November 12, 2013 by adannunzio
Tami Island, Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea & Indonesia
SeaDream II: February 1 – 15, 2014
Voyage details for Papua New Guinea to Watam Village & Sepik River
This information has been prepared by EYOS Expeditions in order to better prepare SeaDream guests for their exciting 2014 visit to Papua New Guinea & Indonesia. SeaDream yacht club has partnered with EYOS, who will have a team of experts sailing aboard this voyage. They will provide insightful onboard lectures and escort adventures ashore.
With EYOS, we have created a very special itinerary for you to experience this unique region of the world.
|Feb 01, 2014
||Cairns, Queensland, Australia
|Feb 02, 2014
|Feb 03, 2014
||Alotau, Milne Bay, PNG
|Feb 04, 2014
||Kitava, Trobriand Islands
|Feb 05, 2014
||Tami Island, PNG
|Feb 06, 2014
||Sepik River-Watam Village, PNG
|Feb 07, 2014
|Feb 08, 2014
||Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia
|Feb 09, 2014
|Feb 10, 2014
|Feb 11, 2014
||Banda Neira, Banda Islands Indonesia
|Feb 12, 2014
|Feb 13, 2014
||Larantuka, Flores Island, Indonesia
|Feb 14, 2014
||Komodo Island, Indonesia
|Feb 15, 2014
||Bali (Benoa), Indonesia
Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a stunning destination. With 4.3 million inhabitants hailing from over 5,000 different clans and speaking over 850 separate languages, PNG is easily the most culturally diverse nation on Earth. Similarly diverse landscapes stretch from the deep oceanic trenches to the living reefs that surround the coastline. From broad fertile plains to towering snow clad peaks that rise proudly to 15,000 feet, Papua New Guinea truly is ‘The Land of the Unexpected.’
The world’s second largest island, PNG has incredible biological diversity. It is thought to contain over 5% of the world’s total number of species within just 1% of the world’s land area. This rich morass of life continues underwater, in the country’s 600 islands. With more marine species than any other place on earth, it is estimated that the waters surrounding this young nation have five times the number of species found in the Caribbean.
Voyage # 21405 offers insight into unique Melanesian cultures, exposure to the rich cultural diversity of this nation, world-class snorkeling opportunities and the opportunity to reflect on the battles of World War II.
The following pages provide a description of the planned itinerary, information on what to expect and tips on packing and preparing for this exciting voyage.
Alotau, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea
February 1, 2014: Cairns, Queensland, Australia
In Cairns you’ll embark SeaDream II, your home for the two week voyage. At approximately 6:00pm, you’ll set sail for Alotau, Papua New Guinea.
February 2, 2014: At Sea
As you sail the Coral Sea on your way to Papua New Guinea, the EYOS lecture team will provide insight into the cultural and natural history of the region you are about to visit.
February 3, 2014: Alotau, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea
The capital of Milne Bay, Alotau is a small outpost at the far eastern tip of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) mainland and signals your arrival in ‘The Land of the Unexpected’.
Once the site of deadly and dramatic fighting in World War II, Alotau has a permanent place in history that is much better understood when one stands at this critically strategic Pacific crossroad. Alotau is now a sleepy South Pacific township, which would not be out of place in Michener’s South Pacific.
This quintessential ‘South Seas town’ moves at a slow pace and exudes a tropical charm that begins with the gentle welcome you will receive from the curious locals. Once ashore, join the expedition staff for a walking tour of Alotau Township. Alotau Harbor is the main port for the province. Here, you’ll view the ‘banana boats’ that bring people and supplies to the township and market, and photograph the brightly painted boats and canoes that populate the harbor. You continue on to the Australian War Memorial, which includes a description of the Battle of Milne Bay. Next stop is the local market, where you can observe firsthand the trading and bartering that maintains Alotau as a provincial capital. EYOS experts will point out the array of fruits and vegetables grown in the region, as well as the traditional crafts that are used in daily life in PNG. You will then be free to explore the town on your own or with guides. Shop for local handicrafts, such as woodcarvings, baskets and musical instruments before returning to the yacht.
