WEST END — There’s a group of us, sailors and rum-seekers, strolling through the pathways of West End in Tortola, searching for the Pusser’s we knew.
West End has changed in the last 12 months, and will change again in the next 12, the winds of recovery blowing through the mangroves.
We come upon a sign with an arrow.
We follow the arrow around a corner to another sign.
Again and again until we reach the stairs and climb up to the old bar, peering out over the marina.
Yes, Pusser’s is open in Soper’s Hole.
We order the Pusser’s 15, a truly venerable Demerara rum, when we notice it.
The classic wooden bar has its signature brass counter pole.
But this one is different.
There is an enormous indentation in the pole, the wound of the storm, a mighty bend, the final result of something heavy traveling quickly.
It bent, but this old bar did not break.
The Pusser’s 15 starts to dwindle, the sailors remember the old times in Soper’s Hole, and wonder ahead to the new one.
Like all of the BVI, the bar is still here.
And it did not break.