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Magnificent Mangroves

True Marvels of Nature

The BVI wasn’t nicknamed “Nature’s Little Secrets” for nothing. Take a drive along the coast, and you’ll inevitably experience something amazing – even if you have called these islands home for a number of years – the mangrove. Recently, for example, while waiting for a friend at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College’s Marine Center, I took a stroll behind the building and stumbled upon the most beautiful mangrove forest I’ve ever seen.

Photo (left): Mangroves created this calm refuge from the Sir Francis Drake Channel; (right) A wooden walking path makes exploring the mangroves at Paraquita Bay easy and safe.

The BVI’s mangrove “forests” are natural little secrets within themselves. If you are living anywhere in the BVI, you’re sure to have seen a grouping somewhere within your travels. Every major island in our chain has a forest of some degree; Tortola (quite a few) Jost Van Dyke, Virgin Gorda, and Anegada. Often, you may drive right up to them, but for the best view with the least amount of environmental impact you should kayak or stand-up paddleboard to one. You could also try snorkeling them, though the water is often quite shallow and possibly silty.

Mangroves are true marvels of nature, in part because of what they provide to boaters, who know them as ideal places to hole-up during a hurricane. If you can, drive down to Paraquita Bay and see for yourself. If you follow the little dirt road behind the college’s Marine Center, and veer off to the left, the Rotary Club has built a dock and boat launch, with a great view of what Paraquita has to offer: a well-designed system of chains providing a shelter for all kinds of vessels if a storm is approaching. Back in 1989, when Hurricane Hugo struck these islands, this was a designated place to tie up and hunker down. Something like 200 boats chose this spot, for all the right reasons.

To the environmentalists among us, mangroves provide an even greater function, that of birthing ground and nursery for many species of fish. The mangroves’ complicated root system keeps out larger predatory fish, so they are an ideal habitat for growing juveniles. Lobsters and conchs get a great start here, too. Mangroves also provide a habitat for many birds, like the flamingo and the little blue heron.

Florida Oceanographic Society marine biologist Brittany Biber has a poetic take on these sea plants and their benefit to the marine ecosystem.

“I like to think of mangroves as Mother Ocean’s fingers,” she said recently. “They not only hold the shoreline to protect its substrate from the greedy clutches of waves but also harbor many important species in their earliest stages of life. They grasp to the earth with all their might using prop roots (red mangroves) and pneumatophores (black mangroves) to expand their impact.”

As Brittany points out, the mangroves seem downright magical to anyone familiar with the phrase “salting the earth.”

“They are unique in their ability to tolerate high saline environments and have perfected the art of salt excretion. … They consume excess nutrients from the water while their falling leaves dye its swamps a tea stained color known as tannin,” she said.

Three types of mangroves can be seen in and around the BVI: the red, the black, and the white. Don’t expect to be able to differentiate them by colors alone. The easiest way to spot which of the three types you’re looking at is to check out where they’re growing.

Great Egret
A great egret perches among mangrove roots.

Red mangroves grow directly in seawater, welcoming and sheltering many aquatic animals. This root system is so hearty it may support a 50-foot tree! The red mangroves differ from the others in some interesting ways. One example is their mode of propagation. They may go from flower to seedling while they are still attached to the parent tree. Once the seedling is large enough, it will fall off the tree into the water where it may stay put or be carried downstream by the water. A unique feature of red mangroves is their land-making ability. They act as giant filters to silt run-off from the hills during heavy rains. The root system traps the silt and gradually builds it up into solid land. In season, you’ll see land crabs scurrying about on these newly created lands.

Maybe the easiest to pick out at-a-glance are the white mangroves. They are highly salt tolerant and may produce pneumatophores if growing in a swampy area. Pneumatophores are extensions of the root system that grow vertically to a height that will remain above settled water after rains or inundation by the sea. They are what allow the trees to “breathe” despite their being surrounded by water. White mangroves have light bark, as their name implies, and can grow to a height of about 40 feet.

The black mangrove is the most salt tolerant of all the species that proliferate in the BVI. They also grow to impressive size, some as tall as forty feet. This is probably the most utilized type of mangrove in the BVI for things like fence posts and fish pots. It is also burnt for charcoal; a fairly common practice locally. The black mangrove is another of the species that produces pneumatophores.

