Monday, 13 May 2013

I have been to … the Virgin Islands Maritime Museum, Tortola

The Virgin Islands Maritime Museum is located within the H L Stoutt Community College, Paraquita Bay, Tortola. It was set up in on 23rd February 2005, and it is dedicated to preserving the maritime heritage of the Virgin Islands and the local traditional of wooden boat building. The museum contains a large number of locally-made model boats.

Typical cargo ship used for trade with the Virgin Islands.

The schooner The Pride of Tortola.

The first inter-island ferry.

The schooner Fancy Me, that sank on 25th July 1926, with the loss of 59 of the 80 passengers and crew that were aboard her.

The schooner Gloria Colita, that was found awash and abandoned in May 1941. No trace of her captain and crew was ever found.

The Amanda Stout, that was built on Tortola in 1956.

The Revenge

The Golden Hind

Other models.


  1. Nice- as your blog illustrates: you can't beat a good model boat.



  2. Interesting find! We have stayed on Tortolla three times for a week each, and never knew this museum existed (although that doesn't mean I would have made it there - see comments about non History minded family under the Nelson's Dockyard post).

    Tortolla is actually our favorite of all the islands we have stayed on thus far. Road Town (the capital of the BVI) where the cruise ships dock, is frankly rather ugly, but the rest of the island is beautiful. I'm pretty sure the pictures you have in your travelogue of Long Bay are actually of Smuggler's Cove, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Carribean, at least in our opinion (White Sand Bay on Jost Van Dyke, BVI across the water is perhaps even nicer, and NO cruise ships there ever). It isn't that easy to get to and thus is usually uncrowded. The beach at Long Bay itself is very pretty but the surf there is often rough and there are rather large rocks in the water at swimming depth that are hard to see when the surf is up. (we have stayed at the Long Bay Beach resort twice).

    Cane Garden Bay, which draws a lot of cruise ships, is nice, often with moderate surf but no rocks; we stayed in a villa overlooking it last year. Verty nice accomodations and cheaper than Long Bay, although the local roosters make sure that sleeping late isn't usually a realistic plan, LOL!

    I trust you had at least one BVI Painkiller ("national drink" of the BVI) while on Tortolla? Although they have a zillion calories, done right they are truly amazing - dark rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, orange juice, and ice whizzed up in the blender with with fresh ground nutmeg sprinkled on the top. Yum... but deceptively strong. A good Rx, in my professional opinion! :-)

    Best ones are at the Soggy Dollar Beach bar on Jost van Dyke (traditionally credited with originating the drink), but the version served at Pusser's Rum stores (Pusser's Landing) is darn good, too! Pussers itself is supposedly a recreation of the Royal Navy rum used for making Grog.

  3. Peter,

    As far as I could find out, none of the models were made by professionals ... which makes the collect even more impressive to my mind.

    All the best,


  4. Gonsalvo,

    I don't think that the museum is widely publicised - even on Tortola - and it's location within a technical college does not make it very accessible.

    I was very impressed with the beach that we visited: very clean, reasonable facilities, and lots of space. Our guide - who was local - told us that it was Long Bay Beach ... but other than that I have no idea what it's name was.

    I did manage a Rum Punch (or several), and that was enough for me, though I did sample the local beer as well.

    It was our first visit to Tortola, but we liked it and hope to go back to the BVI at some time in the future.

    All the best,


  5. If you enjoy sailing, the great thing about the BVI (and Tortola in particular) is that within an easy days sail from Tortola, you can visit Jost Van Dyke, Norman and Cooper Islands, 'the Indians' (snorkeling can be amazing there) Peter Island, and even Virgin Gorda... as well as St John and St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. We usually charter a boat and crew with 2-4 other couples.

    All things considered, easier to stick to the British islands to avoid customs issues coming and going.

    Do have a "Painkiller" if you return to the BVI! :-)


  6. Gonsalvo (Peter),

    Whilst my wife and I are great 'cruisers', she is not a 'sailer' by any means, which does rather restrict where we can go. We would love to have been able to spend more time on quite a few of the islands, including the BVI and the surrounding area, but that will have to wait until we win the lottery!

    I saw the effect of the 'painkiller' on one or two of our fellow passengers ... and will certainly give one a try if we ever go back to Tortola.

    All the best,