Virgin Islands Property & Yacht | July/August 2022 | By the Seaside

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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.

BVISIR.COM | +1 284 494 5700





HAWK’S NEST BEACHFRONT ESTATE Virgin Gorda | US$5,000,000 Maritha Keil (Managing Broker) +1284 340 5555 |

SUNSET WATCH & ONE PARADISE LANE Virgin Gorda | US$3,100,000

Each Office is Independently Owned and Operated

Message from the Premier of the Virgin Islands Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley 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, a world-class marine industry, and favourable trade winds, has combined to earn us the reputation of “Sailing Capital of the World.” Our magnificent archipelago has 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 that focuses with this special issue that focuses that focuses on our stunning seaside location. I am sure you will enjoy the many stories, talented people and spectacular scenery being profiled. 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 getaways, 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!


Dr. the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T | 9

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


64 18 BY T H E S E AS I D E






VALLEY TRU N K ESTATE We explore the jewel of Virgin Gorda that sits on a pristine white beach with total privacy and unsurpassed luxury.


MO U NT H EALTHY VI LLAS Two brand-new villas on one property, with first-class service and amenities.



Check out three top seaside staycay destinations this summer.

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In this issue’s Delish we assemble a delicious beach-ready picnic that’s quick and easy to put together.

Dr. Robin Tattersall and his family journey to the BVI and meet the Queen, and Robin starts the BVI’s first bareboat chartering company.

56 YO U N G AG RI PREN EU R N EA TALBOT Part three of our six-part series on young BVI entrepreneurs. Meet Nea Talbot from Full Belly Farm.


R EG U L A RS 12 16 30



On our cover Our Exclusive Cover Feature property is the jewel of Virgin Gorda, Valley Trunk Estate proudly presented by Smiths Gore. Photography by Don Hebert.

Exploring Valley Trunk Estate’s incredible gardens where we scaled enormous boulders and picked cashew nuts.

Photography by Carolina Ansaldo, wardrobe by Arawak.

Greetings OVER THE WEEKEND, we sat in the shade as we often do at our favourite spot in front of Loose Mongoose, happily watching our boys jump off the dinghy dock into the calm, clear water. I thought to myself how much I enjoy this time of year because the sea is usually so flat. (Although I know that for those of you who are surfers like my partner, Roy, summer’s usual lack of swell is a disappointment!) On our cover and in our 11-page exclusive cover feature, read all about Valley Trunk Estate, presented by Edward Childs of Smiths Gore, and on the market for the first time since it was constructed 40 years ago. It is a magical property for so many reasons, but especially the fact that it overlooks pristine, sandy-white Big Trunk Bay, steps from The Baths on Virgin Gorda. Roy and I were lucky to spend a weekend at the property some years ago, and as we walked through its stunning mature gardens we picked cashew nuts and found our way around jaw-dropping boulders. To read Charlie’s lovely piece on this one-of-a-kind property, turn to page 18. Taking a staycation in BVI is so much fun. We’re really excited to take you on a tour of three amazing spots. Bitter End Yacht Club’s Marina Lofts, situated over the water, are cute and cosy cottages that make the perfect romantic escape over summer. Cooper Island Beach Club is a relaxing

and fun getaway for couples and families, with all the amenities you could ever need right on your doorstep. Villa Almondeen at Ballast Bay, Tortola is a peaceful twobedroom getaway that sleeps four and is just 100 feet from the beach. Check out all these staycay options on page 38. The lovely Gilda, manager of Mount Healthy Villas, recently took me on a tour of the gorgeous villas on Mount Healthy, Tortola. Made up of two villas on one property, they are newly built with all the luxury amenities, such as a full-service onsite spa, chef’s kitchens in both villas, a pool, and concierge services. Rent one or both villas for your next girls’ weekend, corporate, or family staycation. See our story on page 32 for all the details. This issue, we also talk to Nea Talbot of Full Belly Farm. I really wanted to profile this clever lady as I have enjoyed Full Belly Farm’s teas and condiments, which Nea produces. We learn all about her journey toward becoming an “agripreneur” on page 56. Finishing up July/August is the much-awaited part two on the life of Dr. Robin Tattersall. In this piece on page 46 , read the interesting story of how the Tattersall family came to the BVI, along with many other fascinating episodes in this part of Robin’s life. The third and final instalment will appear in our September/October issue. Wishing you all a great summer! My Best


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Your ultimate guide to the BVI! Accurate, comprehensive, packed with helpful information and so much more.

Download the FREE BVI Now app!

Presented in collaboration with:

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Interested in advertising? Contact our team:

In this issue Claire Shefchik PUBLISHER Erin Paviour-Smith


DESIGNER Adam Knights SUB EDITOR Claire Shefchik CONTRIBUTORS Anika M. Christopher Charlie Bufton Erin Paviour-Smith Richard Farrell Sara Sherman TOURIST BOARD CONTRIBUTOR RaeNisia Scatliffe

CONTACT US WhatsApp: +1 284 346 1559

Follow us on Facebook Read our digital publications

Claire is a writer, editor and journalist living in Tortola. Originally from Minnesota, USA, she has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. She has written three books with more in the works, and her writing on travel, business, arts and culture has appeared in The BVI Beacon, Business BVI, BVI Life & Style, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Town & Country, Travel + Leisure, Fodors, Jetsetter, Smarter Travel, Atlas Obscura, Mental Floss, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Business Insider, Roadtrippers, and the Seattle Times.

VIRGIN ISLANDS PROPERTY & YACHT (“VIPY”) is published six times per year (January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October and November/December). 2022 Parlance Media Limited. 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 avoidance of doubt, Parlance Media Ltd gives no warranty or guarantee in its publications.


Crooks Bay, Virgin Gorda

3 Bedroom • 3½ Bathrooms • Pool

$3,500,000 USD




George’s Northside, Tortola

Manchester, Tortola

6 Bedrooms • 4 Bathrooms

4 Bedrooms • 3½ Bathrooms

$925,000 USD



Hawksnest , Tortola

Coppermine, Virgin Gorda

3 Bedrooms • 2 Bathrooms • Pool • 100% Solar

For more information on any of our listings, call us at: Office (284) 346-2444, Cell (284) 340-2444 or email us at

3 Bedrooms • 2 Bathrooms • Pool

Irvine’s Place, 2nd Floor, 159 Main St Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, VG1110

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


THIS PAGE Applesurf, located on the water at Apple Bay, one of Tortola’s best surfing spots, and is priced under $1 million.

ABSO LUTE B EACH FRO NT PRO PERTY FO R U N D ER $ 1 MI LLI O N Applesurf is a compact villa, made up of two one-bedroom suites just six feet from the beach at Apple Bay, Tortola. Watch fish swarming and pelicans diving from your shaded patio. Each villa features a living room, bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen with an outdoor patio. Live and work from home or invest in this beachside gem. High speed fibre-optic internet is installed for your office away from home, so you can work while watching the surf break. Apple Bay is centrally located on the northwest shore of Tortola, with Cane Garden Bay and Smugglers Cove just 15 minutes away. Restaurants and shops are also close by for your convenience. For more information and viewing times, please contact real estate expert Akeem Wheatley of Emerald Properties BVI on 284-541-6861 or at, or visit

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SU STAI NAB LE & SO PH I STI CATED With materials designed from recycled ocean waste such as fishing nets and plastics, NAMI’s Baiia Swim range doesn’t only look and feel good but also does its part to help the environment. What’s more sophisticated than navy and white for the modern woman’s wardrobe? You can’t go wrong with vertical stripes for a figure-flattering print that enhances all there is to love. NAMI Resort & Swim, Romasco Place Road Town. Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday, or call 284-496-8989 or 284-496-7788. RIGHT. The reversible Hamptons is a sustainable bikini

staple you’ll wear for years to come, $240, NAMI.

