Archives for July 2011

Arnold Palmer with a Kick

Fore!! I mean – SCORE!! I ran across a recipe for a rum spiked Arnold Palmer the other day and being the golf enthusiasts we are, thought we’d give it a try. Unfortunately, the liquor stores in our area don’t carry a very wide selection of, well, anything – so try as I might, I could not locate the bottle of Don Q Mojito rum that the recipe called for. Undaunted, we figured we’d create our own version for now and this is what we came up with. It’s easy, neat and classy and I think it’ll be perfect for after my round this Friday where I play with a lovely group of talented ladies who actually tolerate my occasional “hand” wedge from the bunker!!

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Arnold Palmer with a Kick

Arnold Palmer with a Kick
(makes 2)

3 oz. light rum
3 oz. iced tea (unsweetened)
3 oz. lemonade (we used Crystal Light which is sweetened)
4 large mint leaves
1/4 tsp. freshly squeezed lime juice.

Lightly muddle mint leaves and lime juice. Add rum, iced tea and lemonade. Strain into a large glass over ice, shake and then pour into smaller glasses over ice. Garnish with mint. If you like a sweeter taste, add 1/2 to 1 tsp. simple syrup to the mix!

 

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Searching for Pieces of Eight

I could think of worse things than being able to dive in the crystal blue waters off of the Florida coast everyday looking for sunken treasure, and we found someone who does just that – and makes a living at it!

Thomas Gidus, owner of Wreckovery Salvage and Gold Coast Explorations searches for and recovers the cargo and remains of historic shipwrecks to preserve our maritime past for future generations. Recovered items are used for research and education and many are on display in museums and libraries.

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We thought his story would make an excellent post for our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession” series and so we asked if we could interview him recently. This is what we found out about Thomas:

1. Tell us a little about yourself and why you do what you do.
I am a professional historic shipwreck salvor. Using remote sensing technology, such as magnetometers and side scan sonars, along with archival historical research, we locate long lost wooden sailing ships. Then we employ methods like propwash excavation, air lifts or simple hand fanning to uncover the cargo and remains of the ships, which could be scattered across many miles of ocean bottom.

2. How did you get started in shipwreck recovery?
I was metal detecting on a beach in Ft. Pierce, Florida and was approached by a guy who said he was a treasure diver and needed a partner for his operation. He asked if I dived and if I was interested. I immediately said yes. We were subcontracting to a treasure hunter you may have heard of, the world famous Mel Fisher, on the 1715 Spanish fleet shipwrecks. We recovered some incredible emerald and gold treasure that season. That was 1991. The very next year I started my own company, Wreckovery Salvage, a combination of the words ‘wreck’ and ‘recovery.’ Since then, I have searched for and discovered dozens of shipwrecks through out Florida and in North Carolina.

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3. Tell us about a typical day at the office.

I wake up late, put on swim trunks, a t-shirt and flip flops. Drive 15 minutes to get to the boat, docked behind Capt. Dom’s house. Another 15 minutes getting out through beautiful Jupiter Inlet, Florida. Then we anchor the boat, lower the blower and dig a hole. I grab a metal detector, jam a regulator in my mouth and dive down through 15 feet of warm, crystal clear water and recover the treasure, er, the archaeologically important artifacts.

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4. What are your plans for the future?
I want to help Capt. Dominic Addario solve the mystery of the historic shipwreck at Jupiter inlet. 16 thousand coins have come off that wreck, 1 large silver bar and 1 small gold bar. The main pile of the ship is still missing, and we want to find it. The value is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

5. What does Rum Therapy mean to you?
Rum Therapy is a lifestyle and it is an antidote to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I moved away from the traffic and hectic lifestyle of central Florida to a beautiful, relatively quiet place in south Florida. My 1st day here, I landed at a wonderful tiki bar overlooking Jupiter inlet. That very same day, I met the love of my life, Monica. We are there at least twice a week, sipping rum & cokes and making plans for our future. She has joined me in my search for sunken treasures.

