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Virgin Islands






STAY AND PLAY: Our writers unveil all the great and wonderful activities the BVI has to offer this summer season

THE READER’S CHOICE AWARDS It’s here – you decide on your favourites REFLECTION ON REFRACTIONS Prospects in the commercial property market

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

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Belmont Beachwalk Belmont US$495,000

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Living in the British Virgin Islands means having an intimate relationship with the ocean and our tropical climate; they permeate our daily activities. Beach day or forest hike? North shore surfing or South shore marina? East End or West End? The choices are many and varied. Choosing to eat out could take you to one of numerous restaurants on several different islands with countless beaches and hidden coves, all an easy boat ride away – power boat or sailing yacht – you choose! The British Virgin Islands comprise over 52 Islands, Rocky Pinnacles and Cays, appropriately named “Nature's Little Secrets.”

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS our qualities are numerous, our benefits endless Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated.

Maritha Keil Mill Mall, P.O. Box 188 Road Town, Tortola, VG1110 t: 284.494.5700 | m: 284.340.5555/5500 |

AUG V i r g i n I s l a n d s




F e at u r e S


Skipper’s Tips: Knot my Usual By David Blacklock, Charter Captain and Sailing Instructor – BVI & USVI

Our sailor scribe relays one of the essential elements of yachting


Entertaining Festival By Fran Morrell & Kate Henderson – House BVI

Expert advice for BVI residents on relaxation and celebration This certificate recognizes the votes of readers who appreciate your contribution to the British Virgin Islands.


Don’t Pack Up Just Yet By Brian Duff, Yacht Broker - BVI Yacht Sales

So much to do in the BVI, why vacation anywhere else?


Th e Re ader’s Choi ce Awa rds By Stephen L France


An Architect’s Perspective on the Hurricane Directive By Steve Fox, Managing Director – OBMI

WHO IS TRULY THE BEST AT WHAT THEY DO? – You decide with a chance to win a dinner for two

Seasonal guidance for homeowners

26 Dig Dirt, Curve Clay,


Reflection on Refractions By Edward Childs, Director – Smiths Gore

A commercial property market overview of the BVI

Water Play

By David Blacklock, Charter Captain and Sailing Instructor – BVI & USVI

30 High Value Season By Stephen L France

38 Living up to its Name By Stephen L France

40 Picnic in Paradise By Susie Younkle


Sailing the Gap

42 The EIA Process:

A Full Environmental Impact Assessment By Clive Petrovic – Econcerns Ltd. Environmental Consulting

By Stephen L France

The caribbean voyage of a true renaissance sailor

Scan and bookmark us



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Heading towards a sustainable future!

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Alternative Energy Systems

Edi t o r ' s L e t t e r , A u g u s t 2 0 1 3

Live today… Owen Waters.

August – a month when flights are cheaper, hotel accommodation rates are lower and vacationers who dream of owning a beach can fulfil the fantasy…at least temporarily. ‘Slow Season’ they call it. More like ‘Value Season’ as a certain renowned restaurateur in Cane Garden Bay would say. Of course, not forgetting that this is Festival month – a time of vibrant culture, profound reflection and colourful celebration; in this issue, several of our contributors review fun activities and innovative methods of relishing the best experience from this time of year. Weather vigilance over this season is maintained with OBMI’s Managing Director Steve Fox and his article about architectural design against disaster. Smiths Gore Director Edward Childs presents a market review of commercial property, revealing potential progress for the BVI economy; we also investigate the true reception of August in our slice

Publisher Colin Rathbun

of paradise and how the concept of ‘slow season’ is gradually dissipating.

Contributors Brian Duff – BVI Yacht Sales Clive Petrovic – Econcerns Ltd David Blacklock Edward Childs – Smiths Gore Fran Morrell – House BVI Kate Henderson – House BVI Stephen L France – aLG Steve Fox – OBMI Susie Younkle – aLG

crusader Owen Waters, who moves on to pursue his passions.

Creative Director Nick Cunha Graphic Design Scott Taylor Web Developer Maros Pristas Advertising Sales Stephen L France

Speaking of reflection, amid the celebrations of this month, aLG says a fond farewell to long-standing veteran Commencing his tenure in late 2007, he entered the aLG family as a desk-jockey, writing stories about his preferential pastime—water sports—before becoming the Editor of VIPY. Enthusiastic about first person experiences, Owen met characters from all different walks of life, venturing on wild assignments from diving for the magazine to helping in salvage operations. He recalls one of the more amusing stories where he aided salvage operators, who were rescuing a boat; a sailor who had mistakenly fallen asleep at the helm and crashed at the south side of Virgin Gorda: “I really felt for him as this open ocean adventurer losing everything, so I went out to help with the salvage guys as he said that his stuff was being washed away constantly or being pillaged. I went out with 2 other guys super early in a dinghy and we swam ashore to the boat in really rough seas and currents. “We pulled as much stuff off as we could find, which was really nothing and we nearly broke our necks on the rocks. We took him back to base clutching a salty bottle of rum and really felt the heart strings go. After we published the story, I got a call from his wife who wanted to know where he was. Turns out he had run off with all their money and sailed off with it, leaving her at home with his kids to look after the farm on their own …Karma in that salty rum - I don’t think he was welcomed back.” Some of his fonder memories are of accomplishing challenging goals with the aLG team whilst remaining optimistic that they helped people and projects along the way, like the Marine Awareness Guide and other various charities. Owen concludes his time at aLG as Senior Account Executive having held an intricate role in developing the company with Nick Cunha and Colin Rathbun. An asset to the magazine, he will be sorely missed.

…look forward to tomorrow. Virgin Islands Property & Yacht is published eleven times a year (February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December/January) by aLookingGlass Ltd., Road Reef Plaza 6 and 7, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands VG1110. Copyright 2013 by aLookingGlass Ltd. All pieces reproduced in this issue are under prior copyright by the creators or by the contractual arrangments with their clients. Nothing shown may be reproduced in any form without obtaining the permission of the creators and any other person or company who may have copyright ownership. The publisher of VI Property & Yacht, assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the content placed in its publications. For the avoidance of doubt, aLookingGlass gives no warranty or guarantee in regards to any information placed in its publications.

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

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

The serene summer setting of the Old Sugar Mill Hotel. Photo by Edward Childs

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August 2013 QR code generated on


Knot my

Skipper’s Tips:


Words and photography by David Blacklock, Charter Captain and Sailing Instructor – BVI & USVI

When I have occasion to act as an instructor for new sailors, one of the more challenging things we do is to study knots and knot tying. It is a boring topic and not my usual—I know—particularly when most beginners are interested in ocean voyaging and the best boat for sailing the Virgin Islands, but I kid you not when I declare that yachts and knots come hand in hand. In providing Skipper’s Tips, it is a subject that we must cover – so persevere. “We’re not ready for the Horn right now,” I say to my students. “Let’s try tying a bowline.” Facial reactions from the budding sailors tell me everything and as the hours drag by, it becomes clear that one of the big constraints against excellence in ‘knottery,’ is the fact that few people have any contact with real things. When there are so many technologically advanced forms of entertainment, who these days—other than a fisherman—plays with string, rope, line – whatever you want to call it?