Though not a true mangrove, buttonwood trees, sometimes called gray mangroves, look somewhat similar and grow in coastal areas where mangroves aren’t present.

Mangroves are important for keeping the local ecology in balance through the wetlands they create, which serve as a filter between our islands and the sea, explains BVI based marine scientist Dr. Shannon Gore.

“This type of mangrove forest is a continuous ‘mangrove wetlands,’ an ecosystem which includes a hypersaline aquatic habitat (i.e. a salt pond), the pond’s shoreline and its fringing mangroves,” Shannon said. “Since the functions of wetlands include storm and flood mitigation, erosion control and the retention of sediments and nutrients from entering coastal waters, the loss of more than 84 percent of the original wetlands for development purposes in the BVI has had several effects. First, the loss of wetlands coupled with reduced vegetation on steep hillsides from developments and unpaved cut roads has contributed to localized flooding in low-lying areas. This flooding often causes erosional gullies to form in which sediment-laden storm water breaches the beach berm and enters coastal waters.”

Even if the runoff soil doesn’t make it all the way to sea, Shannon added, it can still impact our beaches.

“Some of these sediments may end up being trapped by the sand and mixed with terrigenous materials which may be the reason why residents claim some beaches have lost their bright golden appearance,” she said.

Experts agree mangroves are worth protecting not just because of their beauty and the habitat they provide to sea life, but also because they make the coastal environment more resistant to the forces of modern life.

Brittany puts it this way: “These trees enable coastal shorelines to persevere against all the stresses we as humans throw their way. They fight the effects of boat wakes, dredging, and pollution while serving as a haven for numerous species. Mangroves are a critical tree to many aspects of marine life and without them we would truly be swept away with the changing tides.”

Given all this, protecting our mangroves is of high importance. Conservation and replanting efforts are underway by government, non-profit environmental groups, and private. If you want to help in the effort it’s as easy as sticking propagules upright in the soil where the trees occur.

Another important way that we can help mangroves is to avoid littering, especially in these areas. Water doesn’t circulate well in bays, ponds, and lagoons, so live-aboard boats and power boats are discouraged in mangrove areas. Cutting or removal of mangroves for development or any other purpose should be avoided, as should dredging and filling projects, as these can have adverse effects on existing mangrove systems.

If you’d like to learn more about mangroves, the Conservation and Fisheries Department in Road Town can provide useful information, tips, and guidelines for protection purposes. And again, if you have the interest, take that drive out to the college’s Marine Center, where Tortola’s Rotary Club has done a terrific job of constructing and maintaining a boardwalk so you can get up-close-and-personal with the majestic trees.

Should you venture out to observe these natural wonders, the best spots for viewing are:

  •  Tortola and Beef Island- Hodges Creek, Sea Cows Bay, Slaney, Wickham’s Cay, Belmont Pond, North and South sides of the Beef Island Channel, Well Bay, Trellis Bay Pond, and for best walk-through viewing without hurting the forest, Paraquita Bay, with even a boardwalk.
  • Virgin Gorda- Deep Bay
  • Jost Van Dyke- East End
  • Anegada- Flamingo Pond, East End

The Mutiny and the Breadfruit

Remember the infamous Captain Bligh from Mutiny on the Bounty? Well, here in the Caribbean he is remembered for more than the events of that ill-fated voyage. It was William Bligh who brought the breadfruit, one of the region’s most versatile foods, to the Caribbean. Commissioned by the British government, Bligh brought this starchy fruit from Tahiti as an economical food source for the West Indies’ slave population.

the-infamous-captain-bligh

The first plants shipped aboard the Bounty’s 1789 voyage never made it here, thanks to that notorious mutiny. In 1793, he tried again, transporting the fruit to Jamaica and St. Vincent where it was successfully established. Since then, the breadfruit has spread throughout the Caribbean, including here in the British Virgin Islands, where it is often used as potato-like side dish.

Large and oval-shaped, the breadfruit has a dimpled green outer skin but is yellowish-brown to white on the inside. The fruit hangs like a lantern from a majestic tall and leafy tree, the Artocarpus altilis, which can reach heights of 60 feet or more. Its large long-fingered leaves make this evergreen member of the mulberry family, a shady addition to many local gardens. Because the fruit is seedless, the tree is propagated from root suckers.

