s hard to drive through Road Town without noticing some sort of construction in the area. Currently, the skeleton of the Cutlass Building above Simply Delicious is casting a six-storey shadow over First Bank; the new tri-level home for the Virgin Islands National Bank is in its outfitting stages a few doors down; and the Samuels Richardson & Co. law firm is having their new offices built on Main Street, across from Serendipity bookstore. Then there are a couple of developments that haven’t gotten off the ground yet, their “coming soon” signs gracing the overgrown lots next to Pusser’s and the Sol gas station by the Road Town Roundabout. There are also the recently completed six-storey office spaces at the Commerce House, which won the favour of fans in this magazine’s October 2012 “Best Of” issue, and the Ashley Ritter building at Wickhams Cay II.

JULY 2012



Filling the void

occupy other spaces, like those vacant ones on the first through fourth

All of these recent and soon-to-come developments share different

floors of the Commerce House, owned and managed by JOMA.

stories of how they came to be, or how they hope to become.

“I think Commerce House is very illustrative of these trends,” he said

Developers shared mixed tales of optimism and pessimism when

of the commercial building that was conceived in 2006. “It’s basically

interviewed about their decisions to build during a time when many

a building that came on to the market at the worst possible time, and

businesses in the territory are either consolidating their office spaces

occupancy is far lower than we expected in a time when things looked

to save on spending or are closing their doors entirely. For some, like

much different; everything looked extremely good—probably the best

JOMA Properties CEO Colin O’Neal, success in these trying times hangs

in my generation. You could rent real estate quicker than you could

in the balance between supply and demand.

build it.”

“What I’ve been noticing over the past two years is there has

Currently, JOMA is working on a conception that would transform

actually been a significant slow-down in the demand for office space,

the Port Purcell area into a major commercial office park—but those

for a number of reasons,” said O’Neal, whose JOMA Properties owns

plans have been slowed due to the cloudy economic climate, he said.

more than 250,000 square feet of commercial real estate. “First and

“Real estate is driven by demand, and that demand is in turn

foremost, you look at the market for office space—trust companies,

dependent on jobs in a growing economy,” he reiterated, adding

law firms, insurance agencies—operations have basically dried up as

that JOMA currently has an overall occupancy level between 85-90

a number of them have consolidated; consolidation in the industry has

percent within all of their commercial spaces. “And we’ve got no

shrunken the demand for office space.”

control of the demand side. We have plenty of things we’d like to do

Continuing, he said that the majority of businesses have taken cost-

but presently have put them on hold until we can see some growth in

cutting measures that have thwarted their need to branch out and

the economy.”


Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

From left: Commercial space remains vacant near the Road Town Roundabout and Pusser’s; the recently excavated foundation that will hold a local lawfirm on Main Street.

“It’s a chicken and egg situation with the developer. We say, ‘You must first bring us a tenant;’ then you’ve got the tenants saying, ‘First bring me a building.’“ —Sjoerd Koster, VP Bank

Chicken and egg As of press time, the two new six-storey commercial developments— Commerce House and Ashley Ritter—shared a mere 33 percent occupancy rate. For lenders, these sorts of statistics play a pivotal role in determining risk assessment factors before dishing out a loan. Sjoerd Koster, head of banking at VP Bank, recently spoke about the heightened cautionary measures that banks use when judging loan candidates. The most important factor a bank must look at, he said, is the return from a loan-to-value point of view. “In the last two to three years, because of the shift in the real estate market worldwide and in the BVI, margins for lending have shifted significantly,” he said of the amount of money a bank would loan on a deposit. “Commercial loans have shifted from 70 to 60 percent [of a bank’s portion to a client’s down payment].” The other factor banks look at is income to debt, he said, which has shifted even more drastically. “While it previously went up to 30 years for a client to repay a loan—and when the recession hit—we’ve shifted to 15-year terms and then 10-year

JULY 2012


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The site of the new Vigin Islands National Bank.

terms.” He said. “From a business point of view, if that company is not able to

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break even in five years, we’re probably not looking at a very good business

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plan anyway.” As a banker, Koster said that VP Bank now tries to invest in more high-return, larger quality investments opposed to a number of small investments. With commercial developments, the bank first wants to see the office spaces filled with promissory tenants—or prelet investors—who invest in the project, before they afford them a loan. But this can be tricky, he explained. “It’s a chicken and egg situation with the developer,” he said. “We say ‘You must first bring us a tenant;’ then you’ve got the tenants saying, ‘First bring me a building.’” Many times, it’s this chicken and egg situation that creates the empty commercial lots spaced around Road Town, he concluded. For some, this means either have deep pockets and patience, or wait until the demand equals out with supply.