“We’re not ready for the Horn right now, let’s try tying a bowline.” Bending and twisting, trying to tame an unruly length of line takes some dexterity and patience; not to mention some familiarity with the materials concerned. To many, that familiarity leaves much to be desired. Having mastered the bowline first—that most versatile of knots—we as sailing instructors often move on through the half-dozen or so basic seamen’s hitches and knots. Often I try to do this when making way under motor and autopilot—it fills the time and creates a distraction, permitting some “teaching moments” when other vessels suddenly appear in our path, or we in theirs. The emphasis is always on the conventional knots—the round turn and two

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half-hitches, clove hitch, sheet bent and so forth – are you following? But of all the knots, the one I enjoy teaching and find most useful, is the Rolling Hitch. What a simple, elegant, robust and useful arrangement of line – something true sailors will respect. I use it primarily to attach a snubber line to an anchor chain. It is much more reliable than the hook and line provided by most charter companies. It holds firmly yet unties easily and can be led in various ways so as to maximise the stretching whilst maintaining surge-absorption. This knot or more correctly, hitch—meaning a line that is tied around another line or other object rather than around itself—is simplicity. Just a few turns of line coiled around another line or length of chain in the direction of the cleat or winch which will take the strain, and secured by one or two half-hitches at the opposite end, the Rolling Hitch uses the friction produced by the tightly wrapped coils to grasp the line or chain – see the photos. The line is then led to a winch—to haul the line up—or to a cleat to secure it. In this way, you can add a snubber line to an anchor rode, increase the length of a line temporarily, re-direct the tension on a line in order to free an override on a winch, support a weak shroud or other structural rigging and perform many other tasks. Seemingly, a lot to digest, but extremely useful. I like to make as many as a half-dozen turns around the line before securing the hitch with two half-hitches. Most descriptions of the Rolling Hitch show just two turns in the direction of the tension and a single halfhitch, almost a clove hitch with an extra turn at the working end. The more turns you make, the greater the friction in the system and hence the more secure the knot. I use it to attach a small flag or standard to a backstay as well – its very adaptability makes it an unusual knot, but worthy of notice for all seafarers. Well, I think I’ve said all I’m going to on knots for the next year…or ten.

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS t +1 284 494 2400 f +1 284 494 5389

August 2013


By Fran Morrell & Kate Henderson - House BVI Photo by David Thomas

Commemorating Emancipation Day— August 1 1834—the British Virgin Islands bestows a welcome and much appreciated vacation of three days to a very grateful community. That’s right. Three days. The build up to Festival is one of our favourite times of year – the chance to kick back and relax with no special agenda. August Monday, the first of the three-day holiday that BVI residents are gifted with, always occurs on the first Monday of the month. Typically, there are some who take this opportunity to leave the islands for a short break; however, there is nothing like spending the quieter summer months in the BVI. There is always a feeling of excitement approaching Festival – the village opens a week before August Monday and the sounds of island beats waft through open windows, reminding us that it is that time of year again. With three days of celebrations and many businesses closed during that time, it is best to be prepared in advance. Make sure that you stock up on everything that you will need for the break. When shopping, remember that there will be many opportunities for meeting and entertaining friends, so it may be an idea—for once—to slightly over cater. Buy all the food and drink you will be enjoying beforehand and freeze as much as you can as it is a challenge to find what you need after the weekend. Form plans ahead of time. Do you intend to visit the parade on August Monday? This is a must if you have never done so. What will your plans be for the rest of the time? Do you have family or friends staying and will you be hosting a dinner party, barbeque or picnic? It’s a good idea to have lots of quick party snack food on hand – bags of tortilla chips, biscuits and readymade dips if you don’t have the energy to make them from scratch. It’s hot and it’s a party, so don’t forget the party drinks and mixers; now is a great time to practice making the perfect Sangria or Margarita or our island favourite – Rum Punch. A good blender is a must



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for blended drinks and some cocktail shakers come in useful for festival parties too. As we are all trying to take it easy, consider using paper plates and napkins to save on the washing up, especially if hosting outside. Have extra bin bags on hand, or recycle card board boxes for trash. As the weather is often fabulous this time of year, it is a great opportunity to take a boat out and visit other islands and enjoy beach picnics. A day out on the water can blow away all the cobwebs and it never gets tiring looking at the islands from the sea. Before the break, make sure you have to hand good cool bags or cool boxes. Ziploc bags or parchment paper for wrapping food are also useful. Consider taking plastic glasses since they are lighter and safer than the real thing and of course, don’t forget the corkscrew. Experience dictates that there is nothing more annoying than arriving on a deserted island and finding out you have no way to open a bottle of wine. Finally, we would suggest making sure you have lots of water to hand as well as the aspirin – Festival is fun…..until the morning after.


August 2013


Pristine Oil Nut Bay Resort: photo by Christian Horan Photography

Reflection on REFRACTIONS A Commercial Property Market Overview By Edward Childs, Director - Smiths Gore


uch has been written about the trials and tribulations of the British Virgin Islands’ residential property market over the past few years, but little comment is made on the commercial property market. This is an equally important arena with a number of transactions taking place each year, whether property sales or office rentals. Unlike the residential market, the commercial property market is dominated by local investors. From small resorts, inns, marinas to office buildings and warehouse developments, local investment is the prime driver of this market with foreign investment generally concentrated in the larger resorts and marinas. For this reason, the commercial property market has remained active during the economic downturn, while the residential market has seen a fall in sales and pricing, paralleling reduction in foreign investment.



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Owing to the high level of local investment, the sale of commercial property is generally restricted as few local investors choose to sell their properties. Of course, the economic downturn will have led to some properties coming to the market through foreclosure, but this has not been as prevalent in the BVI as in some other countries in the Caribbean. The majority of local development is in investment property, such as offices, warehouses and marinas while restaurants, inns & resorts and retail outlets tend to be in owner occupied accommodation.

The growth of the financial sector and the equally impressive expansion of Government departments, has led to a transformation of the Road Town landscape. From a low rise town in the 1970s and early 1980s, there is now a plethora of multi-storey buildings dotted around the townscape. While both the financial sector and Government were growing, new buildings would be erected with little to no vacancy in office space in the market. Now, with Government departments no longer expanding at the same rate and the financial sector under pressure from external forces, the take up of office space has slowed with a higher level of office vacancy now than at any time over the past thirty years. Tenants are seeking smaller spaces and are now less inclined to invest in an expensive fit-out often preferable to new build. Despite this, we are still seeing new firms arriving in the Territory and existing firms seeking to develop. With the expansion of Road Town, traffic congestion and the availability of parking have emerged as critical factors in tenants’ choice of location. During the economic downturn, it has been encouraging to see the construction and expansion of two retail warehouse developments – one at Fish Bay and the other at Pockwood Pond. Both are developed by experienced local developers, who have been aware that there is a need

“The tourism industry remains a key component of the local economy and one which should continue to expand.” The Ritter building office complex: photo by Smiths Gore

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August 2013


for cheaper space; many tenants whose location is driven by availability of parking and lower operating costs as opposed to being centrally located in Road Town, are the ideal occupants in this vein. As these developments have leased up, further expansion of this market is planned, both for investment and owner occupation. Marinas remain at the forefront of commercial development in the BVI, being the gateway for many tourists to the outer islands. Marinas provide the base for a charter fleet or overnight berthing, which in turn drives demand for land-based development, primarily retail outlets and—where there are associated boatyards—businesses supporting the maintenance of vessels. The larger marina developments provide thriving communities, mixing tourists with local residents and being the hub for small business operations. The expansion possibilities for marinas are somewhat limited due to coastal conditions with fewer locations remaining suitable for marina construction. Again, the majority of marinas are held in local ownership and are seldom available on the market. The demand for sailing in the BVI

has remained strong through the economic downturn with most marinas remaining full. The tourism industry has experienced a slow expansion of land based facilities in the BVI, certainly compared to the marine trade, as development in this sector is generally a riskier endeavour. Small inns, guest houses and resorts are generally owner-run businesses, which means the investment is more subject to the vagaries of the market. Based on estimated figures provided by the Development Planning Unit, the overnight tourism numbers for land based accommodations have remained relatively stable. The outlook for commercial property in the BVI remains positive due to the concentration of ownership with local investors, whose tendency is to retain ownership which leads to a scarcity of supply. The future of the financial sector is evolving, with external influences dictating the direction of this sector, which in turn has changed the dynamics of the office market. The tourism industry remains a key component of the local economy and one which should continue to expand.

