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Archive for March, 2012

Exploring a Wreck: Chocolate Hole St. John

St. John and Fresh Water

The $5,000 Water Bill
A little incident yesterday had me thinking about water, something we in the Virgin Islands probably think about more than most. I had left the water running while topping off my hot tub for way longer than I should have. It wasn’t so bad, though. I caught it before the cistern was empty, and it certainly wasn’t as bad as what happened to my friend, Danny. He rents out part of his condo on St. Thomas and the lady who’s renting it left the toilet running for more than a month, leaving Danny stuck with a $5,000 plus water bill.

Water in the Good Old Days
None of this would have happened in what we ex pats think of as the good old days. Water was way more precious back then, and we were way more careful. In those days, you had your cistern water and that was it. Not only that, but most cisterns, and most houses for that matter, were considerably smaller than they are today. If you ran out, it was a big problem. No washing, no showers and no flushing and getting more water wasn’t so easy.

There was no WAPA water back then and no desal plants. Caneel Bay had a water catchment and Cinnamon had a series of wells in the gut that ran above the camp.  Any water not provided by nature, that is, from rain or wells came to St. John on a big barge from Puerto Rico. As you might imagine, this was an extremely limited supply to be shared by all those in need. Not only was the supply limited, but so was the delivery system. The only water truck that I can remember, available to bring water to your house,  came from Pimpy H2O and Pimpy only had one truck. So if you ran out of water, which would most likely happen when there was a prolonged dry spell, and everyone else was out of water also, you had a considerable wait to look forward to or, more than likely, you just sat back and prayed for rain.

If It’s Yellow, Let it Mellow
Besides prayer, another option was water conservation, a serious matter back then. Toilets had notices posted above them to alert newcomers that old stateside habits didn’t go over here on St. John. Cutout cardboard signs with hand-drawn illustrations with messages like:

“On this Island in the sun,
We never flush for number one”

or

If it’s yellow, let it mellow,
If it’s brown, flush it down”

When you showered, brushed your teeth or washed dishes, you gave a little squirt of water and turned off the faucet. Only then did you do your scribbling, brushing, cleaning or soaping. That accomplished, you turned on the water, briefly, just enough for a good rinse and turned the water off once again. Consequently, your supply water lasted a long time.

One other thing I remember from the good old days, was that everyone drank cistern water, unlike today when it’s almost unheard of. Notwithstanding the many evil pathogens now presumed to flourish in our cisterns, I never knew of anyone who got even an upset stomach from drinking water that wasn’t store-bought and factory-produced.

Today
Today we use a lot more water. It’s expensive, but fairly easy to come by. A big desalination plant operated by WAPA produces thousands of gallons a day and is stored in giant tanks and there are numerous choices for water delivery trucks. Unlike in decades past, houses, villas and McMansions have swimming pools and Jacuzzis. Visitors to the island as well as many residents shower to there heart’s content. They leave the water running full blast while they brush their and flush the toilet as often as they put it to use. And people don’t think about water as much as they used to, except when they get a $5,000 water bill, I guess.

St. John Weather

High Temperature: 88 degrees
Water Temperature: 81 degrees
Sunset: 6:32 pm
Winds: ESE 10-15 mph
Forecast: Overcast with chance of rain

St. John Live Music Schedule Saturday March 31

Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s
– James Milne – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Morgan’s Mango – Luba – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Rascio on Steel Pan – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – Lauren – 7:00 – 10:00
Shipwreck Landing – Mike Miknut – 6:00 – 9:30
Skinny Legs -Hot Club of Coral Bay – 6:30 – 9:30 -779-4982
Spyglass – James Cobb – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100

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DCist Interview: Victor Provost

“…Provost was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands on a 12-square mile strip of land called St. John. His retired parents are still there, and that Provost’s brother owns the island’s only barber shop gives you an idea of what life on St. John might be like. Like so many kids, Provost’s introduction to music came in the form of piano lessons, which he began at age 10. Just two years later, Provost won the Virgin Islands Classical Music Competition. He began playing steel pan in an after school program that same year at the St. John School of the Arts…. read entire article

St. John Weather

High Surf Advisory until 10:00 am
High Temperature: 88 degrees
Water Temperature: 81 degrees
Sunset: 6:32 pm
Winds: ESE 10-15 mph
Forecast: Periods of Rain

St. John Live Music Schedule Friday March 29

Aqua Bistro – Steve Sloan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Castaways – Mikey P – 9:00 – 777-3316
Cinnamon Bay – Eddie Bruce Drum Circle – 6:30 – 8:00
Cruz Bay Prime – James Cobb – 7:00 – 10:00 – 693 -8000
Driftwood Dave’s – John W Lee – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Morgan’s Mango – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – T-Bird – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – Erin Hart – 7:00 – 10:00
Spyglass – James – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100

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St. John Beaches: Denis BayDenis Bay

St. John Weather

High Surf Advisory beginning at 3:00 pm
High Temperature: 85 degrees
Water Temperature: 82 degrees
Sunset: 6:32 pm
Winds: ENE gusting to 25 mph
Forecast: Periods of Rain

