- June 12th, 2008
- in Yachting
The lazy days of summer… one of the best times of the year to enjoy the British Virgin Islands. The hocus-pocus of an empty island all packed up and deserted for impending hurricanes is well, just not cricket… more like myth. There is a lot going on in the summer, Toto, and it’s certainly not in Kansas (sorry Kansas).
The British Virgin Islands has a fluctuating community of over twenty thousand people living, working and contributing to the economy of what is sometimes known as the sailing charter capitol of the world. It should come as no surprise, then, that the neighbouring yachtsman, surfer, bar stool warmer or fishing enthusiast is either from, or has been living in, the BVI for a while. The BVI keeps going all year round, as do the people living here. Many times I have heard the phrase you are so lucky to actually live here in paradise, yet thousands of people get up every morning and go to work or take their kids to school and only have the weekend to live that dream. Living the dream ooooh yes, but five days a week, cowboy, and bills to pay, places to go, time off and energy to spare!
So in the summer, those working here all year round find themselves with a little bit more time to enjoy and, as most people will say, just that little bit more is all. In August, the BVI has its Emancipation Festival giving way to three of the numerous public holidays scattered throughout the year. A five-day break is enjoyed in revelry at the festivals on Virgin Gorda and Tortola or through time off the rock or in exploration round its haunts. The summertime does offer considerably reduced charter rates, as well as a lot less traffic out in the channel.
So that’s one point of view—yes, it’s not so crowded and no, it’s not as expensive—but what is really going on? We could all drive ourselves mad by simply stating: tropical lush paradise with turquoise aquatic backdrops and amber nectar sunsets. Yes, it’s beautiful, but what else?
Well, it’s host to a whole lot of activities. The Bitter End hosts the AH Riise Billfish Tournament in the first week in July as part of the pro tour. Hilo and its long windsurfing adventure have just regained international credit status as part of the US windsurfing tour, also in the first week of July. But here’s another key point—these events are for visitors, and benefit the economy, but again where everyone is bwaai!!!
In the summer, school is out and the expatriate community largely made up of families begins an exodus back to their mother countries to visit relatives and enjoy some cooler air. Those left behind will find their preferred bars participate in a series of closing down, drink-the-bar-dry type parties, only to reopen again three weeks later after the owners and staff return from holiday. During this period, though, many activities will get under way, such as summer camps for kids in sailing or water sports and generally the Island will tough out the summer heat, glass of cold beverage in hand. Sailing events continue through the summer (see Edge).
Crazy summers? Well, we’ve all heard the phrase and probably all seen some elements of it, but with the extra crowd of visitors and seasonal workers dissipating, perhaps the crazy summer was only masked by the crazy winter or crazy spring or a crazy Monday, just nobody noticed above the noise. So in conclusion, if you are back in your hometown reading this and you notice a crusty, wild-eyed person next to you with a Tortola BVI hat on his or her head, don’t be too quick to say hey, when did you visit? That crusty person may be on his or her vacation and just wanting a little bit of quiet time, under an AC rather than a coconut tree. Enjoy the summer, guys and gals—no such thing as cabin fever unless you are in a cabin, and out here they have hatches.