Tortola, British Virgin Islands, evokes pleasant memories.

It has been written that individuals are just a bunch of memories captured in a body.  As we sailed through North Sound and Drake’s Anchorage past Virgin Gordo just before dawn this January, my mind was flooded with memories of our many trips to the British Virgin Islands in the 1970s and early 1980s.  Like everywhere, there have been changes, but it is still a magical place.

A new cruise ship pier at Road Town, Tortola, the capital of the Islands, was dedicated in February 2016.  But Road Town’s population is still only about 17,000, and the whole island has only about 24,000 people.

Dutch settlers called the island “Ter Tholen” after an island in the Netherlands and it was corrupted to Tortola, Spanish for turtle, after the British took control.

Tortola is the largest of 60 islands that make up the British Virgin Islands.  All are volcanic except Anagada which is flat coral.  Because it is low, it is hard to see, and the reef has many shipwrecks.

Tortola once had sugar plantations, but then fishing became the main source of income. Now tourism is the largest industry.  There is very little farming, but one still sees the ubiquitous Caribbean chickens and goats.

There have been improvements over the last five decades.  Where water on Tortola was once drawn from wells, and cisterns collected rainwater, now desalinization supplements the cisterns.

Air conditioning is often an after-thought.  People catch the tropical breezes through open shutters and jalousie windows which also protect from showers.  Many houses have balconies.

We drove towards the highest point on the island, Sage National Park at 1715 feet.  On the way, we passed Cane Garden Bay mentioned in Jimmy Buffet’s song Mañana.

We had many good memories of the B.V.I., and now we have more.

Click on photos to enlarge.


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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4 Responses to Tortola, British Virgin Islands, evokes pleasant memories.

  1. Was that the film with Richard Egan – i think its full title (at least here in the UK) was “Evil in the Deep”?


    • ralietravels says:

      The movie in the U.S. was called “The Deep,” and starred Robert Shaw and Jacqueline Bisset. I was told that Bisset did not like diving, and Jaki, my diving instructor, was her stand-in in many scenes. I always joked that having an female instructor with a good figure made learning to dive easier even for a poor swimmer.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah yes! A very different movie and it was Stephen Boyd not Egan in the one I was thinking of. Never been fortunate enough to have a shapely diving instructor mind you, I doubt that even if Jacqueline Bisset herself could have enticed me to try diving.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Dee Gilbert says:

    I haven’t been. It looks beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

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