St. John Virgin Islands: St. John Film Society Press release

St. John Film Society: Press Release
Hello Film Society Friends
Please join us next Tuesday night for a vibrant and hopeful film about the resourcefulness, determination, and optimism of the Cuban people as they recover from economic crises and make the transition to a more sustainable way of life.

St. John Film Society Presents:

TUES, OCTOBER 6
7:00 PM
SPUTNIK, CORAL BAY

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY:
How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

a documentary by Director Faith Morgan and Co-Producers Pat Eugene Murphey & Megan Quinn (53 min) 2006

“…gives hope and explains the transition that we need to make.”

This inspiring film offers us a living model of sustainability, as Cubans tell the remarkable story of their nation’s recovery and its transition to organic agriculture, renewable energy, effective mass transit, lowered consumption, better health, and stronger communities.

Come out early for Julietta’s delicious rotis!
Bring a chair if you’ll be late!

St John Film Society Presents:
THE POWER OF COMMUNITY: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
a documentary by Director Faith Morgan and Co-Producers Pat Eugene Murphey & Megan Quinn (53 min) 2006
“…gives hope and explains the transition that we need to make.”

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St. John Virgin Islands: US Mint Issues Virgin Islands Quarters

US-Virgin-Islands-Quarter
Virgin Islands Quarters

US Virgin Islands Quarter Bags & Rolls
By CoinNews.net on Sep 28th, 2009

The United States Min began selling U.S. Virgin Islands quarter bags and rolls on Monday, Sept. 28, at noon ET. On the same day, the quarter-dollars officially entered circulation.
The US Mint’s two-roll set offering includes 40 commemorative coins with the “P” mint mark for Philadelphia and a roll of 40 coins with the “D” mint mark for Denver. The set price is $32.95.
Each is wrapped in specially designed paper coin wrap,” the Mint states. “The packaging is marked with a “P” or “D” representing the mint of origin, “$10” representing its dollar value and “VI,” the United States Postal Code for the United States Virgin Islands.

Also available are 100-coin and 1,000-coin bags from each US Mint facility for $32.95 and $309.95, respectively.

Virgin Islands Quarters Rolls & Bags
Virgin Islands Quarters Rolls & Bags

The US Virgin Islands Quarter design, sculpted by Joseph Menna, features a Tyre Palm Tree, Bananaquit bird, and Yellow Elder flowers all in front of an outline of the three islands and the territory’s motto “United in Pride and Hope.”

The coins are the fifth in a series of six from the 2009 DC and US Territories Quarters Program, which honors the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories: the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The quarter products may be ordered by visiting http://usmint.gov, or by calling the Mint’s toll-free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-321-MINT (6468).
Production figures for US Virgin Islands are not yet available. The prior American Samoa quarter-dollars are the scarcest design, with the lowest mintages in years. 42.6 million were struck in Philadelphia and 39.6 million in Denver. Bags and rolls of these coins went on sale July 27,2009, and were taken off sale Monday morning prior to the new quarter release.

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St. John Virgin Islands: Another Day in Paradise

Sunset at Trunk Bay
Sunset at Trunk Bay

There’s that saying, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, here’s some photos taken yesterday, which was another incredibly clear day. St. Croix and the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra were again visible as was the mountain, El Yunque, on Puerto Rico itself. And the sunset was spectacular.

Trunk Bay Afternoon
Trunk Bay Afternoon

Ghost Crab
Ghost Crab

St. Croix as seen from Boatman Point - St. John USVI
St. Croix as seen from Boatman Point - St. John USVI

St. Croix close up photo
St. Croix close up photo
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St. John Virgin Islands: A Beautiful, Perfectly Clear Day

Yesterday, and it looks like today will be the same, was one of those perfectly clear days here on St. John. If you had a clear line of sight, you could see St. Croix in the south, clear as a bell, and looking west you could see Culebra, Vieques and even as far as El Yunque on the east coast of Puerto Rico.

The horizon line was clearly visible with the sky meeting the ocean in two contrasting shades of blue, with white puffy clouds and sharply defined emerald colored islands completing the panorama.