Clear skies ahead? If it were up to Ben Butler, director of BCQS International, he’d wait. “If I were a developer, I probably wouldn’t be putting up commercial space in Road Town at the moment, unless I had the cash and was looking for something long term with cost benefits in construction,” said the consultant agency director. “I would say there is definitely an oversupply of office space—just look around.” But there are others who remain confident in a market turnaround, like Patsy Lake, a businesswoman who has delved into the six-storey project to erect the Cutlass Building above Simply Delicious. Lake was able to secure a loan from Scotia Bank without prelet tenant, but said she has faith that she’ll see return on her investment.

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“What you’re seeing today has been in the making for three years, and we’ve had our hold ups,” she said about her building during an interview last

T: 284 494 0707



month. “I’m sure the economy will not remain down forever. You have your ups and downs in life, and I’m sure things will turn around—by the end of the year, I bet you.” PY

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’ Traders Ltd. Drakes P.O Box 623 Road Town, Tortola, BVI | T(284)494-3282 | F(284)494-4382 | E: | W:

JULY 2012


OneWet Game of Poker Story Dan O’Connor. Photos by Todd VanSickle

Loud engines, big boats and boisterous bikinis combined for a sensational spectacle on the water this year for the 11th annual Leverick Bay Poker Run. More than 100 boats and their captains and crews pulled 181 poker hands at the event that drew more than 1,000 participants locally and regionally from as far as Miami.



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

JULY 2012


Top Gun on the move.

Loud music and super-powered diesel engines roared at

“Ok, so they line up with beers in hand waiting as much as an

Leverick Bay as boats congregated at the marina for the start

hour to pick up one card from five different islands,” she said. “It

of the event on a sunny and mildly choppy May morning. The

was a lot of boats, it was a lot of beers and it was a heck of a lot

energized spectacle would take revelers on a high-speed tour

of bikinis.”

of BVI waters from Scrub Island to the Willy-T to Virgin Gorda

Indeed, the event was well celebrated, especially by Leverick

Yacht Harbour and back to Leverick. At each spot, contestants

Bay General Manager and event organizer Nick Willis. “I mean,

pulled a playing card that entered them for a chance to win

the place was packed,” he said when asked about the event’s

$7,500. Each five-card hand cost a $100 entry fee. As one of

success. “It’s just always getting bigger and bigger.”

the most highly attended marine events in the territory, the excitement alone was enough to go all-in on. This year, the event drew the attention of international cable news giant CNN, whose announcer Erin Burnett covered the event in a light-hearted feature that focused largely on Virgin Islands resident billionaire Sir Richard Branson, who entered three boats in the event. Burnett described the event as “the craziest poker game I’ve ever heard of,” and added her gleeful observations of the foreign event.



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

“It was a lot of boats, it was a lot of beers and it was a heck of a lot of bikinis.”


experience a Caribbean watersports vacation like no other

Come ashore! Too close to call?

Although this year saw numerous competitors from Puerto Rico, St Martin and Florida, Virgin Gorda resident Joseph Smith went home with the first-place prize of $7,500 with a straight flush. After collecting his prize, the exuberant Smith, who was aboard the boat Chilli Water, flipped into the pool. The award ceremony, held on the

Visit our lively resort community and enjoy unsurpassed watersports, sailing, and activities for every member of your family in the spectacular BVI.

catwalk at the Leverick Bay pool, was attended by more than 1,000, according to Willis’ count. This year, the Poker Run donated $4,000 to the Virgin Gorda Charitable Trust an $1,000 to Virgin Gorda Animal Rescue. In total, the event has raised $86,000


since its inception in 2002.

Hot Hands First: Joseph Smith (BVI) Chilli Water; Straight Flush $7,500 Second: Bob Barhart (Miami) Predator; 4 Kings $4,000 Third: Troy Barzey (Puerto Rico) Pacifier; 4 Queens $2,000 PY

Sailing & Watersports 2012 Calendar



July 7-8 Firecracker 500 Race July 14-15 KATS Premier’s Cup July 21 St Croix Cruzan One Design July 28 Guy Eldridge Memorial Manhattan Trophy Sept 8-9 Back to School Regatta Oct 13 Virgin’s Cup


Oct 27-28 Trafalgar Regatta

JULY 2012



Comfortable Fit

By Steve Fox, Managing Director OBMI British Virgin Islands

It was once stated that a person’s body is the proper measure of his property, as the foot is used to measure a shoe. Although this philosophical musing is from ancient times, it continues to have validity in the 21st century, particularly when discussing residential architecture. There’s a common tendency to focus on the size—the square footage—of a home as a way of gauging its level of comfort, luxury and value. However, the one true measure of these factors is in how the building meets the needs of the people who use it. Some feel the need for a large home, while others are happy in a modest one. Some families are likely to outgrow their existing homes, while others may only have a small piece of land to build on. Architects charged with designing homes need to understand these issues well. As the primary professionals in the design and construction process, they need to try to find a balance between their client’s desires and budget, environmental factors, and the limitations and possibilities of the site or the existing building. They need to look into the future, to anticipate Clean, linear congruency displayed in a walkway. Photos provided by OBMI.



