Year round summer-like weather in the Caribbean causes blurred lines. If we didn’t have a calendar, we wouldn’t actually know when the summer season actually begins. For us in the BVI, our summer season begins with the Poker Run event (last week of May). For those of you who have no idea what Poker Run is, here’s a quick break down on the event.
Poker run is a basically a poker game on water. Local boaters and boaters from nearby Caribbean islands like Puerto Rico and Anguilla come over to participant in this fun event. Hundreds of participants register their boat at the starting location (Leverick Bay) in the hopes of winning the game. After registration, the Poker Run “Race” begins. Each registered boater has to stop at four different stops to collect a card to add to their hand. This year, the stops were Leverick Bay, Foxy’s at Jost Van Dyke, Norman Island, Tortola Pier Park and then back to Leverick Bay. Thankfully, the Poker Run Committee thought about the rest of us stragglers who just show up for the fun of it. In addition to card pick ups, each stop has live music/DJs, food and good vibes for everyone to enjoy. This event is a charitable event where proceeds go to local charities and also to the winners.
So lets get into it!
First things first, to do Poker Run right, you’re going to need a boat. Watching from land is not fun at all, trust me, I’ve tried. If you can’t get on a friend’s boat or charter one, companies such as Romasco Group, Speedys and Road Town Fast Ferry run party boats at a reasonable price.
Our boat crew decided not to fully participate in the Poker Run stops. And thank God. Instead, we devised our own itinerary and went at a pace that was more our speed. First up was Norman Island! We skipped the beginning of the Poker Run race (Leverick and Foxy’s) and headed straight to Norman Island. We docked up and had a fete of our own onboard our boat. If you know me, you know I love soca! So its a no brainer that I spent the whole day dancing with my hype man Shemar.
After being away at school for so long, it was nice to link up with old friends and like-minded people! I missed that the most about living in the British Virgin Islands.
After dancing for hours and realizing that a huge crowd of Poker Run goers were coming into harbor, we decided to head off to Cooper Island for a quick lunch. Cooper Island is a small island with a restaurant and hotel on site. It exuded the ultimate island vibe needed to relax after fete-ing all morning. Now, you do not have to follow our route. You can opt for the buffet prepared at Norman Island for the Poker Run goers. We just wanted to avoid the crowds and that we did.
Tortola Pier Park
After our quick lunch at Cooper Island, we headed to the Tortola Pier Park for a quick stop and drink. We literally only spent 15 minutes there because it was kind of boring and super crowded. So if you would like to skip this spot, you won’t be missing much.
Leverick Bay, the Final Stop.
Leverick Bay, located in the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, is the hub of the Poker Run event. This is where all the registered boaters head to see if they won the grand prize! The event winds down here and serves as the final hoopla for everyone whether a registered participant, non-registered participant or volunteer. Here is where the fashion show and award ceremony takes place. Get yourself a drink, some food if you’re still hungry (lol me) and vibe with friends and new friends that I am sure you will make.
If you’re ever visiting the BVI around the last week of May, make sure to plan to attend the BVI Poker Run event to top off your trip. If you live in the BVI and have never been, I urge you to try it at least once. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more!
While you’re here, check out this blog to see what I got into in Anegada! Be prepared for Flamingoes and an island made out of Conch shells.