Virgin Islands Traveller

Anyone who has ever bushwacked through the forest in the VI or, especially, had anything to do with land which has been cleared of trees, is probably well familiar with kasha, also known as catch n keep. Acacia riparia is a woody sprawler with lacy foliage that not only snags anything that comes its way (catch) but grips you even closer the more you struggle to become de-tangled from its embrace (keep). According to the Crucian Dictionary, catch n keep (also ‘ketch an keep’) is also sometimes called the Country Policeman or Hug Me Close, and that it is known as Zarza in Puerto Rico and Amourette, which means little love, in St Barts. Read More

Voyage in the Dark by Jean Rhys

I came across Jean Rhys’ 1934 novel, Voyage in the Dark, in a used bookshop several months ago and read it during a recent trip to St Croix. I had read and enjoyed Rhys’ best-known work, Wide Sargasso Sea, previously.

At 187 pages Voyage …  is a fast read but the images and language are haunting and stayed with me for weeks. Rhys’ writing style is fearless: sharp, spare and unsentimental. Read More

Ras Lumumba picked me up in his Rasta-colored 1970s Land Rover and we set off for a drive along back roads to a viewpoint overlooking the north coast of St Croix. We were going on a hike, along with his daughter and another friend, but first Lumumba, a naturalist and exceptional tour guide, wanted to show us one of his favourite spots on the island. Read More

We get off to an early start; by 8:30 a.m. Troy and I are astride our mountain bikes and ready to go. Troy, a long-time St. Croix resident and experienced cyclist, is one of the regular guides at Freedom City Cycles, a bike shop in Frederiksted which rents bikes, leads tours and sells gear. Read More

Mocko jumbies are the colorful stilt-walkers who perform at parades and festivals throughout the Virgin Islands. Attend any of the islands’ annual carnival parades and you will see them, jumping, balancing and stepping out to the sounds of up-beat soca music. Read More

September is a good time to cook at home. Many restaurants in the Virgin Islands cut back hours or close altogether. The doldrums of the tourist season and the height of the hurricane threat are a good time to for many in the industry to take a much-needed break.

But we still have to eat, so on a recent weekend I settled down to a project: prepare a three-course meal at home from St. Croix Food & Wine Experience, a new cookbook by Jane Watkins. Read More

Alexander Hamilton and I are friends. Or so it seems. Read More

“This cove was a place where nothing had changed since time began, a half circle of white sand, flanked by huge squarish smooth rocks, the rocks overlapping to form cool caves and the water turquoise blue above the furrows of the sandy bed.”

These are the words of war journalist Martha Gellhorn who visited Virgin Gorda in 1942 as part of a Caribbean tour to assess World War II’s impact on the region. She observed that on this peaceful isle even the concept of war seemed unreal. Gellhorn spent an afternoon at the Baths and wrote about it in her memoir, Travels With Myself and Another. Read More

Who has not entertained a fantasy of quitting your job and living the simple life on a quiet tropical island? Living in a house you built by hand, surviving off the bounty of sea and land, warmed by the love of your family.

If you’d like to ponder this particular dream a bit longer, pick up a copy of The Way We Were, a memoir by Andria D. Flax. Read More

Shark Bay is one of the newest national parks in the British Virgin Islands and probably the least well-known. Declared in 1999, the 18.4 acre park on a headland just east of Brewer’s Bay, Tortola, is one of my favourite places to hike in the BVI. Read More

I love to visit the ‘out islands’ of the BVI: Norman, Cooper, Peter, Salt, Ginger, and the rest. There is something about crossing the water to another island that causes your worries to melt away. And with little more than a beach and a beach bar to entertain you, the day ahead is one of simple pleasures: a sandy beach, a thriving reef, cold drinks, the light pulse of reggae music, the company of your friends. Read More

I love the sweet, sassy, and infectious sound of this unique island music.

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