GO I N G COASTAL Visit the Gallery at Nutmeg & Co. to view and shop the works of some of the Caribbean’s most prolific artists. This Seaside and Coastal edition features two artists, Antoine Chapon and Shari Erickson, both of whom take you on a journey through their eyes and right into the region: its geography, history, and heritage. Their common subject? Local boats.

RIGHT Shari Erickson “Three wishes”. BELOW Antoine Chapon “Morning light on Pinel Island”.

Shari Erickson is an American contemporary artist whose original Caribbean oil paintings are reproduced on stretched artist’s canvas. Her extensive travels in the West Indies and Leeward Islands depict corners of these island paradises in vivid colour. Shari has spent countless days and years understanding local life, society, and history. Born in Bordeaux, France in 1952, Antoine Chapon sailed to the West Indies in 1981 and settled on the French island of Saint Martin in the tiny village of Colombier. Since 1995, he has worked and lived in his picturesque home/studio overlooking the beautiful Cul de Sac Bay. From vibrant transparency to deep shades, Antoine Chapon paintings are always a serene reflection of the Caribbean atmosphere. Visit the gallery for giclee prints on canvas and archival paper by these artists and many more.

Nutmeg & Co., Road Town’s Flagship Gift Shop and Gallery, 164 Waterfront Drive. Call 284-494-1426, WhatsApp 284-342-9993, or visit

V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T | 17


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HIDDEN B E AC H F RO N T JEWEL This secluded family Estate is on the market for the first time in its rich history. VIPY are honored to take a tour of this very special property situated just steps from The Baths, Virgin Gorda. BY C H A R L I E B U F TO N P H OTO G R A P H Y BY D O N H E B E R T

THIS SPREAD Secluded and spectacular - Valley Trunk Estate with over 18-acres over-looking one of the most beautiful white-sand beaches in the BVI.

V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T | 19


NESTLED IN the iconic rocky coastline of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands is Valley Trunk Estate. A family-owned property held for four generations. This substantial private estate was recently restored and fully renovated, with beautiful design upgrades that perfectly complement the property’s unique character. The vast 19-acre parcel of land is set in a prime waterfront location, a tropical oasis amid the boulders that make the Virgin Gorda landscape so distinctive. After 40-years of enjoying the calm tranquillity of this secluded family residence, the current owners are now offering this property for sale. On arrival, the gated, palm-lined road sweeps down to the large circular driveway and impressive entrance pagoda—a beautiful shady structure with carved African wood statues and a lush bed of tropical flowers and palms that stretch up and out of the open roof. The textured coral stone pathways then lead guests from here toward the pool, the gardens and the guest areas.

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THIS SPREAD The twostory Principal Suite with its spacious master bedroom located on the upper level features a large balcony overlooking the pool and beach with an ensuite bathroom.

THIS SPREAD The ten ensuite guest bedrooms all have different vistas of the sea and gardens and have been thoughtfully designed to maximize privacy.

...the carefully considered layout of the separate guest units ensures a sense of privacy while enabling easy access between the rooms. 22 | V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T

The exquisitely furnished guest accommodations are comprised of four distinct areas and laid out across 19,000 sq ft of living space. The main house contains a spacious primary suite above the living room, bar, billiards table, and cinema room. Adjacent to that is the dining hall and kitchen. The estate has ten beautifully appointed en-suite bedrooms in total, comfortably accommodating up to 20 guests [or up to 28 guests with the additional four-bedroom villa]. Originally designed by a team of French architects in co-ordination with

Roger Downing four decades ago and built to accommodate a large multigenerational family, the carefully considered layout of the separate guest units ensures a sense of privacy while enabling easy access between the rooms. Each of the bedrooms has its own patio area with loungers to recline and relax on and take advantage of the impeccable sea views. Swinging chairs dotted about the property provide the perfect spot to pause and unwind, enjoying the sea breeze with a good book. Ocean Villa has three en suite bedrooms, and Garden Villa


has four; a large living and dining area links the two, providing a cosy, private family space. The more extensive Pool Suite and Coral Suite, with their en suite bathrooms, walk-in wardrobes and study areas, make up the rest of the accommodations in the main compound. All of the bedrooms are furnished with dark wood furniture from Kenya, many with four poster beds and intricate carvings. Tasteful artwork featuring local flora and fauna, shells, and coral decorates the walls. An additional 2,500 sq ft guest villa adds a further four guest bedrooms, a tennis court, and a fitness centre - just a short walk from the grounds of the main lot. The magnificent primary suite is situated above the living area and benefits from spectacular views of the Channel. The floor to ceiling glass windows flood the rooms with

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LEFT The dining room building features an air-conditioned main dining room which opens to wrap-around covered terraces for al-fresco dining. RIGHT The living areas open to a substantial freeform pool with panoramic views to the west along the Sir Francis Drake Channel.

natural light and fold back to enjoy the cooling trade winds. Translucent white curtains billow around the four-poster bed, and the smooth travertine tiles are cool underfoot. The en-suite bathroom is a spa-like sanctuary with a generous free-standing bathtub, double sinks and a huge rainfall shower. Further down the corridor, a private study area and walk-in wardrobe. Downstairs, in the heart of the house, the living room features a large bar area and billiards room with a full-size billiards table. Double doors open into the large cinema room with sumptuous, oversized cream daybeds to sink into and patterned scatter cushions. The dining area offers the ideal entertaining space where the airconditioned formal dining room opens up with concertina glass doors to include the large al fresco terrace area. Seamlessly adding space to host a larger group while enabling the indoor/outdoor aspect synonymous with luxury Caribbean living. A fully equipped professional kitchen with a gas range, stainless steel prep areas, a walk-in fridge and freezer, a sizeable host station, and a butler’s pantry offers more than enough space for a private chef, or a team of chefs, to create deliciously inventive dishes.

A large fresh-water, free-form infinity pool wraps beautifully around the front of the property. It offers expansive views of the cerulean blue waters and the horizon studded with little white sailboats. A furnished deck next to the pool is dotted with comfortable loungers and sun shades. Lush green foliage and a soothing water feature line the curved edges of the pool. The estate boasts an extensive 10,000 sq ft of outdoor entertaining space, and walls of windows open onto grand porticos that bring the outdoors in. Covered terraces and patios, all with the pale cream natural coral tiles that are warmed by the afternoon sun. These spacious openair living areas capitalize on the West-facing afternoon sunlight and stunning sunset vistas across the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Oversized armchairs and day beds provide a relaxed but elegant space to host guests and family. Picturesque and winding wooden walkways picks their way unobtrusively through and over the boulders down to the beach, the pathways weaving around the natural rock formations preserving the estate’s natural beauty. Mature fruit trees, cashew trees and an array

V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T | 25


THIS PAGE The stunning white sand beach is 1,000ft long is just steps from The Baths and has dramatic rock headlands at each end. OPPOSITE Majestic granite boulders are scattered throughout the Estate’s landscaped grounds, providing privacy and a dramatic backdrop.