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Modern design with open elements.

the home’s expansion requirements and capabilities, its

When material and labour costs are always a challenge,

future resale value and its long-term storage ability. Whether

it pays to consider your space requirements very carefully.

you’re retrofitting your home or building a brand new one,

A more modest-sized building project will help to manage

you can personalise and customise the design by using a

construction costs and allow you to focus your money and

professional team that can offer innovative solutions which

attention on the quality of the detail and finishes. A truly

are imaginatively conceived, regardless of size.

comfortable and sustainable home may not need to be as big as you might first imagine. A well-designed house can potentially be around a third smaller than you originally thought you needed, with all its spaces used every day rather

By linking spaces creatively, an architect can reduce the amount of wasteful and unnecessary circulation space.

than only occasionally. With a focus on quality rather than quantity, and building better not bigger, the result can be a home with character and a human scale that’s filled with special features which will encourage its owners to care for it and make it their own, to last for generations. Beginning at the schematic design stage, an architect can help in many ways to make the home more efficient and beautiful. For instance, one of the most enduring and popular design trends is the move away from formal and separate living rooms. By integrating and linking living, kitchen and dining spaces, these can become the main place for family and friends to gather. In the Caribbean environment, we’re

JULY 2012


fortunate that our homes can be opened up, allowing us to reduce the size of the rooms, increase the size of the windows and doors, and let the indoors flow into the outdoors. Large terraces and balconies can become the most used living spaces, and indoor spaces can feel bigger through their seamless connection with the outside. By linking spaces creatively, an architect can reduce the amount of wasteful and unnecessary circulation space. An apparently simple decision about where to locate the entrance door and staircase can dramatically eliminate wasted space. Careful thought and attention to detail can help to create useful storage areas, which can help to reduce clutter. An additional room can be incorporated into the roof space, creating a mezzanine which can double as a study, office or sleeping space. Further ways to achieve beauty and character can be found in the finishes and fittings of the home. Doors, cabinets, hardware and finishes should be carefully selected in order to have complete control over the final product and to give the added confidence that the choices will stand the test of time. Whether you’re looking to maximise your home’s potential for personal use or to increase its value in the competitive real estate market, it’s important to recruit the help of a professional design team. Designing with quality is a specialised discipline and is dependent on the skill of the architect, the capabilities of the builders, the availability of materials and the experience of the subcontractors. With their tricks of the trade, the team can design and build a house that comfortably fits your lifestyle and budget. PY


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Fishing For a Photo From the Underwater Lens: Steve Simonsen

By Dan O’Connor

All phots by Steve Simonsen

Steve Simonsen’s infatuation with fish, photography and SCUBA is undeniable. While some end up at deadend desk jobs, Steve has spent the past 20 years living his dream in the Virgin Islands, combining his passions for photography and the sea. The Michigan native discovered his desire first for SCUBA and, shortly after college, began traveling the world and teaching diving with Club Med. He was introduced to the early world of underwater film photography in 1980, and picked up the craft quickly. He soon spent his life savings on a Nikonos underwater camera, a 15 mm lens and strobes, and followed a desire to become a full-time photographer. Today, Steve prefers to shoot with his Canon 5D Mark II and favours his 15 mm fisheye and 100 mm macro lenses. His photography portfolio extends to scenic, architectural and portrait. Since moving to the VI, his images have graced the covers of numerous magazines, including Caribbean Travel + Life, SCUBA Diving and Sport Diver.

Fairy Basslet Don’t tilt your head—this photo is not inverted. The fairy basslet, with its striking combination of hues Steve would describe as “disco colours,” is often an upside-down swimmer. It lives in holes and on the undersides of ledges, and orients its belly to the substrate in its vicinity. The fish’s unique design includes a black highlight with a spot on its dorsal fin; a trail of black runs a natural streak of eyeliner across its optics. This image was lit using two strobes at different power settings and with side lighting to add depth to the image. Since the fairy basslet reside in the shade underneath ledges, Steve explained that the skittish swimmers are quite tricky to photograph. “They customarily don’t let you get that close to them before they dart for the protection of their lair—which is their hole in the reef,” he said.

JULY 2012


Queen Angelfish (above) The queen angelfish is “by far” Steve’s favourite sea subject because of it’s striking colours and patterns and behavior. Its bright colour scheme is even featured in Steve’s company logo and business cards. Since the queen is very “secretive and relatively shy” when approached, Steve said he’s careful not to move too quickly toward his subject or look it directly in the eyes when approaching. “It’s a special day when you encounter a member o the species that will allow you to photograph them,” he said. Steve’s especially fond of this photo because he found the fish in front of a striking contrast of coloured reef and mastered great use of negative space.

