St. John Trails: Rustenberg

St. John Virgin Islands Trails: Rustenberg
Rustenberg Horsemill Wall
Rustenberg Trail Map

Estate Rustenberg Ruins
For those of you who would like to experience a St. John Off the Beaten Track experience, but would rather not exert themselves too much, a visit to the Rustenberg ruins would be an ideal choice. It’s a short walk along a level trail shaded by aromatic bay rum trees. The ruins are extensive and beautiful in their natural surroundings.

To get there, park across from the Cinnamon Bay trailhead on Centerline Road and walk up the road west, towards Cruz Bay, where you should find the trailhead, which may be more or less obvious depending on climatic conditions. Another alternative is to enter the forest about 50 yards or so and walk uphill until you reach the trail on the ridge and go left on the trail until you get to the ruins.

See more Rustenberg photos

St. John Film Society Press Release

Queen of the Sun

What the Bees are Telling Us
Directed by Taggart Siegel:  83 minutes,  Documentary

Free Film, Presented by the St. John Film Societey

Tomorrow, Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 7:30 pm
St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay

This full length feature documentary is a a profound, alternative look at the global bee crisis. Taking us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and the mysterious world of the beehive, this engaging and ultimately uplifting film weaves an unusual and dramatic story of the heartfelt struggles of beekeepers, scientists and philosophers including Michael Pollan, Gunther Hauk and Vandana Shiva.

This film takes us on a pilgrimage around the world, 10,000 years of beekeeping is unveiled, highlighting how our historic and sacred relationship with bees has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. The film goes on to reveal both the problems and the solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.

Join Mr. Smalls and other St. John bee keepers and learn about these wonderful insects that provide us with sweet honey and more.

Read more about the film on the website:

St. John Live Music Schedule Monday 4/30

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

Weekly Schedule

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Denis Bay

Denis Bay St. John US Virgin Islands
Denis Bay

The old pilings seen in the above image used to support a dock in the days when Denis Bay was home to the Deep Sea Fishing Club.

The club was available to the general public with hotel services and conveniences for $22.00 per week with all meals included. It was described by Desmond Holdbridge in his book Escape to the Tropics, written in 1937 as “a quaint institution, now non-existent, where no fishing was ever done.”

The Deep Sea Fishing Club was owned by a group of St. Thomas businessmen who purchased the approximately 100-acre parcel sold for $1,250 in 1937.

See more Denis Bay photos

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St. John News and Happenings

St. John South Shore

Good News From WAPA:

“Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority engineers and technicians completed repairs to gas turbine Unit #23 in St. Thomas’ Harley Power Plant last night and returned all feeders to service by 11:42 p.m. The feeder rotation schedule implemented on Monday and Tuesday has been discontinued.

“A wiring fault which occurred in the generator on Monday was repaired when subsequent troubleshooting determined that a computerized control card for the starting diesel component needed to be replaced. The part arrived from Puerto Rico Tuesday evening and was immediately installed.  After programming its software, the unit was returned to service before midnight.”

Westin St. John Rewards Guests Who Volunteer for Virgin Islands National Park Maintenance Program
“From now through December 31st, Westin St. John Resort & Villas is offering a $100 resort credit and transfers for guests who volunteer at nearby Virgin Islands National Park. With the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, visitors can participate in a one-day program to help maintain park trails and ruins, and remove debris from beaches and coastlines. All you have to do is show up at 8 a.m. any Tuesday or Thursday.”
By Karen Borsari for

Diving Accident at Salomon Bay
A young New Bern man, described as the best of the best, was killed in a diving accident in Salomon Bay in St. John. James Alexander, 24, son of MERCI Clinic director Nancy Alexander and heart surgeon Dr. George Alexander, died Friday as he and his twin brother David were on a diving expedition in the U.S. Virgin Islands…. A National Park Service official said that Alexander was free diving with his brother. He ended up on the bottom at a depth of 30 feet. read article

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St. John Ruins: Fredriksdal

Old Stone Bridge

Fredriksdal and the Old Stone Bridge
The following photos were taken at the Fredriksdal ruins, easily accessible by a trail through the thorny sweet limes right off the main road in the Annaberg Area. The old stone bridge (above) can be found at the end of a short trail on the other side of the road.

