Archives for July 2013

My Island Art

We’ve followed My Island Art on Facebook for a while now and have enjoyed their mutual tropical attraction. Last fall, I had the chance to briefly meet and speak with owner Jeff and find out more about his company. After hearing his story, (and the hope that one day their company would be successful enough to get a nicer hammock!) I thought it would make a great post in our Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession series. This is what we found out about this unique Island Themed Company that has focused on the artists of the Caribbean…so far…

1. Tell us how you started My Island Art.
First, a big thanks to the gang at Rum Therapy for reaching out to us for this guest post. We’re always excited to talk with other Caribbean souls, and especially happy to talk about My Island Art. Actually, when it comes to the Caribbean and My Island Art, good luck trying to shut us up!

My Island Art started in 2007 as an effort to marry our two passions, the love of art, and our need to maximize our time in the Caribbean. After several trips to the islands, it quickly became apparent that we had found our Mecca. I absolutely had to find a way to make this a recurring destination, and turning such trips in business trips had a certain attraction as well! My stated objective was to establish a business I could run with minimal effort, and one I could operate while lying in a hammock, on any beach in the world!

After 3 months drafting a Business Plan, setting objectives, and reading everything we could about bootstrapping a start up, we only needed inventory. As a side note, I could write a book on the things I learned not to do when building your own website! But we persevered, and in February 2008 we set off on our maiden buying trip. I still have the hand scribbled sign I hung in my office with the digits 7-4-08, a simple reminder of the goal I’d established for the site to go live. We ultimately beat the date, and the site went live in June of 2008!

How do you find Caribbean artists like Ruby Bute?
Researching the art community was actually the fun part of establishing MIA. Part of the credit has to go to my beach bum attitude. That is to say, let someone else do the work for me!

During my research I hired a virtual assistant to build a list of artists throughout the Caribbean. Once the list was delivered, I discovered that a large percentage of artists in the Caribbean called St. Maarten home. This played well into our hands, as we had already visited St. Maarten 6 or 7 times, and knew a good deal about the art community there.

When we set out in 2008 for that first trip, my wife actually fell into her element. Meeting the artists, learning more about their lives and their interests, and engaging with them in a personal manner is what drives her. Her ability to communicate, and her genuine interest in them as individuals, has been integral in building relationships with the artists that goes far beyond our business dealings together. Ruby Bute in particular is a genuine lice of Caribbean heritage. The story of our meeting and subsequent business dealing are recorded in the book “A Beach Less Traveled“, available on our site. You can also see a series of our interviews with her at My Island Art You Tube.

When traveling to the islands, we are constantly looking to add new artists. Shopping in galleries, talking to taxi drivers, or visiting at local markets makes each stop a potential resource for us in continuing to build our stable of talented artists.

What are some the favorite items that you offer at My Island Art?
My Island Art offers a wide variety of art and related gifts. Some of my personal favorites are the serene pastel watercolor images by St. Martin artist Antoine Chapon. His images depict such a relaxing setting that I can almost hear the water lapping at the shoreline.

My Island Art 1
I also personally like any of Ruby Bute’s images of island life. Her images of day to day life in the Caribbean are a true remembrance of a bygone era.

And I must confess I am very proud of the Wooden Keepsake Boxes we have created. With the advance of high-resolution printing, we are able to create a number of products that are of a very high quality, and in keeping with the integrity of the artist’s original image. These boxes are a great example of this quality, and they make for a truly unique slice of life from the islands.

My Island Art 2
Describe your work with children’s charities in the islands.

At My Island Art, we are committed to giving back to the people of the islands. We are active in supporting charities in both Belize and St. Maarten, and annually we give a percentage of all our profits to these organizations to help meet the needs of at risk children.

We are currently working on a line of textile art products. In this new line, we utilize artwork created by the children, and then depict these images on a line of cloth napkins, placemats and table runners. We have committed that 100% of the profits from this line will go directly to the children of the islands.

  My Island Art 3

 Where do you hope to go from here?
My Island Art is still in its infancy but we have lofty goals for expanding our presence, so that one day we can get to a nicer hammock! We have the objective of growing the company to cover the full spectrum of ‘island’ art, wherever it is found.

