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WWW.SOLYSOMBRABVI.COM Smiths Gore (BVI) Limited 284.494.2446

This spectacular beachfront estate has six ensuite bedrooms in four beautifully decorated air-conditioned pavilions, each furnished with custom-made teak furniture. A great room, office/library, dining room and fully-outfitted kitchen comprise the main pavilion. Outdoor amenities include an ocean-front infinity pool, lighted tennis court, and private decks. Paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel equipment, bicycles and other beach and recreational equipment are provided. The property is just steps away from The Baths, Virgin Gorda’s famous destination, and two unspoiled beaches, Little Trunk Bay and Valley Trunk Bay. A private movie theater, daily maid service, state-of-the art gym and a chef complete the villa’s offerings.

For those finding a sanctuary


 Little Bay, Tortola, US$4,250,000

 Belmont, Tortola, US$2,500,000

 Belmont, Tortola, US$1,950,000

 Long Bay, Tortola US$1,900,000

 Belmont, Tortola US$1,995,000

 Belmont, Tortola US$1,650,000

 Little Bay, Tortola US$1,350,000

 Little Bay, Tortola US$1,250,000

 Belmont, Tortola US$850,000


 Virgin Gorda US$6,000,000

 Virgin Gorda, US$2,950,000

Maritha Keil (Managing Broker) +1 284 340 5555 | BVISIR.COM Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated

 Virgin Gorda, US$2,900,000

For those seeking an exceptional life

BVISIR.COM | +1 284 494 LIMETREE BAY, MOSKITO ISLAND US$22,500,000 Here is a rare opportunity to own shares in a secluded island in North Sound with only a few other home owners while also enjoying communal green belts, docks, beaches and recreational facilities.

VILLA KATSURA, LITTLE DIX BAY PRICE UPON REQUEST Villa Katsura, a 23,500 square foot residential estate on the peninsula of Little Dix Bay in the British Virgin Islands is situated on nearly 3 acres of land. From the breath-taking Caribbean ocean views, to the incredible architectural Asian-inspired craftsmanship, this serene sanctuary offers the ultimate in luxurious island living. Complete with waterfalls, poolside fire pits, private beach access and use of all Little Dix Resort amenities. CELESTIAL HOUSE, LONG BAY US$5,250,000 Celestial House has a stunning secluded setting with natural, awe-inspiring, surroundings. This 6 bedroom 6 and a half bathroom secluded estate home attests to its name in its elevated position above one of the island's most renowned beaches. The expansive, wrap-around veranda, welcomes guests into the main section of the luxurious home which comprises an open-plan, extensive living room and spacious covered lounging and dining pavilions. Maritha Keil (Managing Broker) +1 284 340 5555 | BVISIR.COM Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated

MAKE YOUR NEXT VACATION A Enjoy the peace & tranquility of your 60 islands and cays. Discover the hidden gems in a familiar, yet unfamiliar land called home. Choose how you safely adventure through the untouched landscapes, either on land or at sea, and get ready for endless possibilities. BVILOVE is enjoying a staycation with the ones you love.

BVISTAYCATION.COM | 1-284-852-6020 Tortola | Virgin Gorda | Jost Van Dyke | Anegada | Cooper Island | Guana Island Little Thatch | Necker Island | Norman Island | Peter Island | Saba Rock | Scrub Island

Message from the Premier of the Virgin Islands Honourable Andrew A. Fahie Welcome, one and all, As Premier of these beautiful islands, we are delighted to welcome you with BVILOVE to our home, the British Virgin Islands. Our small cluster of islands with secluded anchorages, splendid beaches, world-class marine industry, and favourable trade winds, has combined to earn us the reputation of “Sailing Capital of the World.” After a brief hiatus to preserve the health and safety of all residents and guests, our magnificent archipelago has re-opened and re-emerged to showcase even more stunning pristine land and seascapes. But more significantly, as a people emerging from recent adversity, we have shown resilience and returned to our core values, which we call BVILOVE. BVILOVE is a mantra that unites not only the people of the Territory, but resonates through all the sectors of the economy and the various aspects of our lives. We love our British Virgin Islands, and we invite you to love this Territory too. In fact, we know that many of our loyal guests have had a lifetime love affair with the British Virgin Islands, and first-time guests quickly embrace us as well. I am pleased to say that we have a renewed focus on showcasing authentic experiences in the British Virgin Islands, celebrating our people, our culture, and rich heritage of hospitality. I congratulate and express thanks to Virgin Islands Property & Yacht magazine for joining us in spreading BVILOVE with this special issue themed, The Authenticity of Our People, Our Culture, Our Cuisine, Our Environment. I am sure you will enjoy the interesting features of our people, culture, cuisine, luxury sailing, real estate, environment, events, and business. However, we hope that your encounter with BVILOVE does not end in the pages of this magazine but that you will explore our many islands and cays and truly indulge in the many authentic experiences that we have to offer. Experience our local cuisine prepared by award-winning chefs or local cooks – I’m sure you will love our national dish of fungi and fish; go sailing with our many experienced captains and explore secret get-aways, where cobalt blue waves splash against powder white sand beaches; take a safari bus over our lush green hillsides for the most spectacular views; meet some of our colourful characters who are guaranteed to make your visit memorable; discover our many attractions from museums in Tortola, the colourful, laidback beach bars on Jost Van Dyke and nearby cays, the Greater Baths National Park in Virgin Gorda, the Conch Shell Mounds in Anegada and the many other unique experiences found throughout our entire chain of islands. At the end of your trip, we believe that the only difficulty you will face will be that of choosing your favourite island. If you are visiting, I implore you to take time for what I would describe as an amazing combination of pleasurable activities, unforgettable sightseeing adventures, and nature-induced relaxation, which will rejuvenate your body, mind, and soul. Our people are eager to welcome all visitors to our Territory, whether you are a repeat visitor or if you are making your maiden voyage to the British Virgin Islands. Welcome again and thank you for making the British Virgin Islands your destination of choice. Do have an enjoyable visit with us, and we look forward to greeting you with BVILOVE on your next visit! With BVILOVE, Premier Hon. Andrew A. Fahie

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 7

CO NTENTS J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 2 1


20 C O V E R F E AT U R E

20 EXPERI EN CE YO U R BVI We profile our staycation industry; plus take a break at Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes.



The BVI’s café scene is humming.

52 42 TH E PAI NTI N G O F STO RI ES The artwork of painter and best-selling author Jill Tattersall explores the rich history and heritage of the Virgin Islands.

52 VITAMI N SEA We explore all the fun to be had out on the water this summer.


1 0 EDITO R’ S LETTER 13 N EWS Trends, inspiration & objects of desire.

1 8 ISLAND MAP Explore the BVI

64 PLASTIC IS EVERYWH ERE GreenVI details how the BVI is feeling the effects of micro-plastics and other plastic pollution.

8 | V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T


+1284 494 2446


Founded in 1967 SALES LISTINGS


CASA BLANCA 3 BEDROOMS | PRINCESS QUARTERS | VIRGIN GORDA | $2,500,000 Residential Sales & Rentals

Commercial Sales & Rentals


Vacation rentals

Consultancy & Market Analysis



Photographed at Josiah’s Bay beach, Tortola by Carolina Ansaldo. Wardrobe by Arawak, hair and mani/pedi by Studio One Salon & Spa.

On our cover

RECENTLY MY PARTNER and I took our boys to Virgin Gorda for a little staycation; a peaceful break away from our lives on Tortola. The first part of the break was spent in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, where my partner got the chance to indulge in his passion for water sports— wing foiling from Prickly Pear while the boys and I watched, captivated, from the beach. My hope is that one day our boys will love being on the water just as much as their dad does; coming to BVI 30 years ago as a water sports instructor at Nanny Cay. In this issue, we talk to four BVI water sports gurus, whose job it is to teach their chosen passion to those who want to immerse themselves in our gorgeous, crystal-clear waters. There are so many options to choose from in BVI—kite surfing, diving, SNUBA, snorkeling, paddle boarding and even wing foiling if you’re game! As our staycation continued, we moved over to Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes, where we met up with friends who joined us from Tortola. Guavaberry is situated at Spring Bay, Virgin Gorda, which in my opinion is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It’s a magical, secluded spot—we took a picnic and spent the day at the beach. The kids had a blast playing in the water, imagining those incredible rock formations were dinosaurs or whales. In this issue, you’ll also read about another passion of mine—great coffee. I’m originally from New Zealand (where we tend to be “coffee snobs”) but BVI is really lifting its game in terms of the café scene. The four cafés featured are all wonderfully different, but the commonality is that they all serve delicious, barista-style coffee. VIPY is honoured to tell the story of renowned BVI artist and writer Jill Tattersall and how she and her family journeyed from the UK to the BVI over 50 years ago. Jill’s story is a fascinating one. We would like to say thank you to Jill for sharing part of her life story, and of course her artwork which is a joy to see. There’s a lot to like in this issue, so I hope there’s something here for all of you. Erin Paviour-Smith

PS. From all of us at VIPY: Congratulations to Sara Sherman and her family on the birth of their daughter.