An optional excursion will depart the wharf by local bus for a tour of the highlights of Alotau and the surrounding area. Leaving the wharf, you’ll drive through the town center then up to the Toptown Lookout, your first stop, to photograph the panoramic view of Milne Bay. From here, you head out of town to the Kainako War Memorial. This memorial commemorates the Battle of Milne Bay, in which a garrison of mainly Australian infantry fought off Japanese forces to retain the airfield and win a battle that was a turning point in WWII. It is considered the first battle in which Japanese land forces were forced to withdraw completely, which boosted the morale of the Allied Forces.
Then it’s a short drive to Bitu Village. Here you are treated to a traditional sing-sing, a cultural performance involving colorful dress and handmade instruments, including the kundu, an hourglass-shaped hand drum.
Returning to Alotau, you stop at the local vegetable and art market. Here you will see an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as a selection of handmade bilims, the traditional carry bag of the people of PNG. Your final stop is the WWII Monument adjacent to the Alotau International Hotel. Here, you’ll find a display of art from the Milne Bay Province – pottery, carvings, basketwork and musical instruments for purchase.
Kitava, Trobriand Islands
February 4, 2014: Kitava, Trobriand Islands
An anthropological mecca, the Trobriand Islands have long been nicknamed (somewhat misleadingly) as ‘The Islands of Love,’ and remain one of the most culturally intact destinations in PNG.
Your early morning arrival gives you time to take advantage of the cool dawn breeze as you step ashore to the golden sand beaches of Kitava Island. You’ll be met with a colorful performance, for which the Trobriands are known for. Then join the EYOS experts to learn about the Kula Ring, a ceremonial system of trade in which participants may travel hundreds of miles by canoe between communities to exchange shell necklaces and armbands. Then, meet the artisans responsible for the famous Trobriand art work – high-quality wood carvings, often inlaid with mother of pearl – and have the opportunity to purchase handicrafts from the very people that created them.
For the fit guests, you’ll have an option to visit the authentic village home of your hosts. The 60-minute walk up a gentle slope lined with frangipani trees will be escorted by a naturalist, as well as scores of smiling children, all eager to show you their home. As you wander through the village you learn of the importance of the yam harvest as you view the yam houses and proudly maintained gardens.
After the morning ashore at Kitava, Zodiacs transport guests to Nuratu Island, where SeaDream hosts their beach barbecue. Enjoy lunch in the shade of coconut palms in this idyllic island paradise. Take advantage of the great snorkeling and swimming right from the beach and take a stroll with the naturalist to view the local flora and fauna.
February 5, 2014:Tami Island
The tiny islands of Tami are made up of four uplifted coral atolls, just under a kilometer in length. Protected from the social issues associated with the Lae and the Huon Peninsula, Tami Islanders enjoy an idyllic lifestyle set against a backdrop of clear lagoons, coconut palms and golden sand.
Traditional dancing is still very much a part of regular life here, and you will be welcomed with a beautiful performance in traditional costumes. Everything here revolves around the sea. This is reflected in the canoe-shaped headdresses worn during the performance, as well as the building materials in the local village, the food, the art and culture. EYOS experts will explain the significance of this seafaring culture as you walk amongst the coconut palms.
Enjoy the excellent snorkeling surrounding these atolls. As the sun reaches its peak, you retire to the comfort of SeaDream for lunch as you set sail for the mighty Sepik.
Watam Village – Sepik River
February 6, 2014:Watam Village – Sepik River
Marking the delta of the Sepik River, the longest river in PNG and one of the least polluted waterways in the world, Watam Village offers a warm welcome to your westernmost point in PNG.
The Sepik is the basis of local culture, food, medicine, magic and in short; life itself. Everything and everyone is subject to the forces of the river and all that it brings.