Caribbean art as we know has a very recognizable style, and we feel we have begun to put roots deep into its sand. Eventually though, we intend to spread to the diverse markets of the South Pacific, and beyond. So stay tuned Bora Bora, we’re on our way!

JVbytheSea

To find out more, check out the My Island Art Website

Read more posts in our “Making Your Tropical Obsession Your Profession” Series

Backyard Tea

Unfortunately we’re not on our favorite island swaying in a hammock this weekend, but we’re still looking forward to relaxing and enjoying a little Rum Therapy in our own backyard. We ran across this recipe from Sailor Jerry called “Backyard Tea” that sounds just like what we’re looking for – easy, cold, refreshing and spiked with some tasty Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum.

Backyard Tea - a Rum Drink
Backyard Tea
recipe: Sailor Jerry

2 parts Sailor Jerry Rum
1 part ice tea
2 parts lemonade

Add ingredients to an ice filled glass and garnish with slices of lemon.

5 from 1 reviews
Backyard Tea
 
A refreshing summery drink! Mix up just one glass or a whole batch for a picnic or summer get-together.
Cuisine: Drinks
Ingredients
  • 2 parts Sailor Jerry Rum
  • 1 part ice tea
  • 2 parts lemonade
Instructions
  1. Add ingredients to an ice filled glass and garnish with slices of lemon.

Sandy Cay, British Virgin Islands

Between Tortola and Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands there’s a small uninhabited island called Sandy Cay.

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Sandy Cay is quite small, yet larger than it’s also uninhabited sister island to the north, Sandy Spit. Both islands have become popular with the many people who love to sail the BVI and with excursions from neighboring islands, yet are so very fun to visit and you might still find yourself enjoying the island by yourself, depending on the time of year you visit.

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What we liked most, well there’s really nothing we didn’t like…but the island has an amazingly beautiful beach that wraps around nearly half of it, gorgeous blue water and great views of neighboring islands.

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We’ve visited Sandy Cay a couple of times and during one of our visits we took the path that cuts through the center of the island. We left from the beautiful, warm, sandy beach on the south side and worked our way through what felt like a jungle.

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On the path we saw a multitudes of crabs scurrying around as well as lush green foliage.

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Sandy-Cay-5-O
View of Tortola from Sandy Cay

The path began to open up after a few minutes and we could see just how different this side of the small island was from the other. Instead of palm trees, there was cactus and the shoreline on this side was very rocky and rough.

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Instead of palm trees, we saw cactus, and the shoreline on this side, although still beautiful, was very rocky and rough.

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From our vantage point on this side of Sandy Cay, we could see Sandy Spit’s white sliver of sand in front of Green Cay with Little Jost to the left.

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After spending a few moments checking out the phenomenal view, we headed back to the south side to spend some time on the white sand beach and play in the crystal clear blue water…

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Have you been to Sandy Cay?

Find Sandy Cay on our Jost Van Dyke Map


To see more posts on the British Virgin Islands and other islands, check out our
Island Blog Directory


Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013

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

Drunk Bay, St. John

Ever go to the beach to check out the….flotsam art? We didn’t take the short hike to Drunk Bay in St. John specifically for the art, but we ended up finding it to be, well, quite entertaining, actually.

Drunk-Bay-A-O
Drunk Bay does not have one of the typically gorgeous St. John beaches, such as any of the north side beaches, but we found it worth a visit nonetheless. Walk down to the pretty Saltpond Bay Beach and look for a trail that takes you to Salt Pond (you can find Saltpond Bay and Drunk Bay on our St. John Map). Walk past the Salt Pond, (which we are told is a good place to collect useable St. John sea salt) and towards the rocky shoreline of Drunk Bay.

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As you near the shoreline, you will begin to see some rather unusual man-made coral and rock formations scattered about.

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Decorated with pieces of coconut husks, driftwood and other items washed up from the sea, some of them are quite unusual and perhaps even artistic? It appeared to be a virtual outdoor art gallery!

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A few were even anatomically correct similar.