Spring Bay, Virgin Gorda, is just a short walk from Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes.

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BRING GREAT DESIGN HOME Arawak Interiors specialises in custom interior design for private villas, private islands, resorts and restaurants. Offering a wide range of furniture, fixtures and fittings at our interior store and warehouse in Road Town and new hybrid store in Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.

TO DISCUSS YOUR PROJECT, CONTACT ROY KEEGAN: OFFICE +1 284 494 5240 CELL +1 284 541 7483 EMAIL Arawak Interiors, Road Reef Plaza #9, Road Town, Tortola

In this issue Sally Fullam

PUBLISHER Erin Paviour-Smith



CONTRIBUTORS Charlie Bufton Anika M. Christopher April Glasgow Traci O’Dea Joanne Penney

CON TAC T U S All enquiries

Follow us on Facebook Read our digital publications

VIRGIN ISLANDS PROPERTY & YACHT (“VIPY”) is published six times per year (Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, July/August, September/October & November/December). © 2021 Patois Media Ltd. All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright by the creators or by the contractual arrangements 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 VIPY assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the content placed in its publications. For the avoidance of doubt, Patois Media Ltd gives no warranty or guarantee in its publications.

Traci O’Dea


SUB EDITOR Joanna Mathers

Sally is an award-winning art director, specialising in book and magazine publishing. She has lived and worked in London, UK, Guernsey in the Channel Islands, UK and now lives back home in New Zealand. She is kept busy with her two young children, Ethan and Paige. Her last holiday, pre-Covid, was to the magical BVI.

An American writer living in Jersey, UK, Traci O’Dea is the author of the poetry collections Restricted Movement (Scotland Street Press) and Waving (Assure Press). She previously worked as a lecturer in English language and literature at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College and a magazine and book editor at aLookingGlass.

T R E N D S , I N S P I RAT I O N & O B J E C T S O F D E S I R E

N E WS CELEB RATI N G TH E B RITI S H VI RG I N I S LAN DS EMAN CI PATI O N FESTIVAL 2021 This year’s observance commemorates 67-years of the annual Emancipation Festival, also known as August Festival. The first August Festival was held in 1954. This year’s theme is A Reflection of Heritage and Hope—Commemorating the 67th Emancipation Celebration and the slogan is Resilient and strong, let’s carry on for BVI Festival 2021. During this time, we showcase the rich culture and history of our people in grand style with extravaganzas of local and international music, pageants, food fairs, j’ouvert (street jamming), parades, gospel celebrations, folklore presentations and more. Visit the Virgin Islands Festival Facebook page at to stay up to date on all the festival celebrations.

RIGHT AND BELOW Pretty plumage: the beautiful, feathered and beaded costumes worn during The BVI Emancipation Festival celebrate and empower our women. Photography courtesy of BVI Tourist Board.

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 13

T R E N D S , I N S P I RAT I O N & O B J E C T S O F D E S I R E

AN AUTH ENTI C CU LTU RAL EXPERI EN CE Jenesis Studios is a living cultural museum/ gallery, herbal and fruit garden at Great Mountain, Tortola. Visit Jenesis Studios (owned and operated by Reuben Vanterpool and his wife Olive) to learn all about the authentic culture, history and life of the Virgin Islands people up until the 1960s. Reuben is a local artist renowned for his beautiful depictions of the way life used to be growing up in the Virgin Islands. You may recognise some of his work at the Ridge Road murals, close to Jenesis Studios. You can also see a selection of Reuben’s artwork inside the museum/gallery, and the mini gift shop on site.

ABOVE One of Ridge Road murals by Reuben Vanterpool. Photograph by Caribbean Jules Photography.

Tours of the museum, artist’s studio and garden walk are now running by appointment only. To secure your tour please call Reuben or Olive on (284) 543 3916 or (284) 543 2326.


All three of these Matt Clark artworks are available in giclee print or giclee canvas.  Choose the location that is nearest and dearest to you or let Matt customise with your favourite beach, island, hometown or even sports team.


Sunny Caribbee is back in business with over 25 products in stock at Nutmeg & Co: a must-have for any summer BBQ spice repertoire. Nutmeg & Co. is the official shipper for Sunny Caribbee products. You can find the full Sunny Caribee product range in store and on the Facebook page at: nutmegandcobvi/shop/. The Cavallini lightweight luxury summer cotton napkins, aprons and tea towels are available in store. The beautiful illustrations on this line are inspired by the Cavallini archives. All available at Nutmeg & Co., 164 Waterfront Drive, Road Town. We ship to all international destinations including USPS flat rate to the United States and Canada.

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These portable, lightweight, and waterproof solar lanterns are packed full of power. They are thoughtfully designed for everyday use and make the perfect lighting back up for sailing, camping and emergency use. One charge lasts up to nine-hours. They are 100% solar and take seven-hours to recharge. Whether you’re venturing off-grid or relaxing in the yard, these lanterns make life a little brighter.

Available from all Arawak stores: in Tortola at Road Reef, Nanny Cay and Soper’s Hole, and in Virgin Gorda at Spanish Town and Leverick Bay.



Introduced in 1999, Wish combines sweet, powdery, and balsamic tones with tempting hints of vanilla and caramel. Perfect for daytime wear, Wish takes you into the night on the same feminine note of sophistication.


Happy Spirit comes in a beautiful pink heart-shaped bottle. The fragrance is delicate just like the bottle it is captured in. The fresh citrus notes precede the balmy floral harmony of magnolia and honeysuckle, and sweet fruity raspberry nuance. The base is composed of cashmere wood, amber and musk.


Chopard Oud Malaki is a classic oud with just the right hint of spices and other accords. The opening showcases lavender, artemisia, and grapefruit, thus starting the scent with a little green freshness. Wear it to work and then out on the town … it can take you anywhere. All from $135 at House of Luxury, Tortola Pier Park, phone (284) 443 3030, or email

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 15

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T R E N D S , I N S P I RAT I O N & O B J E C T S O F D E S I R E

J EWELLERY BY MÜ N D EL MAR The embodiment of the free spirit, a child of the ocean, Mün rides the waves of adventure, powered by her creativity. Her talent for tying natural fibre knots around precious stones and hand-hammered silver symbols has given Mün a lifestyle of fun, freedom and adventure in far-flung places. But, like the ocean, it’s deeper than that. She is a true artisan, with a stylish eye and devotion to her craft. Mün has created a line of stunning jewellery for both men and women. Intense, intricate, intriguing, each piece is a unique creation. Durably alluring elegance, reflective of a way of life we all want, but only few achieve. You will find Mün Del Mar’s jewellery collection at Arawak Boutiques: in Tortola at Nanny Cay and Soper’s Hole and in Virgin Gorda at Spanish Town and Leverick Bay. For more see:

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 17

EXPLORE THE BVI The British Virgin Islands, part of a volcanic archipelago in the Caribbean, comprises for main islands—Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, and Anegada, and some 50 smaller islands

Guana Island

Jost Van Dyke

Little Jost Van Dyke

Great Tobago


Sandy Spit Sandy Cay

Little Tobago

Road Town

Great Thatch





Frenchmans Cay

Little Thatch

Pelican Island

Norman Isl

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Necker Island Moskito Island Great Camanoe

Prickly Pear Island Eustasia Island

The Dogs Scrub Island

Virgin Gorda

Marina Cay

Fallen Jerusalem Ginger Island Salt Island Dead Chest

Cooper Island

4 Miles Port of Entry / Airport

Peter Island

Port of Entry / Ferry Ferry Routes


JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 19


seascape villa


There are so many wonderful places for stay-at-home holidays in the BVI. Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes is one of them. 20 R OGPLEA RS TY &W YA C H T B Y | AV PIRPI L GO

The Baths, Virgin Gorda. The perfect spot for your next BVI staycation.