of native plants and flowers flank the path. These nature trails are just some of the routes down to the pristine stretch of beach at Big Trunk Bay; the paved estate road also runs along the side of the property and down to the beach, allowing golf buggy access and a means to transport all of the beach essentials conveniently. Next to the beach’s access gate sits the Bali House where renovation is being completed. The ideal base for a day of relaxing at the beach. The estate borders the entire length of Big Trunk Bay - an unspoilt beach, secluded and most often completely deserted. Approximately 1000 ft of soft white sand with lapping turquoise waters provide the perfect spot to snorkel the live coral reef or explore with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. The granite boulders bookend either end of this beautiful expanse of beach. The beach named after the

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native Leatherback turtles nesting there, known locally as ‘Trunks’. The Leatherback turtle has also become the emblem for the property. Set back in its 19-acre plot, the houses of the estate are virtually invisible from the water, thanks to the way that the villas blend in with the grounds and the lush Caribbean landscaping. The design of the buildings is sympathetic to the natural landscape around them with the use of exposed stonework and the forest green roof tiles. Shielded by the towering granite rock formations and the impeccably maintained tropical gardens, an unparalleled level of privacy is afforded by the rocky outcrop that surrounds the estate. Previously utilized as a successful luxury wellness retreat with a full-time staff. The estate is well provisioned with two two-bedroom staff cottages and a two-bedroom


THIS PAGE Sunset views encompass the southern islands of the BVI, Tortola, Beef Island, Scrub Island and the Dogs. The island of St John in the United States Virgin Islands completes the canvas.

“Very occasionally; a property will come to the market which is unique in terms of location, included acreage and quality of development.”

manager’s house accommodating up to 8 live-in employees. A generously sized maintenance block houses the laundry area, linen storage, an office and all of the back-of-house facilities. This, in addition to a large generator, carport and goods entrance, provides the functionality needed to comfortably operate a compound of this size. Edward Childs of Smiths Gore BVI Limited says of this exquisite estate “Very occasionally; a property will come to the market which is unique in terms of location, included acreage and quality of development. Valley Trunk Estate stands out as a property which competes with the best private estates in the Caribbean

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and is suited to the purchaser looking for a secluded estate home suitable for multi-generational use.” The quietly unassuming gated access road to the compound belies the magnificent estate discovered within, and the uniquely private nature of

this legacy property means that it feels worlds away and more like an island resort. Having been a truly exceptional Caribbean home to a family for many years, this is a rare opportunity to secure this extraordinary residence for generations to come. ■

To inquire, please contact Edward Childs MRICS Smiths Gore BVI Limited Mobile: 284 346 3918 | Office: 284 494 2446 |


3 BEDR O O M S | 2 .7 5 AC R E S C O OPER I SL A N D | $ 2 , 5 7 5 , 0 0 0


F R EEHOL D E S T AT E | 2 2 AC R E S V IR GI N G OR DA | $ 8 , 0 0 0 , 0 0 0


6 BEDR O O M S | 0 . 8 AC R E S L E V ER IC K B A Y | $ 3 ,7 5 0 , 0 0 0


5 BEDR O O M S | 0 . 3 2 AC R E S W E S T E N D | $1,7 5 0 , 0 0 0

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

JOST VAN DYKE Great Tobago

Shark Bay

Green Cay Diamond Cay White Bay

Little Tobago


Sandy Spit


Little Harbour


Steele Pt.

Little Thatch


West End




Road Harbor

2 4


APPLE Belmont LONG BAY BAY Smuggler's Cove

Soper's Hole

12 3


6 10


Bran Slaney Pt

S Dra

11 9

Pockwood Pond

Nanny Cay

Frenchmans Cay


Great Harbour

Little Harbour

Pelican Island The Indans

Flannagan The Bight Island The Caves

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Great Thatch

Monke Lamb Bay

Josiah's Bay



Sandy Cay Ballast Bay


Cooper Trunk Bay Bay




Little Jost Van Dyke


Key Point


Wh Ba

Benures Bay


Bones Bight

Soldier’s Point

Windas Bight

Lobiolly Bay

Pomato Point Setting Point

Nutmeg Point

Necker Island Moskito Island

Prickly Pear Island

Seal Dog

Great Camanoe


North Sound Long Bay

George Dog

The Dogs

North Bay

Scrub Island West Dog


25 Bay

Lee Bay

e Bay

Little Camanoe

ey Point bert y

Long Bay

Marina Cay Trellis Bay

Spanish Town The Baths

Deadman’s Bay

Ginger Island


Places of Interest


Tortola 1. J. R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens 2. Main Street 3. Queen Elizabeth II National Park 4. Old Goverment House Museum 5. 1780 Lower Estate Sugar Works Museum 6. Sage Mountain National Park 7. North Shore Shell Museum 8. Fort Burt 9. Fort Recovery 10. William Thornton's Estate ruins 11. The Dungeon 12. St. Phillips Anglican Church 13. Josiah’s Bay Plantation 14. The Windmill at Mount Healthy National Park 15. Callwood Rum Distillery 16. Green VI Glass Studio 17. Shark Bay National Park 18. Soper’s Hole


Copper Mine Pt.

Rhone Marine 24 Park

Dead Chest

Peter Island

Round Rock White Horse

Big West End

Manchioneel Bay

Salt Island

n Island

Lower Soldier Bay

Fallen Jerusalem

Sir Francis ake Channel

South Bay The Sound

South Bay

Carval Rock

Cooper Island

Markoe Bay

KEY Port of Entry / Airport Port of Entry / Ferry Ferry Routes Historic site

Peter Island Bluff

Benchers Bay

South Sound

Crooks Bay

Devil’s Bay

Buck Island

Eustasia Island Saba Rock Oil Nut Bay


Spring Bay



Savanna Bay

Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour

Fat Hogs Bay

Biras Leverick Creek Bay

Mahoe Bay

Great Dog

Beef Island


Nail Bay

Little Dix Bay

ndywine Bay

hite ay


West End

National Park site Shipwreck Anchorages & Marinas Swimming beach

Virgin Gorda 19. Spring Bay National Park 20. Little Fort National Park 21. Nail Bay Sugar Mill Ruins 22. The Copper Mine National Park 23. Gorda Peak National Park Other Islands 24. R. M. S. Rhone National Park 25. Prickly Pear National Park 26. Prickly Pear Island 27. Sandy Cay National Park

4 Miles


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MO U N T H E A LT H Y V I L L AS Enjoy a quiet and private getaway on the top of the mountain. BY SARA SHERMAN P H OTO G R A P H Y BY G I L DA CO S T I L L A

The adjoining balcony and pool area for guests to relax, take a dip and unwind while taking in the beautiful views.

NESTLED ATOP picturesque Mount Healthy on Tortola is a stunning villa compound that is the epitome of British Virgin Islands elegance and tropical sophistication. The Sunrise and Stoneridge villas together create one property with an incredible view that guests will want to return to again and again. The privacy of Mount Healthy Villas provides guests with a truly unique getaway experience like none other in the BVI. The first private villa to incorporate a spa into its property, visitors will be pampered and enjoy all the luxuries of a five-star hotel

with the added advantage of having the place to themselves. Sunrise and Stoneridge villas are two separate residences, each offering private space for relaxing. The villas can be rented individually or together for more space for families or groups of friends travelling together. The villas are situated around a sparkling blue pool, and the view speaks for itself. At Sunrise Villa, you’ll be greeted by a unique wood and glass double door, opening to cool marble flooring and an expansive living area with plush furniture for spreading out. The dining area is just beyond, with seating for

V I P R O P E R T Y & YA C H T | 33


The first private villa to incorporate a spa into its property, visitors will be pampered and enjoy all the luxuries of a five-star hotel with the added advantage of having the place to themselves.

