Several years ago I was privileged to inhabit the island of Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands for ten glorious days. The island is only four and half miles from end to end and transportation is most easily navigated via dingy. This was our dock and our transportation:
This was quite the experience. My daughter had found out the very day before our flight that she was pregnant. If you’ve never been on the ocean in a dingy- which is what we had to do to clear the massive reefs that surround the island – let me tell you it’s a bumpy ride. Fretful as I am, I was mindful of her every move as she was carrying the precious newling. And along with the wonderful laid back atmosphere of what felt like a deserted island compared to the hustle and bustle of any mainland, we did alot of strenous moving!
As you can see, the island is very hilly. If you look closely you can make out the road that the 400 or so inhabitants use. This picture was made on the walk from our villa to the merchant we rented our dingy from on our first day on the island. We had already climbed a hill like the one you see here – literally climbed – as the road to our villa ended at the top of said hill. Our well laid out plans to walk the two miles to the dingy quickly diminished in the hot sun. We made it about a mile on the road until we came to one of the few eating establishments – Sidney’s Peace and Love – where Sidney himself called for us a taxi – his daughter! She flew us around the winding curves and up and down the hills, thankfully never meeting another vehicle on the road. It was only about a five minute drive, but we nevertheless found ourselves speechless at the break-neck speed she was driving and glad to finally have our feet on the ground.
A view from the top of the path
Main street on the island is a dirt road….one side of the road being small shops, a few eateries, the dingy and excursion merchant and the famous Foxy’s Bar. The other is lined with hammocks and old tire swings hanging from trees. I can still feel the peaceful quietness. We idled there for quite some time, mesmerized by the tranquility from the lack of sound of ‘civilization’ – no road noise, no blaring music – nothing but the lapping waves as they lulled us into the rhythm of the island.
A view of our dock as we approached in the dingy
We went on several excursions while we were there — absolutely divine snorkeling. At times, we were actually in the middle of swirling schools of fish, them not threatened by our intrusion into their world yet quickly fleeing as barracuda approached. My daughter swam from about the distance of what the picture above shows, only to be followed by a giant sting ray. She made it up onto the dock and we watched it circle until it gave up on having either a swimming partner or a victim – I’m just glad we didn’t have to find out which was its intent!
We took a day trip to Virgin Gorda – another of the islands in the BVI.
We swam in from the boat and after being hindered during snorkeling with the life vest the guide urged us to wear and he leaving it to our own discretion as to whether we wore it to swim to shore, I opted to jump in without it. Folks, I hope I never come as close to drowning as I did that day. It was a much farther swim than it appeared from the boat and the thought was seriously crossing my mind to start flailing and hope for rescue. Not wanting to cause a scene and praying for respite, I swam on, scraping my knees on the rocky bottom as I finally neared shore and thankfully crawled in. You can almost make out the redness on my legs (I’m the big one in blue). What I was most disturbed about was that I was only able to barely register the magnificent sights below me in the crystal clear water as I struggled. The boulders below the water were as huge as the ones above with multitudes of fantastically colored fish swimming around and through them. I caught glimpses as I gasped.
There was a beautiful pool of water at the heart of the boulders. To get to it, we climbed steps that had been built onto spaces between the rocks. At certain points we had to use ropes to lower ourselves from one steep slope to another. At another we had to let ourselves drop four feet or so, at which point our feet met sandy coolness. A few turns later, we came to this:
Truly a Gift from God after our efforts
All of our time was by no means spent on the go. We experienced the same tranquil peace day after wonderful day gazing at the Caribbean from every room of our beautiful villa. Tradewinds allowed for the doors and windows to remain open the entire trip. That also meant that critters could enter….we literally fought a spider the size of my open palm which when we described it the next day to our host she laughingly confirmed that it was most likely a tarantula. ‘It not hurt you’ she declared. Although it took almost an hour of chasing it from beam to beam of the ceiling, ceiling fan, and bookcase, we had taken no chances. We first spotted it right above the bed next to this window, where I would awaken each morning to this spectacular view:
Before I show you what we considered the highlight of the trip, I want to share with you one other spot on this fantastic island. There is what the natives call the ‘Bubbly Pool’ where when the tide comes in it creates a secure fountain that spews water into the air. The rocks surrounding the pool create a safe and secluded haven to swim in with no danger of being pulled back out with the tide. We packed a picnic and set out to explore, thinking we had timed it with the tide.
We met this fellow explorer on the way:
Our research had told us to follow ‘The Goat Path’ to the pool – and we found that it meant exactly that…..we met many goats on our trek through briars and brambles.
We had miscalculated and weren’t able to experience the bubbly pool, but the view was worth the hike.
The pool is just behind my daughter and son-in-law, protected by these mountainous ridges
Now, for where we contemplated the peace that passeth all understanding and gave many thanks to Him for allowing us to be a part of this beautiful spot of an island, our own private beach:
We spent many wonderful hours here. We came away from the island refreshed in spirit, knowing we had had a very special blessing. We spend our days in a hurry to get everything done, with the soundtrack to our lives being a blur of noise. We’ve all grown so accustomed to that noise that silence can almost be frightening. Jost Van Dyke is a piece of paradise that continually brought to our minds the thought of Eden. A paradise. One that we will never know this side of heaven. The depths of our gratitude for our time spent on Jost will forever remind us that we have such a paradise awaiting us. And what a glorious time THAT will be!