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Apparently the collection is continually changing with the tide, the weather and the anonymous artists that come to create their own Drunk Bay masterpieces.

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An easy hike and something quite different. Glad we went.
Is some of your artwork on display at Drunk Bay?

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Homemade Rum Cream

It’s not always easy to find a good bottle of Rum Cream to use when making a Hummingbird Cocktail , or just to sip over ice or to add to a cup of coffee, so if you find yourself coming up short when you need it the most, why not try making some of your own? Here is a basic recipe to use – but feel free to make it your own by adding more or less of the spices or different spices (nutmeg?) or substituting a little caramel for some of the chocolate syrup, or melting some good dark chocolate instead of using chocolate syrup. Mmmm…just imagine the possibilities…

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Homemade Rum Cream

1 can (14oz) sweetened condensed milk
1  1/4 cup of a good amber or gold rum
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp chocolate syrup
2 tbsp freshly brewed coffee
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp coconut extract

Add all ingredients to a blender and mix at high speed for a few minutes until blended and smooth. Serve over ice or in coffee or store in tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Hummingbird

Recently a few of our readers asked if we had a recipe for a Hummingbird – a frozen rum cocktail that they enjoyed while vacationing in Jamaica. We hadn’t, but it sounded interesting, so we started searching for one. We ran across several of them – all slightly different and then made just a few small adjustments of our own. So – here’s our version of the Hummingbird. Sorry we can’t provide the beautiful Jamaican beach to go with it!

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Hummingbird
(makes two short glasses)

1 oz. gold rum (we used Appleton)
1 oz. rum cream
1 oz. coffee flavored liqueur
1 oz. cream
2 large fresh strawberries
1/2 banana
1  1/2 c. crushed ice

Add everything but the ice to a blender and mix. Add the ice and blend until smooth and frothy. Pour into a glass and garnish with a slice of banana and a strawberry, if desired.

Saba Rock, British Virgin Islands

Saba Rock is a small, private island that sits in the beautiful North Sound of Virgin Gorda.

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Saba Rock is less than an acre in size and accessible by boat or ferry. We first visited Saba Rock during a sail trip when we stopped for just a few minutes to get gas and ice. During a recent trip to Virgin Gorda, we wanted to get back to Saba Rock to experience more of it, so we rented a dinghy from Leverick Bay Marina. By having a dinghy for the day, we were also able to explore neighboring Prickly Pear Island and enjoy a rum beverage at the Fat Virgin Cafe.

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Saba Rock houses a restaurant – which we hear serves up succulent land & sea dinners, an over water lounge/bar, a boutique hotel, a full service marina, gift shoppe, 10 deep water slips and boat moorings.

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View of Eustatia Island from the terrace at the Saba Rock Hotel
.

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Saba Rock has a ferry that will pick you up from several locations in the North Sound, such as Gun Creek and Leverick Bay – just call them to make arrangements.

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Out back they have an excellent area to relax and enjoy the view of North Sound and the Bitter End Yacht Club, with nice soft sand and hammocks.

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We spent some time lounging in the hammocks before heading back in to sample a Saba Rock Banana Daiquiri – recommended to us by a friend who thought they were absolutely the best around.

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They were pretty darn good and the view made it even better…

To find out more, visit their website: Saba Rock

Find Saba Rock on our Virgin Gorda Map

To see more posts on the British Virgin Islands and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Loblolly Bay, Anegada

It’s really not that easy to get to Anegada in the British Virgin Islands, which is good because if it were, everyone would go. And part of Anegada’s charm is the fact that many times you can walk for miles along one of it’s gorgeous beaches and not see a single soul. That’s our kind of beach!

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Loblolly Bay is located on the north side of Anegada. You can easily get a taxi to Loblolly from Setting Point or The Settlement. See the map below, or our Anegada Interactive Map for more information on the location of Loblolly Bay.

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Loblolly has some really good snorkeling in areas, but our favorite thing to do on Loblolly is to walk the seemingly unending white sand beach and play in the powder blue water.

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Big Bamboo Beach Bar & Restaurant is located at the entrance to Loblolly. We didn’t have a chance to sample the food, but hear it’s very good and we certainly enjoyed a few cold rum beverages.