THIS PAGE The perfect place for a staycation or girls’ weekend where guests can enjoy being pampered at the on-site spa.

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eight guests, just begging for a family dinner party. The chef’s kitchen boasts beautiful cabinetry and quartz countertops and is stocked with high-end stainless steel appliances including a gas range. Just outside the dining area, large sliding glass doors open to a terrace to take in the view, complete with an outdoor dining area. Three bedrooms at Sunrise Villa mean there is room for everyone to enjoy their say. The primary bedroom features high ceilings, a king bed and windows opening up to the blue ocean. A private terrace is just steps away, perfect for enjoying a relaxing morning coffee. The primary bath is spacious and the sleek fixtures and modern bathtub steal the show. Another bedroom has two double beds, while a third bedroom has a queen bed.

THIS PAGE Fine dining with beautiful ocean views that overlook Guana Island.


At Stoneridge villa, coastal elegance awaits. As you enter, you’ll immediately notice the cool floors and the bright decor as you pass the living area. The modern kitchen is full of blue and white cabinetry, quartz countertops and every appliance you’d need to whip up a meal for a crowd or a snack for your time at the pool. The dining area seats 10 guests and opens onto the covered terrace facing the lush hillside. A primary bedroom features its own private covered balcony, king bed, and enormous ensuite bath complete with an outdoor stone shower. Stoneridge Villa also has a bedroom with two double beds and a third bedroom with a queen bed. ■ THIS PAGE The large master suite in Stoneridge Villa with its spa-like ensuite bathroom.

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T. +1 (284) 541 0649 / +1 (284) 541 0549


The Chef’s kitchen at Sunrise Villa. Both villas feature large, high-quality Chef’s kitchens where you can enjoy a personal Chef for your stay.

3-4, 3-2, 3-5, 3-3 3-6 Cooten Cooten Bay 3-1, Bay 3-4, 3-1, 3-5, 3-2, 3-6 3-3 Cooten CootenBay Bay 11/5/21, 4:12 PM

Google Maps

3-4, 3-5, 3-6 Cooten Bay

3-1, 3-2, 3-3 Cooten Bay

INCREDIBLE OPPORTUNITY IN COOTEN BAY! Imagery ©2021 CNES / Airbus, Maxar Technologies, Map data ©2021

3 FREEHOLD WATERFRONT AND CREST LOTS Rarely available land a stone’s throw from gorgeous sandy Josiah’s Bay sits on a gentle crest overlooking Cooten Bay and flows down to the waterfront. Additional acreage also available.

200 m

3-1 Bay.66– half waterfront, $250,000 US 3-4 Cooten Cooten Bay acresacre waterfront US$290,000 3-2 Cooten Bay – half acre crest lot, $225,000 US 3-5 Cooten Bay .52 acres crest lot US$230,000 3-3 Cooten Bay – half acre crest lot, $225,000 US 3-6 Cooten Bay .57 acres crest lot US$240,000 +1 340 332 9827 (USVI) +1 340 626 2318 (USVI) THE VALLEY, VIRGIN GORDA, BVI


WHY DON’T YO U STAY? If you’re not ready to travel globally or simply need a different view out your window, these unique BVI spots offer a perfect place for a seaside staycation. BY SARA SHERMAN P H OTO G R A P H Y CO O P E R I S L A N D B E AC H C LU B , B I T T E R E N D YA C H T C L U B , V I L L A A L M O N D E E N

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This Page Cooper Island Beach Club is a small, beach-chic resort with eight beachfront guest rooms, a restaurant, coffee shop, rum bar and Seagrape Boutique, along with Sail Caribbean Divers’ dive shop.

FOR ISLAND RESIDENTS or long-time visitors, even paradise can become mundane. As a true testament to the beauty of the BVI, a quick staycation can help shake out the cobwebs of an everyday routine and remind everyone how special this place truly is. “A BVI staycation is the perfect opportunity for local residents to revel in an exciting and relaxing getaway close to home. There’s something for the entire family, couples, groups of friends and the

solo adventurer to enjoy. There is no need to travel far to disconnect when you can treat yourself to a BVI sStaycation,” said RaeNisia Scatliffe, rRegional mMarketing mManager atof the BVI Tourist Board.


​​ you’re a local, you know theat If magic that is Cooper Island. From the idyllic wooden walkways leading from the eight beachfront rooms to

the impeccable views across the Sir Fancis Drake Channel, nothing feels like a home away from home than a staycation at Cooper Island Beach Club. If you’ve never visited this special place, an off-season retreat is sure to make you fall in love with Cooper Island. UPerhaps upon arrival, you sit down for a beachside lunch, and enjoy a fresh salad or a seafood feature while sipping a craft cocktail. Happy hour, each day from 3 p.m. to -5 p.m., is the perfect time to kick back in the

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outdoor lounge and take in the bluestwater views of the water and watch the boats go by. Maybe an afterdinner nightcap is in order, at the BVI’s bestmost well-stocked rum bar, featuring nearly 300 different rums from around the world, including house-made infusions. After a stunning sunset, make your way back to a quiet and secluded room for a restful night’s sleep, caressed by the flowing island breezes. From the island’s own microbrewery to the ever-present focus on sustainability, Cooper Island Beach Club is a quiet and restful retreat that feels like an entirely new world. Even if you’ve been to Cooper Island before, each visit feels brand new because it’s just that refreshing.

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To inquire: reservations@ or To learn more see: Note: Cooper Island Beach Club will be closed from August 15 to October 16.


Virgin Gorda’s Bitter End Yacht Club is accessible only by water, which makes for some secluded—--and therefore idyllic—--shores. Those keen to head to head that way are rewarded with a protected harbour, lush natural beauty, and a wealth of experiences, both on sea and on shore, that delight the senses and


BEYC’s new Marina Lofts are inspired by vintage sail lofts. You can’t get much closer to the sea when staying in one of these!

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THIS PAGE The top floor master bedroom with king bed and private terrace with panoramic views of North Sound. OPPOSITE Villa Almondeen’s main living area and balcony provide breathtaking, unobstructed water views of Ballast Bay.

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feed the soul. This island outpost was destroyed by Hurricane Irma in 2017, but we soon learned that no storm could extinguish the Bitter End spirit. Four years later, BEYC is ready to share over a mile of reimagined waterfront with you. While it looks slightly different, it remains unmistakably Bitter End and is tailor-made for the seafaring community. Cantilevered above the Caribbean Sea, BEYC’s Marina Lofts are the BVI’s only over-the-water bungalows. These timber bungalows are inspired by vintage sail lofts and, blend seamlessly with their surroundings, and are tailor-made for those who are called to the sea. Interiors are purposefully simple and open to the environment, making each an eco-friendly hideaway that treats its guests to tradewind breezes and the comings and goings of North Sound. The two-story Marina Lofts include a first-floor lounge with a daybed for lounging and a master bedroom with king bed on the second floor. Guests will enjoy the panoramic views of the North Sound from private terraces on both floors, along with spacious showers with sea views. A personal dock provides space for tying up your own kayak, paddleboard, or dinghy.

A staycation may be close to home, but you will feel a world away swinging in a hammock at Bitter End. The sea beckons. Adventure calls. Bitter End is back. To inquire: For more see:


Nestled beside the ruins of a 300year-old sugar mill in the quiet village of Ballast Bay on the north side of Tortola, Villa Almondeen beckons guests to take in the impeccable view, just 100 feet from the water’s edge. A private and quiet escape, Villa Almondeen offers a romantic setting for a couples getaway or a great location for friends travelling together. Just five minutes from the popular Cane Garden Bay beach and a short drive to other stunning beaches, guests enjoy views of Jost Van Dyke and Sandy Cay and will enjoy watching the boats go by. The main living area provides breathtaking, unobstructed water views over the pool, and the dining area seats six guests. The villa’s Pointe Suite opens to the stunning views of the pool and ocean, while the Ole

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T O P S E A S I D E S TAYC AT I O N S THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE Let the children play in the inviting pool while you sit back and relax in a sun lounger.