St. John Live Music Schedule Thursday March 29

Banana Deck – Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5055
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Just Mike – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Inner Vision – 8:00-11:00 – 714-6169
Island Blues – Ike – 7:00 – 10:00- 776-6800
Morgan’s Mango – Mark Wallace – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Slammin  -7:00 – 10:00
Skinny Legs – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:00 – 779-4982

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St. John Trails: Francis Bay TrailMayan Sun Circle on the Francis Bay Trail
Volunteers working for the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park have extended the handicap access boardwalk that runs along the Francis Bay Pond, parallel to the beach, all the way from the road to the point on the trail by the big tamarind tree where the trail turns and leads up the hill to another viewing area and the remains of an old residence. At the end of the boardwalk, shaded by the old tamarind trees, there is now a really cool Mayan Sun Circle apparently made out of leftover lumber from the project.

Earthquake Felt on St. John
A relatively weak earthquake felt at 6:54 am with a 3.4 magnitude was close enough to St. John (the epicenter was only 23 miles away from the island) that you could feel the shake, which lasted just a few moments.

St. John Weather
The sky is still dusty due to the presence of dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa and volcanic ash from Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles
High Temperature: 85 degrees
Water temperature: 82 degrees
Sunset: 6:32 pm

St. John Live Music Schedule Wednesday March 28

Aqua Bistro – Rascio on Steel Pan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Castaways – Kenny Floyd – 8:00 – 777-3316
Coconut Coast Studios – St. John Flutes – 776-6944
Cruz Bay Prime – Samba Combo – 7:00 – 10:00 – 693 -8000
Driftwood Dave’s – Paradise People – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Chris Carsel – 6:00 – 9:00 – 714-6169
Sun Dog Cafe – Wednesday Night Jam – 7:30-10:00 – 244-9713

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St. John Virgin Islands weather: Sahara Dust

Volcano and Sahara Dust Dirty the Air
By Lynda Lohr — March 26, 2012
After a few days of haze, Monday the air turned dusty and visibility decreased. The problem is a combination of the Soufriere volcano in Montserrat going off combined with Sahara dust blowing across the Atlantic from the Sahara Desert, according to a National Weather Service meteorologist. Read more

Sahara Dust

The Sahara Desert in northern Africa covers a vast landmass almost as large as the United States. Dust Storms sometimes with winds of hurricane force can send up plumes of dust that can be carried by the prevailing winds, such as the Trade Winds, for thousands of miles. So much dust from the African desert has made it’s way to the Caribbean that almost all of the soil found in the Bahamas and the Florida Keys has African origin.

The situation has gotten worse since the 1970s due to poor farming practices in Africa, climate change and the use of four-wheel drive vehicles in the desert that breaks up the hard crust of sand normally found on the surface.

Sahara dust is believed responsible for an increase in childhood asthma in its path and the recent decline in the health of Coral Reefs in the Caribbean, which is thought to be caused by the fungus, Aspergillus, found in the dust.

Today’s Sunrise

St. John SunriseToday’s skies look clearer tan yesterday. With winds shifting the dust conditions should abate somewhat. The dust leftover in the sky did give us a brief moment to photograph a colorful sunrise over Chocolate Hole.

American Eagle to End Puerto Rico – Virgin Islands Flights in 2013
By Lynda Lohr — March 26, 2012
It’s official. After months of rumors swirling around about the end of American Eagle’s flights between San Juan and the territory’s two airports… read more

St. John Live Music Schedule Tuesday March 27

Castaways – Karaoke Night – 9:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Michael Beason – 8:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Erin Hart – 6:00 – 9:00 0 714-6169
Island Blues – Karaoke & Open Mic – 8:00 – 11:00 – 776-6800
Morgan’s Mango – Greg Kinslow – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Rascio on Steel Pan – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:30
Spyglass – T-Bird – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100

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Yachts sail along St. John’s south coast, spinnakers flying

WAPA to Request Base Rate Increases
By Bill Kossler — March 23, 2012
Facing the possibility of technical default on tens of millions in bonds for not meeting debt-coverage ratios, the V.I. Water and Power Authority will ask for increases to both the electric and water system base rates, its governing board decided Thursday.
… For electricity customers, WAPA is asking for a base rate increase between 2.75 and 3 cents per kilowatt hour. Read full story

St. John Live Music Schedule Monday March 26

High Tide – Mikey P – 8:00 – 11:00 – 714-6169
La Tapa – Samba Combo – 6:30 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Maho Bay Camp – Open Mic with Lauren – 6:30
Ocean Grill – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304

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St. John Flora: Hibiscus

Hibiscus

St. John Live Music Schedule Sunday March 25

Aqua Bistro- Lauren – 3:30 – 6:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar – Inner Vision – 5:00 – 777-4220
Concordia – Bo – Sunday Brunch 10:00 am
Driftwood Dave’s – Live Music – 1:00 – 4:00 – 777-4015
Miss Lucy’s – Samba Combo – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – 693-5354
Ocean Grill – David Laab – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – T-Bird – 7:00 – 10:00
Shipwreck Landing – Hot Club of Coral Bay – 7:00 – 10:00
Sun Dog Cafe – David Laab – 11:00 am- 2:00 pm  – 244-9713
Westin Beach Bar – Rich Greengold – 6:30 – 9:30 – 244-9713

