White Bay Jost Van Dyke

Two cruise ships were at White Bay the day we were there.  It transforms this lovely beach from a laid back, grab a beer and hammock and relax mode to a small invasion.  We love White Bay.  We first went there in 1994 and it’s been one of our favorite spots ever since.  Until the cruise ships came, there were only two main bars; the Soggy Dollar Bar and Ivan’s which I believe opened that first year were there.  You would pull up through the narrow channel, drop anchor within feet of the gorgeous crescent  beach, swim up to the bar and order yourself a painkiller, a heavenly concoction of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, coco lopez and nutmeg.  After getting your drink which you paid for with soggy dollars (hence the name) from your swim to shore, you found a hammock or a blue rocking chair (think Kenny Chesney song) and you just enjoyed the great view.  If you were motivated, you could try the ring game, (try to get a ring suspended from a string onto a hook embedded in a tree).  You might also have sat at the bar and played Mancala with the bartender.  One year, a group of adults challenged Tristan to the ring game, and when he beat them over and over, they bought him a coke, french fries and his own ring game.  I have a great memory of Tessa, at age 3, sitting at the bar with this woman who just thought Tessa hung the moon.  Seddie, the bartender then, was pouring a bunch of drinks and the drinks were in front of Tessa.  Tessa saw my curious look at all the drinks and she looks at me and says, “Mom, these aren’t all mine.”


But the last few years things have changed.  There are several bars now, Seddie has his own place.  The arrival of the cruise ships has lessened the charm.  When we came ashore this time, the kids headed off to play in the sand, and the adults went to grab some chairs.  Karon made the mistake of pulling an empty lounge chair closer to where she was sitting when this woman went off on her.

“Don’t take that chair.”

Karon told her she was just going to put one of the kid’s shirts on it to dry.  The lady was very rude.

“Are you staying at the Sand Castle?  These are Sand Castle chairs.”

Apparently she was staying at the small hotel there, and technically the chairs did belong to the hotel, but they were for the restaurant patrons too.  I think she thought we were from the cruise ship as we were sitting in the white cruise ship chairs.  Anyway, she wasn’t using the chair, no one was and she was very rude.   A little while later, the cruise ship passengers started landing on the island.  The people getting on shore were older, probably late 70’s or older.  Two women from the ship were slogging through the sand looking for chairs, and Dan and Alan helped them out.  They got some chairs for them and set them up right in front of the group with the rude lady.  NICE!  Then one of the women’s husband came up and another chair was produced, furthering the nest being built in front of them.  They weren’t happy, but the cruise ship people loved us, calling out “Merci beaucoup!  Merci beaucoup!”  Obviously a French cruise ship.  I hesitate to complain about the cruise ships as I am a big believer that people will save only the things they know about, and if cruise ships get people out into the ocean and the world, maybe they will want to save it.  But, while the beach was packed with people, no one was at the bar/restaurant.  There weren’t even very many charter boats there, and they were the ones that would spend the money.  So to us, it didn’t seem that the businesses in White Bay were getting much of an economic benefit from the ships.

Later that night we went down to Ivan’s Stressfree Bar and spent a while sitting, enjoying the quiet.  There is a great story on the wall at Ivan’s that sums up Americans in the islands. It goes like this:


A boat docked in a tiny island village.


An American tourist complimented a fisherman on the quality of his catch and asked how long it took to catch them.  “Not very long,” answered the fisherman.


“Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”  asked the American.

The fisherman explained his small catch was sufficient to fill the needs of him and his family.


“But what do you do with the rest of your time?” asked the American.


“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children and take a siesta with my wife.  In the evenings I go into the village to see my friends, play my guitar and sing a few songs.  I have a very full life.”


The American interrupted.  “I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you!  You should start by fishing longer everyday.  You can then sell the extra fish you catch.  With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”


“And then?”  asked the fisherman.


“With the extra money the boat will bring in, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can negotiate directly with the processing plant and maybe even open up your own plant.  You can then leave this tiny village and move to Atlanta, Los Angeles, or even New York City.  From there you can direct your new enterprise.”


