Unsung heroes

While covering a poetry reading recently, a Beaconite found one poem presented by a young writer particularly memorable. He commended waste disposal employees for the work they do to keep the islands clean without much fanfare. After reporting this week on the government’s struggles to meet the daily demand for processing garbage (see page one), the Beaconite has to echo those sentiments. It’s not an easy job. But it can be made easier with the right equipment — and funding to maintain that equipment. The budget is tight right now without tourism dollars, but she hopes legislators heed the words of the young poet and recognise the importance of supporting garbage and recycling disposal services. Such investments may not be the flashiest on the legislative agenda, but actively pursuing a comprehensive waste management plan until its mandates are accomplished is imperative. Besides mitigating health hazards for people inhaling unfiltered smoke from fires burning outside the incinerator, supporting these services obviously makes for a more attractive vacation destination.


Whale watching

On Monday, a Beaconite walked into his office after spending a few hours at Magistrates’ Court to learn that news had recently broken of a whale apparently caught in a net near Nanny Cay. Armed with a small amount of information, his camera and notepad, he set off for Village Cay to try and hitch a ride with someone helping free the whale. After poking around for a bit, he learned that some divers had already left for the distressed mammal, but it didn’t seem like any more boats would be going out anytime soon. He did run into a diver friend who, upon learning of the situation, seemed just as eager to get out and see it, but he couldn’t reach any of his bosses to get the okay to take a boat out of the marina. Learning that the whale may have made its way over to Buck Island, the Beaconite drove to Red Bay, where he had similar luck, speaking to a woman who heard radio chatter about the effort to save the whale while sailing to Tortola from Peter Island, but hadn’t seen anything herself. He stopped at Hodges Creek on the way home, but the dock was deserted except for a couple of guys cleaning a boat, who hadn’t seen or heard anything about the whale. Though the Beaconite was a bit disappointed to miss out on the action himself, helpful sources who were on the scene ensured that he was able to write an article anyway (see page one). It all goes to show that in a profession as unpredictable as journalism, being in the right place at the right time can make all the difference.



Cruise ships

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sued the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in an attempt to lift restrictions on cruise ships — a big part of the Florida tourism economy. Although critics dismissed the move as a “political stunt,” the result could impact the Virgin Islands, especially Cyril B. Romney Tortola Pier Park vendors and tour operators who depend heavily on cruise shippers. Cruise ships have been almost completely absent from the VI, and the Caribbean as a whole, since March. Their return, which for a while likely will require passengers to be vaccinated, could bring a major boost to the territory’s struggling economy.


Book-themed trips

Vacationers can now book a Treasure Island-inspired trip to the Virgin Islands which includes sword-fighting, sailing lessons, and an underwater treasure hunt. Luxury tour operator Black Tomato is launching a “Take me on the Story” range of vacations and holidays, according to an April 9 article by the Financial Times. The London- and New York-based company offers the VI trip at $7,559 per person per week. Other trips include an Alaskan adventure to the theme of Jack London’s Call of the Wild, which includes panning for gold, dug-mushing, campfire storytelling, and nights in wilderness lodges; an Arabian Nights journey through the desert in Morocco; an Oxfordshire trip based on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; and an Iceland adventure based on Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. The company also offers to design trips based on other children’s books. A Beaconite would love an Arabian Nights journey, but a Treasure Island trip here in the VI is a good place to start. The creative packages, she thinks, might offer food for thought for the territory’s own tour operators.