Caitlin thinks I’m teasing her when I say I’m going to start a blog called “Clever Things Caitlin Said Today”. Although I guess it could be a twitter page. So we’re talking about the cost of living on a boat if your kid is going to a land-school, that the fee of having your boat in the marina is based on the length…

Caitlin: “Yeah, the snip fee, right?”
Me: “The slip fee.”
Caitlin: “Oh, right, the snip fee is what a cutter charges.”

(A cutter being an underground castration specialist)


Anyway, I was reading the blog of a live-aboard family that posted in a recent entry here, and was thinking about a little island called “Sandy Cay” between Jost Van Dyke and Tortola in BVI near where Gillian and Clive used to live, and found it on Google Maps:

What’s interesting though is when I switched to the regular map view, the island totally disappeared (inset photo), as if it doesn’t exist (bringing to mind a story I read in some sailing magazine this month about a recent wreck on Sable Island that occurred due to the island not being on a GPS system’s map and a course being plotted right through it)…

This is in a way appropriate, because Sandy Cay is one of probably millions of beautiful places that you’ll never see unless you have a boat (or a float plane I suppose). According to Google Maps scale, the big catamaran in the photo above is probably about 60′ long — I’m guessing it’s a costly charter vacation rather than a cruiser. When I went past the island (in 2003), there were a half dozen boats making it their highly exclusive beach of the day. Here’s the picture I took of it from Jost Van Dyke.

I was there looking at a house — the one in the picture below that looks like a castle (it was full of antique furniture formerly owned by Ernest Hemingway). Asking price was around a quarter million dollars, and the neighbors, the only other people who lived full time in this group of houses, were home schooling their kids. The main reason we decided against the purchase was that at the time there were fairly high condo fees to maintain the building’s private beach.

The beach was really stunning though (that’s it below if it’s not obvious)… A thousand feet, maybe more, of sandy beach with palm trees along its length, shared by a dozen people which guaranteed you’d almost always have it to oneself. I don’t have any “what if” hindsight about it, but I do hope to be able to revisit these islands soon.

Housing prices on Jost Van Dyke and in the BVI in general have gone up a lot since I looked at them in 2003… But I do have to wonder whether the end result of the so-called “world economic crisis” is going to put these houses as well as luxury sailboats back on the market at a greatly reduced price. Part of me hopes so, but if my theory that this is less about economic hardship and more about wealth stratification is correct, I actually think it could increase the prices of luxuries as the rich get richer and seek to control more and more assets for themselves.

In that case, off with their heads and all…


  1. Elizabeth wrote:

    <3!!!!!!! So many of us, I’d hope for the sake of the wealthy things dont go Mad Max. If I did not have kids, however, I’d be looking forward with glee. :D Instead it’s trepidation and a wee bit of anticipation. I too love clever and that was a pretty good retort. Snip fee, ha ha.

    Oh, working on my raft, have lashed all the large limbs I could find and am outfitting it with styrofoam block housing, this oughtta be fiiiiine.
    No, no raft for me and mine but I do hope that when you guys set sail, you meander up the Gulf, to the West and port around Mobile Bay. I can take you to Massacre Island, weee!

    Friday, October 10, 2008 at 1:45 pm | Permalink
  2. mark wrote:



    Friday, October 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm | Permalink
  3. Richard Larratt wrote:

    Your memory missing in parts it is Time to reread Dune before the LAST MISSION – to corner the supply of the most essential and valuable commodity in the universe.

    I mean none less than melange the spice drug that gives the user a longer lifespan and for a few who undergoe serious BME makes interstellar travel possible without the use of artifical intelligence.

    As SDL knows – and for which we love him – Melange comes at a steep price – it is addictive and withdrawal is often fatal.

    Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 7:50 am | Permalink
  4. Thomas Moore wrote:

    Shannon – I’m writing from Heron Island, one place you are very unlikely to see from boat or plane. The island is approximately 800m long by 300m wide, 80km off the Queensland coastline

    Sunday, October 12, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Permalink
Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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