On Saturday, a Beaconite climbed aboard a safari bus in Road Town that whisked him away to several Tortola museums, none of which he had seen before. The day-long Museum Hop, the first hosted by the Department of Culture, exposed him to aspects of the Virgin Islands’ culture he had never before known. Though he found everything interesting, from the colonial era slave rebellions to the village life of mid-century Tortola, the Beaconite was most fascinated by the territory’s rich sailing history. He was especially interested in the role that the Tortola sloop played in connecting Virgin Islanders with their Caribbean neighbours. Looking at pictures of the gallant sloops crowding the docks at Tortola and St. Thomas in the 1950s and 1960s, the Beaconite was filled with a keen desire to experience the VI during that time period, when the territory was just beginning to modernise — one photo from this era that stuck in his mind depicted a traditional sloop transporting a car — but hadn’t yet been hit with the development boom spurred by tourism and later by financial services. And as enjoyable as the artwork, boat replicas, photography and sculptures were the stories of the seniors who took the tour alongside the Beaconite. Their recollections — how boys from one island used to woo girls on another; how their parents taught them to salt fish — made him appreciate just how different things were not so long ago.
A Beaconite recently went through the process of purchasing a vehicle from overseas and bringing it through the ports. The first step was choosing the car. Since all of the paperwork was in Japanese, it was up to the reporter to understand how to read it. She found a key to help her decipher it, and she learned a lot. She found out that auctioned cars have a rating system, and that the auction sheets are thoroughly marked for dents or rust or repairs. Once the car was chosen and finalised, she waited almost three months for it to arrive. The Suez Canal blockage occurred during this time, and she wasn’t sure if it affected the arrival of the boat carrying her vehicle. Finally, she received paperwork from the auto company through DHL and immediately went to a brokerage service that took care of the T12 form. Once the vehicle arrived, she cleared it from the port without any issues and now has a push-to-start rolling on the road!
A close call
On Sunday, a Beaconite was on a dive boat off Ginger Island when an unexpected storm, complete with thunder and lightning, made her pause. In fact, she was all the way in the water, gear on, when she decided it just didn’t feel right. Besides, it felt like her regulator was breathing hard, and rather than go through the effort of trying to fix the problem and delay the other divers, she decided to get out. She had never abandoned a dive in that way before, but it felt like the right thing to do. Some other normally dedicated divers had the same idea, and the group spent the afternoon at the bar at Cooper Island, drinking hot coffee followed by tequila in an effort to keep warm as they watched the storm. It wasn’t the afternoon she expected, but it was a good kickoff to the rainy season and a welcome change to the otherwise unrelenting heat and humidity this time of year. She hopes everyone else with outdoor plans that day was able to find similar alternatives.