Jost Van Dyke

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Named after a 17th Century Dutch pirate who settled there, utterly unspoilt and laid-back Jost Van Dyke is the quintessential Caribbean island. Also known as ‘the barefoot island’, Jost’s grand metropolis, Main Street, is a sandy extension of Great Harbour beach, with lazy beach bars and restaurants on one side, and hammocks so low they touch the sand on the other. When there isn’t a Reggae or Calypso band playing at the quasi-mythical Foxy’s bar, the main form of entertainment here is the hook game. A hook, connected to a string, that you must swing so as to attach it to a metal circle on a palm tree. Another past-time is watching the fishermen return to the harbour in their little boats with their less-than-little and indignant lobster spoils. Importantly, you can do both of these from your hammock.

Just over the hill is White Bay, which boasts the kind of desktop-wallpaper beach where you heavily suspect someone has played fast and loose with the saturation button. Only it really does look like that – the water is that brazenly turquoise and the sand as white as the name promises. White Bay is home to the famed Soggy Dollar Bar, itself home of the Painkiller cocktail – dark rum, coconut cream, orange juice and a pinch of nutmeg. Soggy dollar is so called because if you’re arriving by boat, as most people do, the only way to the beach is by wading in and paying with perfectly acceptable soaking wet money. If that wasn’t chilled out enough, a lot of the bars here (including Gertrude’s) are honesty bars, where you go behind the bar, make your own drink with as much booze as you like, and then tell the owners what you’ve had. Needless to say, White Bay is a party beach. The sheer drinkability of a painkiller and contagious festivity of happy yachties on holiday is a heady combination. If you want to enjoy the beach minus the people, Ivan’s stress-free bar is exactly that. Though still part of White Bay, Ivan’s is separated from the main beach by rocks and is much quieter. It’s accessible either by boat or a short hill walk.

One good way to see Jost is to hike it. We’ve done this a few times and while it’s challenging, the views are absolutely worth the uphill pain. Hiking from Great Harbour to the West side of the island by Foxy’s Taboo brings you to Bubbly Pool – a sea-water pool described as a natural ‘jacuzzi’ because when the swell is up the waves enter from a crevice in the rock to create surfy bubbles. But my favourite way to see the island, a view that I’m sure is shared by many, is to sail it. Having your own boat has the added advantage of being able to go to Sandy Spit – without a doubt my favourite place to visit when we go to Jost. About a five minute sail from Great Harbour lies an almost comically beautiful and stereotypical castaway island – a tiny mound of white sand surrounded by an aquamarine sea and inhabited by a few forlorn palm trees. There is absolutely nothing to do here apart from perhaps bring a bottle of rum and pretend to be shipwrecked. If I knew any I’d sing some sea shanties. From here it’s an even shorter sail to the isolated B-line bar on Little Jost Van Dyke. Moor up on the jetty and order a Passion Confusion and either tan on the beach or play Corn hole. You’d better enjoy either of the two, the bar is the only thing on this roadless paradise island.

Things to do on Jost Van Dyke:

  • Have a Painkiller on White Bay
  • Go to Bubbly Pool
  • Hike the Island – There are a few routes. Go West from Great Harbour for the shorter 2 hour hike past Garner bay and to Bubbly pool. Go East from White Bay (starting behind Perfect Pineapple Guest Houses) for a longer, more uphill, 3 hour hike with spectacular views of Jost all-around.
  • Have a drink at Corsair’s – Adorned all over with yachtie memorabilia and graffiti, listen to country and rock at the bar and chat.
  • Eat in Great Harbour – Corsair’s has the fanciest food but is the priciest option.
  • Go to Sandy Spit – If you’re not on a boat then you can rent a dinghy out at Great Harbour from the Scuba shop. Grab a drink/coconut while you prepare to inevitably wait for it to be fixed.

 

Jost Van Dyke

Anegada

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Pineapple bikini – Midori Bikinis – Top, Bottom; Crochet dress – Souvenir from Cuba.

If the BVI is already off the beaten tropical track, then lonesome Anegada, the most remote of the Virgin islands, has fallen clear off and into the ditch. Being on Anegada feels like being on another planet. The landscape is eerie and desert-like, populated by cacti and swampy-sea shrubs. The island is so flat that you’d be forgiven for missing it on the way in on the ferry – the biggest giveaway that you’re arriving is the ocean going from a deep blue to a dreamy tropical turquoise.

If you’re looking for an activity holiday then this probably won’t be it. They say that the donkeys and flamingoes outnumber the people (this is definitely not true), and there are only a handful of sun-bleached bars and restaurants. But if if you like the idea of feeling like you’ve been ship-wrecked on a desert island, and having nothing much more to do than listen to the sound of lapping waves, then this is the place for you. One of our favourite things to do was to walk along the endless deserted beaches to our favourite sleepy, pastel-coloured bar for a rum cocktail. If we were feeling lazy we’d go in our Wrangler rental with the local radio station on at full blast – having the radio on here feels strangely like a link to forgotten civilisation. It’s a cliche’ but my boyfriend and I decided that if paradise had beaches they couldn’t look much better than the idyllic beaches on Anegada. They’re even mysteriously strewn with hundreds of huge, beautiful pink Conch shells that you stumble upon everywhere. Maybe I’ve not travelled enough – is this the case anywhere else?!