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The million dollar views from the deluxe Mondelo Villa.

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#HEALTHYATHOME and #StayHome were two popular campaign hashtags during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. And many people did just that. So, it’s no surprise that the global tourism industry took a major hit. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, tourism is one of the sectors most affected by the pandemic: it’s impacting economies, livelihoods, public services and opportunities across the world. On the bright side, the pandemic caused new global travel trends to emerge, like the staycation, as confirmed by a recent report by the World Travel and Tourism Council which states: “Traveller preferences and behaviour has shifted toward the familiar, predictable, and trusted. Domestic and regional vacations and the outdoors will reign in the shortterm, with tourism businesses and destinations already adapting.” BVI, like all other destinations, is seeing its industry stakeholders come up with creative ways to encourage residents to staycation … or take a vacation at home. Even before COVID-19, in 2004, the BVI Tourist Board (BVITB) launched “Experience Your BVI”, a staycation programme to generate business for industry partners during the slower summer months. This initiative was later rebranded the “BVI Staycation Programme” in 2009, and has gained momentum since April 2020, when many were forced to cancel vacations abroad and explore their own “backyards”. “Many residents are still a bit reluctant to travel and prefer to vacation in their own backyard and are staying close to home for now,” observes BVITB regional marketing manager RaeNisia Scatliffe, who now leads the programme. Director of tourism Clive McCoy remarked: “Staycations are an excellent opportunity for residents to see the BVI through the lens of a tourist and to explore your home and

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support our tourism industry. It also provides an opportunity for people to become our most valuable marketing tool because the expectation is that they will be able to promote their experience with anyone.” Scatliffe says the staycation programme has become embedded in the industry. “It is here to stay. It’s embedded. Staycations are trendy. Many residents began taking them last summer and are planning to take staycations again this summer and at Christmas time.” The marketing manager explains

that the partners who signed up with the programme are offering valueadded extras. The current staycation partners, totalling 70 businesses, include small properties, hotels, resorts, charter companies, shops, restaurants, spas and car rentals, in addition to outdoors themed businesses that provide services like picnics and water sports. In addition to affordable rates, Scatliffe says staycations are less stressful when it comes to planning, they support the local economy, and they provide opportunities for residents to learn about what BVI has


ABOVE Experience this view during your stay at Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes.

to offer and in turn become brand ambassadors. To be included in the staycation programme, industry stakeholders are asked to share their packages and rates with the BVITB, which the agency then promotes with the wider BVI public. One such partner, Guavaberry Spring Spring Bay vacation homes, have been a staycation partner for a number of years.

Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes is a 20-acre garden estate and beach retreat located on Virgin Gorda. Lush, beautiful gardens complement the property’s 20 circular-shaped guest houses, built to encourage the flow of the cool tropical breezes. It’s a charming, inviting property, quite opposite to the “busyness” that is sometimes attached to a resort stay. Guavaberry Spring Bay exudes down-to-earth splendour and homeaway-from-home comfort. Paired with stunning views in a unique location, you simply do not get

properties like Guavaberry Spring Bay anymore. Each of the immaculate and spacious houses on the estate are named after local fruits and flowers, like guavaberry and allamanda, which are also planted on the property. Virgin Gorda is known for its boulders and some of the homes even have decks which incorporate them into their structures. In addition to their own homes, Guavaberry Spring Bay manages a number of unique deluxe villas nearby. Ranging from one to five bedrooms, some boast beach access or their own pools.

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 25


Spring Bay sunset at dusk is truly breathtaking.

‘I think it’s quite magical. It’s going back to nature, tucked in amongst the trees and boulders, it’s an enchanting experience that allows you to rewind’ T in a G o s c hle r


Guests can enjoy relaxation at any of the homes; it’s your choice whether you take a quick walk to Spring Bay beach or take in the spectacular views of the Sir Francis Drake Channel from the deck of your house. The sunsets from either are breathtaking. Guests are treated like family, made to feel at home and at peace. Some guests have been returning for decades and could regale you with stories of Virgin Gorda from as far back as 1969 when Guavaberry opened. Originally started by Charles and Betty Roy, it is now run by their

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daughter Tina Goschler and the third generation—granddaughter Michelle Goschler and grandson Ian Roy. Visitors looking for a private getaway will enjoy Guavaberry Spring Bay’s amenities like WiFi, laundry service, housekeeping and on-site commissary, run on an honour system where guests pick what they like, write it down, and pay upon departure. Because guests are treated like family. Personalised guest services have expanded over the years to include bookings for personal chefs and decor for a romantic couple’s stay

Guavaberry Spring Bay vacation homes is the perfect holiday spot for families.

or small private event. Each house comes with full kitchens and outdoor grills, which all the guests take full advantage of, says Tina Goschler. For those wishing to take a break from cooking, there are plenty of excellent restaurants close by. While rates vary depending on the desired house and season, local staycationers are encouraged to take advantage of packages as low as $175 per night.

Families, couples, nature lovers, adventurers

Michelle Goschler says she can customise getaways for guests’ specific needs. Families can request cribs, high-chairs, toys, books, board games or even patio rails to safeguard young children. Need a night out? Guavaberry can help with everything from booking the dinner reservations and babysitter, to making sure you have a taxi to take you safely to and from your special evening. Couples who wish to stay in can take advantage of meal delivery … or even an in-room masseuse. For the nature lovers, snorkel gear can be rented from the property to explore Spring Bay, or The Baths nearby. Many guests find they are the only ones there some days, and relish in the fact they had their very own “private beach” for a day. Guests can also tour the serene gardens while they take their morning walk. Adventurers may enjoy bouldering, which involves climbing the large boulders of the property. Crash pads can be found at the front desk alongside a copy of Guide to Bouldering and Traveling in the Virgin Islands by Rich Crowder, a former guest. Many staycationers will also become reacquainted with Virgin Gorda and discover things they might not have paid attention to before, says

Goschler. She mentions that visitors from Tortola, in particular, have the advantage of bringing their own cars over via the barge to explore the island in the comfort of a familiar vehicle.

The photographer’s (or selfie lover’s) dream

While the entire property is beautifully designed and meticulously maintained, there are specific areas where guests are inspired to take photographs. The lush lawns of the Guavaberry Ghut (located at the upper end of the property) are ideal for shots of the family and children at play. One particular plant, the nightblooming cereus, is not much to look at during the day, but at night has large, perfumed white flowers that can bloom as large as nine inches in diameter, and would be most interesting for the experienced nature photographer’s lens. Stay in April and May to see these in all their glory. The boulders make for a dramatic backdrop for any model, be it grandpa or a young couple. Spring Bay beach itself has a number of “selfie spaces”, including under the tamarind tree, laying in the white sand, or while bathing in the crystal blue sea (with a waterproof phone or camera of course). Don’t forget to catch the sunset from your deck.

Why book a stay at Guavaberry Spring Bay?

Says Tina Goschler: “The rates are good, we’re close to the village, close to the beaches, service is great — you get us!” Michelle adds, with a smile: “Plus you’re in the most beautiful, natural setting and it’s unique.” Tina Goschler continues: “I think it’s quite magical. It’s going back to nature, tucked in amongst the trees and boulders, it’s an enchanting experience that allows you to rewind a bit, while staying at a ‘home away from home’. You really do come over to Guavaberry Spring Bay to decompress, to step away from it all.” Tina Goschler also encourages staycationers to come visit Virgin Gorda while things are not as busy, and guests can enjoy some privacy and really enjoy the beaches. Book your staycation package at Guavaberry Spring Bay Vacation Homes via email info@ and visit their website https://www. to view the gallery of homes and villas. The images and descriptions will help guests decide which house or villa is ideal for them, however, as Tina Goschler puts it: “You really can’t describe Guavaberry Spring Bay, it’s a place you really have to experience.” ■

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 29


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Island Roots Cafe on Main Street abuzz with the sounds of coffee grinding and the happy chatter of its staff and customers.