Wall Suite embraces a view of the lush green hillside and tropical fruit trees. Each bathroom features rainfall showers for washing the tropical day away as night envelops the island and the magical lights of Cane Garden Bay begin to twinkle. An impressive outdoor living area is where guests can truly sit back and enjoy their tropical experience.

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Watch the day go by from a plush pool lounger while enjoying a cocktail and a good book by the pool. An outdoor dining space featuring plentiful food prep space and a builtin grill is the perfect place for lunch or appetizers. An outdoor shower provides a place to wash the sand from your feet after a stroll on the beach just beyond the villa.

To inquire: For more see: villaalmondeen


The next time you’re thinking about booking a plane ticket to some faroff destination, first check to see if there’s a BVI destination you haven’t

visited yet— - or haven’t been to in a long time— - that’s offering a resident special. “It can also be an eye-opener to the residents in the BVI that the BVI is definitely a place where you can vacation,” said RaeNisia Scatliffe. “You don’t always have to go abroad to find exploration or adventure;, we have it right here at home, and that business in turn will be able to put back into our local economy, causingwhich would havebe a ripple effect all around.” The BVI Tourist Board launches 2022 Staycation season in August 2022. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram: @bvistaycation.

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Peebles Hospital was originally founded in 1922 by Major H.W. Peebles and was originally known as the Cottage Hospital when Dr Robin Tattersall arrived in the BVI.

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THE BVI: WHERE A DISTINGUISHED MEDICAL CAREER BEGINS The second part in our three-part series on the fascinating life of BVI surgeon Dr. Robin Tattersall B Y E R I N PAV I O U R - S M I T H W I T H D R . R O B I N TAT T E R S A L L . R I C H A R D FA R R E L L A L S O C O N T R I B U T E D . P H O T O G R A P H S S U P P L I E D B Y P E N N Y H AYC R A F T.

AFTER RETURNING HOME to England with his modelling career behind him, and completing his surgical training over the next four years, Robin was encouraged by the British Medical Association to spend a couple of years in a developing country before finally settling down back home in England. He had always wanted to be a general practitioner (GP) surgeon in the traditional sense: the kind of doctor that did everything. However, this type of practice was dying out at that time in the United Kingdom. Robin had always been passionately fond of small islands, so when he and his wife Jill researched possible places where British doctors were welcome, several considerations came into play. They had three small children who needed to be educated

in England. Therefore, that ruled out such places as the Pacific islands, as they were too far away. Robin had good memories of the time he sailed with a friend from Nassau to Jamaica between Christmas and New Year’s of 1960-61, during a break from modelling in New York. He found it difficult to believe he could sail in midwinter wearing just a pair of shorts and maybe a shirt, as back in England, the sailing was limited to one or two months per year. So he decided it would be much more fun to go somewhere he could sail all year round. When looking more deeply at the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands fitted the bill — it wasn’t so large that it would require more than one surgeon (the population at the time was slightly less than 10,000).

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That way he wouldn’t have someone looking over his shoulder saying “that’s not your job.” In the spring of 1965, Robin enquired about opportunities with the Ministry for Overseas Development, but there was only one opening available and that was on South Caicos in the Turks and Caicos Islands. At an interview with the top official at the foreign office in Whitehall, he learned that at that time, Turks and Caicos was not a place suitable for young children, and in South Caicos there were minimal facilities for surgical practice. Robin was deeply disappointed. However, as he was leaving the office, he noticed a set of nautical charts of all the UK colonies on the rear wall, including the BVI. Pointing to them, he said, “That’s really where I would like to go.” The official asked, “Why?” Whereupon Robin told him all the

Jill, Robin and their boys James, Mark and Simon in 1965.

information he and Jill had learned through their detailed research. The surprised official commented, “You seem to know more about the islands than I do, and I’m supposed to be running them.” Robin kept his thoughts to himself, but he did wonder if that’s why the British lost the Empire. At that point, the official mentioned they had received a request for a surgeon in the BVI, but before he had a chance to continue, Robin interjected: “Great! I’m all ready to go!” The official went on to say, “That was 18 months ago.” Robin’s hopes were dashed. However, the man continued: “But I don’t think we have filled it yet.” Robin says: “In those days, one had to go out by sea. On the way, the ship had put into Lisbon, where the newly appointed surgeon eloped with the captain's wife and was never seen again.”

Apparently they had not readvertised, so Robin got the job, perhaps, as he wryly recalls, because there were no further applicants!


Robin had visited the Earl’s Court Boat Show in January 1965, with, at that time, absolutely no idea about his family’s overseas future. He had ordered a small 28-foot sloop, which was not due to be completed until August of that year. The deposit for the boat came from the advance that Jill had received for her first novel, A Summer’s Cloud, in honour of which they named the boat. The Crown agent instructed Geest Shipping Company to transport Robin and his family to Saint Lucia, from whence they planned to sail to the BVI. Just one shipping tonne of luggage was allowed. Robin advised the agent they had a boat to bring. When the agent estimated its size, he told Robin that it would cost £400, which was definitely more than they could afford. But after consideration, the agent kindly said, “We can just call it accompanied baggage ... would £100 be okay?”


In August 1965, Robin, Jill, their three young sons, plus Peter the cat, boarded the Geest banana boat Brunsland, with accommodation for 12 passengers, setting out from Barry Docks a few miles southwest of Cardiff, with Summer’s Cloud stowed safely aboard on the aft deck. As the ship was going out light, the single large propeller was partly out of the water, and when Robin went to check

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THIS PAGE The Road Town jetty.

on her once she was up to full speed, he was horrified to find that the aft deck and Summer’s Cloud were both vibrating wildly. This gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “shakedown cruise,” as during the 10-day passage, various suspect pieces of the interior joinery came apart. As a result, Robin spent most of the passage aboard Summer’s Cloud helping the ship’s carpenter repair all the offending pieces. Robin jokingly likes to say that it gave him the right to say he has crossed the Atlantic in his own boat! Brunsland first stopped at Grenada and then SaintVincent, where they had the exciting experience of watching the island’s womenfolk walking up the gangplank carrying large hands of bananas on their heads, all the time singing the Harry Belafonte song ”Day-O:” “Day-O, day-o, daylight come a me wan’ go home.”

Robin and his family eventually disembarked at Saint Lucia, where they spent the first week rigging and tuningSummer’s Cloud to perfection, before their voyage to the BVI. When the Tattersalls arrived in Saint Lucia, it was the hottest day on record for many years, and so the boys spent much of their time using the bellows of the inflatable dinghy to blow air over blocks of ice to cool down the poor cat. They began their cruise when they were confident that everything was well with their sloop, and followed the island chain on their voyage to Tortola, stopping at almost every inhabited island along the way. After a very rough passage from Guadeloupe to Antigua, during which the mainsheet attachment to the boom broke off when the family was halfway across, with much relief, they found the entrance to

the tranquillity of English Harbour, about halfway through their journey to the BVI. Nelson’s Dockyard had been the main base for his Caribbean fleet in the late 1700s. Much of the architecture was largely unchanged and original, although the Nicholsons, an English family, had started a charter business there some years before, with several old classic yachts. At each full moon, it was traditional for one of the charter boat crew to host a concert using gramophone records at Nelson’s Dockyard, amongst the ruins of the old Copper and Lumber Store. On the particular occasion when the Tattersalls attended, the concert finished with Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Together with the final crescendo of the guns echoing out over the harbour, it was a magical night for all, and it was difficult, in such a historical setting, to believe

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A Tortola sloop moored off the dock in Road Town.

that they were not still in the late 18th century. The family spent a week moored in English Harbour, attending to the teething issues resulting from the sail from Saint Lucia, before they set off for their final destination of Tortola, stopping on the way at Nevis, Saint Kitts, Saint Barths, Sint Maarten, and Anguilla.


