St. John Events

Trunk Bay Sea Grapes
Sea Grape Flowers at Trunk Bay

St. John Events

May 31 (Sat) BEACH BAR BEACH FEST- Don Dilego and Bree Sharp 9PM

Come and enjoy the first annual Beach Bar Beach Fest – a fun filled day on the Wharfside Village Beach celebrating our eclectic little paradise island. Events all day for the kids, events all night for us big kids. Our beach will be filled with face painters, caricature artists, popcorn and cotton candy, traditional Caribbean story telling (1PM), Moko Jumbie, fire dancers, limbo dancers, fire breathers, beach massages, traditional arts and crafts. Ferries back to STT at 12:30, 01:30 and 02:30AM. It’s gonna be great!

Don and Bree’s stage is gonna be on the beach!! How cool is THAT?!?!

St. John Live Music Schedule

Beach Bar
BEACH BAR BEACH FEST
All day Event with Don Dilego and Bree Sharp
777-4220

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Ocean Grill
T-Bird
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Lauren
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00
340-779-4982

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John News and Happenings

pan meets jazz

St. John Live Music Schedule

Beach Bar
Inner Visions
9:00
777-4220

High Tide
Mikey P
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
340-776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Erin Hart
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
6:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-1100

Virgin Fire
Inner Visions
5:00 – 8:00
340-779-4982

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Balance Needed Between Oppenheimer Beach Use and Neighbors’ Concerns
By Jaime Elliott — May 30, 2014

A balance must be found between the community’s need for recreation facilities and neighbors’ concerns about noise and crowd sizes at Oppenheimer Beach, according to several testifiers at a Committee on Culture, Historic Preservation, Youth and Recreation hearing at the St. John Legislature Building in Cruz Bay Thursday night, which drew about 70 people….

…While Oppenheimer Beach is owned by the Virgin Islands government and overseen by the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation, covenants on the land prohibit any businesses on the property, restrict the use of amplified music, call for the gate to be closed to vehicles at all times and more…

…The beach and concrete structure on the land is the site of Sports, Parks and Recreations’ summer camp, numerous nonprofit fundraising events – as well as weddings and birthday parties – and should be coveted by the community….

…But with so much of St. John, and most of the island’s beaches, restricted in use under the authority of the National Park, there is a lack of adequate community recreational sites, according to Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering, one of the residents who testified before the committee regarding public use of Oppenheimer Beach.

“The closing of numerous venues has made Oppenheimer the only place we have left,” Pickering said.

“Where on St. John can a for-profit group have gatherings?” he asked. “We used to have Pond Mouth and they took that away. We used to have Hawksnest Beach and they took that away. We used to have Maho Bay and that is gone – even Frank Powell Park.”

“Oppenheimer was the last hope to have a fun-filled musical experience,” said Pickering, a member of the reggae band Inner Visions.

Located between Hawksnest Bay and Peace Hill, the white sand shoreline of Oppenheimer Beach was deeded to the people of the Virgin Islands in 1980 by the daughter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb. When Oppenheimer bought the property from the Gibney family in the 1960s, the deed included several covenants protecting the area, explained testifier Eleanor Gibney, who lives down the beach from the Oppenheimer facility.

“The deed included reasonable restrictions including prohibition of businesses, allowing only a single family structure and having first right of refusal if the property was offered for sale,” said Eleanor Gibney, whose parents sold the property.

The land was transferred to the V.I. government in February 1980 and has been operated under the authority of the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation since. Hurricane Hugo destroyed the original structure on the property with a new building constructed following the storm.

Trouble began when that building began to be frequently rented out and often for inappropriate uses, Gibney explained.

“There would be heavily amplified music, frequent fights and gunfire in the surrounding streets with police summoned to the area repeatedly,” she said. “There were many activities that were inappropriate and even a ‘Girls Gone Wild’ show filmed there. For the Gibney family, the deed restrictions had come to the forefront.”

The Gibney family is asking for fair and consistent rules for the facility, Eleanor Gibney added.

“Our concern with the music is the volume of the music, not the type of music,” she said. “We are asking for fair, consistent and respectful rules.”

