Three quarters of Earth is water, as is the human body. Human brains are even soggier. Gray matter accounts for only 15% of the stuff within a skull – the rest of our smarts are composed of – water. Three lush-ish days of relaxin’ at the Soggy Dollar Bar in Jost Van Dyke amplified my thankfulness for the sea. They also affirmed the adage, it’s not the ice in the frozen concoction that chills. It’s the booze in the Painkillers that melts brains. The cup may hold 12 ounces, but 75% of the swill is water – the minority rules.
Vacations are hyped as get aways. Vaykays spent on, in, or near the sea, are really “get closers.” Our inner sea floats with the swells. Blood feels lighter – saltier – and heart beats keep time with the surf’s rhythm. Ebbing tides swipe land bound worries. We become lax; what was firm back home settles as soft silt beneath our toes at the water line. The past ebbs and the future dissolves. We savor the moment – now.
We discovered the ultimate beach “get closer” in the Caribbean. Jost Van Dyke is a small island, there is always a sea breeze no matter the time or tide. Every room has a library, the pages of the books are softened by the tropical sea air. Meals are prepared by a chef rather than a fry cook. Smiles run rampant, stories become legends, laughter triumphs. By day’s end, fresh friendships flourish and stress is forsaken. The star soaked sky merges with the sea and envelopes one’s senses with bliss.
The Soggy Dollar Bar serves scores of patrons on a busy day – but it sleeps just six couples at it’s Sandcastle Hotel. It’s only approachable by boat. We traveled by ferry from St. Thomas and Tortola – but most guests arrive on cruise ship excursion boats, catamarans, and other vessels. These patrons swim from boats to the beach – and back. That’s the SDB challenge; Swim In, Drink, Swim Out.
Mick, the bartender at the Soggy Dollar understands the magic of lax. He will tell you it’s not what’s in the glass that is so different from the spirits poured in millions of bars. The famed plastic cup holds a sip of this particular island, a slug of the sea, a dash of sand clinging to the rim. A sprinkling of freshly grated nutmeg crowns the brew. To expect the same sensation from a cocktail by the same name anywhere else is foolish. It’s the whole-ness of being at the Soggy Dollar that is inebriating. Oh, sure it is, until you ask Mick for another round and the water within begins to spin with the sea.
If you plan a “get closer” to the Virgin Islands, skip the U.S. Saints and ferry to the Brit’s isles. Pack a toothbrush, a change or two of casual wear. Leave the make up home. Plan to play. Allow 75% of your being to blend with it’s counterpart – the sea. Make a reservation to Jost Van Dyke to relax. To lax again. That whole thing about becoming slack and letting salt water make worries go soft … To relax is to get loose…again.
Thank you Tina, Mick and the great staff of the Soggy Dollar and Sandcastle for outstanding service – our best beach vacation in 42 years! A shout out to the gang who introduced us to One Love and Ivans – stories to follow – send me some pix and Stay Shady. Sorry to have missed you Jerry & Tina (two LaSalle Alums) – we are sorry for your tragic loss.
Readers interested in visiting the Soggy Dollar and Sandcastle Hotel contact Tina at
firstname.lastname@example.org and visit them online at soggydollar.com.