Something very special happened when the family reached Anguilla and anchored off Sandy Ground, with its famous salt ponds behind the village. They hopped into their dinghy and rowed towards the beach. Before they got there, the three boys jumped out and swam to the shore. Three Anguillan boys, around the same age as the Tattersall boys, appeared at the head of the beach, looking a little bit menacing, rather like warriors. They then charged down straight towards the Tattersall kids. Jill understandably felt a little

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bit nervous, but she and Robin held back to see what might happen. The young Anguillan kids ran past the Tattersalls and dived into the water. They then ran back out of the water, and up to the dry, pure white sand, in which they rolled over and over, and then stood up completely white from head to toe with big grins on their faces. The six children immediately bonded and played together for the three days the family spent in Anguilla, and had the most wonderful time. Robin thought to himself“If only members of the UN could have witnessed how young children cope with the issue of race.” Later, Robin consulted with an elderly former Anguillan sea captain whom he had met on the old dock at Sandy Ground. He explained he was leaving for Tortola the next day and would like his expert advice. The old salt puffed on his pipe and said,“Well, sir, you leaves in the evening time, and you sail towards the setting sun, and when the sun

goes down you keep going straight, and when the sun comes up in the morning, it’s left for Saint Croix, straight on for Saint Thomas, and right for Tortola.”


The difficult part was “keep going straight” after the sun went down, because almost immediately it was dark. The compass light had failed. However, with eldest son James sharing the helm with Robin throughout the night, they made it to the BVI without further mishap. Summer’s Cloud entered through the Round Rock Passage in the early hours of October 10, 1965. Robin initially mistook East End for Road Town, but after correcting that, the family anchored off the government dock at around 10 a.m. Robin rowed ashore and was met by a portly young Tortolan by the name of Ralph O’Neal, later to become the BVI’s first premier, who at that time had recently returned from studying at Oxford, and

was the personal assistant to the administrator. When he met Robin, he asked “Where is your boat?” When Robin pointed to the diminutive sloop offshore, he replied“Where? I can’t see it!” He was somewhat taken aback when Robin said, “Look down my finger.” Mr. O’Neal replied “That tiny little boat?! We were told that our new surgeon was a millionaire playboy with a luxury yacht who happened also to be a doctor and was gracious enough to spend two years with us.” “He was looking for a yacht more the size of Aristotle Onassis’s yacht Christina!” Robin says.


Later that day, Robin went to the home of the current superintendent of medical services, at that time one of

the only two government physicians. He welcomed Robin and said, with his Irish brogue accent, “There isn’t much work to do at all, so just take two weeks to get yourself acclimatised.” At which point his telephone, one of the only 30 on the island, rang. He said, “I’ll send the new surgeon down right away!” From that moment on Robin never stopped working! Robin had been appointed to be the BVI’s first-ever surgeon, and his primary responsibility was for all the patients in the hospital. On a small Caribbean island at that time, doing everything really meant everything, from routine checkups to major cancer surgery, treating spear gun wounds and other unpleasant injuries, to ushering in an entire generation of babies. Robin’s list of deliveries soon read like a BVI“Who’s Who.” Many infants he delivered went on to make their indelible mark on the landscape.

Together with the final crescendo of the guns echoing out over the harbour, it was a magical night for all, and it was difficult, in such a historical setting, to believe that they were not still in the late 18th century. A DOCTOR’S CARRIAGE, TORTOLA STYLE

Robin also had to do general clinics around the islands, in addition to dealing with patients in the hospital. He held regular clinics in East End, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke. In addition to his $3,000-peryear salary, Robin’s archaic contract also included a $100-per-year horse allowance for visiting his patients.

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“There isn’t much work to do at all, so just take two weeks to get yourself acclimatised.” At which point his telephone, one of the only 30 on the island, rang. He said, “I’ll send the new surgeon down right away!” From that moment on Robin never stopped working! “But I was not much good on a horse,” Robin admits. So he convinced the government to convert it to a boat allowance, after he realised 80 percent of the population lived within a couple of hundred yards of the ocean.

The government motor launch,Saint Ursula, was officially on call for travel around the islands, but when Robin arrived, it had been out of action for some time. Initially he had to visit Virgin Gorda and Anegada using his own boat. This was a very slow process under sail. Robin soon acquired the latest high-speed 20-foot Bertram Moppy, which allowed him to reach Anegada in less than 40 minutes. This gave him the nickname“The Flying Doctor,” because sometimes in rough seas it would leap from one wave to the next!


A total population of fewer than 200 Anegadans lived in The Settlement, which at that time was the only inhabited area of the island. The shoreline at that end of the island was surrounded by up to a mile of reef

through which Robin had to weave his way, and he still had to anchor quite a distance offshore, row in by dinghy, then finally take off his shoes and wade to the shore. Many of the young children had dental problems, and they expected Robin to remove their bad teeth. Not being a dentist, Robin initially refused, but they persisted and eventually, he relented and arranged to borrow some dental tools from Dr. Hurt, the ancient Tortola dentist who had a little plaque over his practice door saying, “The pain is in the name!” The next day, when Robin returned to Anegada, as he waded ashore, a small child greeted him, saying “Did you bring the instrument de toot?” and when Robin replied “yes,” she ran off at high speed. When he arrived at the Old Clinic building, many children were lined up with big grins on their faces.

The Queen’s visit was a great success. She was as gracious and charming as ever and very interested in all that Robin and his team had been doing.

Robin wasn’t much of a dentist, but he did know a thing or two about local anaesthesia, so was able to remove the offending teeth with little or no discomfort to the kids. Later, when he returned to the dock, there was one five-year old girl clinging to his hand with tears streaming down her face. He said, “I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?” To which she replied “No! You didn’t pull me toot.” She was crying because she was the only child in Anegada who didn’t need a tooth pulled that day!


On February 23, 1966, only four months after Robin arrived in the BVI, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were to appear over the horizon on the Royal Yacht Britannia, the first-ever visit to the BVI by a reigning monarch.

