there, any discomfort is quickly forgotten as one gazes upon one of the most serene and breathtaking beaches within the Caribbean. A leisurely day was on the group agenda on Wednesday
following lunch ( a really large juicy cheeseburger in paradise) at the restaurant and a brief tour of the grounds. One of the highlights on the beachfront was pelican watching. The acumen
and accuracy was astounding as you watched these birds target their prey below within the crystalline waters. Another was the discovery behind a large monolith farther down the beach of
the Nature Boy Beach Bar, a delightful makeshift island style bar made of natural sand and rock formations and canopies of spray painted multi-colored palm fronds. Underneath a small
tent was the island bartender with coolers of iced cans of beer, and another filled with some type of local rum punch. Music from a connected iPhone was played if you purchased a drink;
if not, it was turned off. Even the sign was innovative, made from a kayak holding a flag from the British Virgin Islands with handwritten advertising. Only in the islands! You could never
have a young entrepreneur like that at home with all of the rules and health regulations.
Of course, a visit to Tortola isn’t complete without a taxi ride to Bomba Shack, where there are no rules. We were too late for the infamous Full Moon Party, so we had happy hour
instead. The interior is literally made up of colorful planks of wood which form a makeshift series of spaces with assorted graffiti added on surfboards and censorable montages of former
visitors throughout. If the walls could talk, you wouldn’t want to hear those stories.
Naps and showers prefaced our ” formal” evening out for dinner at Bananakeet, which had been recommended in Cane Garden Bay. The quiet dining crowd, low-key music,
and dinner of lamb, mixed veggies, potatoes, shared wine, and dessert were a nice contrast to the previous hours. The location and view from the mountaintop was both serene and sublime.
We ended the evening there talking to a couple celebrating their first few days of wedded bliss with a local islander on the dance floor. Sandman, our singing taxi driver who shared our love of
the music of Keb Mo’, returned us to Myett’s for a nightcap before the trek to our rooms.
Thursday was again laid-back with sun-stroked hours spent on the beach at Cane Garden Bay in front of Tony’s and back to Myett’s for happy hour and Island Special:
mouth watering lobster dinner prior to ending the evening briefly at Quito’s bar for a final nightcap. Plans were discussed for the next day (and our last) snorkel and sail excursion to the
Norman Islands and the Indians.
Oh. The title above could probably use some explanation. You want to say it like a long, slow Southern drawl: “The I S T Tour”, like you’re ordering a chilled
beverage with lots of ice (remember, slowly, drawn out), why, sweetened, of course. One of the first reminders of the differences between home and the islands:
IST. That stands for “Island Service Time.” If you think you will get fast food while there, you are in for a true awakening. Island time and your time is not
the same. You, as an outsider, must adapt, or you are in for a rough time; thus, the name of this recent tour.
If you have read the previous blog post, ” Heart Notes”, you understand why it has been such a challenge to balance the distractions in this artist’s life.
Luckily, I was able to return to the BVI for the third visit during the Spring for the long awaited vacation from what seemed like the longest ever winter on record.
Cane Garden Bay was still there in her spectacular turquoise and sun stroked beauty, yet with a few changes along the beachfront. Due to the Easter holidays,
we knew that some of the places we had been to before might be closed over the first weekend (they were), and that some of the favorite haunts would be open,
especially on the days that the day trippers from the cruise ships would arrive. Like picnic ants scurrying hurriedly for morsels, the restauranteurs would rush
in their well choreographed island dance to arrange the rows of beach loungers in front of their businesses during the earlier morning hours where the only sounds
were the waves lapping on the shoreline and distant voices of walking tourists.
This time I was armed with my arsenal of aerosol “Gettum No Seeums” sprays, and the only beach annoyance was the fact that I had forgotten to include my towel
clips to prevent the occasional slip and slide of the villa towel on my lounger. With Kindle in hand, life was right out of a color photo in a Frontgate catalog…total bliss.
Drinks at Tony’s Welcome Bar ( with Chris as our smiling gentle bartender ) complimented the first sunsets. Our crew of four were joined by a Steelers couple along with
their captain and friends who we would see often on our week adventure.
We ended our weekend with a grilled steak and broccoli dinner on the poolside patio at our tropical home along with several bottles of wine. Accompanying some patio dancing was
our new friend, Gee Gee, the proprietors’ neighbor’s cat, who would lead us to the bottom of our stairs, then turn and meow good night.
Following the extended winter funk, I am excited that my goal of adding another
painting to the BVI series has been reached. My apologies to any reader of the
previous post… it wasn’t my intention to delay the completed “Virgin Gorda Baths”,
as I only gave a small detail preview there. Guess I can only be grateful that I have
been interrupted within the period since I last blogged by those muses.
I have tried to keep the distractions that lead me away from the easel at bay.
Limiting the time checking Facebook within a week, along with Twitter tweets, and
daytime TV has been exhilarating. I still would rather have a face to face conversation
with friends instead of texting, but it seems that even in business, that is the only way
to get a quicker reply.