If someone were to paint this, critics would probably say that it was too perfect, probably faked.

But it’s real.

I love those days!

G

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St. John Virgin Islands: Off Season

You can really feel that it’s off season now, September remember is the old adage, warning about hurricanes. It wasn’t always like this, but it is now, since Hugo and Marilyn passed through here. But once upon a time Foxy held his famous Wooden Boat Race on Labor Day on Jost Van Dyke, which today, hosting any kind of boat race smack dab in the middle of Hurricane season would be just about unthinkable.

It’s real quiet. No line at all in the Post Office this morning, the bank, also empty. Real quiet. At the gym at the Westin, usually bustling in the early morning, there was just me and a couple of other locals, Teri Gibney and Michelle Collins working out, no waits for any machines. I kinda like it.

I like the weather also, providing no storms threaten. For the last few days you could see St. Croix clearly in the south. The seas have been calm, no dead calm days yet, but we do tend to have them this time of year. Great for small power boats, not so great for sailors.

It’s been dry, too. Bees wait for me to turn on the outdoor shower or water the garden and they call their buddies to avail themselves of the water. Pretty smart creatures, they are.

And the mosquitoes and sand fleas have been lying low; don’t miss them at all. (“Don’t worry, we’ll be back,” they’re thinking.)

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St. John Virgin Islands: Maria Hope Road Images

The Maria Hope Road opens up a lot of hiking possibilities for those who wish to hike between St. John’s north shore and the mountain ridge area (Centerline Road). It’s also a beautiful trail running down the Maho Bay Valley in a tropical forest environment of beautiful trees like bay rum, guavaberry, hog plum and West Indian locust (Stinking Toe Tree). There’s also some nice overlooks with views of West End Tortola and Big and Little Maho Bays.

Maria Hope Road Images

Maho Bay View
Maho Bay View

Tortola View
Tortola View

Hog Plum
Hog Plum

Bay Rum Stand
Bay Rum Stand
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St. John Virgin Islands: Europa Point Trail

Europa Point Overlook
Europa Point Overlook

The Europa Point Trail is a spur trail off of the Lameshur Bay Trail. It was an old national Park Trail that was abandoned by the park and reopened by local hikers. Assuming that you’re starting out at Lameshur Beach, the intersection of the two trails can be found  just before the Lameshur Bay Trail begins it’s long upward climb.

The Europa Point Spur follows the ridge of the Europa Point, leading through some dry forest into a  rugged cactus scrub environment near the top of the headland. The trail ends at an overlook with some really cool views.

Europa Point Tail

The trail begins at Lameshur Bay
The trail begins at Lameshur Bay

Ruins
Ruins

Lameshur Bay Trail through lowlands
Lameshur Bay Trail through lowlands

Dramatic Gorge
Dramatic Gorge

Trail over headland leading to overlook
Trail over headland leading to overlook

Overlook looking west towards Europa Bay
Overlook looking west towards Europa Bay
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St. John Virgin Islands: Tektite Trail Revisited

 

View From Tektite Trail

You Gotta Be There
Yesterday I hiked the Tektite Trail from the trailhead to the Cabritte Horn Point Overlook. It’s not that I didn’t remember the hike; it’s just that actually being there reinforced just how spectacular are the views along this trail. It’s like the beaches of St. John, with one beautiful beach after another, so are the views along this trail , which once supported the Tektite Project.

Views From the Tektite Trail – St. John USVI

View to the West
View to the West

Ruin at Top of First Hill
Ruin at Top of First Hill

Cabritte Horn Point Overlook
Cabritte Horn Point Overlook

View of Grootpan Bay
View of Grootpan Bay *

Beehive Cove (Tektite Snorkel)
Beehive Cove **(Tektite Snorkel)

Rocky Gorge
Rocky Gorge

* Grootpan Bay

** Tektite Snorkel

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St. John Virgin Islands: The Remora at Brown Bay

Remora Image - http://lustyreader.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/remora1.jpg

Remora Image http://lustyreader.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/remora1.jpg

On Friday Habiba and I hiked the Brown Bay Trail for the update to St. John Off the Beaten Track (soon come).