The small village of Watam consists of traditional thatched-roofed houses built on stilts to make use of natural cooling. Proud warriors will offer us a display of local customs and dances (sing-sing) that give us a direct look back in time and into a culture that measures its existence here in thousands of years. The call of the conch shell, the beating of the kundu drum and the chanting of the villagers will be a long lasting memory of your time here.
Your hosts will likely be as curious of you, as you are of them. A tour of the village shows the ‘men’s houses,’ in which unmarried men still live and the longhouses, which are the storehouses of culture and ritual as traditions are passed from father to son in this patrilineal society. You’ll also tour the highly productive gardens, which underpin any PNG village. This visit is certain to always stir up memories of gentle handshakes, shy smiles and the warmest welcome anywhere on earth.
Your EYOS Expedition Team
To take full advantage of the diversity offered within the Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands environment, EYOS has put together an expedition team for SeaDream, with a broad skill set.
Rob McCallum, Expedition Leader: (aboard SeaDream II, February 1-7)
Rob McCallum is a full time expedition leader and project coordinator arranging expeditions to the world’s more remote corners. Having lived in Papua New Guinea for over 10 years, he is proficient in the neo‐Melanesian languages of PNG, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. His last three years in PNG were spent in the remote Southern New Ireland region undertaking rainforest conservation initiatives for the United Nations Development Program. His role as a technical adviser and field operative to the UN has led to a wealth of experiences in remote and isolated parts of PNG and an in‐depth understanding of the complex cultural and social fabric of this diverse land. The results of this work formed the basis of his M.Sc. in Conservation Management.
Rob has also worked as a dive master in several Pacific locations including Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and French Polynesia and continues to regularly lead dive expeditions to these locations. In 2012 he was the PNG in-country coordinator for James Cameron’s Deep Challenge Project, and in 2013 the consultant Expedition Leader for three National Geographic film projects aboard the M/V Alucia.
J.C. Salyer, Contemporary Anthropologist: (aboard SeaDream II, February 1-7)
J.C. Salyer is a lawyer, an anthropologist, and an adjunct assistant professor at Barnard College, Columbia University. Having spent time in PNG regularly since 1998, J.C. has a longstanding love for the country, its people, and its wildlife.
During his time in PNG, J.C. has participated in a study of the effects of hunting practices on biological diversity in the Eastern Highlands Province, and conducted a pilot project, which considered the effects of a proposed liquid natural gas pipeline on indigenous landowners in Gulf Province. He is also the co-creator and co-instructor of a course designed to assist Papua New Guinean researchers in their study of PNG’s biological and cultural diversity. In all of his travels throughout PNG – hiking amazing rainforests, diving spectacular coral reefs, and enjoying the warm hospitality of Papua New Guineans – J.C. is still amazed by all the region has to offer.
Back in New York City, J.C. has taught college seminars on the Anthropology of the Pacific and Native American culture. His teaching and areas of study also includes the relationship between social science, law, and public policy. J.C.’s work as an attorney focuses on issues of immigration law, human rights, and social justice. Prior to going to law school and graduate school, J.C. worked as an archeologist, studying Native American sites in the southern part of the United States.
Like his grandfather, who was the one of the founders and Chief of the U.S. Wildlife Refuge system, J.C. has a great interest in and love of wildlife. This has led him, on occasion, to sea kayak with humpback whales, be awoken by grizzly bears shaking his cabin, and to spend an inordinate amount of time reading about pandas.
Brad Climpson, Marine Biologist / Naturalist:
Brad was born in Sydney, Australia, and for the last 20 years he has made tropical North Queensland his home. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree (majoring in Marine Biology and Zoology) at James Cook University, Townsville. With the nearby Great Barrier Reef serving as both playground and laboratory, Brad has developed an intimate knowledge of how complex reef systems work.
Brad began his career aboard expedition ships as a Marine Biologist in northern Australia in the late 1990s and since then, his passion for the underwater world has taken him to a wide range of exotic destinations such as Fiji, the Maldives, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Bermuda and Hawaii. Brad has been an interpretive guide throughout Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Komodo to name but a few of the locations he has worked in in the beautiful Indonesian Archipelago. He has also traveled through the Trobriand Islands, East New Britain, Yap, Micronesia and Palau exploring these beautiful reef, atoll and island destinations.