Jawfish (left) Steve’s been catching these strange specimens chewing with their mouths open for years. The yellow-headed jawfish burrow into the sand and excavate their homes with their mouth, spitting out their scoop as they pop up. They do everything with their mouth, including incubating and protecting their eggs before they hatch. Also a very timid fish, the jawfish are a difficult specimen to catch in the act. “It takes great patience to move closer ever so slowly and let them regain confidence in your position knowing that you will not attack them,” he said. It took Steve more than 10 years to capture this mouth brooder, “until that special day had come,” he said. “I spent the entire dive in front of this pair of jawfish, shooting frame after frame hoping for just the right one.”



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Caribbean Reef Squid Technically, this fascinating specimen is not a fish but a mollusk. Squid have the ability to morph instantly as they squirm through the water, and forge complex colour changes with the pigments in their skin. When interacting with other squid, they can change the colour and pattern laterally on each side of their body. They can relay one colour pattern to a squid on their right side and another colour pattern to a squid on their left side to display what might be a defense message to male on one side and a mating pattern to a female on the other side. Steve specifically chose a night dive for this shot. “While you can create a black background during the day by using a fast shutter speed combined with a very stopped down aperture, it’s easier to do at night … and the squid can be sometimes easier to approach,” he explained, adding that “night diving reveals fish and creatures doing very different behavior than that of the day.”

JULY 2012


Queen Triggerfish The queen triggerfish—or oldwife—has incredibly tough skin and a very strong beak that can tear apart sea urchins. It’s the vibrant colour pattern that attracts Steve most to these queens, which are relatives of the Picasso triggerfish, named Picasso because of its zany patterns and colours. “With two fins on the top of its body and its elongated tail fin, the fish is shaped roughly like a flattened football,” Steve said. Perhaps that’s why the versed photographer finds the queen triggerfish “irresistible to photograph.” All of these photos were shot with a 105 mm macro lens. Steve’s photography collection can be viewed at PY

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JULY 2012


Port to

P aradise Above: Gun Creek from air. Photo by Todd VanSickle.

By Dan O’Connor The marine entrance at Gun Creek in Virgin Gorda’s pristine and upscale North Sound has been declared an official port of entry, signifying what officials and business owners trumpet as a probable economic booster for the territory. The plan was first hatched more than four years ago as a means to allow for seaplane travel to the area but was shelved during a change in government. Now, officials say plans for air travel are back on the agenda. Legislators, business owners and residents met under sunny skies in late May for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially welcome international traffic to the port. There, traveling yachters will now be able to clear customs without taking a pitstop through Road Town or West End ports of entry. BVI Premier Dr Orlando Smith spoke highly of the newest port, which he believes will open lines of business in the area, while providing more security through the northerly checkpoint.



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“Declaring Gun Creek as a port of entry

that businesses in the area had helped to

is a catalyst for the development of a very

secure the traffic of high-end yachting and

important segment of our tourism industry,”

megayachting markets from St Martin to St

the premier said at the ceremony, adding that

Barths—clients that will prefer the one-stop

securing tourism would be a team effort. “We all

clearance to the North Sound.

must move forward together, and we must do

“The port cements the importance of

what we can to make our islands attractive and

that area as a major playground,” the BVITB

marketable for ourselves and our visitors.”

chairman said. “So it’s important that we make

In a separate interview, BVI Tourist

sure the traffic into that area is made as easily

Board Chairman Russell Harrigan noted

accessible as possible. … It’s good that we have a proper facility to welcome them.” The port will effectively act as a gateway

The port will effectively act as a gateway to nearby waterfront destinations like Bitter End Yacht Club, Biras Creek, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, and Sir Richard Branson’s Necker and Moskito Islands.

to nearby waterfront destinations like Bitter End Yacht Club, Biras Creek, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, and Sir Richard Branson’s Necker and Moskito Islands. These upscale resorts and marinas of the area have lobbied for the port’s opening for some time and now welcome the easement the port opening will afford their guests.

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Smiths Gore opened its office in the British Virgin Islands in 1965. The firm was established in the UK in 1845 and currently operates from 26 offices.

British Virgin Islands Britannic Hall, P.O. Box 135, Road Town, Tortola T 1(284) 494 2446 E United Kingdom 17-18 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4PT T +44 (0) 207 290 1616 E

JULY 2012


YCCS General Manager Keith Mutch spoke

Chelsea Cannon, Biras Creek’s Marketing

highly of the port, which could encourage new

Coordinator, welcomed the project with open arms

slip owners to utilize their megayacht marina. “The

and commended government for “having the

opening of Gun Creek port is brilliant, and will go a

wisdom to see the importance of this initiative and

long way toward making boat owners and captains

keeping tourism at the forefront of its manifesto.”

happy here in the North Sound,” the GM said. The

Without any audible opposition, the opening of

marina and yacht club, which is the newest player

the Gun Creek port stands to draw tourists by sea

to the North Sound business network, is planning an

and air to one of the most celebrated and pristine

increasing number of events with international draw

locales in all of the Virgin Islands. PY

to the territory.