“The demand for sailing in the BVI has remained strong through the economic downturn with most marinas remaining full.”

The popular and bustling Soper’s Hole Marina: photo by Don Herbert



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By Brian Duff, Yacht Broker - BVI Yacht Sales Photogtaphs provided by Rainbow Visions, Dan O’Connor, Photogra Phy Shakti and Emily Waters

Sitting with a group of fellow yachtsmen on a Sunday Funday at the Tamarind Club, the discussion arose about the activities for residents and visitors in the British Virgin Islands this month. Against the universal consensus, Blue Water Divers: photo by Rainbow Visions

many of us agreed that the best time of year to enjoy the BVI is the summer season. The threat of hurricanes serves to slow tourist traffic between June and November each year. Early July sees most yachts safely stored on land and their owners’ grand migration north. Cruise ship visits cease, some restaurants close, schools are out, and the seas settle. The island as a whole winds down, taking on a much more traditional Caribbean pace. Indeed it seems only the lawyers and bankers keep up their version of the ‘rat race.’ In VIPY’s July issue, David Blacklock took us through the safe practices for storing your boat during this season here in the BVI due to the impending hazard of hurricanes – a very important process that ensures the safety of your vessel for the following sailing season.

August 2013


An alternative for avid sailors and astute charter companies, who remain undeterred by the threats of nature, is keeping your boat in service as long as possible each year. The harbours and bays of the BVI are virtually deserted during the summer. Many times I have enjoyed an entire day in blissful solitude at Virgin Gorda’s Baths or the Bubbling Pool; however, should you choose to put your boat away—as many do—what’s a yachtsman to do during the summery? I say, disband from the flight to the north – stay and play instead. Vacation villa rentals offer lower rates, as do resorts during the summer months. The gentle, warm seas make for the best diving of the year and snorkelling is excellent with pristine visibility and no wind chop, making surface swimming very enjoyable. The beaches are deserted and so serene, it’s as if you have ownership of the territory. Dive boats continue to run throughout much of the summer season and because of the weather’s tranquillity that occurs during this season, experienced divers may be permitted to explore some of the more challenging and exotic locations further off shore or in places normally susceptible to swell action. Similar to the resorts, some dive companies will offer discounted rates during the summer – an added bonus. Another excellent summer activity in the BVI—given the composed winds and seas—is to rent a power boat from one of the companies operating here. When the seas are relaxed, a fast motor boat can take you from Tortola to the exquisite neighbouring island Anegada—renowned as a veritable utopia for its ‘green’ aesthetics—in 30-50 minutes. Sports such as wakeboarding and tubing can often be enjoyed right on the middle of the Francis Drake Channel – normally only fun on sailboats due to the wind and chop present most of the year. For the identical reason, paddle-boarding is excellent this time of year. While the more experienced paddlers will enjoy windy days for downwind runs, the recreational paddler will be pleased with the weather’s serenity, providing a gentle cruising experience, which is improved with the plethora of sea life visible; calmer waters mean a vibrant marine wildlife. For landlubbers, the BVI has some excellent shore side attractions as well – though you will need to ask around at bars, clubs, and beach resorts to find the best of them; hiking trails, caves and jumping cliffs offer great entertainment for the adventurous. Most of the ‘valleys’ of the BVI have a low point where run off water descends after each rainfall. Locally referred to as a ‘ghut,’ these exist in many locations around the BVI and make brilliant, easily accessible walking or scrambling trails from the coast line toward the ridge line. Some provide a unique view of the BVI – one that many wouldn’t know exists here. Be sure to wear good hiking shoes, bring water and equip a first aid kit in a backpack, as many of these trails will require four-limb hiking…and of course, bring your camera too. With excursions like this at your finger-tips—enhanced by this particular time of year—you will fall in agreement with the unconventional belief that summer is in fact the best season in the British Virgin Islands.



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The beaches are deserted and so serene, it’s as if you have ownership of the territory.

Hidden hiking spots in the BVI: photo by Photogra Phy Shakti

Paddleboarding, a much loved sport in the BVI: photo by Emily Waters

August 2013


It’s that time of year again—the annual poll where you decide to pay homage for the services that deserve applause—it’s the Virgin Islands Property and Yacht Reader’s Choice Awards. This is the third consecutive year where we grant our readers an opportunity to rank their favourite people, places and projects in the quest to discover what makes our archipelago the slice of paradise it is.

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August 2013


This is the third consecutive year where we grant our readers an opportunity to rank their favourite people, places and projects in the quest to discover what makes our archipelago the slice of paradise it is. Winners will be published in the October issue and all participants who fill out the survey will be entered in a draw for the prize of dinner for two at the highest voted restaurant.

Name: Email: PROPERTY Best British Virgin Island:

Best Architect:

Best Neighbourhood to Live:

Best Real Estate Agent:

Best Sunset Lookout:

Best Spa:

Best Museum:

Best Landscapers/Nursery:

Best Historical Ruin:

Best Pool:

Best Villa Rental:

Best Proposed Government Project:

Best Resort:

Best Eyesore:

YACHT Best Marina:

Best Sailing School:

Best Beach:

Best Dive Shop:

Best Place to Skinny Dip:

Best Snorkel Spot:

Best Yacht Club:

Best Day Sail:

Best Sailor:

Best Charter Company:

Best Watersports Instructor:

Best Place to Provision:

Best Regatta:

Best One-Day Regatta:

THE LOT Best Restaurant:

Best Artist:

Best Place to Find Fresh Threads:

Best Photographer:

Best Full Moon Party:

Best Late-Night Haunt:

Best BVI Cocktail:

Best Bartender:

Best Local Musician:

Best Shack Bar:

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

Winners will be published in the October issue and all participants who fill out the survey will be entered in a draw for the prize of dinner for two at the highest voted restaurant. Will the tranquil region of Virgin Gorda take the trophy for best Virgin Island again this year or has the infectious party vibe of Jost Van Dyke curried favour with residents and visitors? Voyage’s Mystique, who won best Day Sail in 2012 due to their incredible boats and renowned great service, also attained the 2013 Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor, making them a

strong competitor for our awards for a second time running. Perhaps the historical essence of Brandywine Estate Restaurant has evoked further appreciation to compete against reigning champion The Dove? Or maybe the fresh vibe of Origin has persuaded the patron’s vote?