Weighing anywhere from one to one and a half pounds, and measuring six to 10 inches in diameter, the breadfruit has a potato-like consistency and can be substituted for any carbohydrate from pasta to rice. This soft and fleshy fruit is also a healthy addition to the diet. Compared with other starchy foods eaten in the Caribbean Islands, it contributes appreciable amounts of protein, carbohydrates and dietary fiber. In addition, the breadfruit contains calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium, as well as vitamins A, B and C. And in the best news for those watching their calories, it has a low fat content.

This distinctive fruit is not edible until cooked, and here in the British Virgin Islands is typically roasted in the oven. But adventurous cooks wishing to add an exotic West Indian dish to their menu may like to try one of the following recipes. In the BVI breadfruit, when in season, can be found at the Saturday morning market in Road Town. Elsewhere in large cities with a Caribbean population, try a West Indian produce market. Canned breadfruit is also available in some areas and can be used as a substitute for fresh in most recipes.

Smuggler’s Cove

Beach goers or history seekers, locals or non, if you’ve yet to experience one of Tortola’s most spectacular beaches, well, it’s time you made your way down to one of our best north-facing beaches. Smuggler’s Cove is not just another pretty face – its natural beauty also carries a lively past. Don’t let any of the roads to get down there daunt your mission. Though the approaches are all pretty pocked and bumpy – as well as dusty in the dry season – they are all accessible in a “regular” two-wheel drive car. Four-wheel would be recommended nonetheless, but isn’t a necessity – the roads are all traversable and the excursion is well worth the trek.

Natural Beauty, with a Colorful Past

At the end of the road, exquisite white sand greets you after you pass through swaying coconut palms. The beach is crescent moon-shaped and is loaded with shady palms. There is snorkeling off to the left, while the eastern side, too, has a reef to explore. And the approaches to the snorkel sites are easy, with access right from the beach. And – if you’re into this kind of thing – there is a sea grape tree on the far western end of the beach entirely adorned with an array of washed-up coral hunks. Some artistically inclined folks took it upon themselves to strategically place them over the branches and the surrounding area. The best part? Come add your own creativity to the endeavor. I have, as have many others. The tree sculpture is subject to change, depending on weather conditions and “in-the-moment” artistic expression.

The entire bay is known as Little Belmont Bay. The western side of the bay, the end containing the buildings, beach bar, historic ruins, swimming and snorkeling reef, has been known as “Smuggler’s Cove” but now the entire bay is locally called that name. The division dates back a couple of centuries.

bob-nell-dennistonIn the plantation era, a sugar works, now concealed by copious bush, was located at Smuggler’s. The Romney family had also owned the beach and surrounding land for many generations. The Clerk family joined them in ownership in 1961 and later sold their interest to Bob and Nell Denniston in 1968. “Auntie Nell” and “Uncle Bob” as they became known, cut the road from West End up and over to Smuggler’s during this time. The Dennistons first visited the BVI in the 1950s, fell in love with the island and left their stateside existence for greener pastures – or, whiter, as it were – and started investing in property. Bob was not retired at that time, but that point in their lives wasn’t far away.

After Bob retired, the couple ran the beach bar themselves, along with four beach rooms and several houses that were available for rental. The rooms were rustic, but the atmosphere welcoming, and the majority of part-timers came back year after year. The beach bar became very popular, serving up cold drinks, lunch, laughter and old stories. If Bob wasn’t around people went around the back of the bar to help themselves to a cold one stuffing a couple of dollars in the can or under a rock on the bar top. There was even a Smuggler’s Cove steel pan band back in that day, led by island icon Clem Smith.

Bob Denniston, a classic car enthusiast, kept his vintage 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible, parked inside the beach bar. The vehicle wasn’t the newest on the island at that time, but was undoubtedly the jazziest, with clean lines and red leather seats. It was chosen to transport Queen Elizabeth in her open motorcade when she visited Tortola in 1977 on her second visit to the territory. A reception in her honor was held aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia, and Bob and Nell had a chat with her at the time. The Queen acknowledged that she was aware that their car was transporting her about the island. Nell – this from a qualified source – mentioned to the Queen, that they “had spent all of last night cleaning out the empty beer cans left in the back seat by our kids.” According to local lore, the Queen shared a smile with her, stating “my children do the same thing!”