They would land at Sopers Hole, West End and then drive in a motorcade for a parade on the waterfront in Road Town. By then, authorities predicted that the Queen might be rather hot and appreciate the opportunity to cool down; however, Tortola was short on air conditioning. The only unit on the island was in the operating theatre at the hospital. The plan was that Robin would keep her in there for long enough to cool off. In preparation, Robin and his assistants spent every spare minute getting the unit ready and so didn’t do any surgery for weeks. The hospital and most of the town was repainted. They got rid of all the latrines that used to hang over the water at the edge of the shore as part of the clean-up. The night before the Queen’s arrival, at a last-minute check at the theatre, Robin put duct tape around the door to make sure nothing was disturbed. That same evening, the

THIS PAGE Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip’s visit to Tortola on 23 February 1966 allowed Robin to speak one-on-one with Her Majesty while giving her a guided tour of the Hospital. Photographs by Eugenia O’Neal, Old Government House Museum/HM Governor’s office.

population relaxed, and there was much partying and drinking. Sadly, late at night an inebriated old man had been knocked off his donkey by one of the few motor cars of the time, and received multiple injuries, which in the early hours of the morning had required Robin to remove the duct tape and operate on him. After finishing, he scarcely had time to go home to clean and dress up for the arrival of Her Majesty. With Summer’s Cloud properly dressed overall, anchored off the hospital dock, the Queen’s visit was a great success. She was as gracious and charming as ever and very interested in all that Robin and his team had been doing. Robin jovially recalls that for five years as a medical student and junior doctor at the old Saint Georges Hospital at Hyde Park Corner in London, which had overlooked the gardens of Buckingham Palace, he had

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THIS PAGE Cane Garden Bay, where Dr Tattersall’s first eye surgery patient, Mr Charles Henley hailed from. OPPOSITE The Road Town post office as it was during the 1960s.

never actually seen the Queen — only to have arrived in the BVI just four months earlier only to spend time talking to her for several minutes face to face in his operating theatre.


The people of the BVI were beginning to believe their doctor could do anything. Shortly before the end of Robin’s first two-year tour, Charles Henley, one of the patriarchs of Cane Garden Bay, consulted Robin concerning his cataracts. He had been blind in one eye for 12 years and in the second eye for the last two. He had never left Tortola and had no intention of doing so.

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He said, “Doc, I’d like you to fix my eyes.” Robin replied, “Well, I’m not an eye surgeon; you would have to go off the island.” The old man responded, “I’m 85. If you can’t do anything about it, then I’ll just stay blind. But I know that you’re about to go back to England for your leave, so I’d like you to learn how to do it, and then when you return, I’ll be your first patient.” So Robin went to his old teaching hospital in London and watched some of their top surgeons do cataract surgeries, which in those days, were nothing like the modern version that now only takes 15 minutes. Back then,

it involved opening up the whole eye and removing the offending cataract. The procedure required a few special instruments, which a BVI benefactor had kindly donated. Mr. Henley was waiting for Robin when he returned to Tortola. He came to the hospital and said, “Well, can you do it?” “I’ve watched many, so I know what to do, and I have all the right instruments, but I haven’t actually done one myself,” replied Robin. The old man insisted, and then said, “Let’s start with the one I’ve been blind in for 12 years, so that will be your practice eye, and then by the time you do the second one, you’ll be perfect!”

As it transpired, the second operation was not necessary, because when the bandages came off the day after the first procedure, Mr Henley could see! Good news travelled fast. The next time Robin strolled through his waiting room at the hospital it was full of blind people. He decided he would only operate on those who were unable to go off island, and after a short while, when the new high-tech methods and specialist ophthalmologists became available, Robin gave up the practice.


In 1967, Robin was asked by an American visitor if he could rent Summer’s Cloud for a week. The visitor offered to pay him $350. This was a nobrainer, as at that time Robin’s salary was only $3,000 per year. Robin remembers, “He took her away and brought her back in better condition. He fixed all the things I didn’t have time to do! That’s when I called up my brother Ralph in

England and said, ‘Maybe we should start a charter company.’” This was the beginning of bareboating in the BVI. They named the company Virgin Voyages and started with three 28-foot sloops from England. Sadly, it was underfunded, and after two years, the company was failing and Ralph and his family returned to England. The company’s last caretaker was Tony Snell, who was an ex-Spitfire pilot and had a very interesting World War II career. After Virgin Voyages finally folded, Tony created The Last Resort on Little Jost Van Dyke, later moving it to Bellamy Cay in Trellis Bay, where it became well known to sailors the world over. During this time, Robin met Charlie Cary on the dock. Charlie asked him: “What do you think about this bareboat chartering?” Robin replied, “It’s for the birds. We have tried, but it will never work, because people can’t get here and there are scarcely any supplies

or facilities when they do, so we’re giving up.” Charlie went on to say, “Well, I’m about to retire and I love to sail, so I think I might give it a go.” Robin said, “Good luck!” The rest is history, because the following season, Charlie brought in five or six Pearson 35s and started The Moorings, which went on to become the premier chartering company in the world. Robin’s story is such a special one that we have extended it into a series of three parts. For the final part, see our next issue. ■

Historical photographs (all except of Queen Elizabeth) kindly supplied by Penny Haycraft. Full collection of photographs available for purchase at Nutmeg & Co. or online at

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RETURNING TO O U R RO OTS In the third part of VIPY’s series on young entrepreneurs, a day with Nea Talbot from Full Belly Farm shows what it means to be an “agripreneur.” BY A N I KA M . C H R I STO P H E R P H O T O G R A P H Y B Y E L K E TA L B O T

TODAY, FARMERS produce enough food to feed every single person on this planet, yet millions of people worldwide continue to go hungry. The British Virgin Islands faces its own threat to food security due to its increasing population and small land area. The ongoing climate crisis and Covid-19 outbreaks have made the challenge more acute. “Small farmers feed the world. The Virgin Islands is ideally situated to support many small farmers practising regenerative agriculture,” said Nea Talbot, owner and lead farmer of

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Nea Talbot from Full Belly Farm’s love of nature stems from treasured childhood memories of playing in her family’s garden.

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item harvested is the result of a long labour of love. On the farm, she said, you’ll find two separate growing zones; the garden and the forest. The garden is for tender annuals such as lettuce and tomatoes and culinary herbs like basil, parsley, and cilantro, next to ashwagandha, calendula, and nettle. Here grow elderberry shrubs, and shade beds of mint and heirloom tomatoes keeping the arugula cool. The food forest, meanwhile, is the perennial growing zone, with layers of growth of tubers, shrubs, and trees offering medicine or food. In the forest are mangoes, avocados, and citrus, as well as more uncommon fruits like loquat, chocolate sapote, and jabuticaba, growing between flowering shrubs and climbing christophene, an edible gourd. “We focus on niche produce and unique varieties that you can’t find anywhere else in the BVI, so you know your dishes are really going to stand out,” Nea added. On Full Belly Farm, everything from herbs to vegetables to fruits all grow from humble beginnings. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, as they say, and the story of how Nea’s vision for the sustainable future of food became a reality is just as flavourful as her produce. THIS PAGE The farm is located at Sage Mountain, Tortola and has two separate growing zones. OPPOSITE A sweet family.

Full Belly Farm. “These farmers, with appropriate infrastructure and support, can supply much of what is consumed throughout our territory.” Indeed, the way food is being produced globally has become unhealthy and unsustainable, she said, adding that for true food security, it’s important to support local farmers who work tirelessly

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to supply consumers with fresh ingredients. Pick up your shovels and grab your pickaxes and join VIPY for a tour of Full Belly Farm.


Full Belly Farm is blessed by both good weather and glorious views of Sage Mountain. There, Nea works intimately with the land, and each


Since Nea was old enough, she has always loved nature. She has treasured childhood memories of playing in her family’s garden, and at the time, she wasn’t aware that those early days were the seeds that would later blossom into a successful farm and her lifelong dedication to all things agriculture. Eventually, she decided to pursue higher education to realise her dream. “I wanted to share what is possible in terms of healing our land and our bodies while creating a viable business that contributes to a better food system,” she said.