CAF É C U LT U R E The search for that perfect cup of barista-style coffee is seeing this industry thrive, keeping coffee and food connoisseurs all over the BVI very happy! BY T R AC I O ’ D E A P H O T O G R A P H Y C O U R T E S Y O F M I C H A E L D E N T, I S L A N D R O O T S , L A DY S A R A H ’ S , M O N G O O S E C A F É , B AT H & T U R T L E / C H E Z B A M B O O & M A R TA G A R R A U S

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THIS SPREAD The sweet treats on offer at Island Roots are hard to resist.

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THE CAFÉ OWNERS that we spoke with in Spanish Town, Nanny Cay, Trellis Bay, and Road Town all have one thing in common—a desire to create hospitable spaces where you feel relaxed enough to linger, to conduct business meetings, to pop in for a quick to-go coffee, or simply to enjoy the atmosphere. They have a passion for café culture, and they want you to become a part of the buzzing social hub that they’ve created. Island Roots Café, Lady Sarah’s, Mongoose Café, and Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo/Chez B Grind all embrace the ethos of café culture, but each café has their own unique manifestation of what it means to them.

Island Roots Café “Coffee connects us in so many ways—to our senses, to each other, and to the earth” —Rohan Marley Tina Bryson from Island Roots Café appreciates fresh food and perfect espresso. Her love of food comes from two sources: her extensive travel all over the world and her mum’s cooking. “I’ve grown up in an environment where food is the centre of everything,” she says while sipping on a cappuccino in the Main Street location. The menu at Island Roots has been curated based on “the same fresh ingredients that I would eat at home,” she says. Island Roots Café serves healthy light fare made from scratch. Even the salad dressings and breads are homemade, and she has started growing vegetables and herbs in the back garden of the Main Street location. The Main Street Island Roots Café is open Monday to Friday 7:30am3pm and Saturdays 8am- 2pm. The weekday menu includes a variety of panini, sandwiches, and wraps with fillings such as roasted red peppers and eggplant, jerk chicken, spicy tuna, Bombay grilled veggies, and Asian BBQ pork tenderloin.

‘I’ve grown up in an environment where food is the centre of everything’ T in a B rys on Fresh salads include Greek chicken, Mediterranean quinoa, protein lentil, and roasted beet. Also offered are freshly prepared soups, which change daily, and weekly specials with such offerings as vegan jerk sweet potato and black beans with basmati rice and chicken bulgogi bowl. Many of the salads are garnished with fresh cilantro, parsley, mint, lettuce, and arugula from the café’s garden. The Saturday brunch menu includes the main menu plus specials such as a full English breakfast, omelettes, and ackee and saltfish. While the café has become a destination for the Road Town lunch crowd, the main draw at all three locations—Main Street, Nanny Cay, and Nook—is the coffee. Tina Bryson did extensive training in Canada for barista-style coffee making. “The supplier of the beans who I use is very finicky about who they sell their beans to. It’s one thing to have a great product, but if it’s not being executed correctly, it reflects poorly on their brand.” She learned how to make the perfect espresso and passes that knowledge on to her staff. In addition to coffee, all Island Roots locations offer an extensive range of tea, iced drinks, chai, matcha, and smoothies. They also sell coffee beans from the same roasters that Island Roots use, which you can buy whole or have ground on site. Sailors, residents, and tourists who are visiting Nanny Cay love to escape to the air-conditioned sanctuary of Island Roots Café, where they can also find travel mugs, coffee accessories, and sailing gear. For the upcoming season, they will be moving locations closer to the hotel and condos and offering frozen meals for charter boats or busy families. The Nook bookstore branch of

Island Roots, across from the Road Town ferry parking lot, affirms how perfectly Tina Bryson understands coffee culture—books and coffee go hand in hand. The café at Nook opened in December and offers delicious drinks, grab-and-go items such as wraps, salads, sandwiches, as well as French pastries, cakes, and breads. All three locations offer a divinely relaxed atmosphere that allow you to focus on enjoying the flavours before you.

Lady Sarah’s “A simple, noble monument that remains” —Richard Georges from “48 Main Street” The original Lady Sarah’s was a bath and body shop in another location in the nineties that sold high-end products. It then evolved into a café that closed in 2002, but proprietor Portia Harrigan never forgot the warmth and joy she experienced from running the café. So, in 2018, six months after Hurricane Irma, Lady Sarah’s reopened as a bistro in Road Town at 48 Main Street. Portia wanted to reinvigorate Lady Sarah’s and make a contribution to the overall recovery of the islands. She is indebted to her loyal customers who have kept the bistro going. Visiting Lady Sarah’s is like visiting a favorite relative who always wants to fill you up on tea and cakes. The vibrant and welcoming décor showcases local artists, alongside vintage musical instruments and antiques that link back to the original owners of the building, Cil and Elaine Georges, from when this spot was their home. The lush garden features hibiscus plants, birds of paradise, and

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‘If I see people selling on the side of the street, I stop and buy what I think might make a great juice. This morning, I bought some tamarind’ P ortia H arrigan potted palm trees dotted amongst the tables, and a bench made from the front of a vintage car. The colourful atmosphere inside and out, reflects the freshness of the ingredients of Lady Sarah’s food. Many of the café’s produce— tomatoes, avocados, mangoes, and star fruit—come from Lady Sarah’s Farm in the Windy Hill. The fresh juices are made from local fruit.

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“If I see people selling on the side of the street, I stop and buy what I think might make a great juice. This morning, I bought some tamarind,” Portia Harrigan says. Other days, it might be basil or lavender. “This is the season for local fruits, so you’ll be seeing a lot of local fruits from the end of April into August. Soursop, mango, papaya.” Virgin Islands Organics supplies

Lady Sarah’s with 90% of the herbs used in their dishes. Breakfast and lunch are served during the week by Lady Sarah’s warm and welcoming staff, a few of whom are students at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. Breakfast dishes include the LSF breakfast bowl with eggs, avocado, roasted tomatoes, sweet potato hash, and spinach; a farmhouse omelette with tomato, onion, peppers, cheddar, and greens; and smashed avocado on toast. For lunch, you can start off with some Salt Island fish cakes, mini quesadilla, or a soup. The salad choices include a

THIS SPREAD Guests enjoying Sunday brunch at Lady Sarah’s. The warm hospitality, delicious homestyle food and fun events are what makes this café a must-visit. It’s a hive of activity throughout the week, as diners gather to enjoy the wonderful range of dishes, made with seasonal fruit and vegetables. Call to reserve a table on (284) 496 8011 or (284) 541 8011.

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‘While attending university, coffee shops were my best friend. It’s the environment, the ambience, the experience’ R ochelle L awrence chickpea salad bowl and a quinoa salad of the day. The main events for lunch are the decadent wraps and sandwiches that all come with homemade fries. If you’re craving a burger, you can choose from a cheeseburger, jerk burger, black bean burger, lamb burger, or turkey burger. If you’re in the mood for a wrap, Lady Sarah’s offers a salmon wrap or Calypso chicken wrap. Then there’s a grilled cheese sandwich like you’ve never experienced before— the great meltdown—a mixture of aged cheddar and mozzarella with caramelized onions and house made sundried tomato pesto. To die for. Friday nights, Lady Sarah’s is open from 5pm- 9pm for a specially designed tapas and pizza menu.

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Saturdays at Lady Sarah’s brings one of the most tempting brunch menus on the island—many of the breakfast and lunch treats are on offer as well as French toast, chicken and waffles, grilled salmon with organic greens, and the big breakfast platter. In addition to the regularly scheduled meals and menus, Lady Sarah’s offers delectable daily specials such as curried chicken, jerk-marinated salmon, and fried fish sandwich. Also, Lady Sarah’s hosts events like a brunch festival, a seafood market, live music from popular artists, and open mic nights. Lady Sarah’s lures you in with a welcoming environment and keeps you coming back with the fresh food and homemade juices.

Mongoose Café “Then what’s up next a milky sun As western planes burst through the mist” —Jennie M. Wheatley from “A Glorious Awesome Puzzle” Rochelle Lawrence at Mongoose Café is serious about coffee. “I have always aspired to open a coffee shop,” she says. “While attending university, coffee shops were my best friend. It’s the environment, the ambiance, the experience.” She promises world-class customer service with every order and offers, with every cup of BRew, a complimentary buttery cookie pairing to go with the roast. The tagline for Mongoose Café is “an experience is BRewing”. In addition to creating a boutique atmosphere, Lawrence also wants to serve the best coffee around.