The vintage Lincoln was removed some years back, but pictures of The Queen and her entourage being sported about in Bob’s Lincoln remain and can be seen on walls of different island establishments. Right up until its removal, the car’s license plate remained intact: “VI 2.”

Bob was also renowned for skills as an amateur ham radio operator and established the first ham radio operator’s club in the BVI. He provided the island with a much needed service, to not only locals in need of making contact with family etc. abroad, but also did communication work along these lines for the BVI government.

One of Smuggler’s best known stories, and one which movie buffs are probably already aware, was that a portion of the remake of Hemmingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea” were filmed there. This was in 1989, though the movie’s time frame was 1930 Cuba. But due to politics, logistics, and finances, filming the movie in Cuba wasn’t feasible. So the search went out, to find the exact-right backdrop, to capture all of what Hemmingway and the movie people were seeking. And voila, Smuggler’s Cove came up as the top choice for several of the movie’s scenes.

The beach bar was transformed into a Cuba cantina and as part of the set, a bedroom was built above the bar. After the filming Uncle Bob and Nell decided to keep the set. But as island people everywhere know, when hurricanes approach, damage will be done, and the structure was mostly destroyed when Hurricane Hugo swept through the islands in the summer of ‘89.

Another favorite story from back in the day, was that of the missing French toilets, brought in for Bob’s newly proposed hotel. When a summer storm blew through and badly damaged the original structures, looters came in and did what they do, and stole anything that wasn’t nailed down. This included the fancy French toilets purchased by the Dennistons. Years later, a friend of the family while hiking around through the bush in the area, stumbled upon them, not knowing where on earth they may have come from or what they may be doing there. The friend, over drinks at the bar with Bob, later told him the story; that he had by chance come across two fancy French toilets, whilst hiking around in the bush. Astonished, Bob exclaimed “They’re MINE!”

Today, the beach at Smuggler’s remains as beautiful as ever. The former “honor bar” and attached building still stand, while most definitely showing their many years. Though the old Lincoln is now long gone, the bush around the structures has been cleared and there is lumber and some building supplies stacked inside one of the buildings.

smugglers-cove-owner

Historical and cultural preservation of Smugglers is important to local residents and to government officials, who last year proposed that the beach and surrounding land become the territory’s next National Park. Under that proposal, the reef would become the BVI’s second marine park (the first is the famous dive site the Wreck of the Rhone).

Despite the somewhat daunting drive, a trip to Smuggler’s is well worth the trip. Boating, though, isn’t recommended because of coral heads hiding just below the sea’s surface and the (mostly wintertime) north swells.

While you’re there, make sure you:

Get in a good snorkel.

Hang out in the shade. Or the sun.

Walk on down to the western end and add some coral

to the sculpture.

Do a mini-hike through and around the grounds. You never know what you may stumble upon. Probably not any fancy French toilets, but you just never know!

BVI Food Fête – The Highlights

Here’s a listing of some of the biggest events happening during the month-long culinary series:

Oct. 30 is the Barefoot Gourmet Soiree, featuring gourmet food paired with Barefoot wines.

Nov. 5 is Taste of Tortola, with some of the BVI’s best restaurants serving up a sampler menu, plus a demonstration kitchen, and local food and cocktail competitions.

Nov. 11-12 is the Peter Island Caribbean Food Festival, two days of food, drinks and fun at the Peter Island Resort. Proceeds from the event go to the Peter Island Culinary Scholarship Fund. To purchase tickets for this event, contact the resort at (800) 346-4451 or reservations@peterisland.net.

Nov. 13 is The Jost Crawl, an afternoon tour of Jost Van Dyke with stops at various locations for drinks and nibbles.

Nov. 19 is the On the Rocks Bar Crawl. Participants travel on a safari bus to bars and restaurants around Virgin Gorda to sample local cocktails.

Also on VG that day is Taste of Virgin Gorda, featuring samples from restaurants and the sister island’s best chefs competing in a cook-off, plus live jazz music at the historic Nail Bay Sugar Ruins.