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Government officials standby for the cutting of the ribbon. Photo courtesy of GIS.

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JULY 2012


Artists’ Corner: Gail Van de Bogurt

Handled With Care Story and photos by Dan O’Connor



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Opposite: The sculptor and her wheel. Above: a six-foot piece inspired by the sea.


or St John sculptor Gail Van de Bogurt, beauty is in the hands of the beholder.

The 20-year Virgin Islands resident and artist, who delves mainly in the craft of clays and watercolours, has operated a small studio in Maho Bay since 2002. There, she imparts her love for art on

“It’s totally joyful to make something that people use everyday.”


local students and visitors who often use her teachings as a form of therapy. In her

“I was sort of side-tracked with the food

years of practice, Gail has amassed a

business, but I had a strong desire to get

body of work that is largely influenced by

back to that artistic side of my life, and get

the history, serenity in nature and close-

to know what the Caribbean culture was

knit culture of her beloved Virgin Islands.

all about,” Gail said, as she drove through

St John is most affectionately known

the lush hillsides of St John. In dramatic

among its Virgin Islands counterparts

form, she said she was led to her longing

as Love City—and its residents seem to

desire when her store was destroyed in a

take extra care to uphold its admirable

fire. She traveled from the East Coast to the

reputation. Gail said she was drawn to the

Caribbean with a few friends on their boat,

island’s inviting charm years before she

and has since never turned back.


Hong Kong


moved there, when she owned a natural

“I just yearned for change,” she said of

British Virgin Islands

Isle of Man


foods store on Long Island, New York. Her

her decision to stay, even after her friends

previous trips to the Caribbean conjured

went back to their mainland lives. “Living in

Cayman Islands



beachfront daydreams from her big city

St John for the past 20 years, I think I have




storefront, she said.

been changed.”

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JULY 2012


Gail smiles from a familiar seat in her Maho Bay studio.

Her creative influences have since been enhanced by the small town “crossroads” lifestyle in St John. “The diversity, the culture, learning about all the people of the world who have influenced this land, it has very much enriched my life,” she said. Gail especially enjoys making functional pieces that act as a constant reminder to people of her “intimate art,” as she put it. “That’s like my bread and butter,” she said of her useable pottery. “It’s totally joyful to make something that people use everyday. It’s kind of an intimate way to influence someone’s life and bring them a calm introspection when they’re, say, having coffee.” She also enjoys emulating the crafts of ancient civilizations, which used clay out of necessity for almost all of their cookware. Her fascination has taken her to Taino dig sites on St John and beyond. Gail also dips into watercolours, and enjoys teaching classes to traveling tourists who visit the Maho Bay Camps and Concordia Ecosite, which is scheduled to close down in June 2013. It’s teaching that continues to inspire her, she said. “It’s a time when people are very busy—involved in demanding degrees and businesses. But when on vacation, they want something that can help them get in touch with themselves and become more centered,” she said. “Something that allows them to step back and notice and appreciate nature. You spend three or four hours doing that, and you’re transported to a different place.” Moving forward, Gail hopes to open another studio with partners who can help support the work that can oftentimes heed humble earnings. She’d like to remain in St John, where her influence is now apparent within the community—from those students that now have a newfound passion for the arts, to the sculptures that grace landscapes and the intimate, functional pieces on family dinner tables. PY

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JULY 2012


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Conversation Pieces By Traci O’Dea

On a recent trip to Little Bay, Tortola, I visited

cathedral-sized great room. Debi mentioned that

the newly built home of Peter and Gloria

the architects had originally conceptualized a full

Mitchell with Roy Keegan from Arawak

concrete wall to break up the room. “This always

Interiors. Though I had passed the house many

bothered me in the plan,” she said, “that it would

times over the course of its construction and

be a harsh separation in what I interpreted to be

completion, I appreciated the opportunity

an open space with multi-function. A space where

to marvel at the property and discover some

you should be able to still be a part of the group

hidden gems that I couldn’t see from the road.

or activity, regardless of which side of the screen

First to catch my eye—a gazebo inside the

you are on.” Again, the materials work together

pool, complete with a moat and two small

to provide fluidity. “The screen is intended to

footbridges. The setting provides a perfect spot for

introduce natural materials with organic shape

coffee or cocktails while taking in a view that was

and texture into the more formal and structured

clearly designed to include the stunning infinity-

surrounding of the dining and living space,” Debi

edge pool. Four soft grey, rounded-back synthetic

said. “The roots’ shapes contrast to the wood slats

rattan chairs complement a round, quartzite table

behind and the trough they are seated in.”

in shimmering, streaked silver.

