Duck Duck Goose

The Atlantic hurricane season really started to pick up this month. Dorian popped up in August and gave us the wake up call, so we at least were prepared this time around. Prepared for what? We don’t actually know. It’s like a game of dodge ball this season with these storms. The weather men can’t seem to figure it out either.

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After Dorian, Jerry was headed our way. We did everything to prepare. Warned the guests about what they could expect, moved the patio furnishings inside of all the houses, and shipped Tina off to Florida for her birthday! Then all we had to do was sit and wait. Duck… duck…. duck? Hello? Jerry? Where’d you go? A few puffs of breeze and that was really all. Hmm… okay. We’ll take it.

Fast forward a few days… the weather men have us all a little on edge when they keep telling us about weather “blobs” that haven’t even come off Africa yet. But hold on… what’s THAT all the way south by Trinidad? A Tropical Depression? So far south? Okay… interesting. It will just cut west like all storms to… WRONG! It’s headed North?! Whoa, didn’t see that coming. And just like that, out of the blue, Tropical Storm Karen is born, and packing a lot of rain. She just can’t decide really where she’s going, when she’ll be coming, and what she wants be when she “grows up”. Duck… Duck… Duck… GOOSE! Here we go again.

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Luckily after our dry run with Jerry last week there wasn’t too much prep to do. This time the weather people got to do all the work. Update after update we waited, and waited. She shifted a little to the west, back a bit to the east, down to a tropical depression, back up to a tropical storm, slowed down, slowed down some more. The staff went home early in anticipation of the weather arriving around 2:00 pm on Tuesday. But like a typical woman she made everyone wait a little longer still. Finally around 8:00 the rain started, and it got a little blustery. Not sure what winds we actually got, but thankfully it wasn’t much.  Part of a tree branch down on the guinip tree at the beach and that’s all the damage we’ve seen.

The weather has delayed the unpacking of the Deltec trailers that arrived last week. Like a kid on Christmas morning we are anxiously waiting. Inside the four trailers are Plum Tree and Lime Tree houses. Despite the fact that they are here on time, they will not be ready for Christmas as we might have hoped for. There was an unforeseen delay in Hawaii with our Breezeway windows order and those won’t be arriving until MAYBE mid December. No windows means we can’t finish the interiors. Princess Quarters will get the Deltecs as far as they can, and then wait. Talk about an anticlimactic end to our rebuild saga.

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We did have some other excitement on property last week. Tina’s house was ready for its concrete pour! Her contractor, Sam, had come up the week prior and asked us to take a walk down to the house. Walk? In this heat? If you insist. We stop part of the way down to the beach, right there just before the dip in the road. Instantly we know what he’s about to ask… and before he can even get the words out… No, Sam … you can NOT move that rock to get the concrete pump truck down this road.  Not that we were trying to be difficult … but that rock on the right side of the road just before the dip is not a surface rock, hence why the road has all the funny curves in it as it is.

Okay, so can’t move the rock. Plan B… can he cut the trees? If you must… BUT there is a natural gut that flows through right by the dip so anything you cut must be promptly removed so it doesn’t stop the flow of any water in heavy rainfall (fast forward to TS Karen a week later!).  The truck needs a 7 ft wide clearance… the road is 8 ft wide. Perfect! We think it will actually fit, but lets get the driver to take a walk and make sure. 30 minutes later, the driver confirms… the truck will fit! We’ve never seen Sam so happy in all the years he’s been working on our projects. He actually helped built Tina’s original house in 1989. His face was beaming and he was grinning ear to ear. He thought he would have to have his guys pour her house by hand which would have taken days.

The following week, the scene was set. The pump truck was scheduled to come at 8:30… but of course in true Virgin Gorda fashion it was more like 9:30. Lo and behold… they made it down! And only took out part of a cactus on their way. Very impressive. Tina wasn’t here to witness it, but she was enjoying some time away finally. Connor made sure to keep a close eye on the maneuvers… from safely across the fence. Three point turning a concrete truck can’t be easy!

Hopefully now that everyone got not one, but TWO storm “rest” days… work will keep on cranking out as we gear up for season just around the corner.

