A Beaconite who first became a certified scuba diver in the Virgin Islands has done all but one of her dives in VI waters. This week, she finally got around to trying to dive elsewhere for the first time. It wasn’t a success. It turns out that diving in the somewhat murky gloom of the Gulf of Mexico doesn’t necessarily offer the stunning views of coral reefs and the crystal-clear visibility that the VI does, and can be a rather disconcerting experience. The Beaconite never realised how spoiled she was. Most divers, she now knows, aren’t lucky enough to have all of these natural wonders on their doorstep. Although she was trying to have adventures and explore some other sights, she thinks she will be happy to soon get back to her comfortable, familiar Pelican Island and Angelfish Reef.


HOA broadcasts

Beaconites are extremely grateful to the House of Assembly for broadcasting its meetings on YouTube in recent years. The broadcasts, which can be watched on demand, provide a valuable service to members of the public interested in legislative proceedings. At least one Beaconite remembers the days when reporters had to cover the HOA in person or via the radio. This meant that they always had to listen and record in real time. If they didn’t, they could easily miss a key part of a meeting and be left with no way to track it down. The YouTube broadcasts typically mean that they can watch proceedings at their leisure — even at double speed if they want (a particularly useful option when legislators opt to bloviate for hours on end). Nevertheless, the broadcasts can be improved. On Tuesday, for instance, the audio cut in and out frequently, leaving parts of the meeting unintelligible. Additionally, the feed itself occasionally cuts off with no explanation. Beaconites thank the HOA and others responsible for the broadcasts, and encourage them to work out any technical glitches. That way, the public can better track their leaders’ work. Such ease of access will make this democracy stronger.


‘We outside’

Anyone who knows a Beaconite has heard how excited she was for this year’s August Emancipation Festival, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Even with limited funds, time and volunteers, the organisers pulled off an event that was entertaining and perfectly celebrated the history of the Virgin Islands. The reporter enjoyed every aspect of the festival, from photographing concerts to following the torchlight procession to cheering at the August Monday Parade to dancing at the Rise and Shine Tramp in the arms of a loved one until sunrise — even though she broke her shoe in the early hours. She particularly enjoyed the food fair, where she got to try some dishes new to her, including whelks, ducana (her favourite), Tortola peas soup, banana fritters, and coconut dumplings. Even when she was too full to move, there was of course still room for a scoop of mango ice cream that she ate while enjoying the nearby steel pan band. While she appreciates all the work that went in to holding at least some form of festival the past two years, the Beaconite was ecstatic to finally experience some of the iconic events that make the VI celebration so special. She’s only sad now that she has to wait another year to see it again.



Carrot Bay

A Beaconite who recently moved to Carrot Bay was happy to see so many people gathered in the area for the cultural fiesta on Friday. The celebration was one of the last events of the August Emancipation Festival, and it showcased a lot that the territory has to offer. It also demonstrated that people can have fun just by playing simple games.


Customer service

As part of her recent moving process, a Beaconite called on Flow to install fibre optic cables at her apartment. Though getting in touch with customer service via phone was difficult, she managed to place an order and have technicians come the week after the festival holidays. She was impressed by the professionalism of the workers, who were able to run the wires underneath the house. That way, if any storms come, the wires will be protected. She believes the entire territory should have access to the speed of a fibre optic connection.