The highlight of the kitchen is the granite island

Interior designer Debi Carson worked with

and breakfast bar in shades of mossy green that

the homeowners and Arawak Interiors to find

Debi said were “reminiscent of leafy greens and

furnishings and fittings for the home. Of the

vegetation” in the surrounding hillsides. Synthetic

synthetic rattan, she said, “It’s lightweight, in that it

rattan barstools in a tone plucked from the granite

can be moved and manipulated as entertaining

countertops further showcase the combinations of

dictates. The Mitchells have a great amount of

synthetic and natural materials which will hold up

family and friends, and the flexibility of furniture

to frequent use when the bustling kitchen is filled

groupings is greatly increased with the ability to

with guests.

easily move things about.” She also praised the

The furnishings and design achieved the

colour palette offered for the rattan—emphasizing

homeowners’ goals of creating comfortable,

how it mimics natural tones and also “maintains a

usable spaces. “The home needs to function for

textural feel that works well with other materials.”

several generations of family and festivities for

Inside the house, a stunning mahogany

friends,” Debi said, “as well as time for appreciating

stand-alone screen—accented with liana vines

the relaxing trade winds of the islands.” PY

Photos by Dan O’Connor. +1.284.494.5240 Road Reef Plaza, Road Town, Tortola

sourced by Roy—serves as the centerpiece of the

JULY 2012


Staycation By Stephen L. France

L ibations

Diving off into White Bay Waters. All Photos by Lynn Bolsvert.

Summer in the Virgin Islands emerges as a time when many

enigmatic Jost, speculating on the amusement I was missing.

residents decide to combat claustrophobia and desert this

There are residents and tourists alike who for their various reasons have

otherwise inviting location.

not experienced a day sail, a tropical dive, a simple snorkel, or a visit to

Residents and visitors of our utopia may not realise, but there are

a sister island.

many people, including tourists, long-stay visitors and residents, who

So, it was with great pride and some anticipation that, on a flawless

fail to explore the luxury adventures this island offers in the slower tourist

day in April, I accepted an invitation on my first charter.

months; I know this from experience.

At dawn, I met up with Captain Jamie Roberts and First Mate/Hostess

“So you’ve never been sailing before?” customers would question as I

Lynn Boisvert of Power Boat Charters at H. R. Penn Marina. Sailing a Sea

served up cocktails at Myett’s Restaurant in Cane Garden Bay.

Ray Sundancer 53ft, passionately named Viva, we sped for Virgin Gorda

“No,” I nervously replied.

to meet the passengers—Rosewood Little Dix staff and Frankly Fitness

“And you’ve never dived or snorkelled?” tourists would query. My

Movement Therapists—who were chartering the boat for their team

shame was unveiled with a hasty shake of the head.

outing. A crew of 13 boarded altogether; a group with ages ranging

“You’ve got to get over to White Bay,” others would say in reference

from 20s to 40s. Jamie and Lynn’s charisma immediately struck a happy

to BVI Jost Van Dyke; I would stare from Cane Garden Bay toward the

cord with everyone as they attempted to ascertain the leader of the



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

pack. Jamie, who advised me that the itinerary was decided by the crew, made a course for one of the BVI’s famous snorkelling spots, The Caves. Arriving at our first destination, everyone instantly dived into the water. There were no amateurs here. Whether it was their second time or twenty-second, their enthusiasm illuminated the sea as they swam toward The Caves. I glared at the gentle, turquoise waves and was sure that all the sea creatures beneath returned a frown. I could not lie; I was slightly anxious; fearful that my rear would become breakfast for an audacious, little fish, or worse, a school of them—revenge for thoroughly enjoying consumption of their species. As the boat sped from The Caves toward our second destination,

there are many people, including tourists, long-stay visitors and residents, who fail to explore the luxury adventures this island offers.

The Indians, Lynn provided snacks and drinks for the passengers, attracting the attention of an airborne invader—known as a laughing gull.

Breakfast and Coffee Shop Cafe

Open daily 7am - 2pm T (284)545-8015 E

JULY 2012


Down the hatch: guests enjoy libations.

The Little Dix crew threw peanuts into the air to its delight, as it dived

We settled at the Soggy Dollar Bar where we enjoyed lunch and drinks.

and caught the snacks. One gull turned to three, transforming to six. The

Socialising across the beach, I was impressed by the diversity that White Bay

laughing gulls, whether they were laughing with you or at you, would

attracts. Lawyers and doctors relished absence from the courthouse and

depend on the situation.

operating theatre with a famous Soggy Dollar Painkiller; police officers from

Reaching The Indians, I glared at the jagged, looming rock formation and

their respective precincts enjoyed a cold one; and hardcore hedonists saught

asked Jamie the obvious question: “Why are they called the Indians?”

their next adrenaline rush through One Love’s bushwackers.