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6. What is your advice for someone who really wants to make their tropical obsession their profession?
Find a beautiful place in the tropics where you would love to live and work and put all of your thoughts and energy into earning a living doing what you love to do. It might not happen right away, but with optimism, persistence and hard work, your tropical dream will come true.

7. Anything else we should know?
John 15:12


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Mai-Tai’s

Facebook friend Allan Peter Davis declared today Mai-Tai Fri-day and posted an accompanying Mai-Tai recipe. We were in. Looking around the cabinet, we had all ingredients except the Cointreau, so we rushed over to the store and picked up a bottle.

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Mai Tai Ingredients

We assembled the ingredients on the counter, snapped a picture and got to work. His recipe is below – love the instructions that you should shake vigorously while listening to Jimmy Buffet or reggae tunes! Gonna have to make a pitcher of them this weekend and share with some friends. Mahalo Allan!

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Mai Tai

Mai-Tai’s
(serves 2)

1.5 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
0.5 oz simple syrup (made with Demerara sugar)
1.0 oz Orgeat syrup
1.0 oz Cointreau
1.5 oz Gosling’s Black Seal Bermuda rum
2.5 oz Mount Gay Barbados rum

Shake vigorously with cubed ice (preferably while listening to some Jimmy Buffett or reggae tunes.)
Strain into double old-fashioned glass, filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with lots of mint & cherry.

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Hawaiian Pineapple Daiquiri

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you’ve probably sampled some fresh Hawaiian pineapple…mmm….When we started pulling together ingredients for a Pineapple Daiquiri, we thought we would try a Hawaiian rum called Kōloa. Kōloa Rum has a dark rum called Kaua’i Dark Rum which we felt would work perfectly with the taste of fresh pineapple and it did.

 Enjoy a taste of the islands in this tasty recipe. Aloha!

copyright Rum TherapyPineapple Daiquiri
(makes 4)

1/2 cup Kōloa Kaua’i Dark Rum
1/2 large fresh pineapple
6 ounces pineapple juice
6 oz. frozen limeade concentrate
1 cup crushed ice

 Remove pineapple from shell; core and cut fruit into chunks. Mix pineapple chunks, pineapple juice, rum and limeade in blender. Add ice and blend until frothy. Garnish with a fresh slice of pineapple.

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Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge, Kailua Kona, Hawaii

We’ve received word that the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge is now closed.

Recently we asked our Facebook friends if they knew of anyone who, like us, are making their tropical obsession their profession and who wouldn’t mind being interviewed for our series of the same name. We got an email from Lisa Ginardi telling us about the interesting story of a man who loves rum, quit his government job, moved to Hawaii and opened a tiki bar named the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge (Okolemaluna is Hawaiianfor “bottoms up”!). Needless to say we were intrigued and immediately contacted Brice Ginardi, her husband, to see if he would share his story. This is what we found out.

1. Tell us a little about your background (ie; career, where you lived before you moved to Hawaii, etc.)
I had some gypsy years and I needed to see different parts of the U.S.  I was born and raised in Kansas City but lived in San Francisco for five years and then in the Phoenix area for three years. Before making the change to Hawaii, I worked as a motorcycle mechanic, then a City Water Department worker; the whole time I bartended for private parties and served drinks for friends and learned how to work on my original drink recipes.

2. What triggered your desire to make such a major change?
We visited on vacation, and this island just called me.  There is incredible bounty here, and it led to wanting to feature the great products from local farmers in my drinks!  When we moved here we made drinks for ourselves and friends that used these ingredients.

3. What drew you to Hawaii? What drew you to the Big Island?
Hard to put into words.  The beauty, the people, the change of pace, it is different than other Hawaiian islands. We’ve visited other islands but during one particular sunset we just knew this was the place for us.

4. How did you come up with the idea of starting a tiki bar?
I felt Hawaii needed to have these fresh drinks back to represent the glory of Hawaii’s past –  there is a strong tradition of tiki here.  Hawaii had a couple of tiki bars but nothing that represented the past brilliance of the yesteryear.  When we moved here, we didn’t bring much — but we did bring several boxes of our rare rums and the decorations for our home tiki room/bar.  We basically just took our home tiki bar public!