Whilst focusing on the marine environment, Brad also has a strong interest in terrestrial fauna and he has trekked through dense rainforests to view exotic animals, such as orangutan, hornbill, proboscis monkeys and white handed gibbons. Additionally, his background in biology and experience with backcountry and remote coastal operations has provided meaningful insights into how indigenous cultures interact with their natural environment to not only survive, but to thrive. An accomplished scuba diver, underwater photographer and experienced boat handler, Brad has a passion for interacting with nature and sharing his knowledge with fellow travelers.
Suzanne Noakes, Contemporary Anthropologist:
Australian Suzanne Noakes has been travelling in Melanesia and Micronesia for over a quarter of a century. Leading trips in Papua New Guinea for private groups, university alumni and conservation associations, she has developed a deep understanding of people and cultures. In-field experience has also provided the opportunity to hone her naturalist skills exploring the unique flora and fauna of this diverse region.
She is also the joint owner of a sustainable tourism company that lobbies overseas governments and international agencies to alleviate poverty and conserve biodiversity through tourism initiatives, and is also part-owner of eco-lodges in Australia and Indonesia. Suzanne actively sponsors such initiatives as mosquito net distribution, teacher scholarship, first aid distribution, and improved water collection and purification projects throughout Papua New Guinea. She has completed her Diploma in Tourism Management and is now pursuing her Master’s degree in Anthropology. Her expertise, energy and rapport with the local people along with her warm personal style receive the highest praise from travellers, making Suzanne an unsurpassed tour leader in the ‘Land of the Last Unknown.’
What to Expect
Expedition Activities & Zodiac Landings
For most activities, a moderate level of effort is required. You will need to get in and out of Zodiacs for excursions ashore; staff and crew members are on hand at all times to assist. Shore outings have been designed to accommodate both those who enjoy gentle strolls and those who prefer more active hikes; those who are beginners in water-based activities and those who are a bit more adventurous.
Many of the landings will rely on Zodiac inflatable landing craft to get ashore at locations where there is no port or tender dock. These nimble and stable boats are perfect for expedition landings, transporting guests ashore quickly and comfortably. Zodiacs are exceptionally buoyant and stable, the inflatable hull consisting of multiple air-filled compartments, a safety feature that allows the Zodiac to float even if one of the compartments becomes deflated. There will be an important briefing regarding the use of Zodiacs at the start of the expedition, which all guests must attend.
It should be remembered that since Zodiacs are small boats, there may be some sea spray during the ride ashore, and disembarking onto beaches will likely involve stepping into a few inches of water, so “reefwalker”-type beach shoes or sandals are recommended.
Anticipate numerous excellent opportunities for snorkeling throughout the expedition. Members of the expedition team are experienced at safely managing snorkeling in remote regions. Snorkeling may take place from beaches where the reef is close to shore, or from anchored Zodiacs in order to easily access the best areas of offshore reef. Details of the snorkeling opportunities will be given in the daily briefings.
Expect pleasant seawater temperatures ranging between 84°F and 89°F. In these temperatures no thermal protection is required so a swimsuit is adequate for snorkeling. However, a thin Lycra “skin” suit or “rash vest” will offer protection from the sun, stings and coral cuts. Alternatively a T-shirt may be worn over your swimsuit to prevent sunburn on the back. Whenever snorkeling please remember to apply sunscreen to your back and particularly the backs of legs, as these areas can easily become sunburned while in the water.
Limited snorkeling gear is available onboard, however for best fit; you may wish to bring your own snorkel, mask and fins.
You are visiting Papua New Guinea and Indonesia during the wet season. Spectacular afternoon rains can be expected when in the vicinity of the cloud buildups. This is an idyllic time of year with green vegetation, cooler temperatures and clear visibility. Temperatures in February will be consistent with daily highs around 85oF and daily lows around 76oF, with humidity ranging from 60% (mildly humid) to 97% (very humid).