Fredriksdal was named for Frederick Von Moth who lived on St. Thomas. He purchased the property from Reimert Sødtmann, magistrate of St. John in the early 1730s. (Sødtmann and his stepdaughter were among the first victims of the slave rebellion in 1733.) Von Moth was commander of the civil guard on St. Thomas and later became governor of St. Croix.

The grand entrance and stairway of the Fredriksdal Ruins are the remains of the estate house, which served as living quarters for the owners of Annaberg Plantation and are visible from the road. There are extensive ruins extending back into the bush. They include the remains of an oven, a well, a horsemill and other old structures and walls.

St. John Trail: Fredriksdal
Looking up through the well tower on the old Fredriksdal Estate

Fredricksdal ruins St John Virgin Islands
Stone stairway once leading to the Fredriksdal great house

Fredriksdal ruins st john usvi
Well tower at Fredriksdal ruins

St. John Live Music – Thursday April 19

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

See Weekly Schedule

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St. John Happenings

Salt Pond Bay, St. John US Virgin IslandsSalt Pond Bay


Free Movie Night:  QUEEN OF THE SUN

Tuesday May 1 , 2012, 7:30 PM, St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay

St. John Film is proud to present another award winning film about bees.

In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, philosopher and social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. Now, beekeepers around the United States and around the world are reporting an incredible loss of honeybees, a phenomenon deemed “Colony Collapse Disorder.” Bees are disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear single explanation. The queen is there, honey is there, but the bees are gone.

For the first time, in an alarming inquiry into the insights behind Steiner’s prediction QUEEN OF THE SUN: What Are the Bees Telling Us? investigates the long-term causes behind the dire global bee crisis through the eyes of bio-dynamic beekeepers, commercial beekeepers, scientists and philosophers. QUEEN OF THE SUN features world renowned bio-dynamic beekeeper Gunther Hauk, New York Times bestselling-author Michael Pollan, Indian Activist Vandana Shiva, and a compelling cast of characters from around the world. Together they take us on a journey through the catastrophic disappearance of bees and into the mysterious world of the beehive. The film unveils 10,000 years of beekeeping, illuminating the deep link between humans and bees and how that historic and sacred relationship has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. Beekeeper Gunther Hauk calls the crisis, “More important even than global warming. We could call it Colony Collapse of the human being too.”

Bees are the engines that keep the earth in bloom. QUEEN OF THE SUN presents the bee crisis as a global wake-up call and illuminates a growing movement of beekeepers, community activists and scientists who are committed to renewing a culture in balance with nature.

The post film discussion promises to be equally engaging with St. John’s own bee keepers including Mr. Smalls.

St. John Live Music – Wednesday April 18

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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Garden at Gibney Beach

St. John Flora: Cacao tree, Theobroma cacao
Chocolate Fruit

The Cacao tree, Theobroma cacao is the tree from which chocolate is derived by grinding up and roasting the seeds inside the fruit. I once wrote, “the Cacao trees found growing alongside the Cinnamon Bay Loop Trail may be the only ones on the island,” but I found two more growing at Teri Gibney’s garden at Hawksnest Bay. And what a beautiful garden it is! Nestled within an old Bay Rum forest are all sorts of tropical fruit trees, egg fruit, coffee, mango, avocado, star fruit, aki, cocoa, jackfruit, bananas, pineapples and more. In addition there are flowers and orchids and palms all easily accessed along shaded rock-lined paths.

St. John Flora: Jackfruit

An impressive tropical fruit tree in Trei’s garden is the jackfruit, (Artocarpus heterophyllus) which produces the largest tree-borne fruit in the world weighing up to 80 pounds and reaching sizes as large as three feet long and 20 inches  in diameter.