5. Was it difficult to make such a major change in career and location?
There really wasn’t a choice involved, if I hadn’t at least tried it, I’d question myself on my death bed. We don’t have kids or parents on the mainland to take care of and we are fortunate to be able to go wherever in the world we want.

6. What are your other interests?
Right now none! (we’re working long hrs. at the bar)….but I do love to go to the beach, it reminds me of why I moved here.

7. Tell us about the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge.
Okolemaluna (Hawaiian for “bottoms up”) is modeled off of vintage 50’s through the 70’s tiki bars in Hawaii andon the mainland. We use fresh local ingredients whenever possible and premium spirits.  We rescued vintage carvings from closed businesses on Oahu and we include new art from some of the best tiki artists and carvers in the current scene (Brad “Tiki Shark” Parker, Bosko, Doug Horne, etc.).  We operate as a cocktail lounge, with cocktails and pupus (appetizers/bar food).

8. What is your favorite rum? What is your favorite rum drink? Are you willing to share a special rum drink recipe with us? Flor de Cana 7 year is my current favorite  but changes all the time. My favorite drink has to be a Trader Vic’s Mai Tai – it is so simple but elegant and makes me smile with every sip. Here is one of my original recipes, the Wicked Wahine:

Wicked Wahine
1 ½ oz. spiced rum
¼ oz. falernum
¼ oz. fresh lemon juice
¼ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. passion fruit syrup
¼ oz. grenadine
1 dash Peychaud’s bitters
Ice Cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: orchid or another edible flower (optional)

Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

9. Do you have any advice for others that may be thinking of making their tropical obsession their profession?
Understand that you get one life and one chance. I would have always looked back and wondered about that crossroad if I hadn’t taken it. I know I have taken an obsession and made it a dream.  My wife and I have made a big life change a couple of times, and have learned to go for it! — nothing is unfixable if it doesn’t work out.

10. What else should we know about you?
I wouldn’t have been able to follow any of this dream w/out the help and support of my wife . We are very blessed to live in paradise, but if you can’t live here yet, you can make wherever you are paradise!

The Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Kailua Kona Hawaii has only been open 7 months and has already been designated by Imbibe Magazine as one of the top tiki bars in North America. Brice’s original cocktails and recipes will be featured in the upcoming Summer Drinks issue of Imbibe as well.  His rum philosophy is to use only the best local ingredients whenever possible, and he house-makes syrups, flavorings, liqueurs, infusions, etc. each day.  In addition, Brice has been chosen as a contestant in the World’s Best Mai Tai Contest 2 years in a row; he finished in 2nd place last year, and he will learn in the next week whether he makes it in for the 3rd straight year.

Next time you’re lucky enough to spend some time on the big island of Hawaii, stop by the Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge and ask for Brice. I’m sure he’ll be happy to help you enjoy some serious Rum Therapy there. Ahhh, look, your Mai Tai is waiting for you!

photos courtesy of Lisa and Brice Ginardi

 

 

Vessels of Freedom

Boats, vessels of freedom, harbors of healing… lyrics by Kenny Chesney

About a year and a half ago, we sailed on a crewed charter in the BVI’s. It was our second sail in the BVI’s, but by far the best. One of the things that made this such an incredible trip was the captain of our Lagoon 440 – the Red Stiletto. We were a bit of a rowdy crowd of 6 – we thought, but he had us sized up after our initial introduction and really tailored the trip to match our personalities and interests. By the end of the trip we felt that we’d won the captain lottery…

photo: rumtherapy.com

Darrel Hearne was his name and we could tell immediately by his wonderful accent that he hailed from somewhere other than where we were. As the week went on, we learned a little about his story and how he had made his way to the BVI’s. We recently contacted him to ask if we could interview him for our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession” series, and this is what we found out.

