Living in the Caribbean, we are extremely fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most incredible waters in the world. Tourists pay thousands of dollars to come revel in our turquoise sea – they dive in it, they sail across it, they fish in it, they float in it, and inevitably, some get seasick on it. But what about the people that live here?

Unfortunately, I’ve found that it is the island residents who often fail to take advantage of the beauty that surrounds them. It has been my experience that many of the bahn here people rarely get in the water and lots of the local children don’t learn to swim until much later than people who grew up in landlocked regions. As for the expats, while we may have moved here in hopes of soaking it all up daily, we actually work really hard and thus it is rare for us to have a completely free day off to enjoy this paradise that surrounds us.

But when we do get an open day, you better believe we get out and enjoy it!

Enter the boat trip. Boating is by far the best way to take full advantage of a day off in the BVI. Here’s what to expect for your adventure:


Maybe you know everyone, maybe you don’t. This can be an awkward stage – it’s early(ish) and everyone is in swimsuits – but is easily overcome after a few introductions to both people and drinks. Anchors up, we’re on our way.


Here is where things get interesting. You have two simple choices: continue to drink or cease to drink. This can be decided by asking yourself a few simple questions:

  1. What time is it currently?
  2. Is there anyone on the boat you don’t like?
  3. Was it a rough week at work?
  4. Are you entertaining visitors?
  5. Has your liver recovered from last night?

If the answer to number 1 is before noon and it has juice in it, by all means, drink! If the answer to any of the next 4 questions is yes, drink! After all, it is your day off and you are in the Caribbean, so you might as well live like a tourist, if only for a day. The journey is meant to be a part of the fun: relax, put on your sunscreen, sip your cocktail, and marvel in the tropical scenery surrounding you.

BVI boating day 2_WWLOR


You have likely ended up in one of the most popular boating stops, White Bay, JVD. Go to the Soggy Dollar Bar, have a few painkillers (my favourite is a toss up between the nilla killa and the banana killer; have them both, you won’t regret it). What you do after a few painkillers is up to you and the alcohol glowing inside you. Maybe it’s line dancing on the beach, maybe you’ve jumped onto a boat full of investment bankers letting loose, maybe you just want to sit on a chair and work on your burn… whatever you do, embrace it! Remember: this is your day OFF, no work thoughts allowed.

*Important reminder*: Don’t forget to eventually get back on the boat – and not just any boat, but the boat you arrived on. The painkillers can sometimes make it difficult to remember which boat is yours, but try to focus – don’t be the jerk everybody is stuck searching for when it’s time to head out.

Destination 2: It is also probable that you will land at the Willy T as one of your stops. Yes, the wild stories you’ve heard are all true, but why not cut loose and indulge in your inner tourist. Personally, I’ve banned myself from the Willy T (don’t ask, ain’t tellin ya), but until you find yourself deserving of a self-imposed ban, go for it! Jump off the top deck, have a shot-ski, dance on the skull and cross bones, abandon your inhibitions.

*click for image credit

*Note*: By this time, odds are you’ve definitely forgotten which boat is yours. But don’t worry – this is why you forged through introductions at the start of the day. Now you are not just one person but a group of people, all united in trying to find the same boat. The more collective memory you can join forces and conjure up at this point, the better!


Now that you’re all (hopefully) back on the boat, it is inevitable that someone will have a breakdown. This can be due to a lost article (misplaced sunglasses and jewelry are common stressors), or it can be a dispute between the dating members on the boat, or sometimes it has no apparent reason at all. But it will happen, for which you can thank the intense combo of excess alcohol and sunshine. There may be tears, there will likely be incomprehensible slurred speech, sometimes more drinks, sometimes anger… I can’t tell you what to prepare for, just hope that it doesn’t involve you. The good news is that as quickly as it comes, it goes, so don’t dwell on it, just accept it as an inescapable part of your boating day.


The sunburn is setting in, and you’re mostly rum at this stage. You’re salty, you’re sandy, and you’re smiling. The breakdown is long forgotten, and a sense of calm washes over the boat. You reach the dock, linger a bit, not ready for the day to end, and then off you go, successfully refreshed and remembering why you love living here so much.


At the end of the day you are probably burnt, you are probably drunk, you probably love your Captain…. Just remember: green cancels red, you can never have too much aloe gel, someone has probably done worse, most people are probably too drunk to remember any blunders anyway, and you can never drink too much water!

BVI boating day 4_WWLOR

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Tortola, BVI

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:

Western Canada

Melissa lives on Tortola in the BVI where she finds there is never a shortage of oddities and quirks that often make her question her thought process, or lack thereof, which got her here in the first place. While adapting to the ways of the island, she finds herself smiling and nodding regularly while having no idea what someone has just told her, drinking far more fermented beverages that one probably should, and in constant struggle to avoid the island’s one rogue white horse. Her life on a rock may not be what she had first imagined, but it comes with no shortage of amusement, delight, and the occasional good lesson.

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