Happy Festival

The Beacon won’t publish next week because of the August Emancipation Festival holidays. The office will be closed Monday through Wednesday, but will reopen next Thursday. Advertising and editorial deadlines will return to normal for the Aug. 11 edition. Beaconites wish everyone a happy and safe Festival season.


Sour berries

A Beaconite walking through the bush on Tortola remembered the advice of friends and co-workers and decided against eating a bright red berry she found growing in the shade of sea grape and coconut trees not far from Long Bay. The reporter is glad she didn’t risk it, but it turns out in this case, it probably would have been safe to do so. After a bit of research, she discovered the plant was most likely a limeberry. The attractive and edible plant is native to Java, Indonesia, but is found in Florida and the United States Virgin Islands as well as in the VI. It takes its name from its sour, lime-like flavour.

The poop deck

A Beaconite covering the closure of the long-time Road Town restaurant Spaghetti Junction last week learned some interesting things about the history of a related business. Spaghetti Junction was established in 1988 at the intersection of Waterfront Drive and Chalwell Street in a strange-looking building with curved sides. The building, which originally housed a restaurant called The Poop Deck, was modeled after the poop deck of an old sailing ship. The poop deck is an exposed deck on the stern that forms the roof of a cabin built on the rear of a ship. John Schultheiss, owner of Spaghetti Junction, said that The Poop Deck restaurant was a popular hangout for expatriates and sailors in the 1960s and 1970s as the building abutted the water before nearby land was reclaimed. “It used to have red and green lanterns hanging out and from stories I’d heard, boats actually used to see these red and green lanterns and actually head towards them, thinking they were markers,” Mr. Schultheiss said. Internet sources provide varying explanations for how the poop deck of a ship got its name. The website wisegeek.com claims the term has nothing to do with the bodily function. It instead cites puppis, which means stern, as the Latin origin of the word poop. The Beaconite prefers the explanation his grandfather taught him: that sailors termed the exposed deck the poop deck over frustration at errant seagulls. The Beaconite would like to hear from readers with their own explanations of the term’s origin. He would also like to see any photos of Road Town’s poop-deck-shaped building, which has since been torn down.

Fringe benefits

A Beaconite meeting with the owner of a set of vacation villas in Cane Garden Bay was happy to reap a big benefit from his trip to the north side of Tortola. In addition to meeting the villa owner, he met two candidates for public office, learned of an upcoming public meeting in the area and purchased a mango from a group of children raising money for their church.

Blogging from China

“The crowd was thick, the hucksters loud, selling catfish and carp from portable ponds, blocks of fresh tofu, slabs of flattened duck, milk from buckets — to plastic bags off the back of the truck, dried shrimp and unknown meats chopped off the slab.” So writes Virgin Islands artist Aragorn Dick-Read about his first day in Changchun, China, where he is preparing to make a metal fireball for the city’s sculpture park. Mr. Dick-Read has been providing updates on his blog at www.aragornbvi.com.