British Virgin Islands – White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Hey All You Beach Bums!!

My first view of Jost Van Dyke, the smallest of the four main islands of the BVI, was from the veranda of a villa nestled high up on the west side of Tortola.  Even at five miles away, I could see a strip of white where the land met the sea at the farthest point and just knew a gorgeous beach had to be awaiting there.

Jost Van Dyke from high on Tortola

Several days later, on the bow of a catamaran, I approached that strip of white as we rounded a bend of soaring cliffs and jungle and what lay before me took my breath away – literally.  The vibrant turquoise water and blinding white sand fringed by tall wafting palm trees and a hill of nothing but lush green jungle backing it all was like nothing I had ever seen.  It was paradise.  The stuff of magazines and calendars.  

White Bay

The bay is called, appropriately, White Bay.  There were many boats at anchor and their occupants either sunning themselves on deck or on the beach enjoying the offerings of the few rustic beach bars that were nestled under the palms.   We jumped into the water and swam ashore heading straight to one such bar.  We paid for drinks with bills that were wet from the swim and they were taken and hung on a line behind the bar to dry – and thus the bar got its name, The Soggy Dollar. 

Money drying behind the bar at The Soggy Dollar

This is the birthplace of the most popular drink in the BVI, the Painkiller, created in the 1970’s by Daphne Henderson.  The Painkiller is a blend of Pusser’s rum with 4 parts pineapple juice, 1 part cream of coconut and 1 part orange juice, well shaken and served over the rocks with a generous amount of freshly grated nutmeg on top, as in grated while you watch. It may be made with either two, three or four ounces of Pusser’s dark rum. No traveler worth their salt can visit these islands without trying one and I gladly did, it was delicious!

Serving up Painkillers

After a drink and a lie in one of the three hammocks at The Soggy Dollar, a walk along the pristine white sand has to be your next move as the view, the waves, the warm sun on your back, the sheer joy of being in the moment, right here, in PARADISE is not to be missed.

Strolling along White Bay

The island was named after the Dutch pirate Joost van Dyke who sailed the waters in the early 17th century and was thought to have had one of his hideouts there (though there is no factual evidence). The island itself is small, roughly three square miles, and has aprox 300 residents.  There is another famous bar around the point to the east on Great Harbour called Foxy’s and that is for another post.  There is a quaint village center to take a walk around, where the streets are all sand (heaven!!) and the focal point is a beautiful old Methodist church painted a vibrant yellow with red trim, recently devastated by Irma but rebuilt.


Devastated by Irma

I absolutely fell in love with this island on two separate day trips and I will be back one day to stay in one of the rentals for a week or two – The Soggy Dollar has a couple of units, as well there is Ivan’s Stress Free bar that has cabins, and there are White Bay Villas, beautiful accommodations on the hill overlooking the bay.   Worth checking out.  Kenny Chesney frequents this island and has filmed music videos here and written many songs about this and other islands in the area.

Oh and – no idea what the wifi is like here – didn’t want it, didn’t care.  Used phone for pic taking only.  This is THE place to disconnect from the rest of the world.

Happy Sailing!

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