After a Beaconite reported on the latest announcements concerning the protocols for reopening the Virgin Islands’ borders to tourists, the newsroom put together a non-scientific online poll to gain a better understanding of how the community felt about the measures. More than 500 people answered by Tuesday, with 410 respondents saying the protocols were “much too strict.” The next most popular response was that they were “a little bit too strict,” with 65 votes. Twenty-eight people said the protocols are what the VI needs right now, four were undecided, and two said they’re not strict enough. This pool only represents a portion of the territory’s residents and visitors, but the reporter is glad so many people took the time to make their thoughts known. Anecdotally, she has heard stories from businessowners and others who felt caught off guard by the strictness of the measures. The Beaconite recognises what a tough balancing act it is to guide the reopening, and she is encouraged to hear from those in the marine sector that leaders are holding more meetings to find a way forward. She is still left wondering if the frustration expressed about the protocols could have been mitigated by involving the public earlier. The reporter appreciates leaders’ promises of more frequent press conferences as the reopening nears, and hopes that more open communication will pave a smoother road ahead.
After having not had a chance to take a staycation since the borders closed in the spring, a Beaconite was delighted when she was offered the chance to spend the weekend on Jost Van Dyke. She was interested in seeing what it was like to be a tourist when there are no other tourists, hoping the island wouldn’t be a ghost town. Happily, it was livelier than she thought it would be. The residents were as hospitable as usual. They gathered on the beach to cook goat water soup, Foxy’s threw its annual Halloween party (although with a solely local turnout) and several of the beach bars opened for day trippers from Tortola. Residents were as friendly and hospitable as ever, even though the tourism-dependent sister islands are hurting in ways that people on Tortola don’t often see. With any luck, things will pick up soon.
Sunday was the first time a Beaconite has visited Virgin Gorda since moving to the Virgin Islands nearly a year ago, which in retrospect seems like a crime. She and her friend were lucky enough to have The Baths to themselves that afternoon, and the reporter knows she’ll treasure the experience forever. She was delighted to walk past the butterfly-laden foliage — which was a beautiful emerald green following the heavy rains of the past few weeks — down to the iconic rocks. It was a truly memorable moment to be free to explore caves that were only populated by speckled crabs and silver fish, while hearing the waves crashing outside. It was exhilarating to wiggle though some of the narrow passageways, having to time it between each wave. When they swam to the beach beyond the rocks, the reporter turned back to see the sun hitting the shore. The colours were so rich they looked unreal, like a photo with the saturation bumped up to the maximum. Especially given the challenges faced in the past few months, the Beaconite took great joy in finding a renewed sense of adventure, and she can’t wait for the next opportunity to explore the different nooks of the park, as well as other destinations in the VI.
A Beaconite recently learned that doing searches at the Land Registry now requires an appointment. So fair warning to anyone wishing to perform a search: Call ahead to avoid wasted time.