What is it like to live on an island? Is it
harder than living on the mainland? What do residents do for
shopping? How do the houses get water and power? Does the island
have internet and cable TV? How do people get to the island? How are
medical emergencies handled? What do people do for entertainment on
an island? Why do people live on an island?
All of these questions are asked, and answered,
everyday by those of us that live on an island or want to live on an
island. In our case we are talking about Water Island.
Sitting right next to Saint Thomas in the U.S.
Virgin Islands in the Caribbean is Water Island. The atmosphere on
Water Island has been referred to as “an emotional world away from
the hustle and bustle of St Thomas”.
If you want a slower pace of life Water Island
gives you that. Nobody is ever in a rush to get some place else.
There really isn’t “some place else” to get to! Most of the 100
residents on this little 500 acre island drive a golf cart as the
main mode of transportation. That works out good as most of the
narrow roads have potholes and there is no high speed traffic to
worry about. There is only one “STOP” sign on the entire island. All
of the neighbors know one another and are eager to help each other
if need be.
Expect to do your own upkeep of your home.
Expect to fix anything and everything if it breaks. You tend to
become quite the handyman when you live on a small island. You
develop special “McGyver” skills. If you are still stuck one of the
neighbors usually has the skills and tools needed to help.
Getting to St Thomas is no problem at all. The
Water Island Ferry, owned by a Water Islander, runs from Crown Bay
Marina on St Thomas about every hour from 6:35 am until 6:00 pm
Monday thru Saturday and night ferries run generally on Wednesday,
Friday and Saturday nights. You can make arrangements for a special
ferry or a water taxi. Most residents own a dinghy or boat to
commute to Crown Bay Marina on St Thomas.
All shopping is done on St Thomas. You will
have to rent a car or go by taxi to stock up. Most homes have
freezers so that residents can stock up when they make a shopping
run. There are several grocery stores (Pueblo, Cost U Less, Price
Smart, Plaza Extra) for food shopping. Home Depot is a full service
store as is Kmart. You then bring your items back to Water Island on
the ferry or private boat. You can also take you car or truck to St
Thomas on the car barge (owned by a Water Islander), do your
shopping and then come back on the barge.
Water Island is the exception when it comes to
having medical emergency services. They have the Water Island Search
and Rescue Squad. This squad of trained volunteers responds to all
medical emergencies and treats the victim before transporting them
to St. Thomas for further transportation to the hospital.
Utilities are provided just like on the
mainland, with one exception. Water is collected from the roof of a
home and is stored in a cistern (concrete vaults) located under the
house. Residents use faucet filters or ultraviolet light to prepare
the water for drinking. Electricity and telephone service comes from
St Thomas under water. Cell phones work well, internet service is
provided by a small roof mounted antenna, and television is provided
by satellite or wireless cable from St Thomas.
Many residents work on St Thomas. They commute
by ferry or private boat and keep a regular work schedule. Water
Island is a diverse community of people with many skills. We have
doctors, lawyers, office managers, general managers, craftsmen, shop
keepers, waitresses, and other professions.
You make your own entertainment on a small
island. They have done just that on Water Island. Lunch at the beach
at Heidi’s Honeymoon Grill or a fruity tropical drink at “Joe’s
beach bar. If that is not enough for you you can go to the Drive-in
on the beach every Monday night during high season. There is even a
BINGO night held every other week in season.
The final important question is why do people
live on an island? We enjoy the peace and quiet, the breathtaking
views of the Caribbean Sea, good friends, being independent,
protecting nature and taking the opportunity to slow down and enjoy
the blessed life we live here on Water Island.