Paradigm Shipping Services
P.O. Box 3252, Road Town, Tortola
British Virgin Islands VG1110
Tel: +1(284) 541 1775
operations@paradigmshipping.com

Paradigm Shipping Services is a BVI registered local company operating on the main island of Tortola providing services in all aspects of the shipping industry.The British Virgin Islands, aka "Nature's Little Secrets" are considered the sailing capital of the world and many in the marine community enjoy these wonderful islands and their surrounding clear and warm waters.Below is a brief description of the main islands:-


     

    Main Island/Capital: Road Town, Tortola
    Nationality: British Overseas Territory
    Official Language: English
    Offical Currency: U.S. Dollar

    Location

    Comprised of 36 islands and islets in the Caribbean (17 of which are inhabited); about 80 kilometers 960 miles) east of Puerto Rico, north of the Leeward Islands, and adjacent to the U.S. Virgin Islands; principal islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke.

     

    Area

    153 square kilometers (59 square miles); Tortola, 54 square kilometers (21 square miles); Anegada (not shown abovee), 39 square kilometers (15 square miles); Virgin Gorda, 21 square kilometers (8 square miles).

    Topography

    Largely rolling hills and beaches; Tortola rises to 1,780 feet at Mount Sage, the highest point in all the Virgin Islands; Anegada is very flat, the entire islands being no more than a few feet above sea level.

    Climate

    Sub-tropical; summer, 26°C - 31°C (79°F - 89°F); Winter, 22°C - 28°C (72°F - 82°F); rainfall monthly average of 100 mm.

    Population
    Total population (2002) estimate 21,644.

    History

    In 1666 British planters took over control of the island group from the original Dutch settlers. The islands attained the status of British colony, and remained part of the Leeward Islands from 1872 until 1956, when the British Virgin Islands became a separatly administered entity. To preserve its close economic ties with the U.S. Virgin Islands, the group did not join the 1958-1962 West Indies Federation of British Virgin Islands. In 1967, a new constitution provided for a ministerial system of government headed by a Chief Minister. The island group remains under British control today.

    Government

    The Governor is the representative of Her Majesty the Queen and responsible for defense and internal security, external affairs, terms and contitions of service of public officers, and the administration of the courts; he possesses reserved legislative powers in these areas. There is an Executive Council, with the Governor as chairman, which includes the Attorney General, (ex-officio) the Chief Minister (appointed by the Governor from those elected to the Legislative Council) and three other ministers appointed by the Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.

    The Legislative Council consists of the four ministers and five other popularly elected representatives, and is presided over by a speaker elected from outside the Council.

    The judicial system is under the direction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which includes the High Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal. Other bodies are the Magistrates' Court, a Juvenile Court, and a Court of Summary Jurisdiction.

    Nature's Little Secrets

    A perennial delight to yachtsmen and landlubbers alike, some 60 islands of the BVI have succeeded in safeguarding their special charm from the inroads of mass tourism. However, the secret is out as an increasing number of escapists discover this ancient archipelago's many natural advantages, from sanctuaries for exotic fauna and flora to fabulous fishing and dive sites.
    Among the most frequently visited of the BVI's handful of inhabited islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Beef Island, Anegada, Jost Van Dyke, Peter, Mosquito, and Guana Islands. All of these lilting place names reflect idyllic sites for unwinding, wriggling your toes in the sand, and absorbing the tranquil pleasures of sunshine and sapphire seas.

    Non-glitzy but very comfortable lodgings range from beachside honeymoon cottages to mountaintop villas with private pool and jacuzzi. Low-keyed luxury accommodations are also available on several single resort islands.


    Tortola

    Tortola, or "land of turtle doves' is the largest of the British Virgin Islands overlooking Sir Francis Drake Channel and situated about 60 miles east of Puerto Rico. Its most popular point of entry for vacationers is the East End Beef Island Airport linked to the capital city of Road Town by the one-lane Queen Elizabeth Bridge.

    Road Town's scenic setting and sheltered yacht-filled harbour provide a helpful orientation to the laid-back BVI lifestyle evolved over the last 400 years by English, Dutch, French, and Spanish adventurers, followed by plantation owners and 20th century settlers.

    This friendly and diversified community tempts travelers with every sort of regional and international cuisine found in a choice of cheerful pastel painted restaurants, former forts, and sugar mills. Palate-pleasing menus feature West Indian specialities of fresh lobster, conch, turtle, spicy goat, and curries of every description. An authentic English pub serves Pusser's Rum, traditional drink of the British Navy for 300 years, as well as a popular fruit flavored local concoction known as the "Painkiller."

