The unlikely island of Anegada has the distinction of being the site of the first airport ever built in the British Virgin Islands. The airstrip that first brought the age of air travel to the BVI was not much more than a hard-packed dirt runway. It was located at West End near Cow Wreck Beach and constructed in hopes of servicing a fledgling shark fishing industry that had started up on the island.
(In the 1800s when a ship carrying cow bones, used at the time to make chalk and buttons, wrecked on the reef just offshore of a small sandy cove on the northwest coast of Anegada. For years afterwards these bones washed ashore and the cove became know as Cow Wreck Beach.)
The shark fishery never really got off the ground, and the only aircraft to ever land at West End were one or two small private planes from St. Thomas carrying store-bought goods to Anegada residents and returning with local produce and seafood. These flights, however, were so few and far between that it was not long before the airstrip was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
(The last plane to ever use the airport before it literally disappeared into the bush was made by “a doctor from Tortola who flew his own plane and tried to make a call to Anegada by air. Having inspected the airfield from above and deciding it looked okay, he went in for his landing and touched down. All went well until an 18-inch ditch across the runway sheared off his landing gear. It seems that one of the locals, wanting to drain a salt marsh, had dug a ditch across the runway. Such is aviation across the West Indies…”Street’s Cruising Guide to the Eastern Caribbean, by Donald Street. The doctor mentioned in the story was identified by some Anegadians as Tortola’s Dr. Tattersoll.)
Although Anegada’s first introduction to the age of air travel had little to no effect on the lives of the residents of that remote island, the next airport to be built on Anegada did bring about considerable social change, but not in the way that most airports do. Anegada’s Auguste George Airport was built in 1969 and is located towards the northern part of the Settlement. As its 2,500-foot runway can only accommodate small aircraft, most visitors still arrive on sailboats and the airport has never been a major player in Anegada’s burgeoning tourist industry.
(The airport was named after Captain Auguste George Airport. His daughter, Anegada-born Gracita Faulkner, earned international fame and appeared in leading roles in “La Traviata” and “Faust” for the American Opera Guild.)
Nonetheless, the construction of the Auguste George Airport in 1960 did result in major changes in the lives and lifestyles of the residents of Anegada. The story of how this came about begins with the unorthodox nature and history of land ownership on the island…. read more
St. John Virgin Islands News
Police Investigate Tourist’s Death at St. John Villa
By Source Staff — March 3, 2014
Police are investigating the death of a woman at a private villa on St. John. The incident was reported to 911 emergency dispatch Sunday morning.
According to preliminary information from the V.I. Police Department, officers interviewed a man who said he and his wife were on vacation from Virginia and had an argument at the villa. The man said after the argument he slept outside the rental property in his vehicle. The next morning he tried to enter to the villa but could not gain access.
He called for assistance to get inside and, once inside, discovered the unresponsive body of his 41-year-old wife.
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