Nov. 25 is The Lobster Crawl. The bar crawl around Anegada is the perfect way to kick off a lobster-filled weekend.

Nov. 26-27 is the Food Fête’s signature event, the Anegada Lobster Festival. Includes restaurants around the island serving up their take on the favorite local dish as well as five-stop tour of historic and cultural spots around the “drowned island.”

 

For event tickets, locations and additional information about the BVI Food Fête, contact the event’s coordinator Cindy Rosan-Jones at cjones@bvitourism or (284) 494-3134.

The Flavor of Paradise

food-fes_1I remember the first time I had gooseberry stew like it was this morning. It’s sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time, with a texture much closer to jam than any stew I’d ever had before. It was an unexpected treat in the middle of an otherwise busy lunch hour, and it was the moment I realized I had to taste a lot more new foods before I could come to any conclusions about the culinary traditions of the British Virgin Islands.

I would not have heard of gooseberry stew, much less tried some, if it hadn’t been for BVI Restaurant Week, the predecessor to BVI Food Fête, happening throughout November and currently in its third year.

Tourism officials began holding these culinary themed events in 2012 with understanding that foodies travel, and that everybody who visits a new place wants to experience something unique to that destination.
“We heard that portrayed very clearly,” Tourism Director Sharon Flax-Brutus said back in 2014 when the BVI Food Fête was launched.

“We need to be very proud and showcase our BVI products, our BVI food and beverages, whether it’s peppermint candies or potato pudding … visitors want to be able to say ‘I had oxtail, I had the peppermint candies, or I had a taste of the tamarind wine.’”

Over the years, the BVI’s traditional dishes and drinks have become more and more the focus, explained BVI Food Fête coordinator Cindy Rosan-Jones.

First, in 2013, officials added an event spotlighting the sister island of Anegada and its favorite local seafood, lobster. Lobster Fest has since become the signature event of the BVI Food Fête, allowing attendees to try locally caught lobster prepared in various ways while exploring the territory’s farthest sister island.

“Last year we had the fish and fungi competition, and that was really good,” Cindy said, adding that her favorite local flavors are the drinks made from fresh seasonal fruits like tamarind, ginger and coconut.

Fish and fungi is the BVI’s official dish, and it will again be featured in this year’s Taste of Tortola, when local and visiting chefs will compete to see who prepares the best version of the cornmeal-based dish.

“We hope to make it something even bigger this year,” Cindy said.
Looking back, she said that as the Food Fête has grown, it’s also improved.
“We’ve added more evening events, more local entertainment and things unique to our tastes. It’s become a really memorable experience,” she said.

Both Taste of Tortola and Taste of Virgin Gorda events should be even more memorable this year with the addition of staffed photo booths where attendees can pose for keepsake photos with novelty oversized culinary props. The taste events also let food fans become the jury for the evenings’ coveted “people’s choice” prizes.

“Everyone gets a ticket when they come in, and they use it to vote for their favorite booth. That restaurant receives a prize, and the bragging rights,” Cindy said.

For those looking to make the most out of their Lobster Fest at the last-minute, Cindy recommends chartering a yacht, since Anegada doesn’t have as much hotel space as other isles in the BVI.

“I think it’d be perfect for a group of friends to sail over and spend the weekend on a yacht enjoying Anegada,” she said.

She also hopes that while there, Lobster Fest patrons take part in a five-stop historical tour of Anegada. Last year, the tours coincided with the re-opening of the Faulkner House Museum, the historic home of one of the territory’s local heroes, Theodolph Faulkner.

“We found that was very popular last year, so we’re bringing it back,” Cindy said. “There’s more to Anegada than lobster.”

Photo by Jordana Wright
Photos by Jordana Wright

Alamo Car Rental

Alamo_Car_Rental_2016_honda_hrvGreat deals on your car rental, exceptional customer service, quick and easy reservations. 4wd 8 passenger SUVs, sedans, mini vans, free pickup. Three locations.
Open daily 8am-5pm.

Airport, Road Town and West End
Tel: Maria’s by the Sea,
Road Town: (284) 342-5266
Beef Island Airport/EIS: (284) 495-2526
West End, Towers: (284) 495-4877
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Rates on request

interCaribbean Airways

interisland-airlines-logoAbout interCaribbean Airways: interCaribbean Airways is based in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Connecting You and the Caribbean.

