A must stop on our recent British Virgin Island 10-day sailing charter was Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke Island.  We wanted to be there, of course, for the famous barbeque that takes place there every Friday and Saturday evening. On this particular week-end, Foxy’s would be sponsoring the Wooden Boat Regatta as well

Those visitors to the islands not on a sailboat can easily get here by boat, water taxi, private charter or ferry service from West End, Tortola; St. John; St. Thomas or from other locations on Jost Van Dyke. To top it off, Foxy even has a new watering hole, Foxy’s Tabu, on Diamond Cay, at East End. I expected that Foxy’s today would no longer be the little funky beach venue that Gunter and I recalled from our previous charter stop there twenty years ago. Even so, for memory’s sake, I wanted to dinghy ashore in the afternoon to see whether Foxy (a.k.a. Philicianno Callwood) might still be holding forth, captivating sailors with his exploits and tales of Caribbean pirates of yore.

banner_0041

I was not disappointed.

As I left the bar and strolled toward the new gift shop with all manner of tourist paraphernalia bearing the Foxy logo, there he was, Foxy himself with his big saucer eyes, barefoot and grinning. He was perched on a white plastic chair, surrounded by a new crop of fresh-faced admirers who would have been toddlers the last time I was there. I stood by watching him tell his sailors’ tales until the group had their fill and moved on. Then I told him that I was pleased to see him again after all these years and was not surprised to find that he had become an institution on the islands, as well as a capitalist and entrepreneur. He smiled and agreed that he hadn’t done badly.

I took a walk along the beach and then around to the back street, photographing tropical homes and flowers, banana trees, and goats. When I returned back to the bar for a beer, Foxy was gone. One lone guitar player sat on the bandstand, strumming a few tunes. I noticed a life-sized, mannequin of a Calypso guitar player standing behind him. Who else but Foxy would have an “epoxy Foxy” made as a stand in for himself so guests won’t feel slighted when he was not there?

Our group scoffed up the barbeque with plates of ribs and chicken piled high. We sipped on dark and stormies made with ginger beer and lots of rum, while the band began with reggae and quickly changed to rock. But Foxy was nowhere to be found. Getting along in years, (he doesn’t know how old he is) I assumed that, having made his appearance in the afternoon, he hightailed it for home, dinner, and bed.

That night, back at the boat in the bay, we reminisced about Foxy holding forth and the how the crowd of sailors would explode in laughter. Later, I found this poem about him posted on the internet, called Troubadour of Jost Van Dyke.

And when he sees you’ve turned red from the sun,
Look out now, ’cause here it comes!
He’s certain to note you’ll turn green when sick
or blue when sad … it’s part of his shtick!
And when he’s done exhausting all shades,
He’ll wait a moment while the music fades …
You could never accuse him of being a dullard
When he abruptly cries, “And you call ME coloured!”

Liane Le Tendre – November 2004
British Virgin Islands

Advertisements