You decide…

2011 Previous Winners:

2012 Previous Winners:

Best British Virgin Island: Virgin Gorda Best Neighbourhood to Live: Cane Garden Bay Best Viewpoint: Sage Mountain Best New Building: Commerce House Best Historic Building: Old Government House Best National Park: The Baths Best Villa Rental: Golden Pavilion Best Resort: Rosewood Little Dix Bay Best Resort Pool: Scrub Island Resort & Spa Best Spa: Rosewood Little Dix Bay Best Marina: Nanny Cay Best Beach in the BVI: Trunk Bay Best Hurricane Hole: Paraquita Bay Best Yacht Club: Bitter End Yacht Club Best Sailor: Alec Anderson Best Regatta: BVI Spring Regatta Best Sailing School: Rob Swain Sailing School Best Dive Shop: Blue Water Divers Best Day Sail: White Squall II Best Restaurant: The Dove Best Full Moon Party: Trellis Bay Best BVI Cocktail: Painkiller Best Weekend: Anegada Best Airline: American Airlines Best Local Musician: Quito Rymer Best Local Artist: Aragorn Dick-Read

Best British Virgin Island: Virgin Gorda Best Neighbourhood to Live: Cane Garden Bay Best Resort: Scrub Island Best Architecture Firm: Roger Downing Partners Best Sunset: Bananakeet Café Best Real Estate Agency: Property BVI Best Spa: Peter Island Best Landscaping Company: Minine’s Plants Best Eyesore: Bomba Shack Best Museum: Old Government House Museum. Best Villa Rental: Golden Pavilion Best Pool: Tamarind Best Government Project: Crafts Alive Village Best Marina: Nanny Cay Marina Best Regatta: BVI Spring Regatta Best Sailing School: Rob Swain Best Daysail: Mystique Best Provisioning: Riteway Best One-Day Regatta: Foxy’s Wooden Boat Regatta Best Sailor: Alec Anderson Best Dive Shop: Blue Water Divers Best Charter Company: Horizon Best Place to get Fresh Threads: UMI Fashions Best Musician: Quito Rhymer Best Artist: Aragorn Dick-Reed Best Restaurant: The Dove Best Bartender: Sean Anderson, The Dove Best Shack Bar: Bomba’s Surfside Shack Best Full Moon Party: Trellis Bay Best Photographer: Amanda Baker Best Late-Night Haunt: Le Grand Café

The survey opposite can be dropped off at our office: aLookingGlass, Road Reef Plaza, Tortola, VG1110, BVI or completed online via our site

August 2013


An Architect’s Perspective

on the Hurricane Directive

By Steve Fox, Managing Director – OBMI Photography provided by OBMI

The quality of architectural construction in the BVI is generally good. Experienced contractors ensure buildings are built as vigorously as possible and structural engineers design for unfavourable scenarios. Hurricane Earl of 2010—the BVI’s most recent serious storm— unleashed Category 4 winds, but damage to buildings was relatively light.



Published by aLookingGlass Ltd.

Contrary to popular belief, a hurricane in itself is not a natural disaster; rather, it’s an uncontrollable natural event, which if unleashed upon an unprepared community, can lead to unpleasant conclusions. Thankfully, in our technologically advanced times, destruction due to these kinds of natural hazards is largely preventable. When discussing home building, properties can be protected from damage if careful thought and attention are designated to good design, quality materials and decent construction. The component of a hurricane that provokes the most anxiety is its unpredictable wind forces, which present special problems for architectural strategy. Sustained hurricane-force winds can last for several hours, becoming turbulent and continually changing direction – every face of a building may be impacted. Hurricane Earl in 2010 was a case in point, where the winds in the BVI started in the north east, and gradually swung around the north until the fiercest forces were being thrown at us from the south west some 6 hours later. Under these conditions, no part of a building is spared. As long as the outer skin, or envelope of the building remains intact, the wind will flow over and around it. As hurricane-force winds intensify, positive pressure is

created on the windward faces and as the wind flows around the building, it causes huge lift or suction—negative pressure—on the leeward faces. The uplift forces from hurricane winds have been known to pull buildings completely out of the ground, so the design of the foundations can be as critical as the design of the walls and roofs. Perhaps the most common area of failure is the roof cladding; metal sheeting, tiles or shingles can be ripped off due to poor quality or inadequate fixings. Loose debris from damaged buildings is picked up and thrown around, creating potentially damaging airborne missiles. This presents an additional threat to the integrity of the building envelope, the most vulnerable part being the window and door openings. If a window breaks or a door is blown open, the envelope is breached, and wind enters the building, causing a sudden and dramatic increase in internal pressure, effectively doubling the force acting to lift the roof and push the walls outward. The structural design of the building needs to allow for this possibility, with special care given to the connection details between the roof and the walls.

As long as the outer skin, or envelope of the building remains intact, the wind will flow over and around it.

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August 2013


The majority of new building owners choose to use thickly laminated impact-resistant glass which—if used in properly designed and wellinstalled windows and doors—will stay in place even if shattered. Another alternative to a building owner’s options are heavy-duty fabric sheet systems, which are custom-made to cover openings and to fix around balconies and decks using stainless steel fasteners; these systems can be fairly easy to install and allow light through. When compared to being closed up in a dark house with solid opaque shutters, this is a clear ‘visible’ benefit. We’re encouraged by expert advisories—Government and hurricane monitors—to ensure that all building openings are tightly shut. This increases the need to guarantee that things are totally secure, and that a sudden failure won’t occur. The other component of a storm during this period—the torrential rain— will be lashing against the building from all directions, and will find its way in through even the tiniest of cracks, so it pays to keep things sealed up as much as possible to minimise water damage. Unfortunately, however, there is still much room for improvement in the management of storm water; in recent years, far more damage has been done by rain than by wind, and we’ve seen some serious flooding, mudslides, sedimentation, wrecked roads and failed retaining walls. It seems that we’re proficient in guaranteeing quality in our structures, but we need to understand that all of our construction and development has a combined effect on drainage patterns – the land around our buildings is as prone to damage and disruption as the buildings themselves.



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Peruse our June and July 2013 issues for further guidance on hurricane seasonscan below

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August 2013


The beaming colourful produce at Aragorn DickRead’s Good Moon Farm on Turnbull Estate

By David Blacklock, Charter Captain and Sailing Instructor – BVI & USVI Photo by Dan O’Connor from Taste

The concept of a stay-at-home holiday, or staycation, is increasingly common in many countries. Exploring one’s immediate environment, getting to know the myriad fascinating individuals within cooee of one’s house—what a joy. 26


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But to many in the BVI, the idea is anathema. As soon as there’s a three-day weekend, many flee to Puerto Rico, St Maarten, St Barths or St. John to frolic with the fun folk. Those with young children, however, often prefer to stay close to home...the better to rest and recover whilst the kiddies play within earshot. Lucky are the family with grannies and ‘pops’ at hand – theirs is a well-rested nest. Finding fun and creatively challenging things to do can be a good part of the stay-at-home challenge. Lounging at Long Bay or Josiah’s can’t be the only diversion open to the fun-loving family, can it? Fortunately, there’s activities to rescue us from the word that should never be used when living or visiting a tropical island. On Tortola’s North Shore, Aragorn Dick-Read’s Good Moon Farm, an organic-agricultural endeavour carved out of steep hillside on Turnbull Estate, is an example of a fresh, productive and rewarding diversion that many will be unaware of. Blessed with views for miles and spadefuls of charm, Good Moon is the perfect place to spend a day with interested older ‘tweens or teens with an aptitude for Nature, food, getting dirty or playing farmer. Aragorn, who knows a thing or two about keeping the audience interested, has several programmes in place for the motivated resident, as well as residential opportunities for those wishing to become involved in a working organic farm. Community Supported Agriculture is the international movement that promotes citizen interest in organic farming, and Good Moon is an enthusiastic member.