“I wanted to share what is possible in terms of healing our land and our bodies while creating a viable business that contributes to a better food system,”

In 2011, she earned a bachelor’s degree in agroecology and sustainable agriculture from Appalachian State University in North Carolina, and went on to pursue a master’s degree in education. She is also a certified permaculture designer. After pursuing her education, she decided it was time to return home to the BVI and seek land. “In 2017, we committed to this beautiful piece of land on the mountain to be able to offer more produce more consistently and to pursue our dream of creating an off-grid, organic farmstead,” she said. Between work on the farm, she is pursuing becoming a certified clinical herbalist. Full Belly Farm was officially founded in January 2017, the same

year the territory was devastated by two Category Five hurricanes. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop the farm from persevering. In fact, Nea often jokes about how Hurricane Irma did much of the bush clearing for them. “Ideally, a well-run farm is able to rebound quickly after any natural disaster,” she said. “That is what makes a farm resilient and shows that you are farming in alignment with the principles of nature.” Today, Full Belly Farm is a dream realised, delivering diverse crops and delicious ways to enjoy healthy foods.


Over the years, Full Belly Farm has continued to develop its science and practice.

“We absolutely use sustainable practices, which is even a term that is losing steam now in favour of ‘regenerative,’” Nea said. Sustainability means maintaining a steady level: a “stasis.” Starting from such a depleted environmental state, it’s important to examine how to improve and rebuild a healthy and functional environment, she explained. The farm is wholeheartedly committed to this, using organic products, but with caution. “Certain organic sprays can still be harmful to insects and beneficial soil organisms like mycelium and microbes,” she said. As a result, the farm only uses homemade sprays and other items like compost emulsions and fermented plant

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understanding and appreciation for local produce. For the past 10 years, she has taught the principles of food security to everyone from toddlers to adults, and encourages them to return to their ancestral foodways when preparing meals. “Mentorship and community is crucial in any endeavour, but I would say especially so in agripreneurship,” she said.


Mango Passion Jam and Irie Bush Tea are just two of the beautiful Full Belly Farm product range.

amendments, which encourage growth and germination. It focuses heavily on producing compost and biochar — a kind of organic carbon-rich charcoal — for the soil, and using what is already available in the region, like manure, banana stems, and seaweed. The core of the farm’s practice is remaining in tune with nature and understanding the cycles and seasons necessary for healthy plants.

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With a commitment to fostering sustainability on every level, Nea works with everyone from consumers to chefs to bring healthy and delicious produce to their plates. “Shifting our approach to what we place on our tables is crucial for food security,” she said, explaining why it is so important for farmers to connect with consumers and reinvigorate their

Nea left a word of advice for all aspiring agripreneurs. “Love what you do, deeply. ‘Agripreneurship’ is not just being a farmer. You have to be a scientist, a financial manager, and a marketing expert, and you need to do it all with really dirty hands and questionable attire. Agriculture gives you the opportunity to enjoy a bit of every profession. You can be an introvert or an extrovert. It is a field that you can tailor to your skills, schedule, and goals. Just remember that you are creating something that is bigger than yourself, longer lasting than your lifetime, and has influence far beyond what you can see. You just have to jump in, create and commit.” ■

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E AS I EST B E AC H PICN IC EVER Summer’s here, so get together with friends and family and hit the beach with this simple and delicious seaside feast. L I N E S + A N G L E S /A R E M E D I A

THIS SPREAD Crunchy southern fried chicken, complemented by a salad of watercress, avocado and snow peas is the perfect match for the prawn and tarragon baguette, poached fruit and a chilled lychee vodka cocktail. See the following pages for all the recipes.

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Lychee Cocktail with Mint and Lime LEVEL EASY M A K E S (4 S E R V I N G S ) PREP TIME 10 MINUTES T O TA L T I M E 1 0 M I N U T E S INGREDIENTS 1 bunch fresh mint leaves; divided 1 can lychees; in syrup, fruit divided 1 cup vodka; chilled 1 lime; 1/2 juiced, 1/2 cut into wedges 2 bottles tonic water; 10 oz each ice

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METHOD In the bottom of a medium pitcher or plastic container, add 1/2 of the mint leaves, the lime juice, 1/2 of the lychee fruit, and all of the lychee syrup from the can. Muddle the ingredients together. Pour the vodka in with the muddled mixture and stir. To serve, strain the lychee, and vodka mixture between 4 tall glasses. Divide the remaining lychee fruit, mint sprigs, and lime wedges into the glasses. Add ice and top each glass with tonic water.

Prawn Baguette with Tarragon LEVEL EASY M A K E S (4 S E R V I N G S ) PREP TIME 15 MINUTES T O TA L T I M E 1 5 M I N U T E S

METHOD In a large bowl, stir the mayonnaise, lemon juice and tarragon together. Add the prawns and toss until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Brush the insides of each baguette

with the melted butter, if desired. Line each with pea shoots and fill with equal portions of the prawn mixture. Tie a length of butcher’s twins around each sandwich to secure until ready to enjoy.

INGREDIENTS 1/2 cup mayonnaise 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon; finely chopped 1 lb cooked prawns; peeled and deveined 1 teaspoon kosher salt; or to taste 1 12 inch baguette; cut into 4 pieces and sliced lengthwise 2 tablespoons melted butter; optional 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper; or to taste 2 cups pea shoots 4 lengths butcher’s twine; approximately 18 inches long

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Chicken Drumsticks LEVEL EASY M A K E S (4 - 6 S E R V I N G S ) PREP TIME 10 MINUTES COOKING TIME 20 MIN UTES M A R I N AT I N G T I M E 2 H O U R S T O TA L T I M E 2 H 3 0 M I N S

INGREDIENTS 1 quart buttermilk 8 chicken drumsticks; (Leave skin on) 2 cups canola oil 2 cups flour 1 tablespoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon black pepper 2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons onion powder 1 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

METHOD Pour the buttermilk into a large bowl and add the drumsticks making sure they are all well coated and submerged. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over mediumhigh heat. Add the flour and seasonings to a shallow bowl or baking dish and stir until well combined. Remove the chicken from the buttermilk and place into the flour mixture turning to coat on all sides. Working in batches, carefully add the chicken to the hot oil and cook for approximately 20 minutes until crispy and golden, turning halfway through. Remove cooked chicken and let drain on paper towels. Let chicken rest for about 5 minutes before eating.



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Snow Pea, Avocado and Watercress Salad LEVEL EASY PREP TIME 10 MINUTES T O TA L T I M E 1 2 M I N U T E S


INGREDIENTS 1 cup snow peas; trimmed 1/4 cup champagne vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1/4 teaspoon honey 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 2 bunches watercress 1 avocado; halved and sliced 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

METHOD Blanch snow peas for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water; pat dry. Add the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, honey, and olive oil to a small bowl and whisk until emulsified. In a large bowl, combine the snow peas, watercress, avocado, and walnuts. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss gently until well coated.

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INGREDIENTS 2 cups water 1/4 cup orange juice; no pulp 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 cup sugar; plus 2 tablespoons 1 vanilla bean; split lengthwise and seeds scraped 3 ripe peaches; halved and pitted 3 ripe mangos; peeled, pitted, and cut into think slices 1 cup fresh raspberries 1 cup fresh blueberries 1 cup crème fraîche METHOD Combine the water, orange juice, lemon juice, 1 cup sugar, vanilla bean, and vanilla seeds in a small pot over medium heat. Stir frequently until sugar has dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 mins until thick and syrupy. Place fruit in a shallow bowl and carefully pour the syrup over the top. Let cool, then cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of sugar together with the crème fraîche. To serve, divide the fruit into small bowls and spoon the syrup over the top. Serve the prepared crème fraîche on the side. ■

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