All guests are required to embark with a valid passport. Please check visa and immigration requirements carefully for the countries that you will be visiting. Most nationalities can purchase a visa on arrival, but some nationalities (such as Israeli and South African) must acquire visas in advance.
It is strongly recommended to have personal travel insurance. Due to the remote nature of the areas visited on this voyage, it is important that the adequate emergency evacuation coverage is included. Be sure to check that all the regions being visiting are covered.
What to Bring
When ashore, tropical dress is ideal; lightweight shirts, trousers, shorts or skirts, sun hats and sandals suggested. For walks in the forested areas, guests may wish to protect their arms, legs and feet from vegetation and insects, so it is recommended to bring a pair of lightweight walking trousers, a long-sleeved shirt and some lightweight, closed-toe walking shoes.
Clothing & Shoes
- Waterproof sandals or “reefwalker”-type water shoes are ideal for Zodiac landings, which will require stepping into shallow water (note that it is important to have some protection from sharp coral/rocks so bare feet are not recommended.)
- For walks and hikes a pair of sturdy walking sandals (TEVA or similar), walking shoes or lightweight hiking boots are ideal. Hiking boots and shoes provide greater foot support and protection when hiking on slippery trails in the forest, and are recommended for any strenuous hikes.
- We suggest wearing your bathing suit under your clothing if planning to swim, as changing facilities ashore are limited.
- Lightweight long trousers and shorts. A quick-dry material is ideal since you may get slightly wet when going ashore by Zodiac.
- T-shirts and shorts are adequate for walks ashore, although long-sleeved shirts and trousers are recommended for some outings since they offer greater protection from the sun and biting insects.
- Lightweight jacket/sweater for cool mornings and evenings, and a lightweight windbreaker, raincoat, or poncho for protection from spray in the Zodiacs or rain.
Sun & Insect Protection
- Hat and sunglasses. When out on the water in Zodiacs or kayaks, the sun is intensified by reflections from the sea.
- Waterproof sunblock (30 SPF is recommended as the minimum for sunny days in the tropics). Remember to re-apply sunscreen regularly, particularly after swimming. Lip balm containing a sunblock is also a good idea.
- Waterproof insect repellent. The most effective mosquito repellents are those which contain 30-50% DEET (diethyl toluamide), although there are alternative natural products which may be preferred. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application.
- Camera, lenses and plenty of film/memory cards. If you are using a digital camera, it may be worth bringing your laptop or other portable device in order to download your photographs during the voyage. Remember to bring all required chargers or extra batteries.
- A pair of binoculars is essential for wildlife and bird watching. It is recommended to invest in a quality product (please see Binocular Guidelines below).
- Snorkel, mask and fins. (The yacht has some, but to ensure a good fit, brining your own is suggested) Skin suit or rash vest if desired.
- A lightweight, collapsible, walking staff (also called a trekking pole). Single staffs provide a sense of security, increased balance and confidence when walking on rugged terrain. Some prefer to walk with a pole in each hand for even more stability.
- Water-resistant backpack or similar for carrying cameras or other equipment during Zodiac landings or in the rainforest. Waterproof backpacks are available, but an easy alternative is to bring a waterproof liner or large plastic bag to put inside a regular backpack.
- Zip-lock plastic bags are useful for added protection for camera, batteries, etc.
- An extra pair of prescription glasses with sun protection. Those who wear contact lenses may wish to wear glasses while in the Zodiacs as wind and salt spray can irritate the eyes.
- Hand sanitizer or small packet of wet-wipes.
Binoculars are essential for quality viewing of distant wildlife and birds. You will find yourselves using your binoculars a lot, so it is worth investing in a quality product.