Spend a morning, a day or several days in and around the seedbed: photo by David Blacklock








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“People are most welcome to come and do work exchanges on a daily or weekly basis,” Aragorn told me recently. “We supply an amount of vegetables and other produce they can take home in exchange for their volunteering.” Spend a morning, a day or several days in and around the seedbeds—and in return, head home with baskets of arugula, lettuces and other edible treats. Several of the aquatic summer schools, such as Sea Trek, Ocean Quest and Sail Caribbean, bring their students up for some fun volunteering activities. An additional option for younger residents and visitors is the pottery programme hosted by Bamboushay at Nanny Cay. The programme is open to children aged 5-14 years and is held Monday through Friday from midJune to September. Sponsored by the BVI Department of Education, the one-week programmes run from 9-12 am, break for lunch and resume in the afternoon. Children will learn the fundamentals of clay work and the making and firing of ceramic objects. Adults and others who exceed the age limits mentioned may also attend evening classes held Monday to Friday. To complete our tour of the elements—Earth, Air, Fire and Water—Dive BVI on Virgin Gorda has “local rates that people can take advantage of as well as two-week long youth camps in August, that kids 5-12 can be a part of while parents vacation in the BVI,” according to owner Casey McNutt. These examples are by no means exhaustive. Call around your favourite dive shop, charter operator or sports club and see what they have on offer. You never know, they might surprise you. In these times any business is good business, so look around.

Smooth Sailing

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A great option for younger residents and visitors is the pottery programme hosted by Bamboushay at Nanny Cay.


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3/8/2012 12:58:41 PM August 2013

Words by Stephen L France, Photography provided by BVI Tourist Board from Team FotoShop

With the change of times, fluctuating to reflect demands of the community, the British Virgin Islands has witnessed some dramatic shifts in its economy and social infrastructure. 30


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Incorporated in these changes, the term ‘slow season’—a period of time defined by a decrease in tourism, absence of cruise ship visits and vacation for BVI residents—is argued to be a fading concept. Some would propose that this has been influenced by businesses remaining active for extended periods than the traditional December – April stretch and others would suggest that BVI residents are seeking a cost effective way to enjoy a holiday via ‘staycation’, which is easily accommodated here as the paradisiacal locale it is. Enthusiasm about August, the concept of ‘staycation,’ and the appreciation of Festival is shared by many, but what is really happening in August? Is this still the ‘slow season’ or are we now seeing a revolutionary ‘high value season’?

Lynette Harrigan, Niché Marketing Manager – The British Virgin Islands Tourist Board & Film Commission Q. What can we expect from August Festival in Tortola this year? What will be different from previous years to attract visitors and residents? A. This year August, you will see a more balanced line up and of a higher calibre; something that residents and visitors look forward too. The nightly line up plays a very important role in getting folks to the village. The Committee has been working hard also to make the look and feel of the village more cultural and will be adding a cultural décor to the stage and the village. The feedback from the public has been a positive one and I think we will see along with the fantastic line up, a great parade as well on August Monday, where we celebrate our freedom in the streets. Q. What do you think August Festival means to residents in the community? Do people still see it as a celebration of the emancipation or something else?

A. August Festival still means emancipation from slavery for BVI residents; even though we have the nightly entertainment in the village, we still carry on the true tradition of freedom by our Freedom March and the Sunday morning well service. As you know, the abolition of slavery occurred on 1 August 1834, and to this day it is celebrated by a three day public holiday on the first Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of August – something unique to the British Virgin Islands. Q. What do you think of the idea of ‘slow season?’ Is this starting to disappear with many companies now staying open? A. The BVI has been for some years now experiencing a longer season. At first, it was December to April, but now we have June, July and into August. We have even seen an early start in November so with the marketing we have been doing along with the focus on Latin American and other markets, we will see longer seasons as their winter is our summer. Our hotel partners also hit the ground running and together with their marketing efforts and the boards, we are seeing the numbers increase.

August 2013


Jo-Ann Downing, Director – Voyage Charters, BVI

Kareem and Valerie Rhymer, Owners – Myett’s CANE GARDEN BAY, BVI

Q. Would it be accurate to say Voyage is seeing a very productive year? A. Yes. June was fully booked at VOYAGE charters, which has not been so in the past. July is also extremely busy all the way through to the 15 August, when we haul out the fleet. Boats are launched again at the beginning of October.

Q. As a business that stays open for 365 days a year, do you think the idea of ‘slow season’ still exists? A. We prefer to call it ‘value’ season. The rates are lower and so are the crowds. You get good value.

Q. Is ‘slow season’ still an issue or is there potential to profit at this time? A. I think there is a market for August & September, however boating is a concern for charter companies due to hurricanes. On the positive side, all three Mystique Day Sailing Catamarans will be available for charter right through the season including September. You might find that Weddings on the Water become popular during the off season due to lower rates.

Q. How does August affect your hotel bookings and restaurant attendance? How is it looking this year? A. We are hosting the Black Boaters Summit which will bring in a nice crowd at the beginning of August. And, there is the festival which attracts a lot of people from the USVI’s and Puerto Rico. The visitors like to stop in. We have opened our new beach bar & lounge and we will be having fun beach parties with DJ’s, Volleyball, Paddle Boarding and great specials throughout the summer. We plan to be busy. Q. Are you still the only restaurant to stay open in Cane Garden Bay? Does this work well for Myetts? A. I think we are – although, I think it would be nice for our guests to have other places to go while they are here visiting. They are always a bit disappointed that the other businesses are closed.



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Chris Smith, Managing Director – Coldwell Banker Real Estate, BVI Q. What do you think of August/’staycation’/slow season with regard to businesses? A. Traditionally, most places in the BVI have gotten very quiet in August. Part of that is due to the beginning of the hurricane season so the tourists didn’t come, but the other part of it is that in Tortola with a large expat community, many with young kids, lots of people choose that time to leave the island and go home to visit family and friends, because it fits with the school holidays. So on Tortola it’s tough for local retail businesses to survive through August since they lose both the tourists and the lawyers and their families! Q. How’s business in the villa rental sector for August? A. The good news is that the tourist season has definitely gotten longer. It used to be – 15 years ago or so – that the season lasted until April/May, then there would be a few weddings and honeymooners in July and that was about it. Now many of our vacation rental villas are busy right through July and several are still full in August. Q. Do you think the concept of slow season is still valid or have things changed? A. If you manage to avoid a hurricane and you visit the BVI in the summer, the weather can be fantastic! Especially if you like to explore the islands by powerboat, since there’s more chance the sea will be calmer and less chance of encountering a big chop or swell. True it doesn’t cool down at night quite so much, but most of our vacation homes these days have air conditioning.

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Q. Could the BVI be doing more to promote to potential visitors and influence more ‘staycations?’ A. Picking niche markets, who will travel during the summer months is key. The Italians, for example, used to flock to Little Dix in August. I’m not sure that’s still the case. More family oriented packages and activities would be useful either to entice those with kids living and working here to stay over the summer months and not to make the long haul home, or to attract those with kids out of school to consider the BVI for a vacation. In summary, the BVI can be a fantastic and very beautiful place to visit during the summer months and more and more people seem to be realising this.

