The St. Ursula launched at the Police Marine Base
The BVI Marine Police launched a 55-foot boat recently that they hope will strengthen their crime fighting capabilities. Police Commissioner Reynell Frazer said that the new vessel will allow police to better carry out their responsibilities. Governor David Pearey added that he welcomed St. Ursula, as it would fill the police’s requirement for a large police vessel. Bob Neelon, of SeaArk, stated that the St. Ursula will provide years of high quality service to the BVI and gave his assurance that his company stands behind the vessel. The Ministry of Communications & Works was thanked for its assistance in obtaining the vessel as well as Customs, the Shipping Registry and Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR) for the support those agencies have provided to police during the period that it was without a large patrol boat. As a boater I certainly hope that the St. Ursula will give VISAR a hand, especially now that one of our heaviest yachting months is upon us.
Shipwrecked survivor returns to Jost Van Dyke after 60 years
The Jost Van Dyke community turned out in numbers recently to welcome back Bernard King, who was shipwrecked on the island in 1943. Mr. King was one of 70 sailors aboard the the Blue Funnel Liner Rhexenor, when it was torpedoed on February 3, 1943 by a German submarine in the Atlantic Ocean. The Rhexenor was 1,200 miles from the West Indies when the crew divided into four 20-foot wooden sailing lifeboats. On February 23, 1943, Mr. King’s lifeboat landed at Saddle Bay on Jost Van Dyke.
After more than 60 years, Mr. King returned to the island to say “thank you” to residents who helped him survive. He was 17 when his lifeboat drifted ashore on the north-western coast of Jost Van Dyke after spending 20 days at sea along with 15 other sailors. All were rescued by island residents who gave them food, drink, clothing and shelter. “Being here brings back old memories. I do appreciate all your kindness. I wish it had not taken me so long for me to return” Mr. King told residents at a welcome ceremony at the Methodist Church grounds. Following the ceremony, Mr. King and his wife, Francis, visited 85-year-old Francisco Chinnery in Little Harbour, who was among the party who met the British sailors when they arrived tired, hungry, and parched. Now this is what I call a warm welcome for a mighty lucky old salt.
Experience the BVI Guide Book – free to privately crewed yachts
The BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association, in conjunction with HCP/Aboard Publishing, has published its 2007 “Experience the BVI” guide book. The coffee-table, hard cover guide book has won both the Gold Pearl Award and a Gold Magnum Opus Award for best Cover Design in the past. This year’s edition has articles on BVI arts and culture, vivid descriptions of accommodations and restaurants, and vibrant pictures of the islands. Some of the contributing writers are Verna Penn Moll and Clive Petrovic, who led the Marine Studies Department at the H. Lavity Stout College.
The book also features letters from Chief Minister Dr. Orlando Smith and from BVICCHA Chairwoman Violet Gaul, who said: “Experience BVI is an excellent educational tool for overnight visitors illustrating all that the BVI has to offer.” This book assists in promoting the BVI as a destination. It also helps to promote the numerous businesses that advertise through the book’s web site: www.experiencethebvi.com. The web site is advertised in the Travel Section of numerous US newspapers and it has receives hundreds of hits per day. The BVICCHA provides free copies to all hotels, villas, guest houses and privately crewed yachts.