CLOCKWISE FROM FAR LEFT The main Restaurant at Loose Mongoose, the beach and dock, delicious fresh pastries and iced coffee, the warm smile of Barista Ann. Good things come in small packages at Mongoose Cafe.

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“We don’t have the space to have a light, medium, and a dark roast,” she says, “so it took a lot of tasting to find the perfect blend. It should be rich, nutty, a little chocolatey.” She experimented with several different beans to find exactly the right flavours. Also, to keep up with customers’ preferences and dietary requirements, Mongoose Café can make you a latté or flat white with every different type of milk available— oat milk, soy milk, skim milk, coconut milk, almond milk, and full cream. The signature specials of Mongoose Café are the frozen frappés. These refreshing iced coffee drinks give you an extra kick with inventive flavors such as the Biscoff ® frappé, thin mint frappé, coconut tart frappé, and strawberry cheesecake frappé. All come with or without homemade whipped cream. Other cold drinks at Mongoose Café include cold brew coffee, iced tea, fresh passionfruit juice, iced matcha, milkshakes, smoothies, Italian sodas, and other new weekly creations. Local bush tea can be served hot or iced and the ingredients come from the premises where they grow herbs such as lemongrass, mint, and basil. Mongoose Café makes their chai from scratch. Lawrence says, “I think that if we’re giving the best customer service, we should also be giving the best ingredients.” As if the drinks weren’t enough to tempt your tastebuds, Mongoose Café creates divine delights from the kitchen. Homemade vegetable quiche, cinnamon rolls, scones, marble chocolate brownies, vegan pumpkin bread, turkey and avocado sandwiches, vegan cookies, muffins, donuts, egg salad, patties, pastries, bacon and egg subs, lemon pound cakes, and other freshly made treats can be found at the café served on compostable plates. The café is 97.2% eco-friendly and focuses on using biodegradable products, including straws made from

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‘There are a lot of customers who we serve two or three meals a day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner’ R ose G iacinto bamboo or hay. They also recycle their coffee grounds for skin care products or donate them to local farmers to keep pests away from their gardens. “I like to add a local aspect in the coffee shop that is essential to the BVI,” Lawrence says and mentions the inclusion of local specialities such as patties, bush tea, and tarts on the menu. “I think it’s important to incorporate our culture. Combining a passion for the coffee with a passion for the BVI.” The Mongoose Café is the only structure of the old Loose Mongoose that was left after Hurricane Irma. The stunning location in Trellis Bay is a perfect place to relax while listening to the sea lap at the edge of the sand and palm trees rustle in the wind. The café can be accessed by land or sea and is a five-minute walk to the airport. Mongoose Café is open seven days a week, 6am-1pm on weekdays and 6am-6pm on weekend and holidays. Lawrence asks, “Why would a coffee shop close on a holiday? I need coffee on a holiday.” She envisions the café becoming more of a gathering spot and hopes to host more in-house experiences like tea parties, tea and yoga sessions, meatless Mondays, and café bingo.

Bath &Turtle/Chez Bamboo/Chez B Grind

“Serum of steam rising from the cup what comfort to be known personally” —Naomi Shihab Nye from “My Uncle’s Favorite Coffee Shop” Warning: if you walk into Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo/Chez B Grind, you may never want to leave. “There are a lot of customers who we serve two or three meals a day—

breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” says proprietor Rose Giacinto. “We want it to be a place where people linger.” The homemade baked goods, local produce and seafood, gourmet coffee, and fresh cocktails are what keep customers coming back. The restaurant is an oasis in the middle of Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, with cheerful décor in which Caribbean flora such as bougainvillea vines and palm trees peep through bamboo walls. I’d call their menu down-home fusion—a range of everything from sushi and entrée salads to Johnny cakes and mutton soup. Chefs Cecily, Rachel, Danny, Jerome, and Chris know their way around a kitchen and have created this unique menu. For breakfast, try the Johnny cake with ham, egg, and cheese or pancakes with scrambled eggs and sausage. Pastry chef Zhel makes all their baked goods on site: pastries, cookies, brownies, cakes, and breads (buy some in the morning before they sell out). Coffee and cakes can be enjoyed in the Chez B Grind, a laid-back lounge area with sofas, low tables, and Illy coffee drinks. The lunch menu features individual dishes or family-style meals. Some highlights of the menu include a whole roasted chicken, a mahi-mahi burger, sushi platters, or an entire beef and spinach lasagne. They make fresh pizza dough every day for their selection of pizza toppings. Or if you’re looking for something lighter, Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo offer West Indian soups or fresh salads topped with fish or chicken. For dinner, you are spoiled for choice. Giacinto says, “everybody can always find something” on the menu. Asian cuisine, Caribbean favorites, and American classics dominate the dinner selections.

The relaxed, eclectic outdoor space with the “temporary” bar that was rebuilt post-Irma, still going strong.

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THIS SPREAD When you visit Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo/Chez B Grind it’s like being at home - friendly staff, lead by Rose Giacinto and delicious homemade food is what keeps its regular customers returning daily.

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Appetizers consist of coconut chicken tenders, freshly made fish fingers, quesadillas, and deep-fried pickles. The famous entrée salads— such as a Caesar or a chopped salad— are composed of lettuce grown in neighbouring greenhouses and can be topped with fresh fish, chicken, or shrimp. Order from a wide selection of sandwiches and wraps, including an Irma Burger with buffalo sauce, bacon, and blue cheese; a fish taco or pulled pork wrap; or a West Indian chicken burger—all served with fries. Asian specials consist of sesamecrusted seared tuna, shrimp and pork siomai, and a variety of sushi rolls. On top of the regular menu, Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo offers daily specials based on seasonal produce and fresh catch. Chef Zhel’s desserts and homemade ice cream are available in the evenings. Front of the house staff Sharon, Jhanet, Rachel,

and Roy are on a first-name basis with most of their customers, and they will do anything to make you feel at home. If there is something you want that isn’t on the menu, just ask them, and they’ll do their best to accommodate. They are also famous for their sumptuous cocktails. Happy hour is from 4-6pm every day with cocktail specials and three beers for $10. The cocktails are made from local ingredients such as mango, mint, banana, key lime, and passionfruit. After Hurricane Irma, Giacinto and her crew moved the bar to the front of the restaurant, and it’s become such a popular watering hole that it’s never moved back. Since Hurricane Irma, Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo have moved under one roof to combine menus and provide consistent service for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Giacinto and her staff provided meals for the

workers clearing the Virgin Gorda roads immediately after the hurricane, and they’ve provided delivery service to people in quarantine. They continue to offer delivery service to families and couples staying in nearby villas. The inviting atmosphere, mouth-watering menu, fresh cocktails, divine desserts, and dedication to the community are only a few of the reasons why Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo is an institution on Virgin Gorda. We are lucky to have all of these venues that have created their own vision of the ideal café. Island Roots Café, Lady Sarah’s, Mongoose Cafe, and Bath & Turtle/Chez Bamboo/ Chez B Grind have each curated a unique atmosphere in which to serve their drinks and food menus of fresh, homemade ingredients. The only question that remains is how many cafés can you visit in a day? ■

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TH E PAI NTI N G O F STO RI ES Jill Tattersall’s passion for the BVI is reflected in her artwork. We uncover her personal story and find out that there is so much more to this artist than meets the eye. BY A N I KA M . C H R I STO P H E R

The Tattersall family - Robin, Jill, James, Mark & Simon photographed for Women’s Own magazine at Wickhams Cay in 1965 by Hon. Ralph O’Neal.

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LEFT A shot also from Jill’s modeling portfolio circa early 1950s. BELOW A shot for Jill’s modeling portfolio, to carry round the studios to show how she photographed. Jill proudly made the dress and coat from a Vogue pattern. The dress was ivory ribbed silk with an emerald satin lining for the coat. RIGHT The photographer’s proof sheet of Jill’s various poses, from which the final shot will be chosen, featuring a beautiful Hardy Amies coat and skirt. Robin is also featured with Jill, top left.