Use of Oppenheimer Beach is now restricted to nonprofit groups and individuals between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. with no amplified music allowed.

Pickering said that, despite those covenants in place, if people want to have live music at Oppenheimer Beach, they should be allowed. “I understand there are some clauses in there, but this is what the people want,” he said.

“The people should be the ones who decide what happens there. I don’t want to hear what one woman wanted when she deeded the land and I don’t want to hear what one woman wants now.”

Emmanuel “Mano” Boyd, who also testified at the hearing, said the community needs a space like Oppenheimer Beach to host live concerts.

“St. John needs such a place because the Park has so many restrictions,” said Boyd. “We St. Johnians feel pushed back. This was willed to the people and should used by the people …

…The biggest issues at Oppenheimer Beach are the noise levels and the crowd sizes, explained Teri Gibney, who lives next door to the facility and operates a small business renting two cottages on her property.

“The most serious problems are the loudness of the music and when there are huge numbers of people with no respect for my property,” Gibney said. “Having alcohol and loud music and 400 people there disrespecting the whole area, that’s hard to live with.”…

No Money for St. John Vendors Plaza or Territorial Park
By Jaime Elliott — May 30, 2014

Despite a bill passed in June 2011 appropriating $300,000 from the St. John Capital Improvement Fund for the construction of a vendors plaza in Cruz Bay, the funds were never allocated and the structure was never built….

St. John Weather

Scattered showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Live Music Schedule

sandy cay trail, bvi
Trail on Sandy Cay, British Virgin Islands

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
7:00 – 9:00
340-693-5055

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
6:30 -9:30
340-201-1236

Beach Bar
Flipswitch
9:00
777-4220

Concordia
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4:30 – 6:30
340-693-5855

High Tide
Erin Hart
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature
6:30 – 9:30
340-776-6378

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-6800

Miss Lucy’s
Rich & Greg
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-5244

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

Pickles
T-Bird
6:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-1100

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind 14 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

Update me when site is updated

The Wild Tamarind Makes an Attractive Flower

St. John Flora: Wild Tamarind
Wild Tamarind Flower

On my website, I once wrote:

“I hate wild tamarind. They’re ugly, untidy and unruly. They spread rampantly and take over the place. They’re prejudiced and intolerant. They grow close together and won’t let any other plants live in their neighborhood.

They’re resilient and tenacious. Their sturdy taproot goes straight down into the earth and holds on tight. They can withstand drought, flood and even come back after a fire. There are no insects, predators or diseases that can cause them any significant harm.

They’re hard to get rid of. If you cut them down, they’ll grow right back. If you try and pull out the small one, you’d better have a lot of time and a lot of patience. If you try and dig out the big ones, you’d better have a good hoe-pick and a strong back.”

Nonetheless, their flower is kind of pretty!

The Ghost vs the Wild Tamarind

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Sahara Dust Impacts Territory
By Source Staff — May 28, 2014

Dust from the Sahara Desert has caused an air pollution alert to be issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Alicia Barnes, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.

The dust causes the skies around the Virgin Islands to be hazy, reducing visibility and resulting in poor air quality, Barnes said in a statement issued Tuesday night.

The cloud is raised from dust storms in Africa and a rise in the warm air. These sandy dust particles are transported by prevailing winds from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.

Carlos Anselmi, a meteorology intern at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, confirmed that there are traces of Sahara dust over the territory and that the satellite indicates it will show a stronger presence over the next week.

While the haze may not be an immediate threat, people with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors when possible and consult their physicians or health care professional for further guidance, Barnes warned.