“How long would that take?” asked the fisherman


“Twenty to twenty five years,” replied the American.


“And after that?”


:”Afterwards?  Well my friend.  That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American laughing.  “When your business gets really big you can start selling stocks and make millions.”


“Millions?  Really?  And after that?”


“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend the evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”


And the moral is:  Know where you’re going in life.  You may already be there.









Bitter End Yacht Club

A quiet day today.  After another buffet breakfast, Dan and Alan took the kids on the Hobie Cats.  Dan took Tessa and Collin on one boat and Alan went with Tristan and Alec on the other boat.  They had a great time.  At one point, Tessa was out on the bow of one of the pontoons and a wave washed her off.  Luckily she was able to hang on by one hand  until Dan was able to pull her back on.  It’s a good thing she is so strong.  The rest of the time they spent racing each other.  They came back full of stories.  Another movie night at Sand Palace and it was early to bed.

It has been so fun having our friends on the boat.  We laugh all the time about the dumbest things.  Every trip seems to have some saying that stays with us.  This time we were all talking about the movie “Talladega Nights, The Legend of Ricky Bobby”, which of course was filmed in Charlotte.  We love the line in the movie where Ricky Bobby thinks he is paralyzed and is talking to his crew chief.

Ricky Bobby: I hope you have sons. Beautiful, handsome boys. Articulate, educated, and athletic. And I hope they have their legs taken from them, so you can know what this pain is like.
Lucius Washington: [enraged] Don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby! Don’t you put that on us! You are NOT paralyzed!


So, “Don’t you put that evil on me Ricky Bobby” has been our theme saying the entire week.  We are a very mature group aren’t we??

North Sound

 We have had great weather the last few days.  The wind has died down and the waves are a bit calmer.  After Marina Cay we went to the Baths at Virgin Gorda.  This was Karon and Alan’s first time there.  The kids had a blast hiking and climbing over the huge rocks.  After the hike we spent some time on Devil’s beach, snorkeling and relaxing.  Devil’s Beach is just simply beautiful.  The colors here are amazing.  I could easily sit here all day and never be bored.  The water is incredible too. It is a “soft” water.  It reminds me of the freshwater Blue Hole in Marsh Harbor.  I think that rushing through the rocks all the time, it picks up minerals and silica, and it makes the water feel different.  It’s hard to describe. 

Karon had a great time snorkeling.  The fish were coming right up to her. The kids were enjoying it too. After too short a time on the beach, we headed up to Bitter End Yacht Club for the night.  The kids headed off to the Sand Palace there for a movie, while the adults had dinner.  After the movie, everyone was exhausted, so we all crashed pretty early.

The next day we had the big buffet breakfast at the resort.  It was actually a really good deal, as the kids ate for next to nothing.  It was a good idea to get filled up as we decided to go hiking after breakfast.  Behind Bitter End is a trial known locally as “Guys Trail”.  It heads up and over the peaks behind the resort.  We figured it was an easy enough looking trail, so we set out in swimsuits with cameras, no water.  It wasn’t easy from the beginning.  As the trail wove its way behind the resort, it went pretty much straight up.  The footing on the trail was mostly large rocks, that gave the impression of crude stairs.  Very sharp cactus lined the narrow path and it was only a matter of time until one of the kids stuck his hand on the cactus.  That was Alec.  That had to hurt!  He spent the next few minutes pulling the needles from his hand before shaking it off and continuing the climb.  About 15 minutes into the hike, we came to some incredible overlooks.  The first one overlooked the water between Bitter End and Saba Rock.  We tooksome great pictures here (which I hope to get on the website as soon as we get the bugs worked out!).  The trail continued on up, snaking through boulders and over rocks, before we came to another overlook that faced the front of the resort.  From here, the trail became surrounded by shrubs and there was no protection from the sun as we climbed higher and higher.  We had been out for about 30 minutes now and this would have been a really good time for a water break.   Oh that’s right, we didn’t bring water.  Even though we vaguely read somewhere this was an hour hike, in the SUN, I’m not sure why we didn’t bring water.  But we carried on.  The next overlook brought us to Oil Nut Bay and the very high end resort, Biras Creek, on the Atlantic side.  Again the views were spectacular, and you could see forever.  You could also see that it was going to be forever before we got any water.  The kids were great though.   They just kept on going, not really complaining.  Finally we stopped our ascent, and the trail slowly started making its way down to Biras Creek resort. 