Tortola, BVI
Tel: +1 877 887 9233
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For rates, please visit our website or contact your preferred Travel Agent.
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interCaribbean moves to 18 flights weekly between San Juan and Tortola

November 18, 2016. Tortola, British Virgin Islands. interCaribbean Airways is pleased to announce a major increase in air service to commence double daily services effective from December 19th 2016 and triple daily 4 times a week.

This new AM and PM services give the opportunity for business and leisure travelers in the British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico to visit for a day, and be home in time for dinner. These flights operated by EMB 120 aircraft are the fastest turbo prop aircraft in its class making it the quickest connection.

Trevor Sadler, interCaribbean Chief Executive Officer said since we first began service into the San Juan to Tortola we have seen a steady increase in the demand for our flights. We are pleased to respond to this demand with significant increase in flights between two favorite islands and in addition to new daily flights from Tortola to Antigua.

Commenting on the recent announcement by InterCaribbean Airways of an increase in service to the British Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands Director of Tourism Mrs. Sharon Flax-Brutus said, “The BVI Tourist Board is pleased that interCaribbean Airways is demonstrating its commitment to bring convenient air transportation to the region and applauds the airline’s recent decision to increase service to the BVI. The increase in service between the BVI and Antigua and the BVI and San Juan is welcome news as it will help address the challenge of airlift and accessibility to the destination.”

Schedule

FL#           FROM     TO            EFECTIVE                 UNTIL                        DAYS                                           DEP          ARR

637           SJU           EIS            14-Nov-16               28-Oct-17                Mon Wed Fri Sat                     15:35       16:15

638           EIS            SJU           14-Nov-16               28-Oct-17                Tue Thu Sat Sun                      11:40       12:20

508           EIS            SJU           19-Dec-16                04-Nov-17               Daily                                            09:20       10:00

509           SJU           EIS            19-Dec-16                04-Nov-17               Daily                                            11:30       12:10

510           EIS            SJU           19-Dec-16                04-Nov-17               Daily                                            16:30       17:10

511           SJU           EIS            19-Dec-16                04-Nov-17               Daily                                            18:40       19:20

EIS = Tortola, SJU = San Juan

interCaribbean Airways is based in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Connecting You and the Caribbean. The company operates a fleet of EMB 120, Twin Otters and BE99 aircrafts providing service to Antigua, Bahamas, Tortola, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Additional services also includes flights between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, as well as domestic flights operated in The Turks & Caicos Islands and Jamaica. map-with-logo-cmyk-new-ver-a4-61-1

De Loose Mongoose

de-loose-mongoose-logoDe Loose Mongoose Restaurant and Bar is a fun, family friendly place to eat, drink, and spend your day on the beach.  Award winning Chef, Neil Cline, has ensured that his Grill and Dinner menus are the perfect complement to the lively nightly entertainment. Delicious food, ice-cold drinks, friendly staff, and an unmatched view await you at “De Happy Place”.

Lunch: Rum BBQ Salmon, Fresh Fish Tacos, Cuban Stacked Pork Sandwich, Mango Jerk Chicken Wrap, Goat Cheese Roast Vegetable Wrap, Baked Anegada Lobster Mac & Cheese, Caribbean Chicken Bowl, Quesadillas, Conch Fritters, Rotis, Burgers, Pastas, Pizzas, and more.

Dinner: Herbed Rotisserie Chicken, Ribs, Penne Alfredo, Pesto Linguini, Beef/Chicken/Fish Burgers, Fish/Pork/Chicken Tacos, Caribbean Rotis, Mouthwatering Grill items, and more.

Be sure to check out our new menu items for the upcoming season.

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Every night till late

Mon 3pm; Tues – Sat 11am

Sunday Brunch 9:30am – 2:30pm

Tel: (284) 495-2303
$9 – $45, Visa / MC, Reservations welcomed

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Sky World Food Theatre

sky-world-logo-01Enjoy a theatrical dining experience and some of the most spectacular views on Tortola at our top of the island location. Chef Robert will dazzle you with tableside cooking in our elegant dining room.

Located at the top of the Ridge Road and two-miles from both Road Town and Cane Garden Bay, Sky World features creative local dishes for lunch, an epic, modern international menu in the evening and unforgettable sunset happy hour drinks.

