Beyond the Reef x British Virgin Islands: Testing the waters
It’s serendipitous to be able to share this news about the BVIs, having met their Junior Minister of Tourism, the Hon. Shereen D Flax-Charles recently at Virtuoso Travel Week in Las Vegas. Shereen made it unequivocally clear to me that the BVIs has always been and will always be welcoming to OutThere travellers. Not as if we’d need an excuse to visit of course.
We didn’t need to be told twice, and being British ourselves, we felt strongly that etiquette required a quick stopover in the British Virgin Islands enroute home! While not stopping by for tea would have been rude, not tracking down the archipelago’s latest attraction would have been a downright faux pas in experiential circles. And so within hours of touching down at Terrance B. Lettsome International, we stood by the beach, looking out at the turquoise sea and the treasures sunk in it days before our arrival.
After a good night’s sleep – and the advisory 12 hour period between flights and dives – we jumped right into the blue to come face-to-fin with the most extraordinary creatures resting on the Caribbean seafloor: abandoned airplanes, made to resemble sharks. The three eerie-looking aircrafts (hurricane debris, if you were wondering) are the brainchild of Beyond the Reef, a collective of underwater engineers and metal sculptors with a passion for artificial coral reefs and eco-tourism. As the aero-sharks have only just touched down, their reflective, silver surfaces shone brightly as we approached, waiting to be covered in all sorts of critters in the future – and seeing luxury condominiums in the British Virgin Islands are all the rage, marine hermits will no doubt be booking viewings as we type.
It was an enjoyable, if spontaneous, stop in the BVIs and we certainly felt welcome. From staff at the hotel down to a family of Queen Angelfish inspecting the new residential properties that had landed in their backyard over night, the small British overseas territory is no less hospitable than its mother across the Atlantic ocean – with the added bonus of friendly fish.