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Keeping On Our Toes

By now you all know how much we love and appreciate a sick sense of humor, and how we ourselves pride ourselves on our own. However, we do not appreciate when Mother Nature decides to try out her newest stand up act.

Tuesday was just another normal day. Sun shining, blue skies, and a little blob of clouds crossing the lesser Antilles south of us as a slightly disorganized tropical storm called Dorian. We were watching it and all forecast tracks were sending him around 100 miles to our south west.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening, and okay he’s grown a bit, but no storm advisories for the BVI. Our neighbors in the USVI and Puerto Rico were issued tropical storm warnings so we figured we would just get some nice rain and a bit of a reprieve from the scorching heat we have been having. All fine and good.

As we tucked in for the night on Tuesday the BVI Department of Disaster Management our out a notice to check the 11 pm tropical update as there just might be a watch issued last minute for the BVI.

11:15 pm: no update…. phew. Sleep here we come!

3:00 am Wednesday morning: wooooosh! Here’s the rain! Quickly jump out of bed and check the windows are all closed. Glance at the phone… well crap… there’s that advisory from the BVI DDM. BVI is now under a Tropical Storm Warning, and we can expect to feel the effects within the next 24 hours. Not much we can do at 3:00 am, so back to sleep.

6:45 am: Woooosh! There’s more rain! Okay getting a little blustery out there now. Quickly check the 5:00 am update and still looks much the same as the 11:00 pm update from last night, though looking outside tells a different story. BVI DDM alert: Flash Flood Warning issued for the territory…. well, we have all been saying we need some rain but Mother Nature took our rain dances a little too much to heart.

8:00 am: all scheduled staff clock in and get straight to work securing all of the patio furniture at the cottages and villas. Again we are so grateful for an extraordinary staff who always go above and beyond! They got everything put inside and headed home to hunker down (As you East Coaster’s say).

11:00 am: here comes the “breeze” … just a bit more than we anticipated! The governor has issued a curfew from 2:00 pm Wednesday to 6:00 am Thursday…. so that means it’s going to be worse than it is now… okay. Fill the sink and buckets and wait for the power to go off.

2:00 pm: update now says we are under Hurricane warning. **^%#*!

2:03 pm… electricity goes off. We were lucky enough to have power up until then anyway as it had been off in the north sound from 10:00 am.

2:15 pm… Tina calls Michelle …. “the power is out and I’m not turning on the generator until this evening, but now all the computers, server, and satellite equipment are beeping at me! What do I do?!” ….” it’s past curfew Mom, sorry…. not coming out 🙂 power off the battery backups and the beeping will stop. “ Now, not many of you know this… but Tina is not so electrically inclined. Surprising we know, since she can do just about anything! Michelle can usually figure this stuff out…. when she’s looking at it, but it was the blind leading the blind. Tina: “which button on which thing do I press?” Michelle: “the one that’s beeping at you?” Okay, all comedy aside, Tina did press the right button in the end… well, we think so… tomorrow we will know for sure!

4:00 pm: the winds and rain start to subside a bit. Power is still out so just have to wait it out.

6:00 pm: Tina reports in that all is well at Guavaberry! Yay! No trees down, the beach tree stood strong, and the Deltecs took Dorian like a spa day!

8:56 pm… electricity is back!! Thank you oh so much for the hard working crew of the BVI Electricity Corporation!

Now we can rest well and enjoy the weather as we were EXPECTING to before… a cool breeze and soothing rain. Thanks Mother Nature, you sure do keep us on our toes!

(Jackson propping up one tree casualty)

(Ixora standing strong… missing foliage is thanks to a pesky bunch of goats)

(Hibiscus as good as can be)

(The tamarind tree still flourishing… the guinep tree had a bit of a mishap a few weeks ago)

(Water as calm as can be the day after Dorian. The waves were more rough than swells so the sand is barely disturbed!)

Hello August!

Does anyone else feel like time is flying? We have NO idea where July went. We have been steadily busy so that has helped the time pass so quickly. This week we got to enjoy a visit from our Puerto Rican neighbors. They have an annual event called Christmas in July where they host a massive beach party at Pond Bay. While we didn’t personally attend, we had many guests who came in for the event. It sounds like it was a great success. We enjoyed having an almost full house for that weekend, and who doesn’t like a good party?