Give us a little background on what you did pre-BVI’s.
Well, I was in a very similar line of work before I came here – I was an accountant living 500 miles from the nearest ocean, so I guess it was sort of a natural progression for me.  Ok, maybe not.  I grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, which lies in the center of the country and nowhere near an ocean.  My family were not boaters at all … in fact, up until the day that I quit my job and went to sailing school, I had never actually set foot on a sailboat in my life.  I did the usual thing … finished school, studied, had a proper job and wore the suit and tie of shame.  I did the daily commute to my office, where I lived behind a computer and did mundane things.  Thing is, I couldn’t see myself being an office lemming for the rest of my life.  It just wasn’t me.  I’m not really sure where the idea of moving to the Caribbean and becoming a sailor came from, but somehow it took root, and was something that I talked about for years.  One day, when I was 33, I realized that if I didn’t go then, then in a few years time making sweeping life changes like that would be so much harder, and it would be too late.  So I quit my job and went to sailing school, got on a plane and flew to the islands.  Easy as that.

What brought you to the BVI’s? How long have you been there?
It was a Boeing that brought me here.  747-700, I think.  Ah – you mean for what reason?  Well, I wanted to come to the Caribbean to develop a career as a sailor.  I actually didn’t do much research into the BVI’s before I came here – more like I closed my eyes and pointed randomly at a map of the Caribbean, and said ‘Hmmm – BVI’s.  That sounds interesting’.  Actually, I had heard that there were a lot of boats here, which was good enough for me.  I came over here to get a feel for it, and to finish my dive master course, and ended up never leaving.  It’s been six years now, and I do love it here.

What is your current position?
I have moved over to the dark side, and currently work on a power boat.  Yes, I know.  I sold out.  I spent five years on sailboats, but the career progression tends to be to bigger boats … which means, at some stage, power boats, especially if you’re a single guy – sailboats tend to employ crew couples.  Actually, she’s a beautiful boat, and I do enjoy her very much.  She’s a 74-foot Horizon called Viaggio, that runs term charters for a company called Virgin Traders (isn’t that a great name?) out of Nanny Cay.  It’s an interesting boat to run, because she’s big enough to have the big boat feel and systems, but small enough that we only run three crew, and I get to do all the mechanical maintenance and repairs, which is fun, and invaluable experience.  She’s also a very, very pretty boat, so that’s always good for meeting girls at bars.  ‘What do I do?  Well, I captain that boat over there…’ (points to the cool boat that everyone notices).  ‘Really?’, she says, her eyes widening with interest as she sidles closer ‘Tell me more…’.  Ah, it is an interesting life I lead.

 photo: SailDiveBVI

What do you like better about what you do and where you live now?
You know, I try to explain my life to old friends from back home, but it’s just too much of a gap to be able to put into words.  The whole lifestyle here is just so different.  I grew up in a very conservative community, and I’ve found that I’ve needed to re-evaluate all of my pre-conceived ideas and values, living here.  It really is an alternative reality.  Don’t get me wrong – at the end of the day, my job is just a job, and people here are just people.  I think the thing I like most here is that I’ve been exposed to so much.  I meet so many people from so many different walks of life… get to live their lives a week at a time.  I’ve done charters with porn stars and swingers and captains of industry and even a US assistant attorney-general.  It really opens your eyes and shows you how vast and varied this world is, and how little we actually know.  Well, that, and it’s perfectly acceptable to go to a bar and drink a beer or two at ten in the morning.  And of course there’s all those girls in bikinis.  I remember feeling, back when I used to live behind my computer in my little office, that I was the only crazy one amongst all the sane responsible people.  Coming here, to me, has felt like I’ve finally come home.

What other interests do you have?
Hmm.  Interests.  Let’s see now … there must be something … hmm.  I will say that diversity in social activities and options on island is sadly lacking.  It’s a small island, and the culture is very much a hanging-out-in-bars culture.  You’re bound to meet the same people in the same bars, night after night.  Add that to the fact that as a charter captain, you’re off island for half of your time, and have to put your social life on hold for that time, and it tends to constrict your recreational options.  I do some photography, which I enjoy, and I absolutely love kiteboarding, so when the wind is blowing and I’m not working, that’s usually what I’m doing.  Oh, and playing with my daughter, of course.  She’s two, and a little hooligan sunbeam.  So that’s fun. She’s my happy place.