Our trail ended under an archway that brought us out onto a dirt road on in the back of Biras Creek Resort.  We had been in the sun well over an hour.  We were hot, tired and very thirsty.  The trail wound its way through the back of the resort.  The kids were up ahead as we walked the dusty dirt road, flanked by red and yellow flowers that nearly hid the tennis court.  STOP!  Tennis courts on a  resort?  Wouldn’t they have…..?

Yes!!  I spotted the universal orange water jug and ran over to it.  it was filled with ICE COLD WATER and it had cups!!  I only had moments to grab a paper cup before the rest of the tribe spotted me.  The kids were on it like a pack of crazed animals.  I am sorry to say that we drank nearly all the water in that huge jug.  The water revived our senses and we started to think how we were going to get back to Bitter End.  The most likely option was to head back over the mountain.  We weren’t about to do that, but we weren’t sure if there was any other way.  As we headed down the road we thought it would be nice to have a group picture of us.  Luckily one of the workers was riding by on his bike and Alan asked him if he could take a picture.  There was a little communication problem at first and the guy acted as if he had never seen a camera before, but optimistically, we huddled together.  He held the camera away from him, then pulled it back to his face, clearly puzzled.  We waited in the hot sun.  He held it away again.  Alan called out which button to push.  Out and in.  Our cameraman was clearly out of his depth here.  One more in and out.  The camera lens was pointed at our FEET as he found the button and snapped the picture.  He handed back the camera and tried to beat a hasty retreat but I stopped him with, “Can you take a picture with my camera too?”

Deer in headlights.  He realizes he is in well over his head but what can he do?  We all mentally wish him luck, smile in the hot sun and wait for the outcome.  In, out, in, out, frown, in, out, frown and snap the picture. He hands me back the camera.  We thank him and watch him struggle to get back on his bike, obviously tramautized.  Alan whispers to me, asking how my picture came out.  His is all feet.  Tristan wants to see the picture but I tell him to wait until the guy is gone as I don’t want to embarrass him.  When I finally get to see the picture, it’s not bad.   We will have to photoshop in a few bodyparts on Alan’s picture though!!

 We continue on.  The road lead us to the boat dock where the local ferry comes in. The next ferry wasn’t due until two o’clock. That was an hour and a half from now.  Too long.  I was sure there was a path that ran next to the water that we could make our way back to Bitter End, but I couldn’t see the path.  A sign pointed to a gift shop so I suggested we go there and ask someone how we could get back to Bitter End.  This was another long walk and when it looked like we would have to climb up a hill to get there, we nixed that idea.  What to do, what to do?  Suddenly in the distance we see the local ferry tied to a fuel dock.  It looks as if its getting ready to take off.  RUN!!!  Karon, the kids and I are running, passing a few guests, startled to see this tired, dirty, ragtag group of clearly nonbelongers invading their sanctuary.  We reach the ferry, which is just finishing taking on fuel and we ask them if they are heading back to Bitter End.  They said no.  Great!!  We ask them how we can get back and they indicate the path we took over the mountain.  Not an option.  There is some trail obscured by the shoreline, but even that looks too long now.  Karon takes the initiative and asks them if they will please take us back on the ferry.  Two say no, but the captain says ok.  Karon asks how much and he tells us the trip is free, but he is open to tips.  EXCELLENT!!!!  We hop on board and in about ten minutes we are back over to Bitter End.  We are tired, thirsty and glad to be home!  Guys Trail Virgin Gorda

 Virgin Gorda

Sailing Bitter End Bitter End

Baths at Virgin Gorda FUN!

 Family photos

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