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Now that the party is over we are winding down for the slow slow season. We are excited though to welcome back Mac and Denise. They were two of the four guests who rode out Irma with us and were a major help in the initial clean up. They haven’t visited since they were evacuated a few days after the storm so it is amazing to see them again.

On the construction side of things, the foundation for Plum has been poured. It’s an amazing sight to see the concrete pump truck in action. It’s like a real life over sized video game. Now that it is set and the forms are off, it gets to cure for eight weeks.

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The foundation for Lime tree is being formed by Princess Quarters while they await the shingles and siding for Gardenia. Once Lime is formed and poured the Deltecs will hopefully be here. Princess Quarters will be putting those up too.

Tina’s house is taking great shape. The center post is up to mark the center of the roof line. The beams for the rafters were delivered this week, and arrangements have been made for the logistics of getting concrete to the site. For those of you who don’t know where Tina’s house is, it’s en route to the beach. The road up is narrow, curvy, and has rocks on each turn. Needless to say neither a concrete truck nor a pump truck can make it up there. So, it’s going to have to be a well orchestrated ballet from a concrete truck, to a backhoe, to buckets poured by hand. I think for all the guys working on the house it is turning into a true labor of love. They are all very attentive and making sure everything is done to Tina’s standard… and you all know how high THAT is!

Tina and Ian are off on the first shopping trip to get the tiles, kitchen, bathrooms etc. Usually Michelle would get to take that trip, but alas Connor isn’t a great shopping partner. So, Ian is in charge to make sure Tina steps a little outside her normal comfort zone. After 28 years of her original 1989 Formica kitchen and the ORIGINAL fridge, and two years at the tiny office kitchen, it is time to get something shiny and new and maybe a little fancy. One thing we know for sure, no matter how persuasive Ian is, Tina will not come home with an 80″ TV!

On the baby side of the news, Lennon came for another day with granny this month. He’s getting to be such a big boy already… a whopping 17 lbs already! Connor is a mere 24 lbs and a full year older, so he’d better look out! They did have a lovely day together and shared Granny very well. Roxy enjoyed babysitting too it seems. Lennon is teething, so to save her fingers being used as chew toys, Michelle came up with a pretty genius set up so she could get some work done.  You have to get pretty creative in our office! We promise it didn’t go back on the commissary shelf.

We hope you all have a great weekend. We are headed into the longest long weekend of the year – the Emancipation Festival! We will tell you all about it in a few weeks!

Full Speed Ahead!

Belated happy Territory Day, Canada Day, and Fourth of July! What a difference a month makes! Things are well underway on phase 2 now.

Gardenia is UP! Not up and running, but walls and roof are on. It was like watching a good ol’ fashioned barn raising when they brought the walls over. Princess Quarters built them in their workshop and trucked them to Guavaberry. Guess they learned a few tricks after putting up the Deltecs last year. The deck is most impressive too. For those of you who stayed in Gardenia before, you’ll recall the deck had a walkway over to the boulder. Now, the deck goes all the way to the boulder, so it’s basically doubled in size! This could be our new favorite deck out of all the houses when it’s completed.

The foundation is being formed at Plum Tree. Mermaid Pools is on that job site. Next door to Plum will be Lime Tree and Princess Quarters will be jumping over there when they get a little further along on Gardenia. The exterior wall material and shingles for Gardenia have yet to arrive, so while they wait for those they will get started at Lime.

Tina’s house is taking shape quickly too. Walls are coming up, columns are formed, plumbing is being run as is the electrical conduit. The back stairs have been poured in concrete so no more ladder needed to get in either. Roxy was the brave one to test out the stairs, Pearl still isn’t sure about the idea of going in so she stood guard outside during the tour.

 

Lennon got to spend the entire day at Guavaberry a couple of weeks ago. His mommy took a couple days to go shopping so daddy was in charge. For those who don’t know Lennon’s dad is a hair stylist and occasionally gets some VIP out calls. Just so happened that he got a call out when Christine was away so it was a mayday call to Granny and Auntie Valerie. What was supposed to be a couple of hours turned into a full day thanks to boat schedules. You’d think after having Connor in the office all year they’d be old pros at this baby thing…. different baby… different ball game. Lennon much prefers to be watching everything from the comfort of someone’s arms rather than having ANY naps. Sleep is for sissies, right?