What advice do you have for someone that really wants to make a change in their profession and/or location?
I remember when I was leaving my company back in South Africa, people would hear about what I was doing and where I was going, and tell me how brave they thought I was.  and I always thought ‘Wow – really?  I’m going sailing in the Caribbean – you’re the one who’s going to be stuck behind that desk for the next twenty years.  Who’s the brave one?’.  I would say, if you really want to do it, then just do it.  Be warned, though – it’s not always the idyllic dream that everyone thinks it is.  I mean, it’s beautiful down here, and I have a great job and get to sail the islands for a living.  At the end of the day, though, it’s just a job.  And there are aspects of it that you are not going to like.  Once you get past the scenery, real life down here is much the same as real life elsewhere.  I would say come and try it out and spend some time here first.  Chat to some of the people who have been here a long time.  There’s a reason that a lot of people come here for two or three years and then leave – it’s not for everyone.  There is a trade-off – what you gain in beaches and vistas, you lose in things like being able to actually have shops to buy nice things, or being able to get a Big Mac, or any of the other accoutrement’s of civilization.  I always tell people that they need to drink a beer, relax, and lower their expectations when they come here.  It’s the islands.  Things work differently here.  Not everyone can adjust to that.  If you can, though, then it absolutely is worth it.  If you plan to work on boats, get your qualification levels up to par, and try to add in some extras … a professional diving qualification is very useful, and there is a trend these days towards eco-tourism, so some skills and knowledge in that side of the business can be helpful.  Above all, pack light, and bring a spare liver.  You’re going to need it.  Sailing (ok, pushing the throttle forward) is only 5% of the job.  The real job is socialising and entertaining, which means taking people to lots of bars.  It’s a tough job, but I do it to the best of my ability.

Who were your favorite guests of all time – oh, never mind, we know the answer to that one :)
Ha.  Well now.  I have had a lot of fun charters.  And I do have a lot of stories to tell.  It’s funny – it’s the fun charters that are the hard ones.  The ones with the people who want to relax, and don’t really want to socialise are easy.  Tuck them into bed at 9:30 after a nice glass of warm milk.  It’s the ones where you get on with them like a house on fire and you stay up drinking with them and partying and being silly till three every night and then have to be up again at 7:30 the next morning to move the boat that kill you.  Still.  I shall tell you what I tell all my guests:  yes, of course you were my favourite charter of all time.

Anything else we should know?
Well, let’s see:  did you know that ‘Woman Hitler’ is an anagram for ‘mother-in-law’?  Makes you think, doesn’t it?  Other than that, not much to tell, really.  I will mention a fact that is well-known in the industry but little-known outside of it: working on boats is very tough on relationships.  Many many crew couples come here together and then split up – it’s being in close quarters 24/7, and never being alone that does it.  If you’re thinking about this kind of life as a couple, sit down and talk carefully about it.  Set some rules.  It’s very easy to lose sight of your focus down here.  It’s possible to get it right, and many couples do, and have been working in the industry for years.  You just need to be aware of the dangers.  That’s about it.  See you in the big blue yonder.

photo: SailDiveBVI

So there you have it; a very honest and candid look at living and working in the islands. If you are interested in a crewed powerboat charter, we’d highly recommend a week with Captain Darrel. Contact Virgin Traders to check on the availability of the Viaggio. You’ll feel as if you’d won the captain lottery too – oh, and don’t forget to bring that spare liver – you’ll need it!

Find other posts in the Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession Series

Through the Eyes of a Tropical Soul

We first heard of William Torrillo when he”liked” the Rum Therapy Facebook page as Old Mango. We instantly went to check and see the Old Mango page and immediately “liked” him back. There before us were stunning pictures of some of our favorite islands in the Caribbean – I mean stunning…  The pictures make you feel like you are right there – the colors, the clarity – you can almost smell the sea breeze. He sees things through the eyes of a tropical soul.

