I arrived in the Virgin Islands on Wednesday at about 3:30 in the afternoon. Then I took a 45 minute boat ride from Tortola to Virgin Gorda where I was met by Denise Reovan, Bernadette Thomas, and Michael, the cab driver. We then went to the Fisher’s Cove Resort (more later on the name) where I will be staying for the next six weeks.
I was surprised at how slow the recovery has been. There are still boats on the shore, just as they were eight months ago when Irma struck. There are still blown out buildings; most notably, the Catholic Church’s on a high hill in Spanish Town (Yes, some people speak Spanish here!).
After dinner on Wednesday, I retired after traveling for 19 hours with little sleep.
In the morning, I had an Island breakfast of fresh fish and eggs. Denise and Michael picked me up. We did some grocery shopping and got a local phone number. (1-284-345-5459). We went to St. Mary’s and toured the property. There is still a lot of work to be done to repair the damage from Irma. The insurance company totaled the rectory, and another building used for social occasions. Parts of the Parish Hall have been repaired. The repairs to the roof on the church are almost complete, but the windows are still missing. They need to be reordered because the wrong ones were originally received.
Services are being held in the Parish Hall at this time. However, I believe we can be in the church for services next weekend, provided we get a work party up there next week to clean it out.
After our visit to the church, we lunched at the Bamboo Roof, a local watering hole known for some real fresh sushi. Fish is a mainstay on this island. After lunch, I walked back to the Fisher’s Cove. After that walk, I needed a dip in the cool, but comfortable Caribbean Sea.
On Friday morning, I began this entry into the blog.
Later in the day, Derrick, Mike’s partner in the cab business, and Denise picked me up for a tour around the Island. Before Irma, the island was once lush and green. Irma blew all the leaves off of the plants that cover the many hills the island is made of. I was Surprised how hilly this place is. Just like Hawaii, this island was formed by several volcanos. The ground is rocky with a small covering of topsoil. Despite an occasional tropical rain, the hills are mostly brown. The rocky soil does not hold water well.
We stopped for lunch at a place called Hog Heaven. It is a restaurant that overlooks the northern part of the island on the edge of Gorda Peak National Park. From there we could see where the rich and famous lived. Necker Island (also called Mosquito Island) is owned by Richard Branson. Another Island in sight is Eustatia Island, “Although the following statement cannot be corroborated by any authentic or reliable information source, it is widely thought among local BVI residents that the island is owned by Larry Page.” (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eustatia_Island) Larry Page was married on Necker Island.
As we resumed out tour around the Island we encountered the village the CNN plane flew over after Irma and reported that it was unlikely that anyone survived. (as told to me by Derrick) This village overlooks Baker’s Bay. This is not the place where the rich and famous hang out. The damage done by Irma is very visible although the reconstruction is underway.
Next, we returned to Spanish Town where we purchased fresh fruit from the Dominican Republic. There is little or no agriculture on Virgin Gorda. The main industry is, of course, tourism.
The island is a beautiful place, despite the brown vegetation that covers the old volcanos. The water is clear and a beautiful blue, and a delight to look at. I believe I am going to enjoy this place, because of the views and the beautiful people who live here.
Tomorrow we are off to Tortola to an ERD conference on disaster preparedness. I get to ride the ferry again – yea!
Google Map of Virgin Gorda: https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-64.3882057,13.32z
Pictures of Virgin Gorda, etc. from this post: https://starrnet.com/photo-gallery-from-first-virgin-gorda-blog-post/
The pictures are not in perfect Form. I am working on this.