80.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesRain Can’t Damper Easter Campers’ Spirits

Rain Can’t Damper Easter Campers’ Spirits

The William family gathers under their tent as it begins raining on Sprat Hall Beach.It will take more than rain to cut short St. Croix’s most enduring family tradition. Despite the dreary weather this weekend, the island’s beaches from Point Udall to Frederiksted were packed with Easter campers. When the rain got too heavy, they just took the party into their tents.

Most of the campers said they would never consider cutting short the festivities. For many, sleeping under the stars for the week before Easter is something they’ve done since they were children.

Edwin and Yvonne Ortiz, owners of El Flamboyant Restaurant, said they’ve been setting up camp on Southgate Beach for 24 years. They had plenty of company Saturday. Edwin said people know their camp is the place to go for good food.

A pickup game of football on Sprat Hall Beach.He said that years ago his family would host as many as 75 people at their camp, but they have tried to tone it down recently.

Advertising (skip)

“My wife was spending all her time cooking,” he joked.

Yvonne said their Easter camping tradition transformed Southgate Beach into a special place for her family. She said both her daughter and her brother got married here, and when she and Edwin celebrated their 20th anniversary, they couldn’t think of a more appropriate spot than this beach.

Yvonne said she cherishes the week they spend on the beach every Easter because it’s a chance to reconnect with her family and friends.

“We’re always working. We’re always at the job doing things,” she said. “This is the only moment we always have to get people together.”

Like many Easter campers, the Ortiz family tested the limits of what is considered “camping.” Under a tent, Yvonne was making her famous chicken soup in a kitchen that was better stocked than many apartments, and across the camp a DJ was blaring dance music under a sea grape tree.

 Yvonne Ortiz, owner of El Flamboyant Restaurant, serves her famous chicken soup to visitors to her camp.He didn’t have the best sound system of the weekend, however. Across the island on Sprat Hall beach, a generator fed power to a pile of speakers and subwoofers six feet high.

“That’s normal,” joked Dominic William. “Somebody’s got a television up there.”

His family decided to set up camp far from the speakers on the quieter end of the beach. Rather than try to recreate their home in their tents, he said his family was focusing on simple pleasures: food, conversation and rum.

Asked what was the nicest comfort they brought with them, he smiled and said, “Quietness.”

While there was a good turnout across the island, at almost every beach long-time campers said the crowds were thinner than last year. This was nowhere more evident than at Cramer Park. On a normal year there’s hardly enough space between the tents for visitors to squeeze by and reach the surf, but this year swatches of sand remained unclaimed.

“It’s gotta be the LEAC that’s messing it up,” said Ruben Prince Sr., the lifeguard at the park.

He said he didn’t think the weather would keep people away, and that the low turnout must be from people not having enough extra money to stock their camps. Still, he said, the people who were there were having a great time.

Prince says that the holiday usually falls on his weekend to work, but even when it doesn’t he volunteers. He says he enjoys the fellowship. After his shift, he stays the night with the campers, bouncing from one tent to another, playing dominos and sharing food.

Rather than making his job more stressful, he says he looks forward to the Easter campers descending on the park.

“It makes my day,” he said. “Seeing everybody happy and having fun. No trouble. Everybody’s living as one family.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more

The William family gathers under their tent as it begins raining on Sprat Hall Beach.It will take more than rain to cut short St. Croix’s most enduring family tradition. Despite the dreary weather this weekend, the island’s beaches from Point Udall to Frederiksted were packed with Easter campers. When the rain got too heavy, they just took the party into their tents.

Most of the campers said they would never consider cutting short the festivities. For many, sleeping under the stars for the week before Easter is something they’ve done since they were children.

Edwin and Yvonne Ortiz, owners of El Flamboyant Restaurant, said they’ve been setting up camp on Southgate Beach for 24 years. They had plenty of company Saturday. Edwin said people know their camp is the place to go for good food.

A pickup game of football on Sprat Hall Beach.He said that years ago his family would host as many as 75 people at their camp, but they have tried to tone it down recently.

“My wife was spending all her time cooking,” he joked.

Yvonne said their Easter camping tradition transformed Southgate Beach into a special place for her family. She said both her daughter and her brother got married here, and when she and Edwin celebrated their 20th anniversary, they couldn’t think of a more appropriate spot than this beach.

Yvonne said she cherishes the week they spend on the beach every Easter because it’s a chance to reconnect with her family and friends.

“We’re always working. We’re always at the job doing things,” she said. “This is the only moment we always have to get people together.”

Like many Easter campers, the Ortiz family tested the limits of what is considered “camping.” Under a tent, Yvonne was making her famous chicken soup in a kitchen that was better stocked than many apartments, and across the camp a DJ was blaring dance music under a sea grape tree.

 Yvonne Ortiz, owner of El Flamboyant Restaurant, serves her famous chicken soup to visitors to her camp.He didn’t have the best sound system of the weekend, however. Across the island on Sprat Hall beach, a generator fed power to a pile of speakers and subwoofers six feet high.

“That’s normal,” joked Dominic William. “Somebody’s got a television up there.”

His family decided to set up camp far from the speakers on the quieter end of the beach. Rather than try to recreate their home in their tents, he said his family was focusing on simple pleasures: food, conversation and rum.

Asked what was the nicest comfort they brought with them, he smiled and said, “Quietness.”

While there was a good turnout across the island, at almost every beach long-time campers said the crowds were thinner than last year. This was nowhere more evident than at Cramer Park. On a normal year there’s hardly enough space between the tents for visitors to squeeze by and reach the surf, but this year swatches of sand remained unclaimed.

“It’s gotta be the LEAC that’s messing it up,” said Ruben Prince Sr., the lifeguard at the park.

He said he didn’t think the weather would keep people away, and that the low turnout must be from people not having enough extra money to stock their camps. Still, he said, the people who were there were having a great time.

Prince says that the holiday usually falls on his weekend to work, but even when it doesn’t he volunteers. He says he enjoys the fellowship. After his shift, he stays the night with the campers, bouncing from one tent to another, playing dominos and sharing food.

Rather than making his job more stressful, he says he looks forward to the Easter campers descending on the park.

“It makes my day,” he said. “Seeing everybody happy and having fun. No trouble. Everybody’s living as one family.”