Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beach, Please: On Playing Goldilocks, Island Style

It never ceases to amaze me how far away we can feel from it all on this island. Despite being a pretty primo travel destination with hundreds of thousands of people flocking here every year, the island remains deceivingly underdeveloped. We are big enough to get a decent haircut or a meal, but not too big that our streets are lined with big box stores or restaurant chains. This delicate balance of maintaining island "authenticity" and halting over-development is something that is pretty unique to the British Virgin Islands and is largely >>> why we chose this island <<< to settle on. Case in point: we can venture to to any number of absolutely pristine beaches - I'm talking jaw-droppingly beautiful shorelines that are the stuff magazine ads are made of - and more often than not we will find ourselves alone or with no more than a few others on a massive stretch of sand. No need to stake out a spot, pay for an umbrella and put down your blanket. The threat of anyone stealing your valuables while you swim is slim to none. And, no, you will not hear the Macarena blasting over a large speaker here... It's just you, me, and the sea, baby...

This weekend we ventured to the beautiful Josiah's Bay Beach which is known as a prime surfing spot here on island. I have written about it before, because when the >>>north swell rolls in<<<, surf is up big time in this spot. Surfers from all over will clamor to this beach when conditions are right, and I've heard it can be epic...On this particular day, however, surf was not 'up', but enough to ride a body board, which is why under normal conditions this bay is perfect for beginners. We wandered down the empty beach, hearing the sound of sand underfoot and waves crashing ashore, and staked out our spot in front of the eclectic Surf School BVI...

Nothing more than a decked out shipping container, the surf school is just what Hollywood would lead you to believe a surf shack would look like. It's an eclectic mix of island stoke; a tattered couch sits on a platform out front, and old surfboard stuck in the ground lists offerings and prices, and just beyond that is a fire pit. Surf quotes and signs pepper the walls and toy sea turtles and fish hang from the ceiling...If it doesn't make you want to hang ten, I don't know what would. Surfboards fill the racks both inside and outside, and the place is just oozes with a chilled out surfer vibe. Steve, the guy who owns it, is as laid back as they come and also looks the part; handsome with long, sun-kissed hair and an overgrown beard, he has been nicknamed "Hot Jesus" by one of my friends. He was featured in the same >>>Vineyard Vines catalog that we were <<< and he could not be more accommodating and nice. We rented a couple body boards (he didn't want to charge us for them but we insisted) and Isla, Haven and Scott had a blast in the water while Mira and I watched from the shore.

All the while we were, more or less, alone. And let me tell you: there is no greater peace than a private beach.

We had come in the afternoon and while I am always prepared with drinks and snacks for outings with our girls, we were planning on grabbing a surf-side dinner at one of the two little beach bars here. Momzell's was the only one open (Naomi's is the other place, but was closed) and we ordered a veggie burger, fries and some chicken nuggets. The place is nothing fancy (you either eat on the beach or at a plastic table on plastic chairs), and the fare is simple but the two ladies running it were super sweet and quick with a smile. I love me a laid-back, open-air island restaurant with absolutely zero airs about it. Give me a place where no shirt and no shoes have absolutely zero bearing on service coupled with stiff drinks and a killer view, and you have my kind of dining establishment.

We finished our beach side meal and Scott and the girls headed to the far end of the beach where boulders and lava flow formations create an end to the beach. After thirty minutes of climbing and taking in the views, we said thank you and good bye to the sun, packed up our car and headed for home. When we left, there was not a soul left ashore and the only creatures left behind were the hungry pelicans casually soaring overhead.


Sometimes I love nothing more than a lively, party atmosphere with other people, music and a plethora of bars - and for those days I can head to >>> Cane Garden Bay <<< (during peak hours, because even that popular beach can be deserted!) or over to White Bay on Jost van Dyke...but to have the option to escape to a paradise of our very own? That's pretty amazing too.

In the words of one of our >> Facebook << followers, I have found my "Goldilocks island" here on Tortola: it's not too big, it's not too small. It is just right.

Mira jumping on the surf watch couch

The Surf School BVI, how cool is this little place? Vibes for dayz!
These little chicas are keen to learn how to surf. It's an elective at Isla's school next year!
The offerings...
Mira exploring the container of stoke and wonder.
She loved looking at the boards.
Catching little waves.
Maybe my favorite pic. Mira is watching her sisters having fun. See that beaming smile on her face? That is everything.
They were hooked.
Sisters who ride together...
Loved this beach shack/surf shop. So much character and charm.
After a while the waves got a bit bigger and the girls liked riding on daddy's back.
Momzell's offerings and the bar.
I love this bar.
Enjoying a peaceful dinner on the beach full of our usual dinner chit chat.
Such a beautiful bay and beach. 
The girls and daddy went climbing and exploring.
This child, she is so brilliant and amazing. Always gazing off, thinking.
Can you see their distinct personalities?

They were sitting on a pretty high ledge here. It even made this meg-laid back mom a little nervous!

....luckily, because we let them climb and explore these three are ace climbers with great coordination.
Good grief, this child. How in love with her and her zest am I? Endlessly.
And this child? To infinity and beyond!
Channelling her inner Moana. 
Isla bidding farewell to the sun in our signature, "Goodbye sun, thanks for a great day!" way.


Jen @ Drinking the Whole Bottle said...

Oh good gosh. I already miss my island babies. What a beautiful life you all have chosen for yourselves. Good. For. You.

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Doug Treff said...

What a beautiful place and a beautiful family! You guys certainly have much to be thankful for. Enjoy!

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Do My Assignment For Me Cheap said...

This weekend we dared to the excellent Josiah's Bay Beach which is known as a great riding spot here on island. I have expounded on it previously, on the grounds that when the >>>north expand rolls in<<<, surf is up big time in this spot.

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Global Arb said...

Ah, the beach! Sometimes it's too hot, sometimes too cold, always trying to find that just right Goldilocks zone, island style. Ever felt the same choosing a vacation spot? If you're struggling with decisions, maybe some dissertation poster help might be what you're looking for. Just a thought!

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