“The person who discovered them thought they looked like tapering

Making the journey to the last destination, everyone was ready for the

feathers of an Indian chief’s headdress,” he replied.

relentless joy that the pirate boat Willy-T embodies.

This Indian chief’s headdress would be a personal landmark location for me. I

I bumped into a work colleague, who shall remain nameless, and our

intended to snorkel for the first time.

inebriated states allowed our discussion to travel years into our pasts and

As the crew dived off the boat again and commenced a competitive swim

talk of Nintendos, Segas, Ataris, Street Fighters and Mortal Combatants.

toward the rocks, I slid in sequentially, gear affixed and slipped my head under.

On the boat journey back, music blared with the distinct vocals of hip-hop

The sensation was instant.

artist Lil Jon screaming at us to do shots. By this point, every person on the boat

“Stephen, take your time to breathe!” I could hear Jaime saying, in reaction

was ecstatic; an enjoyment so unique, boat trips have to be done repeatedly.

to my erratic inhalations that sounded like a man with grave respiratory issues;

I know there are people on this island that are not taking advantage of

regardless, the beauty of the ocean was incomprehensible—I was grateful to

these luxuries—travelling to other islands, boat trips, snorkelling, surfing,

finally see it.

windsurfing and kite boarding. I have lived here for two years without

At our next stop, Jost Van Dyke’s White Bay, I jumped straight into

attempting some of them, but I highly recommend it—I know I could not

the water to claim a necessary Cheeseburger fix. The view of the white

partake in these activities in London. PY

sand—a testament to its name—the glistening, azure water and sparkling boats are a powerful image. It certainly provides a solid argument that you have unwittingly transcended into the afterlife.



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

JULY 2012




ATasty Affair

Old Government House Museum sparkled in shades of blue for the launch of the BVI’s newest cookbook, Taste: Recipes from Acclaimed BVI Restaurants

and Chefs. The evening featured hors d’oeuvre-sized versions of recipes from the cookbook prepared on-site by the chefs and served with wines paired and provided by Caribbean Cellars. Each guest received a copy of Taste along with other goodies in bags donated by WorldHouse Caribbean. The cookbooks are available at the aLookingGlass office at Road Reef Plaza, at retailers and restaurants throughout the islands, or online at PY

8 48


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Clockwise from opposite page, top left: 1. Aragorn Dick-Read chops fresh fruit samples from Good Moon Farm. 2. Myett’s Garden Grille’s chicken satay skewers with peanut sauce. 3. Tony Trappe from Golden Pavilion Villa serves up wife Kate Purdy’s mahi Napoleon Rasta rice tortilla snacks. 4. Plantain-crusted seared tuna with wasabi foam, a signature dish at YCCS & Marina, Virgin Gorda. 5. Editor Traci O’Dea chats with captain Gary Cottreau from sailing yacht Kuralu before his wife Claire’s bacon, leek and Gruyere quiches disappear. 6. The LIME team and friends show off their TASTE -ful blue outfits. 7. Cooper Island Beach Club’s Chef Chris Fisher prepares tuna beat salad on plantain chips. 8. Peter Island Resort & Spa’s Chef Lisa Sellers describes her rabbit spring rolls to Chef Lisa Mead for the television program Galley Gourmet with Chef Lisa. All photos by Dan O’Connor.




JULY 2012


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Across the Channel With a Bug and Two Paddles

By Dan O’Connor

Above: Eben after the punishing paddle. Photo by Dan O’Connor. Below: The calm before the row. All other photos by Alison Knights Bramble.

Most 16-year-olds would scoff at the idea of attending summer school—but not Eben Meyers. The young Tortola sailor instead embarked on a row in a small bug that would take him eight miles across the Sir Francis Drake Channel—from Tortola to Peter Island and back—in order to raise money for an instructor training course in Chichester Harbour, England. And this month, after reaching his goal of $2,000, Eben will enroll in the course that will better prepare him for pursuing a career in sailing. A comfortable morning in June would soon turn to a blistering midday on the open water as Eben launched his tiny dinghy Beachbug from the BVI Watersports Centre in Sea Cows Bay. “Going there was easy,” Eben said of the four-hour trek. “Going back was tough; the wind picked up and changed directions, and I was hoping the waves would help, but they didn’t. They pushed me off course.”

JULY 2012


As Eben struggled to stay on course with Sea Cows

To prepare for the row, Eben said he worked out his

Bay, he said he had the sinking feeling that he wasn’t

upper body, and walked instead of hitching a ride to

making any progress.

work. The fundraising effort was worth it, he said, and

“Halfway there, Tortola looked like it was getting

he didn’t struggle to raise money from friends, family

smaller—like I wasn’t gaining any distance,” he said of

and some connections at the Rotary Club.

his frustrations. “It got hot; the heat and pain really hit

Eben has spent much of his life on the water.

me toward the end.”