August 2013


Words by Stephen L France, photography by

When I first met Denis Dowling, his humble demeanour could not have prepared me for the profound perceptions he holds about his art form – and this is not a skill belonging to the traditional group like writing or painting. Following this brief introduction, I seized the opportunity to organise an interview with him, set on a typically sunny BVI afternoon at the beach by Nanny Cay Marina. My intrigue was energised as his art that we intended to discuss was unique; at its ultimate poetic pinnacle, it was a romantic affair with a brightly coloured blue, white and yellow sloop; at the most basic level, it could be described as a unfathomable passion for the dying tradition of Caribbean boat-building and sailing – a true West Indian experience. In essence, 30 year-old Denis is an experienced sailor, who bridges the gap between sailing as a well-loved hobby, and as a revolutionary, rehashed artistic skill founded in the ancient ability of boat architecture. Explaining his attraction to the water, he said: “I’ve been sailing for nine years professionally,” indicating that the sea has been like a second home to him. “I grew up sailing with my family. I was always on the water as a kid,” he added.



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Intent on running free with the liberation the ocean bestows, his immediate motion after graduating college was to cruise into the sailing industry. Gaining the miles and experience as a first mate, he acquired his skipper’s license, received his first skipper’s job in the BVI and subsequently, many jobs in that vein, travelling the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, all over the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. However, Denis recognised that this was not his true calling: “I started to get frustrated with the yacht scene and charters in general,” he said, going into further depth about his conceptions. “The glorious benefit of living or visiting the BVI is the ease of learning to sail. Courses can last a couple of days and you can be captaining your own boat across these waters. But the art form that has been lost in the technological advances we’ve made over time, is the traditional skill of boat building,” said the renaissance sailor, stressing the rarity of this dying skill.

“It started about 3 years ago,” he said, relaying the origins of his central passion. “I got in my head that what I wanted to do was based around art and music and filming and recording with what I was doing as far as sailing.” “I came up with this idea that I would go sailing around the world and I’d make music in strange places to strange instruments – street musicians, things like that,” he said as his enthusiasm began to show. “I came up with this whole itinerary and started to look for a backer or a productions company – anything I could and I got a lot of good interest, but nobody wanted to do anything until they had seen an example.” Travelling to Greece, he made this dream a reality and recorded music with a six piece band of street musicians, granting him sales success and confidence to continue his mission. Simultaneously, Denis felt the familiar call of the sea again and in an epiphany, was drawn to the abnormal idea of boat building and more importantly, unifying it with music as a joint artistic collaboration – thereby, building a boat, sailing it, while composing his music; very similar to the sailors of the past who had to entertain themselves on sloops without the luxuries you find on yachts today. “I came up with the idea of a Carriacou sloop—a traditional West Indian sailing vessel—and homed in on this idea of buying this sloop, kitting it out to travel long distances and work on my projects in this way.” “Generally, the joy of sailing a wooden boat and taking care of it is just so much more…more like…” he said, pausing and cracking a grin. “More like my girlfriend…her name is Summer Wind.”

There are…some of us that possess that same passion that our sailing ancestors did long ago, slowly nursing the dwindling flames of the sailors arts. There are those of us that see beyond the plastic vessels and price tags of luxury, using the new as a conduit to the old. This is the esscence of Movement Sailing; Breathing creativity through the timeless imagery of our dearest mother, the Sea –


August 2013


Denis started researching this ancient tradition and “in the midst of all this research, [he] came across a guy called Alexis Andrews, who’s been a still photographer based in Antigua for many years and [who’s] heavily involved with these sloops.” Following this, Denis did further research into Alexis via his two-book set—one about the vanishing construction skills of this tradition and the other about building a boat. Explaining that there has been a powerful movement to attempt to regenerate interest in this dwindling way of life and impressed by Alexis’ dedication to the cause, Denis was influenced to adopt the vessel Summer Wind—the boat he’s restored with his ancient carpentry skill set—to sail from Antigua to Florida for the owner. “I would like to go around the world,” he admitted as one of his major ambitions.

“We sail, we sail, we sail and when we hear the crickets, we tack.” Curious to finally see this boat, we walked from the beach to the marina’s dock where we came up upon the wooden vessel, conspicuous among its ‘plastic cousins.’ Travelling down into the belly of the boat with its potent scent of fresh wood merged with the smells of a past on the verge of extinction, Denis divulged his plans to increase the comfort of the boat.

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“What’s missing for me right now to travel a very long way, is a place to sleep, and a way to make coffee,” he joked. “I can survive on a sandwich, a bagel and cream cheese, peanut butter and bananas to the cows come home…but when you pull into a bay, it’s nice to be selfsufficient and be able to cook yourself a meal and catch a rest.” Summer Wind is essentially a work boat where everything is manual and absent of the pleasantries of a yacht, but this to Denis constitutes as sailing in its purest form. “We’re losing some very important art forms,” he said. “Ancient seamanship and seamanship in general is being lost. People are now at sea who wouldn’t have been able to before…the technology and while that’s a great thing, there’s really no substitute for the old way.” In reference to a well-known song he has heard in the BVI, he asked me a question about sailors of the past who had no lights on their boats – it appeared more like a riddle: “how do you sail through [BVI marina] Soper’s Hole in the dark?” I shrugged. “We sail, we sail, we sail and when we hear the crickets, we tack.” Just the concept of sailing in the dark was unusual to comprehend – by this point, I truly understood the conviction in his passion about resurrecting an ancient sailing world that was disappearing. “People are using too much fuel,” he concluded. “We need to get back to our roots and slow down the technological advances. Preserve the sea that we love. Overall though, it’s just nice to remember where this all came from.”

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August 2013


Living up to its Name By Stephen L France

For residents of the British Virgin Islands, this month is highlighted for two very different reasons. Both have been discussed in this issue falling at completely different ends of the pleasure spectrum –

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2 slices hand-cut, seven grain bread 1 portion grouper, mahi mahi, snapper, butterfish, or flying fish ¼ C cheddar cheese, grated 1 tsp ketchup 1 tsp mayonnaise

ne breeding happiness and joy, and the other provoking caution and anxiety. Of course it does not take a Sherlock imitation to deduce that the two great forces in reference are August Festival with its gratifying three-day holiday and hurricane season, imparting its distinct form of threats like the Big Bad Wolf. Good cuisine is a global solution to a variety of problems and aLookingGlass’s Taste cookbook—a showcase of delectable specialties from renowned BVI restaurants—offers delicious diversions from the obstacles that can manifest during this dichotomous month. Presenting a snack that can fix the stomach for the hedonistic celebrations entertained on this long holiday, or provide comfort with a scrumptious fix should nature decide to make BVI residents prisoners in their homes while conferring a makeover on our piece of paradise, The Famous Awesome Sandwich of Trellis Kitchen is the answer. Speaking to Jeremy—the proud creator of this compact feast—his inspiration for the recipe emerged out of a desire to place a conspicuous food option on his menu. “When creating a new food place, we wanted something unique and different so we could stand out from the crowd,” he said. Giving it the name Famous Awesome Sandwich, “’Famous’ because it would become,” explained the creator who fashioned the snack 6 years ago, “’Awesome’ because it is,” he added, the word ‘awesome’ was Jeremy’s quirky way of coining the sandwich with a word he hears frequently in his establishment. “A mixture of fresh organic vegetables, grilled cheese and either meat, fish, veg or lobster with a tangy sauce…gives it that different taste,” he

½ Tbs kuchela 4 slices tomato 4 slices cucumber, peeled 2 leaves romaine or arugula lettuce

further explained. “Not hot but tangy Kuchela. We have the Kuchela handmade here in the BVI by a lady from Trinidad. The bread is the real key – a seven grain uncut giant loaf made exclusively for us by La Baguette. We hand slice the loaf to give you a beautiful hunk of toasted bread on both sides.” The sandwich which Jeremy said is served daily due to its popularity is a great recipe that fits every occasion. “I think it gives the Taste book a feeling of uniqueness – an entrepreneurial feel of how you can do anything if you think about it,” he said underlining the sandwich’s contribution to the book as well as its practicality. “It’s also a very basic world food type—the sandwich—it’s filling and not just a piece of food art on a plate.”