The evening isn’t suitable for painting, and the television gremlins still come
out at night to entice, ensnare, entertain with a plethora of eye and mind
The recent finals of “The Voice” have captivated me, and as each birth of another
creation occurs, I find myself wondering about the search for my own artistic
I don’t have any celebs to coach me, only to accompany me with background music
as I wield the spontaneous brush. Yet, like the show, the final result will be up to the
public. Will they like the results enough to tweet and post about, vote for, or adopt my
“babies”? Would the name and “voice” be lost within obscurity?
As the artist, I already know the result. Any creative knows it. I must
continue. It is what I do, and have been called to do. It keeps me sane in an otherwise
insane world. The muses know that. They are smiling.
For those who haven’t yet seen ‘Virgin Gorda Baths’, scroll down to see the
entire completed version of the painting.
In the comments, whether you are a “creative” or not, what is your gift to the world?
Have you found your voice? How do the muses speak to you?
Final day. Coconut Spiked Rum French Toast. What a way to say goodbye to Tortola! The Cane Garden Bay exploration continued with a return visit to Greenvi Studio where we watched a glass blowing session in light rain. A local market offered the usual tourist wares, and as the showers subsided, the beachfront and Dust, a local young man selling rum-filled coconut shells, grabbed our undivided attention. Happy hour appetizers were coconut shrimp skewers and conversation with Lorita and Simone, our friendly servers at Sailor’s Rest, and Mrs. Bean, the owner. Later, the evening ended once again with the sounds of island music along the beachfront and goodbyes to new found friends.
Trip epilogue: Have you ever experienced a serendipitous moment? On the trip, I found out that the captain and his girlfriend were unknown collectors of one of my paintings. They had purchased it during an auction for the local chapter of the ASPCA, and I was invited to their home after our return to see it. During the past month, I have completed the first of the B.V.I. series, ‘Cane Garden Bay’ while listening to island music by Kenny Chesney and The Zac Brown Band. One of the things I love most about the life I live now is the freedom to spend hours of painting subjects that during the weekdays in the studio bring back the memories of good times with good friends.
The group met Lorraine at the Big Banana Cafe for breakfast since Sailor’s Rest was closed for another holiday morning. There is just something about a johnny cake on the menu that makes the day begin with a smile. Maybe it was the fact that this wasn’t a familiar menu item back home, and the cooks were talented in both preparation and presentation. Next, it was back to the boat and on to Jost Van Dyke, the small island that was visible along the horizon. We had heard of the legendary Foxy at Foxy’s Bar, and were told that by arriving earlier in the day, he would be likely to be on the premises. Sure enough, he was seated within the center of the open-air bungalow, smiling from one ear to another, and talking rapidly to anyone who would listen to his bantering. He proceeded to tell us the multiple (now six) characteristics of an island dog, a lazy Black Lab curled up next to this island legend. (We found out later that this discussion has been recorded on YouTube.) One of the phrases I will always remember is the Foxyism “rain is spitting sunshine.” Cool, huh?
The second stop was in White Bay at the Soggy Dollar Bar, famous for its libation, The Painkiller. I wasn’t aware that we would be swimming ashore to get there, nor did I realize that it would be quite difficult to get back the same way, as three of us tried to exit via the rocky coastline after several hours’ visit there and to Seddy’s One Love nearby. The return to Cane Garden Bay led us back to Myett’s, where MargaritaBill sang along with the Candyman, a local musician, to end a pleasurable Monday evening.
Eggs, pancakes, bacon, and assorted fruit was the menu onboard the cat prior to heading out to Cane Garden Bay. Sails went up by 11:00, only there wasn’t enough wind for the entire trip. A stop along the way was made at the West End of Tortola at Soper’s Hole for supplies around 1:40, and we arrived at CGB around 3:30 p.m. Appropriately, lunch was cheeseburgers while listening to a background of Jimmy Buffett music.
A return visit was at Myett’s, where around the bar the crew had happy hour painkillers and attempted to watch the final round of the golf tournament on the TV. The bartender was disagreeable, and ignored our request for a change of channels, so we left to find another venue where we could watch the rest of the game. At The Big Banana, we were totally entertained with our bartender there who from time to time would stop what she was doing and in seeing our excitement, would remark, “Bubba out, Bubba back in” during the player’s advance to the eighteenth hole. The crew ended Happy Hour ecstatic when the underdog was finally declared the winner.
Before ending the evening, the decision was made to visit the beachside Elm Beach Bar, where there was a featured musician who allowed several guests to join him in the evening entertainment. One of our crew joined the band and received a round of applause from the guests who were either dancing or eating the local prepared barbecue. Plans were made for all to meet the next morning again at Sailor’s Rest, then sail on to Jost Van Dyke, which could barely be seen in the distance from the dinghy dock. Two of us would leave the rest and return to our Tortola home base where flushing the toilet did not require a pumping ritual, and the shower and bed was larger than a coffin.