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A humpback whale photographed by Tarn Hildreth from the Wayward Sailor spotted off of Jost Van Dyke

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ST. JOHN FILM – PRESS RELEASE 

Free Movie Night:  Milking the Rhino

Tuesday, April 3, 2012, 7:30 PM
St. John School of the Arts
Cruz Bay, St. John

St. John Film: Milking the RhinoSt. John Film is proud to present another award winning ‘On Screen / In Person*’ film, the thought provoking 85 minute documentary Milking the Rhino, directed by David E. Simpson who will be at the screening.

Examining Africa’s deepening conflict between humans and animals in an ever-shrinking world, Milking the Rhino is the first major documentary to explore wildlife conservation from the perspective of the people who live with the wild animals. Shot in some of the world’s most magnificent locales, the film offers complex, intimate portraits of rural Africans at the forefront of community-based conservation: a revolution that is turning poachers into preservationists and local people into the stewards of their land. With memorable characters and spectacular locations, this film tells intimate, hopeful and heartbreaking stories of people from Kenya and Namibia.

The film captures the struggle of ecology vs. economics when rural Africans set aside traditional ways of grazing their cattle and killing animals to create nature preserves.  The now successful restoration of rhino, lion and elephant populations has prompted visionary local natives to establish comfortable, upscale eco-lodges that bring tourists and foster a new local business: tourism.  As one lodge host contends “we never used to benefit from these wild animals but now we milk them like cattle.”  None the less his neighbor disagrees: “A rhino means nothing to me! I can’t kill it for meat like a cow.”  The series of fascinating exchanges between friends and foes of the new business model illustrates the complexities of cultural change among people everywhere.

The post film discussion promises to be equally engaging with director David Simpson on hand to provide personal insights into the filming process and to lead a discussion on eco-tourism and community-based conservation; topics of great relevance to St. Johnians.

SAVE THIS DATE FOR OUR NEXT SCREENING EVENT: Tuesday May 1, 2012: Queen of the Sun.This full length feature documentary is a a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis.

All screenings take place at the St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay, 7:30 pm. For more information about upcoming films, St. John Film Society or to become a Film Society member visit: http://www.stjohnfilm.com.

St. John Live Music Schedule Saturday March 24

Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Spyglass – James Cobb – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100
Driftwood Dave’s – Guitarist James Milne – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Morgan’s Mango – Luba – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Rascio on Steel Pan – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – Lauren – 7:00 – 10:00
Shipwreck Landing – Mike Miknut – 6:00 – 9:30
Skinny Legs – Hot Club of Coral Bay – 6:30 – 9:30 – 779-4982

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Hummingbird on Aloe Flower

With spring officially here  a few days ago, we see another sign of our St. John springtime, hummingbirds sucking the nectar of the aloe flower.

See hummingbird video

St. John Live Music Schedule Friday March 23

Aqua Bistro – Steve Sloan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Castaways – Mikey P – 9:00 – 777-3316
Cinnamon Bay – Eddie Bruce Drum Circle – 6:30 – 8:00
Cruz Bay Prime – James Cobb – 7:00 – 10:00 – 693 -8000
Driftwood Dave’s – John W Lee – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Morgan’s Mango – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – T-Bird – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – Erin Hart – 7:00 – 10:00
Spyglass – James – 5:00 – 8:00 -776-1100

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St. John Flora: Key Lime Flower

St. John Flora: Key Lime

Key Lime Flower

Key Lime Flower
My key lime tree, a gift from my friend, the late John Gibney, is doing its thing again – busting out with flowers and baby limes and promising to be a really good harvest. Meanwhile the flowers are not only pretty to look at, but they smell really good like sweet perfume! Just walking past the tree is an olfactory treat, especially in the early morning.

About the photo:
The flower shown in the photo is about the size of a dime. The little green bud is the beginning of a new key lime

Mango Flower

Mango Flowers
Also popping is my malika mango. There’s plenty of buds now, but with mango’s you have to wait and see. A strong wind can knock off buds or baby mangoes if they haven’t set in real well yet. If the wind is strong enough it can even knock full-sized mangoes to the ground. The other enemy I have to watch out for is the Thrushie Bird, who loves mangoes as much as me. We’ll see, but here’s hoping for the a big successful mango harvest.

St. John Live Music Schedule Thursday March 22

Banana Deck – Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5055
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Just Mike -7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Inner Vision – 8:00-11:00 – 714-6169
Island Blues – Ike – 7:00 – 10:00 – 776-6800
Morgan’s Mango – Mark Wallace – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Chris Carsel – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Slammin – 7:00 – 10:00
Skinny Legs – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:00 – 779-4982

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