Painkillers in the British Virgin Islands

January 1, 1970

by Molly Shea


In this island vacation when you ask for a painkiller you wont get tablets with a book of side effects to swallow, but instead a sweet, aromatic adult beverage to dream your worries away with. Let me be the first to say that painkillers the drink, works better than any remedy you can conjure up in the pharmacy.

The first time I tasted this sweet nectar I swam to the beach from the boat with my wet twenty dollar bill and sheepishly handed my dripping money to the bartender hoping it was still valid. As it turns out, the bar is called Soggy Dollar and taking wet money is their speciality.

Three years later and I still frequent the Soggy Dollar from time to time but I have been busy exploring all the other things these islands have to offer. As I work aboard a boat and cruise the Caribbean waters I’m biased to the endless exploration but here are some of the top things to do and places to see in the British Virgin Islands.

The B.V.I’s  consist of over 50 islands and cays, of which only 15 are inhabited. This is a place where you can find something for everyone ranging from quiet beaches, to run down bars with a great dance floor, to short hikes with a view. Due to the consistant tradewinds and warm water the B.V.I’s atract sailors from all corners of the globe.

Party on the full moon in Trellis Bay: 

Tortola is the main island in the B.V.I’s and when it comes to surfing, is my personal favorite. When it comes to a full moon party it’s one of a kind. Consider timing your trip with the full moon and attend the Trellis bay party. A local artist named Aragon has created metal fire balls that are filled with wood and ignited over the water. You can partake in mushroom tea if you wish, which makes the fire all the more animated. Or test the local cuisine and chat with some friendly full moon regulars. As the big moon rises in the sky, fire dancers start spinning and the jumbie dancers maneuver the crowd dancing on stilts. Embrace your wild side and let loose on a full moon.


Visit Jost Van Dyke: 

Jost Van Dyke is an island located just five miles to the NorthWest of Tortola and has a population of about 300 people. To truly experience the painkiller and a nice white sandy beach visit White bay and the Soggy Dollar bar, but don’t forget to bar hop and spread some love to the other locals. Boats cover the bay with thirsty guests all there to have a good time. Around the bend from White bay is Diamond cay and a little hike called the bubbling pools. The bubbling pool is located where the beach meets a rocky crevasse which funnels the angry ocean waves through filling up the pool. On a North swell when the waves crash they create a bubbling effect in the pool, filling and receeding rapidly full of energy. Along the sides of the pool you can climb up the cliffs to check out the view from higher up. Just stay alert and remember to never turn your back on the ocean to avoid any accidents.

Get lost in the Baths of Virgin Gorda: 

Virgin Gorda, the fat virgin, as it’s translated is home to the Baths. Gigantic boulders carfully balancing on one another creating little caves, grottoes, and walkways with knee deep water. The boulders were originally magma that solidified and into mineral rich granite that were then shaped by the waves, wind and sun, into the astonishing coastline we see today. The sheer size of these rocks are alarming and crawling in between and up and down them will remind you that mother nature really is our playground. And the entertainment doesn’t stop there. Put on your snorkel and do the same exploring underwater. You will find boulders neatly resting on the ocean floor with swim-throughs and caves filled with fish.


Experience real seclusion in Anegada: 

Anegada is a low island made of coral and limestone and is located 15 miles due North of Virgin Gorda. Nicknamed the “drowned island” its highest point is 28ft above sea level and is surrounded by about 300 ship wrecks. Here you will find miles and miles of beaches and hear tails of the pirates who used to inhabit the island. Snorkel the enormous reef, search for treasure, walk the beach until sunset, just relax. Anegada, although only a few hours away is another world. You may catch a glimpse of the pink flamingos or taste the local lobster but you will not be disappointed.


Hike the Peter Island sunset loop: 

Put your hiking slops on, grab a backpack with some snacks and drinks, check the sunset time and head out to the main event. The first part of this hike will get your blood flowing as you head up the steep hill but its relatively flat from there. The remaining walk will take you by two whooshing wind turbines and finally to the sunset point. You will know you have arrived when you see the colorful chairs in a line all facing West. Sit back, and savor the beauty around you as the sun sets and the island outlines sink away with the daylight. Not to worry about the hike home as the Peter Island Resort offers a van ride back to where you started for a small fee.


Jump off the Willie T: 

You can do the jump naked and earn a temporary tattoo or you can do it in your bikini just for the thrill of it. This grungy bar is a pirate looking boat and therefore attracts wannabe pirates and  wenches. The drinks are strong and the music is loud but if it gets to be too much just launch yourself over the side. While you’re in the neighborhood, preferably before you get pirate-drunk, have a snorkel at the caves and see where treasure was buried in 1750.

So although you may not be in any real pain, try a painkiller while your here and see how it suits you. But most importantly chat with the locals and explore the different islands and see which YOU like the best.

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Molly Shea

By Molly Shea

The sea is my job, the sun is my energy, and the summit is my inspiration. Combined the world is my playground where every character has a story. I currently work as a chef on a sailboat in the Caribbean and I love my job. Previously, I was showing scuba divers around the Bahamas and prior to that I was working on a boat in Maui, Hawaii. Set big goals because there is nothing more exciting than the thought of accomplishing something that will completely change your life.


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