Before the Wards and we left on our trip to Tortola, I had several people tell me they couldn’t wait to see the blog. The thing is, I lost my “wanna” somewhere along the way. Put another way, like the old Jo Dee Messina song, “my give a damn’s busted.” It’s been nice to not spend each evening fretting about and writing and rewriting a blog post. That, plus the fact that Eddie and the Dave’s (they really should form a band) aren’t on this trip and they usually provide most of my material. Tres is doing his best to take up the slack but even he, as good as he is, can’t do the work of six men, men who are willing to start the day with an 8am Bloody Mary. However, the week is still young so hope springs eternal.
Getting to the West end of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands from Midland or Wichita Falls is no small feat. In fact, it’s a grueling all-day affair and involves planes, ferries and automobiles. It took over an hour for about 50 people to clear customs in Roadtown. I’ve gotten through customs in Miami with 3000 people in less time. Julia, bless her heart, and I mean that in the best way, not the Southern “well bless her heart” way, is stuck with the driving again and that is not an easy thing. I’m sure it is made more difficult by someone yelling “shit, Shit, SHIT!” with ever increasing volume from the backseat every 30 seconds. The road to our house is up a mountain, not paved, and we traveled it for the first time in the dark…in a Kia. We first missed the turnoff because it didn’t look like a road and even when we found the road, my mind was saying “this CANNOT be it.” It was.
But, the house, Blackbeard’s Hideaway on Steel Point, is beautiful and the view is spectacular. We were supposed to come here back in October of 2017 because three out of four of us were turning sixty. Category 5 Hurricane Irma took care of that in September. The Virgin Islands took a direct hit and the devastation was immense. Boats and docks were either sunk or thrown onshore or literally on top of buildings. The infrastructure was decimated, even roads were washed away. Businesses, buildings, homes, both large and small, were demolished. Nothing escaped Irma. Things were so bad that prisoners were released from jail because they didn’t know if the structures would make it…and almost everyone turned themselves back in within a week because they couldn’t find food or water. We have a good view of Frenchman’s Lookout, which our group visited in 2010 and again in 2015. It’s the only repeat destination we’ve had on our island trips and was magnificent. You can see pictures of it if you look in my blog archives. It is in ruins now and will not be rebuilt unless someone buys it. It is sad to see.
Tortola is rebounding, but slowly. Even rebuilding seems to be on island time. The West end seems to be behind other parts of the island, but they are working on the boardwalk at Sopher’s Hole and many of the homes have been repaired. There are four houses, all owned by the same person, on Steel Point and all but one have been repaired, however, the third one was just finished two weeks ago, 21 months after the storm. The Soggy Dollar has brought Jost Van Dyke back better than before, of course, all they needed was about a dozen sheets of plywood to rebuild the bar. Nevertheless, it was good to see a thriving scene at our favorite place.
Yesterday we drove over to Cane Garden Bay, which doesn’t look very far on the map, but is about thirty switchbacks, a hundred “oh shits” and a half a dozen Lord’s Prayers away. That’s how I measure distance here. I don’t know how Julia does it. After the third 90 degree incline switchback, and I’m talking up not left or right, I would have thrown that little Kia in park, hoped the brakes held, and said “I’m done.” At the scene of the crash, they wouldn’t know if I wet myself before or after we fell off the mountain. Luckily for everyone involved I doubt I’m ever asked to drive on these treacherous roads since most people don’t want to ride with me on the flat plains of Texas.
Today we are not doing a thing except relaxing and enjoying the house and maybe a little snorkeling…ok, Tres is doing the snorkeling, we will be doing the relaxing.