The irony of travelling to such a remote place is that you end up getting to know the few tourists and locals you meet better than you probably would somewhere busier. It’s also the perfect place to go with a group of friends. The second time here we sailed over in a big group. We moored up to a bar with a pretty empty dance-floor but we soon changed that around and ended up having one of the best nights of our time out here.

Sleeping: We stayed at the Anegada Beach Club sea-front tents, which we saw on our first visit and vowed to come back and stay in. It’s not really camping as you know it – think four-poster beds with mosquito nets blowing in the breeze, deck hammocks, solar-powered showers and views overlooking a milky-blue Atlantic Ocean. Each tent even has it’s own mini path to the beach. They have paddle-boarding and snorkelling gear for in- between tanning sessions.

Eating: Anegada is famous for its lobster. They have so much of it and in most places it’s plucked straight out of  lobster traps and cooked right in front of you in converted oil-drums. We went to the Lobster Trap for my birthday meal. It has tables on a jetty decked out with fairy lights right over the water. We were the only people in the whole restaurant! If you want to visit at a busier time of year then the lobster festival is held on varying dates in November. 

Neptune’s Treasure: Famous for it’s cinnamon buns and home-made bread.  Have breakfast while watching the boats moor up on the harbour.

Anegada Beach Club: Get the coconut French toast!

Anegada

passing ships

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Bikini – Missoni very similar here. I also love this one-piece and this bikini on sale. Necklace worn as bracelet – Givenchy vintage; Hat – lying around the house; Sunglasses – Gucci. 

Location: Long Bay, Tortola

I hope this seventies revival never ends. I keep panicking that its inevitable demise is just around the corner. I’ve had this vintage Givenchy necklace forever and I feel like I can wear it with anything I buy at the moment. I thought it would go perfectly with this Missoni bikini that I managed to extort from my family as a Christmas gift. I won’t get started on Missoni or I’ll start gushing uncontrollably so suffice to say that I think their use of texture and and tactile design is the best in the industry.

This is one of my ultimate beach-crushes in the BVI. I love the hill in the background, it reminds me of a teeny-tiny St. Lucia. Amazingly, the beach is never crowded – it always looks pretty much like it is here in the pics. When I’m there I always try to get a fresh coconut at “nature boy’s” tiny beach bar that you can just about see in a couple of the shots. It occasionally collapses with the breeze and is quickly repaired with some deft palm-leaf rearrangement. So much better than bars that don’t fall over.

passing ships

BOMBA SHACK

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Shorts – Ralph Lauren; Top – H&M; Bag – Dolce & Gabbana; Shoes – Carvela; Sunglasses – Dolce & Gabbbana; Earrings – Tiffany & Co; Orange ring – Souvenir from Tamarindo, Costa Rica. 

Ever since I moved from London to the Caribbean I’ve been forced to abandon black, stud and chain covered everything and experiment with colours and new looks – and I love it. These shoes in particular (Carvela), would probably have never made it into my wardrobe back in the UK, but here they’re bold and fun and reassuringly uncomfortable. I reckon rhinestones can be my Caribbean twist on studs? That’s not to say I’ve abandoned muted colours – I love black and grey with a tan – but it just seems too happy and hot a place to always wear darks! I’ve found that colours = good mood, and sunshine = good mood, so I’m going for the double whammy. Yay summer!

Bomba shack is one of my favourite bars here in the BVI. It quite literally is a shack, but is definitely the coolest shack I’ve ever seen. It’s most famous for it’s pretty riotous full moon parties (there’s one today!). I can’t wait – maybe I’ll manage to take some pics to put up. Happy full moon!

BOMBA SHACK

South of Zabriskie

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Bikini – Yamamay; Sunglasses – vintage Ray Ban; Cuff – souvenir from Anegada.

Location – Anegada, BVI

One way to get rid of island fever is, naturally, to go and visit another island. Welcome to Anegada, one of the weirdest and most beautiful places I have ever been. Half swamp, half milky-blue Caribbean paradise, it is an eerily deserted and ridiculously cool place. We got there on the tiniest propeller plane ever, which for someone with a morbid fear of flying, (yes I realise this is also a travel blog!) was pretty intense. I even got to fly the plane for a terrifying 10 seconds! The pics were taken on Cow Wreck beach, where a ship carrying cow bones sank last century. Told you it was eerie!

I love the sleekness of this bikini from Yamamay. It’s sporty yet stylish as well as being a really unique design. I also love the pale blue and gold as a colour combination. Very Seventies. The material is slightly shimmery which looks lovely in the sun and looks great against a tan. I matched it with some seventies-looking gold vintage Ray Bans and a mother-of-pearl cuff I found on Anegada.

South of Zabriskie

Dolce Salsedine

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One-piece – American Apparel; Sunglasses – Dolce & Gabbana; Bracelet – Sodini 

Location: Tortola – BVI

Who said one-pieces couldn’t be sexy? Hmm probably no-one ever, but a solid black one-piece doesn’t exactly sound earth-shatteringly exciting and seeing this on a rack/online really doesn’t do this swimsuit justice. The ultra-high cut at the ‘waist??’ makes a seemingly ordinary one-piece really sexy. The in-built underwire bra gives support and acts as push-up too! The straps adjust too making it all in all a really well-made swimsuit. I’m so in love with it I’m really tempted to order it in pink too but..must..resist. The look reminded me of Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita so I accesorized with some tortoise-shell Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and a chunky solid white bracelet.

Dolce Salsedine