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Connor is starting half day school/daycare in September. Time to get him familiarized with other children we figure. He will be going to Ciboney Center for Excellence. They have an Amazon wish list if anyone would like to send them a donation. This is the same school that has taken scrap wood and make cute little signs to put up over the island. They even made one for David, Lennon’s daddy, for his hair salon.

We have been working feverishly on getting new villa pictures done. We finally launched our new website last month (check it out!) so now we will turn our attention to the villa pages. Here are a few that have been done already (Beach House, Beso del Sol, Holly House, Casa Luna, Mondelo, La Cachette)…. just for a little taste of what’s to come. Now we will sign off until next month. Hope you are still enjoying the blog!

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Gearing Up

Phase 2 is in the works! Plans are being drawn up for the Lime and Plum rebuilds and the contract for Gardenia is due to start any day now! Time for Ian to trade in his plunger for a hard hat again.

Gardenia is going to be rebuilt as it was before. A Deltec wouldn’t fit on the slab that is currently there so it is going to be wood again. Lime and Plum however are being Deltec’d! They are going to be triple pods as they were before, just a little different. No more walking through the bathrooms to get into the bedrooms. We are also going to “move” Lime over as far as we can to get some space and privacy between the two houses. They were notoriously close before. Guess there’s a silver lining after all!

Tina’s house has begun too. Rebar is being placed to form the exterior walls. She still has to decide what kind of windows to put in, but she has already researched hurricane shutters to go over whatever she picks. Priorities you know!

Ian’s workshop is getting some TLC too. Can’t have him feeling left out. He’s adding a loft inside to get some more storage space. He finally cleared out the stack of old mattresses and fridges, but Tina is shopping again soon so the open concept of his workshop will be short lived. (Shhh… don’t tell him!)

Remember those benches we said we had for the beach? They too were stashed at the workshop so they finally got put together and moved into their rightful positions.

Sugarcane restaurant has reopened, now called Nail Bay Sports club. They have completely redone the restaurant  and menu. It is a beautiful setting looking out onto the water. They are working on their menu but selections include lobster fritters, roasted beet sandwich, burger, panini and chocolate chip cookies with ice cream for dessert. They also do Sunday brunch. We spent a lovely afternoon there for Mother’s Day! Ian also tells us they have a great beer selection.

The Leverick Bay Poker Run was last weekend. We are told that it was a great success. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of it this year due to nap schedules, but it was still fun to see all of the boats zipping down the channel. We instead opted for a dip at the beach in the afternoon. The water is warming up, which Lennon is thankful for. He enjoyed his sea soak without a single whimper.

Connor has finally learned that sand isn’t half bad. Until recently he wouldn’t put his feet down to touch it. His mom isn’t that big a fan of sand herself though, so maybe it’s a family trait. Ludwig used to wear his flip flops down to the water to avoid sand in his toes! As much as sand might bother some of us, it still beats the snow any day!

Speaking of snow, winter will be here before you know it! Have you gotten you winter holidays booked yet?? We still have space at Christmas and a few gaps in February too! Those are the two most sought after times so if you want in, now’s your chance!

Welcome to May!

Well April whipped by just as fast as the Easter bunny!

The first half of the month was a quiet two weeks, but our regular April guests have returned! Most of them dodged the Easter weekend though. Easter festival is over for another year. It was rather loud this year, but we just have to tell ourselves “it’s only a couple of days”. The general feedback on the island is that it was a great show and one heck of a party. We went and took the kids to their first parade. Not too sure what Connor enjoyed more… the big trucks or the dancing ladies! Lennon enjoyed the fact that he got to be strapped onto mommy. That’s his happy place for sure. The parade was short and sweet but a good first post Irma parade.

Valerie, Ian and Tina all enjoyed their time off the rock… and yes Valerie even brought back a whole box of French pastries for us! OMG were they tasty! The entire box only lasted two days. What can we say… all of us have a sweet tooth.

Island time has had its “soft” opening! They welcomed their first guests last week. I would show you pictures, but you guessed it… right down to the wire again! The master bedroom still has work to complete so the house will be closed again until June. We promise to get some pictures next month.

