Holiday schedule

The Beacon office will be closed on Friday for the holiday honouring the royal wedding. Next week’s advertising and editorial deadlines will remain the same. Beaconites hope residents enjoy the wedding day.

Coming soon

A Beaconite got to take a sneak peek at what could be the next big attraction for Virgin Islands tourists this week: the ruins of an old fortress. Seeing the site made her nostalgic for the “Indian missions” along the west coast of the United States. Today, about 20 of the missions still stand as destinations for students and travellers to learn about the culture of Native Americans and Spanish missionaries who lived in California centuries ago. For now, the VI fort is overgrown and littered, but when walking around the site, the reporter saw the potential for it to become a place to preserve an important part of the territory’s past. She hopes the fort will become as essential and appreciated a cultural teaching tool as the missions are in California.

Nice ‘showgram’

A Beaconite attended a BVI Tourist Board press conference recently during which officials asked the public to have “pride” in the Virgin Islands and impress tourists with a positive attitude. The Beaconite was pleased Sunday to see a taxi driver doing just that. The driver had a group of cruise ship tourists in his van and was treating them to a performance he called the “showgram.” As he steered the vehicle around the curves of Joe’s Hill on the way to Cane Garden Bay, the driver engaged his guests with conversation, telling them historical facts about the VI and stopping at lookouts to take pictures. He played reggae music and passed out homemade musical instruments — a gourd drum and a rattle fashioned with bottle caps, for example — so the children in the back could play too. Yes, some of the driver’s jokes were cheesy — like referring to a herd of grazing sheep as the Tortola highway maintenance crew — but it was nice to see a driver who was happy entertaining his guests.


The many uses of beer cans

A Beaconite whose jeep often overheats took home a great idea from the Virgin Gorda Easter Monday Parade. Someone had used beer cans to prop open the hood of a truck that was participating in the procession. Presumably the cans were there to keep the vehicle from overheating in the hot sun. The Beaconite is considering using beer cans in a similar fashion as a permanent solution for his jeep.

Herpetology hiking

A Beaconite and his family spent some quality time hiking at Gorda Peak National Park on Virgin Gorda on a recent Sunday afternoon. The Beaconite has been to the park on numerous occasions and always looks for reptiles along the trail. In fact, he has seen a snake every time he has visited the park. On the Sunday trip, the Beaconite saw two snakes and one dead rat — a good sign, he thought. However, his wife wasn’t too excited about any of the wildlife.

A bucket full

Recently a Beaconite accompanied his son on a field trip to Spring Bay on Virgin Gorda. The school holds a sandcastle competition each year at the beach, but this year the students were exposed to more than just sand. As the Beaconite walked down the trail to the beach, a chaperone said to the principal, “I think there is going to be a photo shoot here. I am not worried about the kids; it’s them I am worried about.” As a photographer ran in front of two attractive women snapping pictures, it became evident to the Beaconite that the photo shoot was going to be provocative. Although the models were wearing T-shirts, the loose garments left very little to the imagination. Fortunately, the students were more interested in shovels and buckets and didn’t pay any attention to the scantily clad models, who eventually found a secluded spot on the beach away from the visiting school.

Coat of arms

A Beaconite attending the car show on Virgin Gorda last Saturday saw an unfamiliar symbol on the licence plates of some of the cars on display: three orange dolphins arranged in a circle. He soon learned that the symbol was Anguilla’s coat of arms, and that the dolphins represent the strength, endurance and unity of the territory.