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Big Bamboo Beach Bar

Another restaurant/bar called Flash of Beauty (love that name) is located close by.

There are palapas for shade, and also a dive and gift shop, restrooms and showers available at Big Bamboo.

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Take a day trip from Tortola or Virgin Gorda, or plan to stay longer in the Loblolly Beach Cottages or one of the other small inns found on the island.

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A little peace and quiet mixed with some spectacular beach scenery. We’re ready to go back – how about you?

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Find Loblolly Bay on our Anegada Map

To see more posts on the British Virgin Islands and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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

An Olympus Waterproof Camera

We’re the type of travelers that like to have the convenience of taking a pic wherever we feel there could be a good photo (like while floating in the beautiful Caribbean water!) but, we don’t want to be trekking through the islands with lots of heavy and expensive equipment. So, when we recently broke the camera housing for our point and shoot camera, we started to research possibilities for a new camera – one that didn’t have to be placed in a separate housing unit.

After reading some reviews and spending some time at the electronics store, we ended up purchasing an Olympus TG-1iHS 12 MP Waterproof Digital Camera.

We’re not saying this is THE BEST waterproof camera out there – we haven’t had an opportunity to try many of the others, but we thought we’d tell you of our experience with this one, in case you’re doing some research on a new waterproof camera of your own.

What we like:

1. No camera housing. Seems really strange to just walk into the water with your camera without adding any housing or protection of any kind, but you can with this one!

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2. Fast shutter speed. The regular setting is fairly fast, and if you set it to the sport setting, you can take numerous shots in rapid succession – perfect when you’re trying to capture that barracuda swimming by…

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3. Large viewfinder. Good for making sure you’ve got that cool turtle in the shot.

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4. Picture clarity. As long as the lens doesn’t have any water spots, the photos are very clear!

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5. It has a rechargeable battery and it seems that the battery keeps a charge for fairly long, which helps when you want to spend LOTS of time in the beautiful water.

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The camera also has video capabilities, but we haven’t had the chance to try that feature out yet. The camera is waterproof to 40 ft., shockproof and sturdy. So far, we really don’t have any complaints.

The bad news? The Olympus TG-1iHS seems to have been discontinued. The good news? It’s been replaced with an updated version – the Olympus Stylus TG-2 iHS Digital Camera with 4x Optical Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (Black) which looks to have the same great features as its predecessor and according to the specs, is now waterproof to a level of 5o ft! And – at a price of  $379.oo seems to be slightly lower than what we paid for the TG-1.

Do you have the Olympus TG-1 or TG-2? If so, what are your thoughts on its performance? Or – do you have another waterproof camera that you would recommend?

Magic Ice, St. Thomas

We don’t usually associate freezing temperatures with a tropical vacation, but on our recent trip to St. Thomas we experienced just that – and enjoyed it!

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Located on the Waterfront in downtown Charlotte Amalie (just down from Bones Rum and Big Kahuna Rum Shack), Magic Ice might be a fun way to escape the tropical heat while checking out some intricate ice sculptures and an ice bar!

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Once you enter the lobby of Magic Ice, you are given a huge parka with a fur rimmed hood, velcro leg warmers in case you show up in shorts and mittens.

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After suiting up in our arctic gear, our guide led us into
the “cold room” filled with magical ice sculptures backlit with a variety of beautiful colors.

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When we visited, the sculptures included a myriad of sea creatures, an ice throne that you could sit in, an ice slide for the young or young at heart and various island and pirate themed pieces, such as this skull and crossbones.

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New ice sculptures are created every six months, when ice artists from all over the globe are flown in to create a new gallery of ice art.

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At the end of the ice room we came across the ice bar complete with a great variety of Cruzan Rums and were treated to our choice of a VERY COLD shot of rum…yum…

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After about 20 minutes, we exited the ice room, got back in to our tropical attire and left cooler and refreshed to go explore more of the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie.

Visit their website to find out more about Magic Ice, St. Thomas

Find Magic Ice on our St. Thomas Map

To see more posts on St. Thomas and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

Copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC