Category Archives: Caribbean

The Soggy Dollar

A visit to the Soggy Dollar Bar on our shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

One of the stops on our latest cruise was Tortola, an island in the British Virgin Islands.  Kathy & I had been to Tortola only once before, and had forgotten how much we loved the area, the islands, the scenery and the people.  The itinerary for this cruise put us in port for only a part of the day, so our options for things to do were limited.  I checked with a few private operators for a sailing cruise around the islands, but because of our limited time in port they could not offer us anything that would work.  We could have done an island tour in a taxi, but spending 3 hours riding around in a van was not on our list of goals!  Fortunately the cruise line offered a catamaran cruise to Jost Van Dyke, specifically to a place called the Soggy Dollar Bar.

A visit to the Soggy Dollar Bar on our shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

The Soggy Dollar Bar is a famous beach bar on the island of Jost Van Dyke and is reputed to be the birthplace of the popular drink known as the Painkiller.  The Soggy Dollar Bar is so-named because when it was built there was neither a road nor a dock.  To reach the beach where the bar is located, it is a common practice for boaters to anchor off the beach, swim to shore, and pay for their drinks with wet money.  Thus the name “Soggy Dollar.”

One Love Beach Bar at White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
A visit to the Soggy Dollar Bar on our shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
A visit to the Soggy Dollar Bar on our shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

The only downside of this tour was that it was scheduled to meet at 7:00am!  So we set the alarm for an early wake-up, caught a bit of breakfast on the ship, and headed off to meet our tour.  Once we got underway it was about an hour’s sail to Jost Van Dyke, and we ended up at the Soggy Dollar about 9:00am.  Usually a little early to start drinking, but in the islands….  Besides, you can’t drink all day unless you get an early start.

Shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
Shore excursion to Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

My dollars weren’t soggy, but they spent just fine and I managed to have a few Painkillers.  The Soggy Dollar makes its own rum and Painkiller mix, and it is quite good.  Unfortunately they don’t sell it, so you have to enjoy it there.  And we did!  I suppose how much pain they kill depends on a person’s tolerance.  I have a fairly strict training regimen so I didn’t have too much difficulty with two, but there were obviously a few amateurs among the group!

Monte Stevens’ secret hideaway on Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Rebel Yell, our ride to Jost Van Dyke and back
Random photos in Roadtown Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Our Latest Adventure

Aboard Norwegian Epic

It’s hard to believe, but until a few weeks ago we hadn’t been on a cruise in over 2 years.  It’s especially hard to believe when we had previously averaged almost 2 per year for a number of years before that.  Our son Kevin recently sailed on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship and liked it so much he did another one late last year and has several more on the calendar.  On his advice we decided to give it a try and booked a week on Norwegian Epic out of Port Canaveral, with stops in St. Thomas, Tortola and Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas.  This isn’t intended to be a cruise review, so I don’t plan to go into a lot of detail about the cruise other than to say that it was good to be back on a ship, the food was good and we had excellent weather.

Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic

While we have friends that live and have lived in Florida, we generally think of Florida as a place to go to get on a cruise ship.  But we decided to do this vacation a little differently and check out some towns that we have heard about but hadn’t previously visited.  That led us to New Smyrna Beach and to St. Augustine.  I’ll have more about those places in another post, but wanted to get something written about the cruise itself and share a few photos.

Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic

A couple of our ports involved the possibility of wading in salt water, which of course is not friendly to cameras or other electronics.  So I convinced myself that I needed to have a compact waterproof camera in the event we got wet, and purchased an Olympus “Tough TG-4” point & shoot.  It got good reviews and had a reasonable pricetag, so I bought one.  In fact, these photos are all from that camera.  I also took the Fuji, and it managed to make its share of photos too.

Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic

Unfortunately, I never had a chance to test the waterproofness of the Olympus.  Our catamaran sail to Jost Van Dyke took us practically onto the beach and I barely got my shorts wet getting ashore.  And we ended up not going to the private island, preferring instead to enjoy the relative peace and quiet on the ship while most of the other 4,000+ passengers stood in line for drinks and a buffet lunch.  It also gave me a chance to take a few photos on board the ship without having to worry about the paranoid and camera shy.  I did say it wasn’t our first cruise!

Aboard Norwegian Epic
Aboard Norwegian Epic

Back in the Groove

Palm shadows at The Hotel 1829 in St Thomas, USVI

Kathy & I recently returned from our latest adventure – a 7-night cruise with some time in Florida before and after.  We missed seeing our first-ever space launch by 13 seconds, but otherwise had a great time and took a few photos.  This has been a busy week but the weekend may provide some time to catch up on processing.  In celebration of Friday (why not?) here is a photo to get the ball rolling.

Monkey Business

Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies

One of the things that Nevis is known for is being home to the Green Vervet Monkey.  The population of monkeys is said to exceed the population of people by at least 2X.  They have lived on the island since being brought over by the French as pets in the  17th and 18th centuries.  Over the years they have formed wild colonies and exist throughout Nevis, St. Kitts and Barbados.

Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies

One of the most reliable places to spot monkeys is on the golf course at the Four Seasons.  During our visit, we took a golf course tour hoping to see the monkeys.  And see we did!

Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies

While generally harmless, they are wild animals and can become aggressive when there is food around.  As is too often the case, someone on our tour decided to bring bananas and managed to feed some to the monkeys before our guide noticed.  She was not pleased.

Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Green Vervet monkeys on the golf course at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies

The biggest problem with the monkeys is that they tend to eat crops, especially favoring mangos and other fruit.  And instead of eating the whole fruit they’ll take a bite and throw the rest away.  We were told that farmers will go to great lengths to protect their crops from these invaders.

Golf course tour at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Golf course tour at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies

So while these are mostly tourist photos, they help illustrate the story, and provide another educational element of travel! 😉

Golf course tour at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies
Golf course tour at Four Seasons, Nevis West Indies