In the past, North Sound, Virgin Gorda had never been much on one Beaconite’s radar. Having moved to the Virgin Islands shortly before Hurricane Irma, her first boat trip there was to take a photo of the utter devastation that befell Bitter End Yacht Club, and for most of her time in the VI, the former billionaires’ playground has been relatively quiet as it rebuilt. Last week, she returned with a visiting friend and was stunned. It was so unfamiliar it was truly like being on holiday in another country. The government dock at Gun Creek was crammed with launches and superyacht tenders going in and out, and in the harbour there was light and activity as far as the eye could see. It was hard to tell what was coming from where. Hotels, villas, restaurants and bars at Blunder Bay, Oil Nut Bay, Bitter End, Saba Rock and Leverick Bay are all in full swing, and many of them are brimming with ideas to expand further and build more. Furthermore, bars and restaurants dotting the road up to North Sound from The Valley are benefiting from the change: They, too, were lively and crowded. New wahoo and blue marlin fishing tournaments are in the works for North Sound to attract more residents. The transformation is truly extraordinary, and she wishes the businesses and employees there the best. She hopes to return soon.
Last week, a Beaconite had the pleasure of showing one of his childhood best friends around the Virgin Islands. Though playing host while also working was certainly stressful, especially since the Beaconite tried to cram as much activity as possible into his friend’s short visit, it was also very rewarding. The Beaconite took his friend surfing at Josiahs Bay, showed him all the best low-key food spots, and brought him on a tour of The Baths National Park (though this was probably the most touristy part of his friend’s stay, as they were soon joined by at least 100 cruise ship passengers). It felt good to know that his friend was seeing all the beauty and fun that the VI has to offer, but he was also glad to be able to answer questions about the territory’s culture, history and economics. The Beaconite understands why someone visiting such a stunning place for a short period of time might forgo a museum trip or a history lesson, but it does feel a little sad to think about how many visitors likely come to the VI without learning much about it. He was glad to have a job that made it easy for him to illustrate to his own visitor why the VI is more than just sun and sand.
While a Beaconite appreciates the consistency of nature in the Virgin Islands, she’ll be glad to experience some snow in the northeast United States this week as she travels to Connecticut. She hopes overall that travel will become easier soon. The challenges and anxiety that come from taking Covid-19 tests, especially during a surge of cases, are things she does not appreciate about the “new normal.” While safety and health remain priorities, leaders are looking to jumpstart economies and allow people to move more freely without taking tests. The Beaconite has heard too many stories about entire trips cancelled because of positive (sometimes false positive) Covid-19 test. Thankfully hers came back negative. Vaccinated or not, travelling is still challenging but still worth it.
What lies ahead
A Beaconite had the opportunity this week to sit down with Governor John Rankin and discuss his first year in office. It was a lengthy interview that covered complex subjects like balancing transparency with protecting national security. No topic was off limits, and reporters always appreciate when even difficult questions get thoughtful and thorough answers. 2022 promises to be another busy year with the continuation of the pandemic and the planned delivery of the final Commission of Inquiry report in April. She is curious to see how it all unfolds.