Special pricing is available for bulk orders. A tasty gift for charter guests and villa guests.

. August 2013



PARADISE By Susie Youkle, Home-cook and Sailor

Few places match the British Virgin Islands for ‘staycation’ during the month of August – especially for people with access to a boat.

A picnic with friends or family on a deserted stretch of beach is an ideal way to enjoy the simple pleasures of life in the islands. Picnics are particularly nostalgic for me. While growing up in the Midwestern part of the U.S., my family didn’t take traditional summer road trips to national parks or go camping. Rather, I was fortunate to spend summers at a cottage on a lake, where the entire summer was one big ‘staycation.’ One of my favourite activities was spending afternoons on “Penny Island.” As its name implies, the island was barely large enough for my two sisters and me. We would anchor our tiny Boston Whaler off the island, swim up and picnic in the idyllic setting. Fast forward a decade and a half to my arrival in the BVI, where I found the grown-up version of my pleasant childhood summers— albeit with more islands, bigger boats and an expansive body of water. To my delight, I discovered that numerous islands and countless anchorages make for a seemingly endless array of secluded picnic spots. I love a good beach barbeque, but it’s not always practical to grill on the beach, especially if you’re in a place that’s hard to get to.

Swimming or dinghy-ing ashore aren’t particularly compatible with lugging a BBQ grill to the beach, so I typically opt for picnic food, prepared in advance. As with any type of provisioning in the islands, planning is key when dining alfresco. Here are a few tips for the perfect picnic:


Opt for easy-to-eat food that can be shared readily. Keep food well chilled and at a safe temperature. If space permits, consider bringing two coolers: one for food and one for drinks. You’ll likely open the drinks cooler more frequently, so having two coolers will keep food sufficiently cold. Choose reusable plates and utensils, along with cloth napkins. In addition to adding a slightly luxurious touch to your picnic, real plates and cloth napkins are also an environmentally-friendly choice. Pack a giant beach blanket or towel to lounge on during your leisurely meal As always, be sure to clean up all evidence of your picnic and dispose of trash properly, to protect our beautiful beaches and waters.

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For a couple of other delectable treats to add to your picnic menu, consider the following recipes I’ve previously published in Virgin Islands Property & Yacht Magazine—— snickerdoodle cookies (July 2011), and cucumber salad (July 2012). Additionally, no proper picnic of mine would be complete without homemade potato salad. I love the versatility of potato salad, as the options are unlimited— from a French-style potato salad with fresh herbs and vinaigrette to one with Caribbean influences such as sweet potatoes and corn. I make a variety of potato salads, but my Mom’s recipe for dill potato salad remains one of my favourites, whether on Penny Island or in the British Virgin Islands.

(1) Make the dressing: Stir together mayonnaise and next 6 ingredients (yogurt through eggs). Season with salt.

(2) Cook potatoes in boiling salted water under just tender, about 13 minutes. Drain potatoes and cool for 5 minutes. Then place potatoes in a large bowl and toss with vinegar and oil.

(3) Pour dressing over potato mixture and combine well.

(4) Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes about 4 servings. Recipe can be multiplied.

Dill Potato Salad This recipe is well-suited for warm Caribbean weather, as it’s lighter than many creamy potato salads. 1 lb new potatoes or red-skinned potatoes, cut into ¾” pieces 1/4 c light mayonnaise (preferably Hellman’s) 1/4 c plain yogurt 1 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard 1/8 tsp ground white pepper 2 Tbl grated onion 1 tsp dried dill 1 or 2 hard-boiled eggs (optional) 2 tsp cider vinegar 2 tsp olive oil Salt, to taste

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August 2013


The EIA Process

A Full Environmental Impact Assessment By Clive Petrovic – Econcerns Ltd. Environmental Consulting Photo by Dan O’Connor

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…This is intended to permit orderly growth that contributes to the community without placing unnecessary burdens on the established infrastructure. To render an informed decision, the authority must understand the proposed project and the impacts it will have on the community. One of the tools used to make a good decision, is the environmental impact assessment (EIA). When properly implemented, the EIA will provide all the information necessary to allow the authority to make a decision that will benefit the local community. Depending on the type of project, its size, and the potential impacts, the authority will determine the level of EIA required. In previous articles, we considered smaller developments, such as a house, where a ‘Limited EIA’ would gather sufficient information for the decision making process. Now we will consider the requirements for a larger project, or one that may produce substantial impacts on the environment or community. Examples may include a hotel, marina, large resort, or a development in a wetland or other sensitive area. Such a project would be classified as a Category A development requiring a full EIA. Unlike a Limited EIA, the full EIA will involve much more detail and more topics to assess. Most of these topics will be identified in the Terms of Reference (ToR) issued by the Town & Country Planning Department (T&CPD). The planning department is the lead agency responsible for guiding development. As is often the case, this is easier said than done. The procedures for any EIA are available from the T&CPD – they are easy to understand and follow. Briefly, once the project concept is in hand, the application for planning permission must be submitted. The Environmental Screening Form usually follows. That will give the authority an idea of the scope of the proposal. A meeting with the T&CPD is useful because it offers an opportunity to present the ideas and receive some immediate feedback. Soon after, the ToR will be produced and that will guide the EIA – for a larger Category A development, the ToR will provide the guidance necessary to begin the EIA. Usually, a Scoping Report is required as a preliminary document. This is sort of a ‘mini-EIA’ that describes the project and highlights some of the issues that may need to be assessed. That will provide a baseline condition that will help guide the preparation of the ToR. Since there is variation in size, location, and type of project, the details required in the EIA will also vary. However, there are some common threads in most EIA’s. The project location and description sets the stage for the remainder of the report. Any EIA will require a detailed analysis of the biological environments, both on land and in the sea. In addition to a general description of habitats, emphasis must be placed on rare and endangered species and species of economic concern. A water quality analysis is usually necessary for coastal sites.

August 2013


All projects will require a Hazard & Vulnerability Assessment from the Department of Disaster Management. Additional specialized reports may be helpful depending on site location and conditions. A historical and archaeological study is often necessary, especially if cultural or historically significant items are uncovered. A full EIA will usually include numerous architectural and engineering drawings that depict the proposed development. Site plans, hydrological and drainage plans, and various specialized support materials should be included. A Socio-Economic Assessment (SIA) is normally a significant section since it describes the project as it will impact the human community. Such an assessment is important because it details the benefits of the project and also the potential negative impacts on infrastructure, social services, utilities, traffic, and other issues relevant to the community. Since the SIA is complex, it will be the subject of the next article.