His father, Elvet Meyers, previously sailed as a BVI

But he persevered, and made the previously

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undocumented journey in four hours and ten minutes.

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After four miles, Eben reaches Peter Island.

“Going there was easy,” Eben said of the four-hour trek. “Going back was tough; the wind picked up and changed directions, and I was hoping the waves would help, but they didn’t. They pushed me off course.”

become a certified solo instructor. The Watersports Centre is unique as it is the only establishment outside Europe recognized to teach the world-renowned Royal Yachting Association training schemes to children and adults. The centre’s director, Alison Knights Bramble, followed Eben during his row in a powerboat for support. She recently commented on the design of the bugs, and Eben’s feat. “Laser Bugs are ideally sailed by juniors, but they also come with oars,” she said. “We assume the designer was thinking of a still day and a short trip back to the shore—not an eight-mile pull to Peter Island and back, crossing open water.” Eben’s passion for sailing has also been combined with his newfound interest in photography. He prefers

Dinghy Instructor’s qualification. And now Eben, a

to combine the two with sailing photography that he

versed sailor since the age of 8, is taking admirable

now features on his website,

strides to follow in their footsteps.

While in the UK, Eben said he hopes to harness both

The young sailor has spent three years as an

interests into what one day could become a

assistant instructor at the BVI Watersports Centre—

professional career. PY

experience, he said, that has guided his decision to pursue the next levels of training necessary to

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JULY 2012


Cool as a

Caribbean Cucumber


Month-to-month temperature changes in the Virgin

are seldom cooked. They are also quick and easy to

Islands are subtle, but by July the air and water have

prepare, requiring little more than a knife and cutting

become noticeably warmer than in the winter months.

board. Additionally, cucumbers allow you to experience

As the mercury rises in the summer, I crave cool and

locally grown food, as they are one of the most

refreshing foods. Cucumbers fit the bill perfectly.

readily available local vegetables in the Virgin Islands.

Cucumbers are an underrated food. You’re unlikely

I’ve purchased local cucumbers directly from the

to see the humble cucumber featured in fine restaurants

source at Tortola’s Good Moon Farm and at roadside

or on sleek TV cooking programs. If you’re like me, you

produce stands, and have also purchased them at

may toss a cucumber into your grocery cart as if on

local supermarkets. While local cukes may not look as

autopilot. Cucumbers are regularly in my refrigerator, but

attractive as imported produce, the freshness will more

I have rarely used them in ways other than slicing and

than make up for their appearance.

tossing on a lettuce salad. Yet cucumbers are surprisingly

Select small cucumbers that have a vibrant green

versatile—how often is the same food used in a salad,

colour and are firm. Avoid shriveled cucumbers or

as a cocktail garnish (for the classic British Pimms Cup)

those with soft spots. Cucumbers can be eaten whole,

and even as a beauty product that hydrates skin and

although peeling a cucumber can eliminate the

reduces puffiness around the eyes? This summer, I’ve

bitterness that sometimes occurs (usually with imported

made a point to discover new ways to use cucumbers,

veggies past their prime), and removing its seeds

promoting them to center stage in my chopped salads,

can make for better presentation in salads. To seed a

sandwiches and even beverages.

cucumber, simply cut lengthwise, then scoop out the

This vegetable is particularly ideal to eat on a

seeds with a small spoon. Common cucumber varieties

boat. Preparation of a cucumber will not add any

are slicing, pickling and English hothouse. The latter is

unnecessary heat to your galley, since cucumbers

typically sold wrapped in plastic to protect its relatively


Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

thin skin. Cucumbers are popular worldwide, with common uses such as cold soups, salads, crudité platters, sandwiches and pickles. They also make a refreshing addition to a glass of water, in lieu of adding a lemon. With a water content exceeding 95%, cucumbers are a good source of hydration and a healthy choice for mindless munching when you’re craving something crunchy. Despite their low calorie count and high water content, cucumbers contain good-for-you vitamins, minerals and fiber. Try my cucumber and feta salad for a cool and flavourful addition to your next mid-summer meal.

Cucumber and Feta Salad Use local cucumbers, if available. You will need about one pound. 1 English hothouse cucumber, cut in half lengthwise, seeded, diced in ½” pieces ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved ²⁄³ c crumbled feta cheese 2 Tbl olive oil 1 Tbl red wine vinegar 2 Tbl chopped fresh dill, or ¾ tsp dried dill Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste Combine all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately. Makes four servings. PY

JULY 2012


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 | |

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

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) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM

(284) 495 3000 | |

(284) 494 5700 | BVISIR.COM

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

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 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 |

(284) 494 2446 |

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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 |

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 | |

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 | |

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

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 |

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 world-renowned 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 |

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 |

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 |

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

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. 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 | |

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$550,00 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

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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JULY 2012


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