The photo below came from the book “The Virgin Islands, Pleasure Spots in the Caribbean,” by Bruce G. Lynn. It was published in 1970. The photo below is mine taken a few days ago.
Hello Film Society Friends
We’re kicking off the Season with a Party at Sputnik. Please join us Tuesday night(December 1) for a free Film, Pot Luck Dinner & Sing-a-Long Good time!
Our featured film is a Reggae classic with a soundtrack so good, you might feel like dancing.
Please visit our website for details
Tuesday, December 1
Sputnik, Coral Bay
Pot Luck From 6:00pm
Movie Starts at 7:00pm
Raffle Tickets for sale all night
Bring a dish to share and a comfy chair!
Prizes awarded after the show
As always the film is free
It started with a book sent to me by Joe Jackson, “Virgin Islands, Pleasure Spots in the Caribbean” by Bruce Lynn published in 1970. On Tuesday, with book in hand, my friends and I left St. John and motored over to Jost Van Dyke with the mission of trying to set up photos that matched the ones of Jost Van Dyke in the book.
View of Great Harbor seen from the road running up the hillside towards White Bay.
Looking toward the Methodist Church from the road that runs along the Great Harbour coastline
The Customs House in Great Harbour
Government Dock, Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke
White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, BVI
Yesterday I headed over to Jost Van Dyke, carrying with me two old friends, whom I haven’t seen in many years, and a copy of an book given to me by Joe Jackson, a book of photos of the Virgin Islands published in 1970, several of which were taken in Jost Van Dyke.
The mission of the day, besides just having a good time and enjoying a lobster dinner over at Abe’s in Little harbor, was to try to take photographs from same positions as the 1970 photographer and present them side by side. Images changed only by some 38 years of time. (I was fairly successful and am working on a blog presentation of these photos – soon come)
The trip turned nostalgic as I presented the book to the Jost Van Dyke natives and residents all of whom were fascinated with the old studies of Jost Van Dyke. My friend, Steve Coakley, took us in his taxi to some of the spots that I need to access.
We drove up the road to the west of Great Harbour for one of the locations, and Steve decided to continue over the ridge and down into White Bay to check out Ivan at the campground. Heading down into the valley I shot the above photo of White Bay, which brought back memories of my first visit to that bay back in the same year that our book was published, 1970.
White Bay Nostalgia
My girlfriend at the time and I were over at Foxy’s when we first heard about the beautiful beach just over the hill to the west. We headed up the rugged jeep trail on the western side of Great Harbour, in the bright morning sunshine. At the top of the hill, a narrow shaded footpath led down through thick bush into the next bay. At the bottom of the trail there was a small opening through a thicket of sea grape trees. We stepped through and were greated by one of the most magnificent sights I have ever experienced. This long pristine white sand beach, backed by coconut palms and sea grapes was totally untouched. Not a soul or a house could be seen anywhere. The waters within the bay were crystal clear, with the characteristic mix of blues found in our shallow indented bays. Not far offshore were the reddish tints created by the coral reef that protected the bay from the open sea.
The beach extended to a rocky outcropping around which was another stretch of coral sand beach. We had passed through a portal into a tropical paradise more beautiful and romantic than even the imagination could conjur up.
I told Steve this story and he told me that he, although born and bred on Jost van Dyke, had the same feeling of awe when he first encountered that beach lying beyond the opening in the sea grape trees.
White Bay Today
Today, White Bay, is not quite the same. It’s still beautiful, but fairly well developed. Whereas a sailing publication advised mariners that there was swinging room behind the reef within the two bays for two or three vessels and if you encountered that many you were advised to head back to Great Harbor and anchor there, today that concept is a joke. In addition to the many, many more than three vessels one can find at any given time at anchor in the bay, mini cruise ships such as the five masted Club Med often anchor just outside the reef ferrying passengers back and forth to the shore. There are now bars and restaurants, campgrounds and guest houses and villas. In general it’s a bustling party atmosphere, still cool, just very different.
Ice on St. Thomas, Danish West Indies 1856
“The use of ice in St. Thomas, as in all large tropical towns, has become so common that ice is considered an indispensable article in daily housekeeping; every day all reasonably prosperous families receive certain quantity of ice from the Ice House. Only he who has felt the burning rays of the the tropical sun is able to comprehend the refreshing and invigorating experience of enjoying ice chilled beverages, it is generally agreed among doctors that the large consumption of ice has contributed greatly towards improving health conditions. But how is it possible to procure such large quantities of ice when the temperature rarely goes below 25 degrees C., (77 degrees F.) or to keep water frozen here when it so readily evaporates?
“In order to understand this, we must request that the reader accompany us to Wenham Lake near Boston. It has been freezing hard for several days and hundreds of people are busily working on the thick, glacial surface of the ice. Some are engaged in sweeping away the snow, others in sawing six inch deep furrows in the ice into regular blocks. After receiving a strong blow, they fall apart and are transported by horses to the large ice storage house by the shore. When spring arrives, these large blocks of ice are transported in railroad cars to dispatch terminals in Boston. The ships carrying ice are lined with hay or sawdust, and into these are loaded one block right next to another so that the entire cargo forms one large connected mass of ice. In St. Thomas, the ice is kept in local ice houses, large wooden structures with double or triple layered walls, the intervening space filled with ashes or sawdust, which protect completely against the effect of the burning sun rays. In this manner, over 200,00 tons of ice are exported annually from Wenham to the West Indies, Calcutta, Manila, Canton and other places. In Calcutta, a cargo of ice is paid for with a corresponding weight in cotton. There is hardly any place able to compete with Boston over this export commodity, as the ice of this lake resists to an unusual degree the effect of heat. The reason is that the lake receives no effluence of rivers but only that of springs; therefore, the water is extraordinarily clean, and moreover holds a lot of cold as it freezes at a very low temperature. This supply of ice has also brought along another advantage for the inhabitants of St. Thomas. The prosperous merchant can now, in addition to the produce of the tropics, also provide for his table North American vegetable, fruits. oysters, newly churned butter, etc.”
From: Islands of Beauty and Bounty Translated by Nina York from the publication, “Dansk Vestindien,” 1856
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Watching the sun set at Mallory Square in Key West, Florida, has become a tourist attraction and a nightly arts festival featuring artists, food carts, and street performers.
Here on St. John it appears that a similar, if quite a bit smaller in scale, activity has begun at the Cruz Bay overlook on the North Shore Road, minus the street performers, artists and food sellers that is – at least for now.