Experience Dining on a different level

Featured Entrees: Filet Mignon, Rack of Lamb, Fresh Grilled Lobster.

Delectable homemade desserts.

Lunch 12-3pm / Dinner 6-9pm
Tel: (284) 495-9600
Lunch $12-$30, Dinner $20-$65.

Reservations: Preferred

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The Courtyard at Surfsong

surfsong_logoEnjoy fine dining in the intimacy of an award winning boutique hotel.  The ambiance of The Courtyard at Surfsong pairs perfectly with the Chef’s creative, refined cuisine. We offer a prix fixe menu which changes nightly and prominently features fresh local ingredients.

Appetizers: Island Vegetable Salad, Local Pumpkin Soup, Seafood Ceviche, Conch Chowder, Local Watermelon with Basil and Feta

Entrees:   Local Pork with Tomato Relish, BVI Organic Chicken with Chocolate Chili, Lobster with Vanilla Butter, Sous-vide Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms and Truffle.

Desserts: Local Lime Mousse, Mango Cheesecake, Flourless Cherry Chocolate Cake, Local Fruit Parfait

Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday for dinner 6:30pm – 10pm.

Sunday brunch:  10am– 3pm.

Tel: (284) 495-1864
For rates please visit our website.

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Trellis Bay Market Bar & Grill

tbm-logoNestled between coconut palms and seagrape trees Trellis Bay Market Bar & Grill has since expanded into a funky dockside hangout with frigid beers, mixed drinks and island  scenery known as “Trellis Bar & Grill.” Well known for its Chicken Roti at lunch and Island BBQ every Fri. and Sat. from 4:30pm-10pm. Serving some of the best BBQ in the BVI.

The bay comes alive every month with its “Fireball  Full Moon Party,” Mocko Jumbies, BBQ, fireballs, music, local arts and bars. To get updates on the monthly full moon dates visit www.trellisbaymarket.com.

Caribbean Breakfast: Ackee, Saltfish, Assorted Sandwiches, Hot Coffee/ Bush Tea, Coco Bread, Liver, Corn beef, Salmon, Pastries, Turkey, Ham

Lunch: Chicken, Beef & Veggie Roti, Salads, Hot Wings, Conch Fritters, Patties, Burgers, Honey Stung Chicken and daily local lunch specials

BBQ Dinner: Fri, Sat & Full Moon 4:30pm-10:30pm: BBQ Chicken, Jerk Chicken, Jerk Pork, Ribs, Grilled Fish, Chicken Roti.

Breakfast 6am-10:30am,

Lunch 11am-6pm

Tel: (284) 495-1421
$3.5 – $25

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MYETT’S CHILL ZONE

myetts-chill-zone-lionAtmosphere: Unique Waterfront Bar specializing in island inspired drinks, frozen concoctions, cold beer & wines, specialty coffees, and bar bites. Welcome to your island paradise. So sway to the music, laugh with friends, enjoy the views, leave your worries behind and watch the ships sail in. RELAX YOU’RE ON ISLAND TIME!!                                                                

Good Mornin…Good Afta…noon & Good Eeeve…nin Bites.

Fruit smoothies, Caesar & Greek Salads. Wraps, Panini’s, and Pita Pockets of Turkey Avocado, Chicken Cobb with Avocado, Albacore Tuna, Philly Beef and Veggy.

The Reef Restaurant at Fischer’s Cove

fischerscove-hotel-logo2On a beachfront property In the heart of Spanish Town with a spectacular view of the ocean. We offer a combination of Caribbean and International favorites served by our friendly team. Come join us for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Breakfast: Caribbean Oatmeal, Open Faced Omelet Topped with Fresh Fish,Sweet Peppers, Cheese & Salsa
Specialties: Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Pizza, Gourmet Sandwiches and Desserts. Unique dishes like our Tropical Baby Back Ribs basted with your choice of Tamarind, Mango or Passion Fruit sauce.

7:30am-10pm
Tel: (284) 495-5252 / 495-5253
$9.50-$50, Visa/MC; Reservations preferred

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Surfsong Villa Resort

This secluded beachfront resort offers seven extraordinary villas, each accommodating 1 to 8 people or groups of up to 30 guests. Luxuriously appointed, from delicately draped four-poster beds, spacious slate and glass baths to modern stainless steel gourmet kitchens, Surfsong resonates with warmth in every detail.