THE ARTWORK OF painter and best-selling author Jill Tattersall explores the rich history and heritage of the British Virgin Islands. But as we discovered during a fascinating interview with Jill Tattersall, this artist has her own intriguing story to tell, of her life and journey to the BVI over 50 years ago.

Early years

Born in Cornwall in 1931, Tattersall grew up on an apple orchard in Essex, United Kingdom. Her father had been Governor of Bihar and Orissa, pre-World War II in India before moving to the UK. Jill received her early education at a boarding school

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in Shropshire and was later sent to a finishing school in Switzerland. As a child, Tattersall always had a creative mind. At age 3, she had already learned to read and loved books. When she was 5, her mother taught her how to paint. When not in school, she would spend her time writing and illustrating; she wrote her first book when she was just 7. “At 7, I finally finished writing and illustrating a book about a girl who longed for her own pony and finally got her wish. My parents seemed to like the book and on my 8th birthday, I got a pony!” she told us. In addition to writing, she thought she would become an illustrator, but because her older sister was already a painter, she decided to continue writing. “I realised my older sister was the painter in the family, so I would be the writer. So, it seemed as if writing was a good thing to do. I wrote a long book through boarding school encouraged by all the girls reading it over my shoulder, desperate to know what would happen next,” she said. Despite this, Tattersall was still given the opportunity to explore her artistic abilities. At age 16, she attended a polytechnical school where she studied foundation courses in fashion, drawing, sculpture, architecture and anatomy.  At 18 Tattersall started a three-year course in occupational therapy at Oxford and while there, she met her future husband, plastic surgeon Robin Tattersall. The couple married in Essex in 1953. During this time, Robin



‘Robin was still an unpaid medical student and we paid the rent with my dress allowance’ and Jill earned a living by modelling, when they weren’t studying. “Robin was still an unpaid medical student and we paid the rent with my dress allowance. I was an occupational therapist but no first jobs at that time were available in London so modelling was the way to go, although Robin’s rugby friends teased him for a while.” Robin worked with top fashion models, while Jill worked for a number of prestigious women’s magazines of that time. “I trained

at Cherry Marshall’s School of Modelling,” she says. The couple worked with renowned American fashion photographer and portraitist, Richard Avedon. Robin as the model and Jill assisting with the set-ups. “I was too short for runway work, but I did quite a lot of commercial advertising for hair products like L’Oreal. They always did my hair for free. “I loved the variety. Did one or two with Robin, like a cover of Good Housekeeping. Then with the children when they arrived; we were all in it.”

After writing her first book at the age of 7, Tattersall went on to have a very successful career in writing. Her writing was well supported by Robin who paid for her to take a writing course that was “quite helpful”. She sent out a number of her short stories to magazines, which were never accepted because the magazines always commissioned stories from well-known writers. Still determined to advance her career, Tattersall wrote a carefully researched period novel and submitted it to Collins. “After a while, they asked me to come and see them at their very grand head office in St James St. I was shown into a room where a very elegant young man welcomed me with the amazing words, ‘Mrs Tattersall, I think I can say that we will publish anything you write!’ He went on to say they got 250 unsolicited manuscripts per week and mine was the first he had ever known to be accepted.” That day, she went home and proceeded to write her second book and from there, as they say, the rest is history. She became an admired author of more than 14 successful historical mystery novels and was awarded a “Daughter of Mark Twain”, a prestigious award for story tellers worldwide. One of her novels, Lyonesse Abbey, made it to the New York Times best seller list. “The books were serialised and came out in paperback editions in many languages and when I was accepted by Morrows of New York, things became even more exciting,” she said. Her period novels sell throughout the world and have been translated into many languages. In addition to historical mysteries, she wrote several books on Caribbean history when she came to the Virgin Islands, including ones on Blackbeard, Black Sam Bellamy and Captain Kidd.

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‘I looked at the islands as we sailed in our little 28-foot sloop and thought “these waters want to be painted in watercolor”’ Coming to the Virgin Islands

In 1965, Jill and her (by now) surgeon husband Robin felt it was time for a change. They decided to take the huge leap of moving to the Caribbean. With them, they needed to bring a sloop they had built in Holland called, Summer’s Cloud, which was named after her first novel. To cover provisioning and shipping costs of their sloop, she approached Women’s Own Magazine, one of the most prominent women’s magazines that published her books as serial stories. They were delighted to pay a fee in advance to Tattersall in exchange for an article on the family’s adventure. With their three boys, James 10, Mark 8 and Simon 5 and their beloved cat, they left their home in Wimbledon and set sail for St Lucia in a banana boat with Summer’s Cloud also on board as they felt that was the fastest way to transport it across the Atlantic. From St Lucia, they boarded the 28-foot sloop and headed for Tortola where Robin would take a position as the island’s first surgeon. During their time at sea, Tattersall wrote about their experience, which would go on become a story called “Storm Passage to Paradise”. Upon arrival to Tortola, she needed a photograph of the family for the article. As she looked around for someone to ask to take the picture at Wickhams Cay, she found a welldressed young man who agreed to do it. He was the (then) 19-year-old Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal.  Shortly after, the family took residence at Fort Burt Hotel. Robin and Jill’s sons attended school on the second floor of what is now The Pub.  Later on, they moved to Treasure Isle Hotel for some time, before eventually

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purchasing the Bougainvillea Clinic, which served as both their home and their surgery clinic. In 1971, Robin and Jill welcomed their fourth son, Johnny. Though she was very busy with raising their four children, Tattersall was still able to find time for her passion. “In between everything else, I painted,” she said.  “Eventually, the years rolled by and I got divorced and I found I could not write another word of fiction. I was thinking, what am I going to do with myself? I had all this creative energy, but I just couldn’t write.” It was through painting that Tattersall found her voice. “I started to paint again” she said. This creative voice would be further shaped by her experiences in the Virgin Islands.

The start of art

While sailing, Tattersall was already inspired by the idyllic Caribbean Sea. “I looked at the islands as we sailed in our little 28-foot sloop and I thought, ‘these waters want to be painted in watercolor’,” she said. When the Tattersalls finally arrived at the Virgin Islands, it was unlike anything she had ever seen. “When we came to Tortola, it was so exciting to see a completely different world. The first thing that struck me was that the houses had no chimneys. Why? Well, because they didn’t need fireplaces, but I hadn’t thought of that. I wanted to paint those houses without chimneys and I wanted to paint the people. Everyone was working so hard. People were cutting things for donkeys and gutting fish. Everywhere I looked was something that I hadn’t actually seen people doing before. But I just loved to see it.”

Greatly influenced by the Virgin Islands, Tattersall’s artwork reflects and documents its physical beauty and rich history. When experiencing creative drought, as all artists do from time-to-time, she looks out on these islands of inspiration to return to her creative flow. The pinks and oranges of the sunsets, the soft greens and blues of the sea and the yellows of the coral reefs that are found in these beautiful islands are the colours on Tattersall’s palette. Each stroke of her brush tells stories: of fungi bands on Main Street, the basket makers of Road Town and the Fish Market at the Old West End Dock. These scenes depicted on the canvas become a symbol of our strength and of the resilient spirit of the Virgin Islanders. Tattersall often creates imaginative landscapes by adding things or making changes to memories of the past. Along with the visual narrative in her paintings, she also extends this in the form of a written story. Collectors of her artwork love that most of her paintings are combined with these stories.  With this unique perspective of the islands coupled with her mastery of watercolours, she brilliantly depicts life in the Virgin Islands from the 1960s onwards. ■

ART SHOW Jill Tattersall’s solo art show will be held on Thursday, 22 July 2021 From 5:30-7:30pm. At Nutmeg & Co., 164 Waterfront Drive, Road Town

‘THE BIRDS OF THE BVI’ COLLECTION “‘The Birds of the BVI’ collection’ is the series of paintings that Jill focused on after the hurricanes of 2017. Many artists I know in the BVI found it incredibly difficult to pick up a paint brush in the months following the hurricanes that year. One artist, Garry Scales, was one of the first to start painting and he painted what he saw around him, the destruction, the broken trees, blown through buildings. Jill’s return to painting after Hurricane Irma was to initially document what she saw on her rare trips around the island directly after Irma, but she soon realised she was unable to complete those paintings. Soon after she found a healing way for her to escape the devastation of her beloved Islands and the result is this collection of 20 paintings documenting BVI birds, each painting accompanied with a detailed description and information about each breed.” L i sa G ray

ABOVE: LAUGHING GULLS AT WEST DOG from ‘The Birds of the BVI collection’.