St. John Flowers: Lobster Claw
Lobster Claw: a species of genus Heliconia

Orchid at Gibney Beach St. John
White Orchid

St. John Weather
Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 86. East northeast wind around 15 mph. Water temperature 82. Sunset 6:36 pm

St. John Live Music – Tuesday April 17

Castaways – Karaoke Night – 9:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Michael Beason – 8:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Erin Hart – 6:00 – 9:00 – 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

See Weekly Schedule

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St. John Happenings

Fork in the Road Knocked Over
A St. John icon was knocked down late Thursday or early Friday when someone or some thing knocked over Gifft Hill Road’s Fork in the Road. The concrete marker is a St. John spoof on the common directional advice to turn at the fork in the road…. read article

High surf advisory now in effect until 11 am AST this morning…

The high surf advisory is now in effect until 11 am AST this morning due to hazardous surf zone conditions. Waves and surf: wind driven swells of 5 to 7 feet with the fresh to strong winds… will produce occasional periods of breaking waves between of 8 to 12 feet.

A high surf advisory means that rough and dangerous surf will affect beaches in the advisory area… including the north shore of St. John, producing rip currents and localized beach erosion.

St. John Live Music – Monday April 16

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 Sunday

St. John Weather
Wind advisory in effect through 11:00 am
High surf advisory in effect until 2:00 pm
Isolated showers before noon. Sunny, with a high near 85. Windy, with a northeast wind between 26 and 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

St. John Live Music – Sunday April 15

Aqua Bistro – Lauren -3:30 – 6:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar – Jon Beninghof Band – 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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Elkhorn Coral at Hawksnest Bay

Elkhorn coral at Hawksnest Bay

Elkhorn coral is an important reef builder. Large and relatively fast growing, they create habitats for many other reef dwelling species. Healthy elkhorns are getting harder and harder to find these days as many succumb to coral bleaching and other diseases, leaving them grey rock-like skeletons. On the reef located just off the Hawksnest Bay beach, however, there’s one after the other of healthy, colorful specimens, easy to get to for snorkelers of all levels of ability.

Video taken at Hawksnest Bay reef April 13, 1012

Travel Picks: Top 10 scenic workouts
“…the members and editors of travel website ( have compiled a list of the “Top 10 Most Scenic Workouts.”…
Their number three pick was: “Snorkeling in St. John, US Virgin Islands” read article

St. John Live Music – Saturday April 14

Beach Bar – I.R.E – 9:00 – 777-4220
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
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
Spyglass – James Cobb – 5:00 – 8:00 -776-1100

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St. John Stories: The Queen’s First Step at Soper’s Hole, BVI

West End Tortola
West End Tortola, circa 1967
Photo of West End Customs 2001

My first visit to West End (Sopers Hole) was in the 1970s. I was tied up along the seawall at Charlotte Amalie and approached by an agent from St. Thomas Dairies who hired me to deliver a load of milk to West End on Tortola. For some reason they couldn’t do it themselves that day, presumably due to one of the many contingencies that was, and still is, likely to occur here in the islands.

Arriving at customs at West End, I noticed a monument dedicated to the arrival of the Queen of England on her first visit to Tortola. A brass plaque read something like “where the Queen first stepped foot on the BVI.” Interestingly enough, the dedication was located far enough away from the edge of the dock that the Queen would have to have a have taken a mighty leap to set her royal foot down that far away from whatever vessel she was on that tied up to the dock.

Commenting on this to a BVI local, it was explained that the original monument was indeed erected at the exact spot where the Queen actually stepped foot. (see above photo) In actual practice, however, this was an inconvenient place for the monument as it interfered with the loading and offloading of cargo on the dock.

It was in response to this difficulty the dedication was moved away from the loading area, explaining the British monarch’s seemingly extraordinary disembarkation at Soper’s Hole on the island of Tortola, BVI.

St. John Live Music – Friday April 13

Aqua Bistro – Steve Sloan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar – Jon Beninghof Band – 9:00 – 777-4220
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
Island Blues – Slammin – 776 6800
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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