Sahara dust storms pass through the region several times a year, but mainly in the spring and summer months. While the dust can be a nuisance and even a health threat, it is also known to hamper the development of tropical storms…. read more

 St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
6:30 -9:30
340-201-1236

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00 pm – 2:00 am
340-777-3316

Coconut Coast
St. John Flutes
5:30 -7:00
340-776-6944

Cruz Bay Landing
T-Bird
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

High Tide
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
340-714-6169

Ocean Grill
David Laabs
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Pickles
Michael Beason Open Mic
6:00 – 9:00
340-776-6908

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade & the Sound
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Shipwreck
Chris Carsel
7:00 – 10:00
340-693-5640

Update me when site is updated

St. John USVI Wildlife: Iguana Burrowing

Iguana burrowing in rocky soil – Chocolate Hole, St. John, Virgin Islands

On April 15, I wrote a blog in which I presented a photo of an iguana burrow, which I found in the sand by the boat ramps in Great Cruz Bay. At the time, I didn’t actually see the iguana making the hole.

Yesterday, however, I did catch an iguana in the act of burrowing and captured some of the project on video. This time it was in back of my house in Chocolate Hole, a more difficult endeavor for the iguana due to the rocky nature of the land. At one point it actually looked like the iguana was thinking about moving the big rock that was in its way.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
6:30 – 9:30
340-201-1236

Beach Bar
Watson Roc feat Andy
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
340-777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 9:00
340-714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:30
340-776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
340-776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

St. John USVI Weather

Isolated showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind around 14 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Update me when site is updated

A St. John Thief: The T’rushie Bird

Pearly-eyed thrasher
Thrushie in Mango Tree

The t’rushie bird is a teef! (For those of you who don’t know the word, teef: it’s St. Johnian for the noun, thief, as in one who steals, like in the t’rushie’s a teef. It can also be used as a verb meaning to steal like in the t’rushie teefed my mangoes.)

Anyone familiar with the thrushie or pearly-eyed trasher, or scientifically, Margarops fuscatus, and who has a fruit tree in their yard knows what a teef the thrushie is. The bird will hang around open air restaurants and steal the food off your plate if you’re not looking. On St. John, the outdoor Caneel Bay Beach Restaurant and the Trunk Bay snack bar have lines and wires placed to discourage the thrushies, but that doesn’t mean that it’s 100% successful in preventing the larcenies.

Not only does the thrushie steal from people, but it also steals from other birds, like taking their nests or eggs.

Thrushies live on the smaller islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas and avoid the continent and the larger islands, with the exception of some remote areas of Puerto Rico. They are ugly. They build ugly sloppy, messy nests wherever they want, have an annoying sound and are general nuisances.

My mango tree is full of mangoes and the t’rushies are lying in wait hoping to get the ripe ones before I do. It will soon be war.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Matt Mitruk
5:30 – 8:30
340-776 5336

Beach Bar
Loose Change
9:00
777-4220

Concordia
Open Mic with Johnny B & Lauren
3:30 – 5:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
Chris Carsel
5:00 – 8:00
340-776-6908

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-5640

Virgin Fire
Instrumental Jazz
Rich Greengold & Greg Jones
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Update me when site is updated

St. John News and Happenings

maho overlook
Francis, Little Maho and Maho Bays

St. John and Virgin Islands News

BREAKING NEWS: Persons injured in boating incident at Poker Run
BVI News Online – Sunday, May 25th, 2014 at 12:45 PM

One of the injured persons being transported to hospital

Emergency personnel up to publication time were attending to the scene of what appears to be a serious boating accident that occurred Sunday morning at the Poker Run Competition taking place in Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda.

Persons were injured when two speed boats – 38 Top Gun and Redzone – reportedly crashed into each other…. read more

Tullius Wins His Second Beach to Beach Power Swim
By Jaime Elliott — May 25, 2014

Rex Tullius, 27, swam to his second consecutive long-course, unassisted victory in the 11th Annual Beach to Beach Power Swim on Saturday, running out of the water at Hawksnest Bay one hour, 12 minutes and 43 seconds after kicking off from Maho Bay, a distance of about three and a half miles.

Tullius is a graduate of the University of Florida and former roommate of U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. Tullius, who now calls St. John home, cruised to his second win in as many years in mostly calm conditions at the annual swim, hosted by Friends of V.I. National Park…. read more

Amazon names St. John man’s debut novel as quarterfinalist in contest
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: May 24, 2014

ST. THOMAS – St. John resident Jeffery McCord’s first novel, a thriller that takes place in the Virgin Islands, is a quarterfinalist in Amazon’s 2014 Breakthrough Novel Award Contest.