A full EIA will usually include numerous architectural and engineering drawings that depict the proposed development. A full EIA requires an evaluation of all the potential impacts of the project. These may be short or long-term, temporary or permanent. Along with the predictions of impacts, solutions must be offered. That includes an assessment of alternatives to the project, or the ‘no project’ scenario. This will lead to recommendations to reduce or manage impacts. An environmental monitoring and management plan is also important, but may be only a preliminary document during the EIA process. A more detailed monitoring and mitigation plan will usually be expected to follow the EIA. The final EIA report includes a substantial amount of data and a thorough analysis of the project and all the potential impacts, both positive and negative – there will be recommendations to maximise the benefits and suggestions offered to mitigate the negatives. The analysis should also summarize the positive and negative aspects of the proposal so it is easily understood by the public. Once the EIA is submitted to the planning authority, it will be reviewed by all relevant governmental agencies for comments and suggestions. Often there will be requests for clarifications and additional information. Finally, there will be an opportunity for public review of the document and a formal public hearing where the community will have an opportunity to comment, ask questions, and offer opinions to the regulatory agency. Only then will the planning authority be in a position to render an informed decision that is in the best interest of the wider community. For previous articles or further information on the EIA process, scan below:



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August 2013




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“We understand the true value of a home in the Islands”

AQUAMARE M A N G O B AY $16,000,000 Three 8,000sqft beachfront Villas. Setting a new standard for luxury in the BVI

D ’A R C Y ’ S R U N AWAY S P R I N G B AY $2,500,000

RAKU C R O O K B AY $5,500,000

LAVIDA N A I L B AY $5,500,000

19 room custom beachfront New build contemporary 5 home. No other BVI home bedroom home on the beach finished to this standard. with large infinity pool.




S AT O R I V I L L A S M A H O E B AY $2,950,000

5.5 acre historic, waterfront Estate located at Smuggler’s Cove beach. 5 bed home.

4 bed main home, 2 bed guest home. Glorious views. Short stroll from fantastic beach

A N ATO L A L I T T L E B AY $1,600,000


T H E R E E F S AT B A L L A S T B AY $1,950,000

2 acres 3 bedrooms. Walk to Walk to the beach from this fabulous Brand new architect’s home Spring Bay Beach. Beautiful 4 bedroom home with pool. Simply marries contemporary luxury stonework, boulders and views. stunning views of North Sound! with Caribbean comfort.

Delightful 4 bed home, short stroll from Tortola’s beach.

in private, gated estate. Views simply breathtaking!

THE RICE HOUSE $695,000 Delightful island cottage on Spyglass Hill. 3 beds, pool, great neighbourhood.

S E A WAT C H , V G $650,000 Lovely 3 bedroom villa with wonderful ocean views, breezes & awesome boulders!

THE HANDSOME BEACH HOUSE $525,000 A delightful 2 bed cottage right on the beach at Handsome Bay. Calling out to be expanded!

Under $1m

BREEZEHAVEN $895,000 Two 3 bed homes with pool for the price of one! Outstanding views at Havers. N A N N Y C AY M A R I N A






FROM $850,000

Nanny Cay is Tortola’s flagship marina with berths for 180 yachts, full service boatyard, pool, restaurants, shops, beach etc. Nanny Cay Village - 32 waterfront townhouses with docks - is nestled within this thriving marina. Finished to the highest standards, these 2 & 3 bedroom homes are for sale turn key, fully furnished if required. Guaranteed marina berths available for larger boats. Competitive, entirely optional rental program available.

R E A L E S TAT E B V I (284) 495 3000 Visit our offices at Nanny Cay Marina, Tortola, or Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda


Luxury Villa Rentals


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From $321 per night

From $270 per night

A charming Caribbean villa nestled into the contours of the south side of Tortola. It was built around the existing large trees which act as a natural canopy to provide cool shading throughout the day. This two bedroom house is very private and provides a peaceful and relaxing tropical retreat.

Superbly decorated and furnished villa located in the Long Bay Resort. Privately owned the villa has three selfcontained guest suites making it ideal for families, groups or couples. The villa has the use of all the resort’s amenities: swimming pool, tennis, fitness centre, apa and beach and all are within a short walking distance.

Exquisite Properties For Sale

















Private, 2-bed, 2-bath main house w/ 1-bed, 1-bath guesthouse, pool & artist’s studio. Panoramic ocean & islands views north & south. Landscaped in quiet residential estate.

Magical jewel box property, only a few footsteps to Josiah's Beach. 1-bedroom, 1-bathroom, exquisitely furnished house on a small, fenced lot only 5 minutes walk to the beach and 10 minutes drive to aiport.

4-bed, 4.5 bath private house with a spectacular view overlooking Hodge’s Creek and the Sir Francis Drake Channel with the verdant peaks of the numerous islands in the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.

Located in walking distance of Lambert Beach & Resort with beach and island views. The pool is great for a late night dip or a afternoon cool down. Only minutes from restaurants & popular surfing beaches.

Maritha Keil (Broker) m: 284.340.5500/5555 Each Office Is Independently Owned And Operated.

3-bed, 3-bath main house w/spacious deck & magnificent view. 1-bed guesthouse w/ensuite bathroom. Close to Long Bay Resort w/access to all amenities: restaurant, spa, pool and of course, the beautiful beach.

Large 4-bed, 3.5-bath family house with sunrise views overlooking Road Harbor and Sir Francis Drake Channel. Only 3-mins drive to Road Town. Landscaped with pool and sold fully furnished.

Carol Olympitis & Wanda Manning (Vacation Villa Specialists) t: 284.494.5700 e:

Four-bed, four-and-one-half bath, private villa with swimming pool and mature tropical gardens in luscious Shannon Estate. Wonderful sunset views of Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean and Jost Van Dyke.

Private and secluded and away from it all. Large open living/dining room and kitchen, with 2 en-suite bedrooms and laundry room. Situated on a large lot with spectacular views over Brewer’s Bay and the Caribbean Sea.

General Enquiries Mill Mall, PO Box 188 Road Town, Tortola, VG1110 |

For all of your real estate needs, Smiths Gore is one of the pre-eminent real estate advisors in the British Virgin Islands and the Caribbean. With offices on Tortola and Virgin Gorda Smiths Gore provides in depth residential services covering all the islands.



Golden Pavillion US$7,750,000





Palm Ridge US$5,900,000

Samsara US$2,975,000




Asolare US$4,900,000




Tingalayo US$3,200,000



Doveland US$2,150,000

The Landing US$795,000

Aquamare US$4,500,000

For more information on these listings or additional offerings, call 284 494 2446.







Palm Grove Villa US$450,000







Little DIx Bay US$4,200,000




The Beach House US$795,000









Pond Bay US$6,700,000

British Virgin Islands Britannic Hall, P.O. Box 135, , Tortola Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour, Virgin Gorda RT (284) 494 2446 VG (284) 495 5944 E

United Kingdom 17-18 Old Bond Street, London W1S 4PT T +44 (0) 207 290 1616 E

2010 Winner, “Best Vacation Experience.” –Fodor’s Gold Choice Award

SOL Y SOMBRA Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

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

Smiths Gore Limited : : British Virgin Islands

T 1(284) 494 2446 F 1(284) 494 2141 E


Distinctly Refined. Exceptionally Rare. Consciously Preserved. On the secluded eastern tip of Virgin Gorda lies a place where life is spent in perfect harmony with the ocean tides. Here, spread across 300 pristine acres, Oil Nut Bay offers freehold legacy ownership opportunities and unparalleled resort experiences in a setting where attention to detail and casual elegance abound. Contact us to schedule a personalized visit or to arrange resort reservations.



Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

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Virgin Islands Property & Yacht - August 2013  

Editor - Stephen L France

Virgin Islands Property & Yacht - August 2013  

Editor - Stephen L France