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Archive for September, 2009

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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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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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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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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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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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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Maho Morning

Maho Morning

Francis Bay

Francis Bay

On Sunday mornings Chelsea O’Brien and I meet at Maho Bay for our weekly Sunday morning swim.

We’re doing a nice long swim. It used to be three miles, but we’re presently down to two and working our way up again.

Just about every Sunday morning we see the same St. John characters either here at Maho or running along the roadside; familiar exercise addicts like ourselves; serious runners and swimmers and bike riders; people like Miles Stair, Hank Slodden, Moe Chabuz and Pat Mahoney.

There’s no Sunday morning sleeping in for this crowd.

At sea, like on land, it’s the same story, we see the same  familiar characters, only here its fish and sea creatures instead of people.

There’s the one big turtle and the two little ones swimming over the seagrass in the middle of the bay, who I like to think of as the mama turtle and her two children.

There’s the schools of fry surrounded by jacks and Spanish mackerel in the shallow waters along the edge of the bay as we turn to swim towards the point between the two Mahos while pelicans await in the trees or circle above.

Green Turtle

Green Turtle

When we reach the big rocks at the  point, you can bet that we’re going to see those same schools of yellow French grunts hovering above some submerged boulder.

Then nothing much as we pass by Little Maho and the beach at Francis  Bay, until we arrive at the northern end of the beach where the sand  gives way to the rocky shoreline and there’s that same big barracuda claiming his territory.

Sunday morning Maho with its familiar cast of characters. Check it out. We’ll all probably be there, at least for now, being as we are – creatures of habit.

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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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View From Tektite Trail

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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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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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)