On the Caribbean island of Nevis, there is a transplanted Manhattan photographer who answers his phone by simply saying, “Paradise.”
Bill Drake is the first to admit that Nevis’ leisurely pace took some getting used to, especially for a New Yorker. What Drake doesn’t mind, is what this 25-mile long island delivers for his photography career. This former fashion photographer finds that Nevis offers an environmental beauty that is as breathtaking as any place in the world.
One needs to be persistent to get to this Caribbean retreat located an hour southeast of Puerto Rico. Most visitors arrive by plane at Nevis’ sister of island of St. Kitts. From there, you need to take a small plane, a ferry, or water taxi to Nevis. When Drake landed at his new workplace four years ago, he was welcomed by goats on the airplane runway. Today, hardly a day goes by that Drake’s Nikon camera lens doesn’t discover a green vervet monkey, a sea turtle, or plant life so rare, it has yet to be named.
When Drake isn’t admiring Nevis’ rich landscape, he is lured toward one of the Caribbean’s most photogenic commercial addresses. Surrounded by coconut palms, the Four Seasons Nevis is a luxury retreat that showcases jaw-dropping amenities and photo opportunities at every turn.
Drake’s transition from frenetic New York life to Nevis calm is still a work in progress. Drake confides that since arriving in Nevis, he now gravitates toward people, rather than backing away from crowds. This native of Kingstree, SC, describes the Nevis populace as “very proud and very warm” and the friendly confines of his new home feels as small-town safe as any place he’s ever lived.
Drake’s future photographic plans include shooting images of the humpback whales frequenting Nevis’ outer perimeter.
For now, Drake has no plans of changing how he answers the phone. “Paradise” sounds and feels right to the persistent vacationer and a Gotham photographer charmed by island life .