Enjoy beautiful views of outer islands from private decks. Choose a villa with direct beach access. Located near the airport on Beef Island’s southern shore and at the heart of the island chain, Surfsong is conveniently situated for a variety of island adventures, activities and dining experiences.

Amenities: A/C, SAT. TV, CD & DVD, plush king size beds, resort robes, private BBQ patios, room safes and dedicated phone lines. Full concierge wedding and event planning.

PO Box 2891, East End, Tortola, BVI
Tel: (284) 495-1864 | Fax: (284) 495-0089
For rates please visit our website.

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Spice up your Life

Spices, seasonings, and sauces can really turn an everyday dish into a true taste of the Caribbean and many of these flavor boosters are grown right here in the British Virgin Islands.

Colorful and tasty, peppers that can vary from the fairly mild to the extremely hot are one of the main types of produce grown here in the BVI. The king of peppers is the Scotch bonnet – and it is their hot and savory flavoring that makes hot pepper sauces so popular.

Scotch bonnets or “bonnies” as they are locally known are a staple in most West Indian kitchens and are reputed to be one of the world’s hottest peppers.

Green bell peppers are also grown here, as well as seasoning peppers, which also come in a rainbow of colors and are the main ingredient in the flavored pepper sauces, which give a great flavor to fish and chicken dishes. Peppers are power packed with Vitamin C, B6, beta-carotene, potassium and contain lots of fiber and have many health benefits such as being an effective pain reliever for arthritis, reducing risk of heart attacks and Type 2 Diabetes.

Arona Forbes, Deputy Chief Agricultural Officer for the Department of Agriculture, who makes a variety of products using locally grown produce explains, “The Scotch bonnet and Caribbean red peppers are used to make the ever popular hot pepper sauces which are blended to give a smooth texture. The flavored pepper sauces, are a little milder and are not blended so have a chunkier texture.”

She adds that the sauces can be used on all kinds of foods from fish and salad, to rotis chicken and curries. In addition to hot sauces, Arona also uses natural seasonings and spices for her dried collection (All Purpose Seasoning, Garlic Salt and BVI Blend) and last but not least she also makes natural oils and flavored oils to add to salads and other food.

On historic Main Street, a popular outlet for locally packaged sauces, spices and seasonings is Sunny Caribbee. Here you will find a cornucopia of seasonings and spices all packaged in their distinctive and decorative style. Even better, their metal shakers and spice grinders are all re-fillable – so people can just top up their containers when they run out.

Owner, Greg Gunter who along with Dame Peters and staff has been running the business since 1983 explains, “In addition to visitors, Sunny Caribbee has a large local market, because people who live here like to cook and like to know they are cooking with the freshest ingredients, especially the spices and seasonings.”

peppers

Sunny Caribbee offers around 20 of their own mixed seasonings and a collection of sauces from the super hot, the medium and the less intense marinades. Favorites include the Ginger Hot Sauce, Yellow Caribbee Hot Sauce and the Caribbean All Around Sauce.

Another establishment that sells local spices and seasonings is Pusser’s that has evolved from the four-seater rum shop that Charles Tobias started on Main Street in 1970 to three Pusser’s bars and restaurants in the BVI with associated stores, called “Outposts.” The stores are a big part of the operation and include many hot sauces, seasonings and spices (and their famous spicy Rum Cake). The merchandising side of the operation is something I spend a lot of time on getting right.” The entrepeneur explains.

Here in the BVI, locally grown spices and produce includes thyme, chives, parsley, celery, green onion or “chibble,” scallions, cinnamon sticks and dried sorrell. The Department of Agriculture gives a helping hand to local farmers by supplying them with seedlings and then assisting them to market their products to local supermarkets and stores. Visitors and residents alike can also visit the small stalls that set up each Friday in Road Town where fresh spices can be bought in pots, and thyme and scallions can be bought in bundles. There is also a mini farmers market near the roundabout every Saturday where you can buy local wares.

So support the local farmers and have fun finding the freshest possible ingredients to spice up your food and your life!