We’ve been in touch back and forth though Facebook pages – us admiring his beautiful photographs and he commenting on all things rum and even occasionally complimenting  our photos! He mentioned a few months back that he was hoping to move to the islands in the near future and his dream of doing so is actually taking place today! We asked him last week if we could interview him for our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession” series and he obliged. This is what we found out about William Torrillo – Photographer.
William in a jungle in Columbia

Tell us a little about your photography career. 
I have always loved photography and have been shooting since I was 10 years old. I remember taking a summer course in middle school back in Virginia. We learned how to develop film, various shooting techniques, and even built a pin hole camera (in which I still have to this day, and it works!)
I shot freelance in Miami Beach for about 4-5 years, while I was attending culinary school at Johnson & Wales University. I graduated and decided life as a chef wasn’t for me, so I continued with photography at Sea Island Resorts, in Southern Georgia. I was staff photographer there for 4 1/2 years before making the decision to move to the Virgin Islands full time.

I’ve noticed that many of the photographs you post are from the VI’s and BVI’s – have you traveled there a lot? What is it about that area that attracts you?
There is something about the sea that relaxes me, and I’ve been all over the world, but something about the people, culture, and arts of the VI makes me feel at home. The colors of the water meeting the sky is just breath taking and I truly never get tired of living those moments. The 1st time I visited the Islands was in Long Bay Beach, Tortola. It really opened my eyes to the Caribbean, and that’s what started my photo journey.

You’re making a big move this week. Have you been planning this move for a while?
One day on the ferry back from Jost van Dyke, I looked back as the sun was setting and said to myself, I don’t like leaving here..I need to make it my home. Ever since then, I have been saving every penny and shooting extra gigs to help pay for my move to St. Thomas (Took about 3 years..)

What will you be photographing from your new home base?
I decided that being on the East End of St. Thomas would be best, because it would save money on ferry rides to the BVI, and it a little less crowded. My studio will offer photographic and design services such as weddings, real estate, lifestyle, resorts, etc…and also graphic design and web design.

What are some of your other interests?
Being a trained chef, cooking is my greatest passion..besides photography. I love to travel and stop at local markets, meet locals and talk about food, try some new recipes. Anything with mango, coconut, dark rum, and fresh fish are my favorites. Also, love sports, especially football and soccer…can’t wait for the next FIFA World Cup, go USA!

What are your dreams for the future?
Have a successful studio in the USVI, travel the islands and show the world how beautiful it is thru my lens. My art and photography have brought so many great friends into my life, so I am thankful for that, and I hope to make some more.

Do you have a hint for us amateur photographers on how to take better vacation pictures?
Shoot what makes you happy, you can see it in the photos you take. Photography is like cooking, lots of different ways to make the same dish. So ask questions, learn from others, and read the manual! The technical aspect isn’t as important in my opinion, just read about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO…and the subject doesnt always have to be in the center of a photo. Try something different every now and then.

Anything else you’d like us to know about you?
I am in the process of writing a BVI travel guide, Old Mango Guide to the Islands. I’m about 2 years into it right now, and hopefully will find a publisher in the near future. The guide I am writing is focused on the everyday tourtist with a budget most of us can afford. I interview chefs, bar owners, ferry boat captians, locals and tourists and try to bring a side of the BVI not seen before, and of course, covered with beautiful photos! I don’t think I will be doing a write up on Necker Island, but if Sir Branson calls, ill make an exception!

You mentioned to me that you’ll be traveling pretty light to St. Thomas, care to elaborate?
As a photographer I like to travel as light as possible. The more comfortable I am, the better the photos will be..most of the time! So when I decided to move from Georgia to the Virgin Islands, I sold my car, gave away most of my clothes, and lived lightly. I was fortunate enough to find a furnished condo in St. Thomas, so I will be bringing just one suitcase of clothing, some local Georgia BBQ sauce, and my camera!

Be sure to check out William’s Old Mango Facebook Page and the Old Mango website for regular picture posts (sometimes in wallpaper resolution!) that will have you longing for your next island vacation. He’s just purchased a new 1080p HD video camera – so I’m sure we’ll see some amazing new island videos in the near future too. Enjoy your new home in St. Thomas Old Mango – we’ll look forward to seeing the beauty of the area through your eyes…