Binoculars are described by two numbers “10 x 50″ for instance. The first number is the magnification and the second is the diameter of the front lens in millimeters. This tells you first of all how much bigger things appear and then how much of it you see at that magnification (a bit like looking down tubes of different diameters). A front lens diameter of 50mm is fairly common, but the binoculars will be quite bulky; anything less than this is described as “compact,” much easier to carry about, but a smaller diameter tube to look down.
A magnification of 10 or 12 is about as much as most people can manage to hand-hold without shaking and is generally most useful. Don’t go for the “most powerful” binoculars you can get, you won’t be able to hold them steady without a tripod or something to brace against.
Consider weight, as you will want to bring these with you during walks ashore. Popular choices are 8×40 or 10×40. Image-stabilized binoculars are available but are expensive and sometimes heavy. These have an electronic method of eliminating shake and reducing curvature of field.
- Photographing distant wildlife may require a fast, long lens or high zoom function. Image stabilized lenses are recommended.
- A super-wide lens is recommended for capturing landscapes.
- Protect your photographic gear from the elements – rain and sea splash make waterproof bags essential, a dry-bag is a good idea, but zip-lock plastic bags will do.
- Always have your camera on a strap in case it is dropped on deck or in the sea.
- A flash is useful for photographs in shaded forest, although please be considerate and avoid using flash near wildlife, which may be startled.
- Bring extra film or memory cards. A laptop is recommended for digital photographers to download images.
- Accessing your equipment is easier if you carry a specialized backpack or camera bag with compartments for different accessories.
- Consider the weight of photo equipment you plan to carry on walks ashore.
- A tripod is useful ashore but not practical for use onboard a moving ship or Zodiac.
- A monopod or beanbag can be useful to stabilize images taken from the vessel.
In order to stay healthy during this tropical expedition we recommend observing the following precautions:
- Wash your hands often and on every return to the yacht.
- Use wet wipes or hand sanitizer gel when hand washing is not possible.
- Treat all scratches and minor wounds with an antiseptic immediately.
- All cuts that occur in the sea, particularly those caused by coral must be thoroughly cleaned and dressed to avoid a tropical infection. We recommend having coral cuts seen by the Doctor aboard.
It may be very hot at times; protect yourself from the sun whenever possible and stay hydrated.
Malaria is endemic to PNG and the Indonesian Islands but is only spread through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito, predominantly at dawn and dusk. SeaDream’s expedition intends to ensure that you are back aboard the yacht during these times.
On all occasions where you are ashore at dawn and dusk, we recommend that you cover up with a long-sleeved shirt and pants, and use insect repellant.
Melanesians are gentle people and often devoutly Christian. Good manners and friendliness are highly prized and will open many doors. A gentle handshake (Melanesian style; a slight touch, rather than an enthusiastic grasping and shaking) greeting will be expected of any visitor, regardless of whether your host is a village elder or a child. Melanesians start shaking hands before they can walk! Except for resort beaches, you should be modestly dressed at all time (out of respect for local customs).
Papua New Guineans are keen traders and will set up a makeshift shop wherever they see an opportunity. On occasion you will visit formal markets, but at other times it will simply be a local with some shells, carvings or other items to sell. Neither bargaining nor tipping is part of the Melanesian custom, so the stated price is what is expected to be paid. Prices are almost always extremely fair.
By Western standards of materialism, Melanesians are poor, though most do not see themselves as such. When visiting rural areas it is important that any gifts of money or goods are given in a way that preserves local tradition. Making a donation as a group or as an individual, should be channeled through the EYOS Expedition Leader who will arrange for it to go to the chief and elders for disbursement. Small gifts of writing materials, etc., to local children are always accepted with a smile. Large gifts to individuals can be destructive to the fabric of the community; see your EYOS expedition staff for advice on the particular local context. – We look forward to a fascinating journey with you!