FOLLOWING PAGE: THE BANANA SELLER This farmer is hoping to exchange some of his crop for the freshly baked bread the woman is carrying on her head, while the frigate bird is flying overhead to see if any fish are on offer. The pigs seen by a nearby cottage are being fattened for the traditional BVI Christmas feast, and will be sold in Road Town's Saturday market.

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PREVIOUS PAGE: BRINGING HOME THE DINNER This imaginary painting is of an Anegada fisherman bringing home the family meal, in which he is proud to inlude a fine Red Snapper caught on the nearby Horseshoe Reef. He and several relatives built the Tortola Sloop which they share, made from white cedar garnered from Tortola's rainforest at certain phases of the moon. The fisherman's older children attend the Anegada School and plan to move to New York as soon as possible to become lawyers and accountants as so many BVI islanders have done. Meanwhile they look after the garden plots, planted with Taro and other ground provisions, while the girls help their mother with housework, cooking, child minding, and the laundry - which can be seen blowing in the breeze, available here at 15 feet as this is one of the highest pieces of land on Anegada.

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ABOVE: GREAT EGRET from ‘The Birds of the BVI collection’. GREAT EGRET A tall elegant bird, the Great Egret stands between 36” and 41” and is a larger version of the commonly seen Cattle Egret, entirely white with beautiful dorsal plumes when mating; long black legs and a yellow bill. The Great Egret lives in colonies in marine wetlands, always close to water, whether fresh or brackish, and has a life expectancy of some fifteen years. Their nests are often found at the tops of Mangroves, built by the monogamous males with sticks and twigs in the form of a tray three feet wide and twelve inches deep, before the females are allowed to contribute by lining it with soft plants, and finally laying in it 2 to 3 pale greeny-blue eggs. They are most active at dawn and sunset, when they fish by wading in the shallows, or stand still and wait to catch frogs, snakes, insects, lizards, and even small mammals and birds.

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GET YOUR VITAMIN SEA Exploring the wealth of water sports activities in the BVI. BY C H A R L I E B U F TO N

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IT’S HARD TO imagine anywhere more idyllic to staycation than the beautiful British Virgin Islands. Clear waters, warm weather, deserted bays, live reefs, historical wrecks and thriving underwater life make it the perfect place for residents to explore in their downtime. Not just above the water but below it too, for a fresh perspective without ever leaving the Territory. This year, due to the lower number of visitors during 2020/2021, there is even more to explore under the sea, with reefs flourishing, sea life growing uninhibited, and record

numbers of dolphin and whale sightings for those of us lucky enough to be here. And it’s not just the natural beauty that surrounds us; we’re fortunate to have some incredible water sports and dive companies right here. Passionate instructors are teaching safe end exciting ways to experience more of what the Territory offers. The summer season could be the perfect time to think about a new hobby, get back into a sport you used to love or learn the latest skill.

Paddle boarding is great for toning those abs, and it’s loads of fun. Photo by Up’n’Under.

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So, if you’re looking to use some staycation time to better explore the under (and above) water opportunities, here are just some BVI companies that can help. With trips, tours, lessons, camps, excursions and more, we’ve spoken to some of the most exciting water sports organizations, and the instructors that run them, to find out why they love getting out on, or in, BVI’s waters. And how you can safely learn to do the same.

Ride above, dive below with Up‘n’Under BVI

As the name suggests, Virgin Gordabased watersports instructor Nick Hall focuses on teaching kiteboarding up above the water and free diving

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underwater. They are perfect activities for someone looking for a little more adventure this summer. With no prior experience necessary, the team at Up ‘n’ Under can offer instruction and introduce you to the best kiteboarding locations in the Territory—aiming to get you up on a board by your second or third lesson and feeling more confident and independent by lesson four. The team uses brand new two-way radio helmets to coach you every step of the way. With over a decade of experience teaching thousands of students worldwide, Hall arrived in the BVI in 2015. He had previously been living and teaching kitesurfing and diving in nine different countries but found

ABOVE AND RIGHT Nick from Up’n’Under BVI has over a decade of experience teaching watersports above the water and free diving under the water.

that none of them came close to the natural beauty of the British Virgin Islands. With picturesque islands and incredible kiteboarding conditions, he was hooked, and fell in love with his new surroundings. He says that as soon as he “discovered what lay beneath the waves, a huge variety of reefs and wrecks [he] fell in love all over again”. Hall first developed a passion for freediving and started to hone his skills spearfishing and snaring lobsters for dinner while working in Mexico in 2011. He has now been exploring the depths of BVI waters


THIS PAGE: Nick teaching students to free dive; an exhilarating single breath sport.

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for years, safely teaching students to dive down on a single breath. While it sounds scary, with the proper instruction, following some key breathing safety points and techniques, you too can enjoy this exhilarating single breath sport. If you choose to push your snorkelling skills to the next level, Up ‘n’ Under can guide you to some of the most beautiful reefs and interesting wrecks in the BVI. The team will meet you with their private 18 foot RIB at any of the North Sound moorings or resorts.   Consider diving hall’s favourite reef and wreck on Virgin Gorda, the Kodiak Queen at Mountain Point. “Flat calm conditions with stunning coral and underwater caves lining the rocky cliff walls and then the 155ft Kodiak Queen just a stone’s throw into deeper water.” He describes it as “perfection for freediving and scuba”.

Explore underwater with BVI SNUBA

Elaine Couper has been based in the British Virgin Islands for 21 years and is excited to be involved in the only SNUBA (surface nexus underwater breathing apparatus) opportunity in the Territory. Having over 20 years of experience as a diving instructor and boat captain, Couper’s the consummate guide to lead your SNUBA excursion. The perfect blend of snorkelling and diving, SNUBA is a unique way to enjoy the underwater world, allowing people that don’t have their dive certifications to get more of an immersive experience than they would have while snorkelling. There is no cumbersome or complicated equipment: SNUBA allows you to submerge to a maximum depth of 20 foot while connected to an air supply on a raft at the surface. SNUBA is suitable for children as young as 8 years old, which makes it an ideal, familyfriendly way to give enthusiastic swimmers a first dive experience.

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP Escape the heat of summer with SNUBA. Your BVI SNUBA guide, Elaine Couper. SNUBA is the perfect blend of snorkeling and SCUBA diving. See the underwater wilderness of the BVI with SNUBA.

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 57


Introducing newbies to the underwater world is one of Couper’s passions. “I love taking people on their first underwater adventure. It’s something they will never forget, and the pure joy on our guests’ faces afterwards is exhilarating and rewarding.” After a comprehensive equipment and safety briefing topside, divers can choose the depth they feel most comfortable, whether it’s two feet, 10 feet, or 20 feet. Couper leads the group, makes sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable experience and helps point out the sea life during the session. The tour lasts approximately 45-60 minutes, depending on the air usage. All of the tours are private to provide a safe, personalised experience so that guests can go at their own pace and comfort level. Couper notes that the “lack of tourism over the past year and a half has allowed the reefs and sea life to bloom”. SNUBA groups are seeing “huge schools of fish, octopus, rays, turtles, and nurse sharks” with “the hard and soft corals, sponges and underwater terrain creating a masterpiece of vibrant colours.”

Flying high with Kitesurf BVI

Kitesurfing instructor Eloy Derze has been teaching since 2014 and based in the British Virgin Islands since 2017. Originally from Uruguay, Derze participated in the GKA World Tour for several years and now shares his experience and love of kitesurfing with students in the BVI, transforming his passion for watersports into a business. Based out of Long Bay, Tortola, Derze was originally a surfer but, once he tried kitesurfing he never looked back. The adrenaline and the speed immediately had him hooked. He says that “once you kitesurf, and you can manage the kite and enjoy the wind, it’s hard not to love the sensation, the speed, the sliding over the water and, if you jump, well you are literally a bird!”

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Get out on the water this summer and learn to kitesurf with Eloy from KiteSurf BVI.