    Savvy shoppers can usually find bargains in perfume, jewelry, wine, and Wedgewood china in the homey-style stores dotting Road Town's Main Street and Soper's Hole, West End. However, the shops are best known for their unique local products. Look for one-of-a-kind antiques, silk-screened fabrics, intricate ship models, and watercolors by Tortolan artists.

    Tortola also offers and ideal jumping off point to the other main island of Virgin Gorda with its famous Baths, magical Anegada, and rustic Jost Van Dyke. Visitors can avail themselves of an efficient ferry service to any of these nearby destinations.

    J.R. O'Neal Botanic Gardens
    A cool and peaceful refuge located in the center of Road Town. The beautiful four-acre garden includes a lush array of indigenous and exotic tropical plants.
    The V.I. Folk Museum
    Located on Main Street in Road Town, the museum is housed in a traditional West Indian building, and has many artifacts on display from the islands' Tiano, plantation, and slavery eras. There are also pieces from the wreck of the RMS Rhone.
    Queen Elizabeth Park
    A small community park bordering the western side of Road Harbour in Road Town.
    Soper's Hole
    This popular anchorage is located on the West End of Tortola. The main ferry terminal is here, as are several restaurants and the Caribbean-style Soper's Hole Marina and shopping wharf.


    Virgin Gorda

    Virgin Gorda, or "Fat Virgin", refers to a protruding mountain noted by Columbus on this second largest of the British Virgin Isles. Only ten miles long and two miles wide, the island is known for its yacht clubs, quiet coves, and safe anchorages for bareboats.

    Its most celebrated beach - The Baths - is an intriguing grouping of huge granite rocks framing grottos filled with with sea water. While geologists ponder the origins of these mysterious boulders, swimmers and snorkelers refresh themselves in the cool waters of hidden pools and secret passages.

    Nature lovers can enjoy a short stroll from The Baths to the Devil's Bay National Park, one of several parks given by the Rockefellers to the British Virgin Islands' government in the 1960s.

    Little Fort National Park
    Located south of the Yacht Harbour, it was the site of a Spanish fort whose stone walls are still partially intact. This 36-acre area also functions as a wildlife sanctuary.
    The Coppermine
    On the southwest tip of the island, it was mined by Cornish miners between 1838 and 1867, and perhaps even earlier by the Spanish. Today, the remains of the chimney, boiler house, cistern, and mine shafts can be seen.
    Gorda Peak National Park
    This park contains a wide variety of indigenous and exotic plants and has been reforested with mahogany trees. At 1,500 feet, it is the island's highest point.
    The Baths
    Giant boulders form a series of spectacular pools and grottoes flooded with sea water.


    Anegada

    Anegada is an easily missed speck on the map lying 20 miles north of Virgin Gorda. It covers 15 square miles and rises 28 feet above sea level.

    Over the years, more than 300 ships have been wrecked on the hazardous coral reefs encircling the islet, a tragedy which, in turn, has made Anegada a paradise for divers. The wrecks and reefs themselves have been enhanced with colorful formations of exotic undersea plan and animal life.

    With a population of about 250, Anegada's tourist facilities are limited to a campground, several guest cottages, and one 18-room hotel. Government efforts to keep the island as close to nature as possible have resulted in the recent introduction of a sanctuary for flamingos, ospreys, and terns supervised by the National Parks Trust.


    Jost Van Dyke

    Jost Van Dyke, a four-square mile island to the north of Tortola's West End, once the reputed hideaway for a Dutch pirate of the same name, still welcomes travelers looking for a remote, rustic retreat and first-rate hiking trails. The best beaches are found at Great Harbour and White Bay, while Main Street is a sandy strip of beach holding the BVI customs house and several, small beach cafes famed for their freshly baked banana bread and coconut muffins.

    In a decidedly offbeat but friendly community of about 200 inhabitants, hotel accommodations are modest and cater mostly to the yachting aficionados. At one of the town's most popular dining spots, the island's poet laureate-restauranteur greets each guest with a personalized guitar-accompanied serenade.


    Other Islands and Points of Interest

    Peter Island
    This privately owned island resort is accessible by water only. It is a great place to stay with its excellent sporting facilities. Tennis, sailing, and diving are all available, and five miles of secluded beaches are there for those who only want to live in the sun.
    Salt Island
    This sparsely inhabited island has three salt ponds, once a source of seasoning for islanders and passing ships. Residents still harvest the salt for sale.
    The RMS Rhone
    The Rhone was a 310-foot Royal Mail Ship that was dashed against the rocks off Salt Island's southwest cost during a hurricane in 1867. Its remains are extensive and have become a fascinating underwater habitat for marine life. It is part of the national park system and is a popular dive site.