Tel: (305) 631-6100, Toll Free US/Canada: (800) 707-4911, Email: email@example.com
October 14, 2013 by adannunzio
ISLAND TIME: REST UP AFTER DOING NOTHING
EVEN the most-seasoned travellers could be forgiven for ’fessing-up that they’re not quite sure where to find the island of Jost van Dyke – one of the best kept little secrets in the Caribbean.Because 400 years after the Dutch pirate was plundering ships in the Caribbean, this little speck in the British Virgin Islands that’s named after him, and is just 14 square kms in size, is home to fewer than 300 residents and still accessible only by sea. And while he had a home and some minor fortifications on the island, with a motley assortment of fellow Dutch, French and British pirates, Jost van Dyke also grew tobacco and cotton between pirating duties.
It was another century after he moved on before his island would next be settled, this time by Quakers who started sugar cane plantations, and despite their public campaigning against slavery, worked these plantations with – you’ve got it, slave labour.
But when slavery was abolished in 1830, the Quakers’ quickly went belly-up, the island virtually hibernated for 100 years, and the population dwindled to around just 100. Towards the middle of the last century tourists, however – mainly cruising yachties – started to take notice of little Jost van Dyke, and the population began slowly rebuilding in response to the demand for facilities to cater for these visitors.
Today it’s Party Central amongst those in the know, visits by SeaDream Yacht Club, coupled with inter-island ferries and visiting yachts, can see the locals easily outnumbered on any one day by visitors. And little wonder: here the beach sands are soft as talcum, there are just three quaint village-like settlements, and just one main road, which despite being built in the 1990s, the locals have never quite got around to giving a name to. It’s still simply The Road.
And in one of these villages their “road” through town is actually the beach, which probably explains why locals call Jost van Dyke “Barefoot Island.” (There’s even a sign outside one bar proclaiming “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Clothes, No Problem.”)Another oddity in the village of Great Harbour is the Stress Free Bar: here guests pour their own drinks, write their purchases in a pad on the bar – and settle-up at the end of the day.
And at Foxy’s bar-on-the-beach, long-time resident Foxy Callwood’s Old Year’s Night (New Year’s Eve) party lasts three nights, his bar boasts a ceiling with enough T-shirts and donated underwear to run a garage sale, and his barbecued ribs, grilled lobsters and flying fish sandwiches are to die for…Conversely the smallest bar on the island is called the Soggy Dollar – from the condition of banknotes handed over by sailors who swim ashore from their yachts for a drink and a meal. To dry them, staff peg the soggy dollars to a clothesline out the back in the sun. And no, no one’s pinched one yet. The Soggy Dollar Bar also has its own House Cocktail called Painkiller, a potent mix of dark rum, pineapple and orange juice, and a splash of coconut cream. Like the rest of the island, the Soggy Dollar Bar is all very laid back. As a barman tells us: “No one’s in a hurry to get anywhere. The fastest living things on the island are the goats, and even they aren’t in a hurry.” And a visiting yachtie adds: “Live by the adage of the Caribbean – how beautiful it is to do nothing all day, and then rest up afterwards.”
He then bursts into the 1950s Harry Belafonte hit for us:
This is my island in the sun
Where my people have toiled since time begun
I may sail on many a sea
Her shores will always be home to me.
And don’t expect high-rise hotels, casinos or even big marketplaces on this Island in the Sun. It didn’t even get electricity until the 1990s. There are ferry services from the larger St John and St Thomas Islands in the US Virgin Islands, and your local travel agent can tell you how to join SeaDream Yacht Club in the Caribbean and Jost van Dyke seasonally.
1. SOGGY Dollar Bar – so-named because sailors swam ashore and paid with soggy dollars. (Reid Wegley)
2. IDYLLIC beach lives up to the local adage: How beautiful to do nothing all day, and rest up afterwards. (BVI Tourism)
3. SIGN says it all about Jost van Dyke, the Caribbean’s Party Central. (Corsair’s Bar)
4. FOXY’S Bar – enough T-shirts and underwear to start a garage sale. (Reid Wegley)
5. ONLY inter-island ferries, boutique ships and tall-masters can visit here; 112-guest SeaDream II anchors off Jost van Dyke. (SeaDream Yacht Club)