Learning how to kitesurf gets you so focused that your problems and burdens stay on the shore and you can, for a few hours, feel freedom”. E loy D e r z e Now he travels the length of the Territory running kite day trips and guiding students to his favourite kitesurfing locations, including Anegada, Sandy Spit and the North Sound. For those looking for intensive kiteboarding instruction Kitesurf BVI also offers three-to-six night kite camps with daily lessons to help quickly advance your skills.   An excellent form of exercise, kiteboarding is known to increase strength, coordination, balance,

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concentration and reflexes as you work the whole body. It is particularly useful for toning your upper body and abdomen. Anyone can learn to kiteboard and Kitesurf BVI will take students from eight years old. This year Kitesurf BVI added wingsurfing to their repertoire and now offer wingsurf lessons.   When asked what he loves most about kitesurfing, Derze says that “learning how to kitesurf gets you so focused that all your problems and

Anyone can learn to kitesurf. Kitesurf BVI will take learners from the age of 8.

burdens stay on the shore and you can, for a few hours, feel freedom”.

Paddle on with Breeze Paddlesurf BVI

Maybe you’re looking for a more relaxed way to explore some of the bays in the British Virgin Islands. A chance to dial down and take in the landscape in a slower, more serene and detailed way. Try joining an excursion with Breeze Paddlesurf BVI. Breeze Paddlesurf BVI provides

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stand-up paddleboard sales, rentals, lessons and tours based out of Cane Garden Bay, Tortola. From novices to professionals, they can create your perfect SUP experience. Less focused on action and more on spending time on the water, stand up paddleboarding is an excellent way to help your balance and core strength. It’s a perfect low-impact, full-body workout including upper body training and leg work, that boosts your cardiovascular health. It corrects posture, improves flexibility and offers a fun way to get out on the water.

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You can cover surprisingly large distances and take in the views at a more leisurely pace. Additionally, since you stand at full height on the board, it offers an ideal vantage point for seeing what’s under the water and out on the horizon. In conjunction with local yoga teachers, Breeze Paddlesurf also offer SUP yoga and fitness classes—so you can truly challenge your balance— and organize regular SUP events and races. Lee Donovan at Breeze Paddlesurf first got into standup paddleboarding because of

Learning to paddle is fun, social and great exercise. Gather a group of friends and call Lee for a lesson.

his natural love of the ocean. His favourite place to get out on the water in the BVI is the 12 miles from Trellis Bay to Cane Garden Bay. Whether you are looking to dive the wrecks or ride the waves, watersports activities in the BVI abound. Something for those wanting adrenaline and adventure, or those simply looking to reconnect with the water. ■

JULY / AUGUST 2021 | 63


P L AST I C I S E V E RY W H E R E . . . . . . and plastic never goes away. When a plastic shovel gets left on the beach or a plastic water bottle goes astray, it breaks down over time into smaller and smaller pieces called microplastics. Leave only your footprints. Photo: Susan McDavit.


THESE MICROPLASTICS are now found in every nook, cranny and body of water on earth. Scientists have seen microplastics everywhere they’ve looked: in deep oceans; in Arctic snow and Antarctic ice; in shellfish, table salt, drinking water and beer; and drifting in the air or falling with rain over mountains, cities and islands. They come from the convenient plastic products that are such a big part of our lives. Current estimates suggest we ingest five grams of microplastics per week—the equivalent of the weight of a credit card. Fragile island states such as the BVI are feeling the effects of microplastics and other plastic pollution. Researchers recently found a tiny Hawksbill turtle hatchling that had ingested 42 pieces of plastic. In April, BVI’s Association of Reef Keepers ( and Beyond

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the Reef (http://1beyondthereef. com/) rescued turtles and a whale from ensnarement in plastic debris. Sadly, clean ups on beaches yield large amounts of plastic and plastic litter among the mangroves is common. The world has a plastic pollution crisis, and the beautiful BVI is in no way excluded. Since 1950, humans have produced more than eight billion tons of plastic and continue to make plastic at a rate of nearly 400 million tons annually. More than half goes straight to landfills, only about 10% is recycled and up to 13 million tons enter the ocean—every year.

bottles, cell phones, toys, and food containers, which represent the vast array of plastic in our lives. Plastic is versatile, cheap, convenient and, tragically, it’s everywhere.

What’s in a gyre?

Begun in 2017, WE RECYCLE collects plastic, glass and aluminum cans and processes these materials with the aim of using as much as possible on-island. The programme now has 46 community collection bins sited across the Territory, and oversees the

The Great Pacific Gyre is three times the size of France. These dense, swirling masses of plastics, now floating in five oceans and the Caribbean Sea, are an accumulation of things such as toothbrushes, plastic

What’s the BVI Doing? Green VI, local environmental nonprofit, works in partnership with the BVI Government and in collaboration with the community to help lessen the threat of plastic pollution through the WE RECYCLE programme, Green Certification and the BVI Solid Waste Strategy.  


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youth earn Community Hours while learning how to solve plastic problems at the Recycling Centre; BVI youth on Tortola get involved in solutions; collection bins are locally designed and built from plastic waste upcycled into Polywood on Tortola.

operation of two recycling facilities, one on Tortola, one on Virgin Gorda. WE RECYCLE has processed over four million plastic bottles to date and approximately 108 tons of plastics. PET plastic drink bottles are exported to North America, where they’re made into new bottles. VI Plastics, a Tortola social enterprise, uses four of the seven types of plastics collected to make Polywood planks for outdoor furniture and other utility products, such as WE RECYCLE Bins. Additional methods to reuse/upcycle as much plastic on-island as possible are being developed, with the reduction of plastics paramount.

Green certification and more

Business partners are critical to the long-term success of plastic reduction. Green VI’s Certification programme helps companies “go green” and earn Green Leadership status. In addition, a Green Fund provides support for outreach education

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in schools, communities and government departments and helps open pathways for entrepreneurs to develop products/enterprises involving materials management.

BVI solid waste strategy

ABOVE LEFT Eating locally grown food reduces plastic packaging waste. Photo Richard Dunn. ABOVE RIGHT Glass water bottles and reusable cups make a winning combination. Our biggest gains will be from eliminating plastics used only once.

The aim of the strategy is to implement best practices in materials management for all BVI waste streams and create employment and business opportunities along the way.

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The comprehensive plan includes recycling, upcycling and composting to divert waste from the incinerator and open burning, banning singleuse plastics and supporting ecoalternatives, promoting alternative energy and introducing long-term funding mechanisms, such as a container deposit system. It will also enhance public/private collaboration by making the Department of Waste Management a statutory body. Currently in the final stages of approval, this territory-wide government Strategy is based on a “7Rs” approach of “Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Reform, Restrict, Return.”

• Ask for eco-friendly food containers and keep asking • Support local farmers/decrease packaging (Natures Way app) • Buy local and support green businesses (see • Pick up plastic litter. Mosquitoes breed in it and spread disease. 

4Rs for family and friends

RECYCLE: and encourage others to recycle.

Whether you enjoy the privilege of living amid our precious isles, or are one of our welcome visitors, here’s how you can help reduce plastic pollution: RETHINK: start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. By far, the biggest gains in combating plastic pollution will come from eliminating plastics that are used only once and discarded. As Green VI director, Charlotte McDevitt, points out, “We produce plastic that lasts for 500 years, contributing to the climate crisis in the process, and then we use the plastic for 20 minutes; a completely unsustainable way of being.” Plastic can be replaced by other materials, reused, recycled, upcycled and carefully disposed of. Think about it. Make the change.

REUSE: think before you toss it out. • BYO (bring your own) reusable water bottles, bags, food containers and cutlery for beach picnics, work and school • Plastic containers can store leftovers, compost, bits and bobs • Bubble wrap and other packaging is very reusable.

• Clean and separate your plastic, glass and aluminium cans and deposit them in collection bins • Keep everything you can out of the dumpsite/incinerator • Go to for more recycling tips or download the app ( or the BVI Now App for updates on what/where to recycle.

Want to jump in?

Reach out to Green VI at or 346 4040 to get involved in clean ups, site visits, composting, green events, school gardens and more. There’s lot going on! HOT TIP: “Microplastic Madness,” ■

REDUCE: care more/use less. • Stop using single-use plastic bottles and bags • Install your own water dispenser or filtration system • Buy only what you actually need • Buy products with less plastic packaging • Buy cotton, silk and linen clothing; not synthetics

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Profile for Virgin Islands Property & Yacht

Virgin Islands Property & Yacht | July/August 2021 | Summer Special  


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