Q: Tell us a bit about you, your interest in photography, and how your affection for the island is reflected in your photography.
A: The name of the company was derived from my name, Jacquil. I was looking for a word that relates to the media as a whole, so chose Imagery rather than Photography. This was suggested by my wife, and I've stuck with it ever since.
I began taking photography seriously about six years ago, when I lived in the Netherlands. I would come to Statia every summer and try to take as many pictures as possible. My knowledge of photography is all self-taught, I learned everything on YouTube.
Growing up around cameras sparked my interest in photography—my mother is a photographer. As time went on, I decided to get behind the camera, but I only started taking pictures because I needed a camera to shoot a music video. The Samsung S7 edge was the best phone I could afford at the time, so I got it on subscription and shot the video. Then I started taking landscape photos all the time. When I told people the photos were taken with a phone, they were surprised. My advice is to always make the most of what you have until you can get what you want.
Now, in nearly three years of living on the island, I always find something new to photograph, despite the island’s small size.
Q: What are your top three photos of Statia, and their significance to you?
A: The drone photo of Statia, at the top of this blog, would be my first favorite, probably because it was the first time I’d used a drone. Being a student at the time, buying a drone was out of my budget, but I still bought one and flew it every day, until restrictions prevented me from flying it. This image reminds me of a time when I was still figuring out my way in photography and making sacrifices to do it.
The next photo, one of my first sunset shots taken with a DSLR, holds a special place in my heart. It was taken when I still travelled to the island every summer. I had just gotten my first DSLR camera. It was second hand and didn't have any fancy lenses. Despite this, it was special to me, and sometimes when you don't have all the fancy equipment, you use what you have. Many of my early photos were taken around sunset since I really enjoyed going outside around that time.
The third pick is a top-down shot of the island’s bay area. It shows a bit of what I have accomplished so far. This is my best-selling photo. It hangs in our airport, and everyone wants to have it printed. One of my dearest friends has this photo on their entire living room wall. They say it’s the first thing that people see when they visit. It brings me joy to see people loving an image that much.
Statia’s bay area
Q: What would you suggest tourists do and see on Statia?
A: If tourists are up for it, I would recommend hiking The Quill. Getting to the top is definitely a journey, but the view is well worth it. The Quill is a place for exploration, but also a place for relaxation which is one of the things I like to do on the island - just relax. Usually, my day ends with having a seat somewhere on the island and taking photos at that location. Fort Oranje and the top of Round Hill where I can view the entire island are two of my favourite places.
View from The Quill
Summer is synonymous with fun. With the sunny weather and relaxed atmosphere this season brings, many people look forward to exciting activities with friends and family. For some Caribbean islands, summer also means festivals and Statia is no exception. The entire month of July is dedicated to colourful, music-filled cultural extravaganzas culminating with carnival. For the traveller whose interest lies in immersive cultural adventures, a summer trip to Statia is a must.
On Statia this year, the month of July started off with Emancipation Day celebrations – an apt precursor to the events that are now in full swing and will be for the next few weeks – the celebration of freedom expressed with music and revelry. On the calendar of events, you’ll find a musical, wet fete, bazaar, silent party and more. On Friday, July 22nd, the island’s official carnival festival will begin.
In the period that follows, there will be parades, a night for the youths, a night of culture, Miss Mature Pageant, calypso and soca competition, then the highly anticipated Jouvert parade and reunion jam moves things into high gear. The carnival festival will continue on its upward electrifying trajectory with a vibrant street parade where colourful, costumed masqueraders, accompanied by pulsating local music carried on trucks customized for this purpose dance their way through the streets of Oranjestad. With DJs and live bands galvanizing masqueraders into seemingly well-practiced gyrations to the captivating sounds of the music-trucks, spectators will find it difficult not to shake a leg as the parade goes by. But if you miss the chance to dance along with masqueraders and other locals, the “last lap” jump-up on August 1st presents another opportunity. This is the ultimate culmination of carnival and a perfect way to participate in a community activity with music being at the center of it all.
For the past two years, Covid-19 negatively affected this event. In 2020, no carnival was held. In 2021 the island recorded minimal cases and no deaths so islanders enjoyed a modified version. This year, with travel restrictions being eased around the world and travellers venturing out again, islanders are glad to have their festival back in all its glory; glad to welcome Statians from the diaspora back home and eager have visitors come to the island to share this experience with them.
Why not make Statia your summer vacation choice? If carnival experiences are what you seek visit Statia. It’s not too late to book your trip! July on Statia is magical and mesmerizing. Go experience it.
By Nancy Baye
I recently visited the Caribbean gem of St. Eustatius, quickly falling into calling it by its local term of endearment, Statia. It didn’t take long to see why people fall in love with this place.
At the end of one day chockful of adventures, I was able to spend some time at a small beach near the harbor called Gallows bay (Oranje Bay). While digging my feet into the warm black sand, careful not to disturb any precious turtle eggs, which had reportedly just been checked on by the folks at STENAPA, I savored the calm and quiet that make Statia the ideal destination for a tranquil escape. Then I floated in the sea, taking in the sailboats, dive boats and other vessels tethered in the snug cove that boasts 18th century relics.
Refreshed and ready to refuel, I made the short walk to The Blue Bead Bar and Restaurant, one of the many lovely places that dot this strip of Statia.
Elevated and just across the street from the beach, the establishment offers a beautiful view. Their relaxed stylish Caribbean atmosphere, with its bright yellow and blue color scheme, open air dining room and friendly staff make it all the more inviting.
Blue Bead has a reputation for its pizzas, but the kitchen goes beyond those to include a wide range of menu items: burgers, ribs, curries, steak, baked chicken, vegetarian options, and more. The choice was tough, but I decided on slow roasted lamb. And I’m glad I did—it was succulent and big on flavor. I was delighted to find one of my personal favorites on the side—potatoes au gratin—which were richly divine.
As the place filled with locals and a few tourists, I had a chance to see some of the meals I had to pass up, all of which looked delish, with hearty portion sizes, and very reasonable prices. Blue Bead advertises some great specials also, with two for one deals, select $20 entrees, and fixed price holiday menus.
Amidst the happy hubbub of the dinner hour were a few faces I recently met, and this led to some warm tableside chat. And as if the night couldn’t get better, we all got to revel in a magnificent sunset over the harbor.