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The final villa to come back on rental will be Virgin Oriental. They are still doing major renovations. We are hoping it will be ready for the winter season though.

The rebuild of Plum Tree, one of our two bedroom houses, is now in the planning stage. It will be the same “triple pod” concept as before. Deltec is at the drawing board now getting the plans ready. While they work on that, Ian is on site here making sure it will actually fit. How you ask? Very creatively with some scrap wood and left over festival flags! We have to make sure the roof height will not obstruct the views from the houses behind it. Fingers crossed but it looks like we are in the clear.

Work has begun to water proof Tina’s basement apartment at her house, and a contractor has been selected for the rebuild of the upstairs. Ironically, the selected contractor worked on the original house! He was determined to do the rebuild since the original house was one of his all time favorite builds. Not sure the timeline for construction, but maybe we can convince him that a nice Christmas bow would be a lovely touch!

Up at Oil Nut Bay they have opened their new restaurant, Nova. Christine and David checked it out for us at the grand opening. (Lennon got to hang out with Auntie Michelle, and they both did great!) They will be serving lunch and bar snacks Saturday – Wednesday, as well as a Sunday Brunch Menu… obviously on Sundays! There is a pool that you can enjoy, as well as over the water hammocks. They still have their beach club and restaurant, but be forewarned they are charging a day pass fee ($125 p/p) for access to that side now.

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Photo credit: http://www.bvitraveller.com

Sugar Cane restaurant is also preparing to reopen. They are diligently perfecting their menu and service staff. We are excited to try it out when they officially open. Of course, if they want guinea pigs prior to opening… we are totally game for that too!

At the end of this month (May 26) the annual Poker Run is being held at Leverick Bay. This is an amazing event to watch or partake in. We prefer to park up at Hog Heaven and watch all the boats take off and then head down to Leverick to check out the boats and the afterparty at the end of the day. If you’re interested in coming in for the event we do still have space for that weekend. Hope to see you here!

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Time to Catch Our Breath

The 2019 season has come to a close. We have a few weeks of quiet time now before the spring rush begins. Winter sure went by quickly!

The new Deltec houses have been solidly booked this winter, and we have had a bit of feed back for thing that need to be done this summer. Luckily it’s nothing harder than a bathroom hook here and there and a little touch of paint. Everyone loved them!

Tina, Ian and Valerie are taking this quiet time as an opportunity or a quick getaway. Ian tried to take a relaxing trip to Cooper Island the other day, but came home with a boo boo! Luckily Christine and Michelle were in the office the next day to perform splinter extraction surgery. We think Ian might have wanted a little anesthesia though. How can a grown man, who has numerous tattoos, wince so much over a splinter?!

Tina is heading to the “mainland” to start scouting out materials for her house. Work in her downstairs apartment is under contract and beginning any day. Upstairs is still getting final details worked out bust “soon come” as they say around here.

Valerie will head out when Tina returns and recharge her batteries in St. Martin. We are already jealous of the fresh baked goods and French Cuisine she will be enjoying. (Pssst…. Valerie… Chocolate Croissant travel really well! Hint hint!)

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Christine has been coming over with Lennon more frequently now that he doesn’t have her hostage on the couch so much. Connor has enjoyed the visits too. He’s learning how to play soccer (sorry, football …if you ask Lennon) from his auntie, and showing Lennon how to look super cute in his sit me up chair. Lennon is enjoying the new perspective.

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Connor this last week has also found a new perspective… walking! He’s still a little timid, but we’re cool with that. He’s fast enough on all fours. Once he gets more comfortable on his feet though Kingsley better look out. Connor LOVES to pull Kingsley’s hair, and for a new months he’s been able to stand up and run away… but that is soon going to end. Kingsley did get his first hair cut in anticipation for this upcoming came of extreme tag.

Coming up on Virgin Gorda is our annual Easter Festival. They are still running a scaled down schedule this year, but are going to be having a parade they say. That is our favorite part of it anyway. Connor loves watching cars, so he will enjoy being able to sit and watch the parade too. When we get a full schedule of events we will post it over on Facebook so keep and eye out for that.

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