Arriving at the beach reminded me of the only time in my life that I was attacked (maybe molested is  better word) by a fish.

No, it wasn’t a shark or a barracuda. It was a remora, a shark sucker, the fish with the specially adapted suction cup head that attaches to sharks in order to feast on the leftovers.

Several years ago when my son, Sean, was visiting from New York City, we hiked the Brown Bay Trail, bringing with us our snorkel gear to explore the bay.

We were about fifty yards offshore when I noticed sean thrashing about and calling to me.

“A fish is chasing me!” he yelled.

“What?”

Now he’s kicking a way with his fins like crazy and then I see it coming for me. It’s a remora and he’s coming right at me. I can tell he wants to suck himself on me. Damn!

He’s relentless. I kick at him with my fins pushing him away. He comes back I kick again and he finally leaves. But he goes straight at Sean and now Sean’s kicking him away and the remora won’t stop. He tries and he tries and only stops when he gets a good enough kick with the fins only to try his luck with me again. This keeps up for about five minutes with the sucker (good word for this guy) going from Sean to me and back again.

We finally make it to the really shallow water and the fish gives us enough of a break to get out of his territory and back on the beach.

Apparently remoras rarely attach themselves to people, but it’s not unheard of.

“There is even one recorded instance of a remora latching onto a human being, a National Geographic writer who was researching a story about the Great Barrier Reef near Australia. (The diver was unharmed, and figured that it was a sign he should be coming out of the water!)”
(Quoted from: http://www.geocities.com/museumcataloging/remora.html)

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St. John Virgin Islands: Brown Bay Trail Revisited

Brown Bay Trailhead
Brown Bay Trailhead
Old Cistern

Yesterday, Habiba and I revisited the Brown Bay Trail.

We began at the trailhead out on East End, where a National Park Service sign marks the entrance to the trail. Parking for three or four vehicles is available here.

A short distance from the road, the trail forks with a trail to the left leading to the Virgin Islands National Park firing range and the Brown Bay Trail running straight ahead and up the hill.

About a hundred yards up the trail we came to something I had never noticed before, the remains of a large concrete cistern supported on the lower side by buttresses. Apparently it was previously hidden in the bush, but it’s extreme proximity to the trail makes me wonder about how much attention I was paying on all those previous hikes.

More ruins
More ruins
View to the south
View to the south

We followed the  narrow trail leading to the cistern and once there we discovered more trails and more ruins. We’ll need to investigate in order to find out a little of the history behind these structures.

The Brown Bay Trail runs up the hill on the southern side of St. John crosses the ridge of hilltops forming the narrow peninsula of East End and then descends to the northern coast.

The southern face of the hillside shows evidence of once supporting animal grazing. This section of trail is by and large hot, dry and scrubby, but here are several places from which there are openings in the bush allowing for good southerly views.

Genips
Genips
Habiba and the Donkey
Habiba and the Donkey

Crossing the ridge and descending the northern hillsides is a welcome change. It’s cooler, shadier and more importantly, we’re now going downhill.

Here we met a donkey that was hesitant to pass us on the narrow trail. Behind him was a hiker with two dogs, that barked threateningly, such that the donkey was even more hesitant about turning around and going the other way. Eventually, we stepped back into the bush far enough so that the donkey could pass us and go on his way leaving us and the dogs behind.

The environment on the north is dry forest and not nearly as disturbed as the southern side.  I noticed a lot of West Indian Birch along the trail, which I used to cut for fish pot braces. Guavaberry trees also caught my eye, but most welcome was that genip tree with ripe genips that required some work to gather, but tasted pretty sweet.

Brown Bay
Brown Bay
Salt Pond
Salt Pond

The trail descends to the northern coastline and meets a spur to the beach at Brown Bay. Previous visitors have constructed rudimentary benches where one can sit, relax and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of this rarely visited beach.

Trails behind the beach lead to a salt pond and an area of extensive ruins, well worth exploring.

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