McCord’s debut novel stood out among the 10,000 contest entries, making it to the top 500. On June 13, the top 25 semifinalists will be revealed, and the top five will be announced July 8.

After that, Amazon customers will vote for the final winners with the final awards announced July 21.

His novel, “Undocumented Visitors in a Pirate Sea: An Investigation of Certain Caribbean Phenomena by Dr. Thayer Harris,” is a genre-bending read that incorporates UFOs, military intrigue and Virgin Islands history, all wrapped up in a murder mystery plot.

McCord and his wife, Martha Toomey, moved to St. John in 2010 after vacationing in the territory for years. A writer by trade, he has been a freelance journalist and public relations consultant for 30 years. This is his first time writing fiction, however…. read more

Man pleads guilty in US Virgin Islands smuggling

CHARLOTTE AMALIE, U.S. Virgin Islands (AP) A Haitian man has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to smuggle migrants into the U.S. Virgin Islands in a 2010 case in which at least eight of them died.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 46-year-old Lamorthe Delva was among three suspects in charge of a boat carrying 33 migrants, the majority of them Haitian. Authorities said the boat was traveling from the Dutch Caribbean island of St. Martin to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Officials said the suspects tried to evade the U.S. Coast Guard and ran the ship aground, killing at least eight people, four of them children.

Officials said Friday that Delva is scheduled to be sentenced in September. Another suspect is already serving a sentence for manslaughter.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Lauren & Bo
3:30 – 6:30
340-776-5336

Asolare
David Laabs
5:30 -9:30.
340-779-4747

Beach Bar
T Bird & the Home Skillets
9:00
777-4220

Concordia
Bo
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
693-5855

High Tide
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 7:00
340-714-6169

Miss Lucy’s
Sambacombo
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
693-5244

Ocean Grill
David Laabs
6:30 – 9:30
340-693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club of Coral Bay
7:00 – 10:00
340-693-5640

Sun Dog
The Sunday Night Jam
Hosted by Patrick and friends
Dinner from 5:30
Music from 7-10 pm
340-693-8340

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind 11 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John News and Happenings

School of Fry at Grassy Cay

St. John News

Amber AleSt. John Brewers Press Release
Island brewing company St. John Brewers launched its new Small Batch Series line last week with the release of bottled Amber Ale, to be sold for a limited time exclusively in the Virgin Islands.

The medium-bodied, well-balanced Amber recipe was perfected over time at St. John Brewers’ Mongoose Junction brewery, and has been served on draft at the Tap Room for several years. Subtle roasted malt notes, a mild hop profile, and a round finish make the Amber Ale drinkable even in the V.I.’s warm climate.

“It’s a darker beer with hints of roasted grain as well as just a little bit of chocolate,” said co-owner Kevin Chipman. “It’s very food friendly and extremely drinkable.”

“This Small Batch Series will give St. John Brewers a chance to showcase some of the other styles of beer that were created locally,” said Chirag Vyas, co-owner. “Patrons to our brewpub have enjoyed our small batch brews on draft and this is an opportunity for folks to try our island recipes on a larger scale.”

The new Amber Ale can be found alongside staple beers Island Summer Ale, Island Hoppin IPA, and Tropical Mango Pale Ale at grocery stores, bars, and restaurants throughout the Virgin Islands for a limited time. St. John Brewers’ Liquid Sunshine Belgian Ale, released in 2008, will now be placed into the Small Batch Series.

St. John Brewers was founded in 2004 by Kevin Chipman and Chirag Vyas, who met as students at the University of Vermont. The brewing duo initially gained notoriety with their Tropical Mango Pale Ale. Today, St. John Brewers operates its own brewpub, the Tap Room, an apparel shop, the Brewtique, and Chipman and Vyas brew small batches of several different kinds of beers that are served on draft at the Tap Room.

U.S. Virgin Islands adopts long-term standard contracts for up to 15 MW of renewable energy

The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands has signed into a law a bill to provide long-term, standard contracts for up to 15 MW of renewable energy generation. The policy is called a feed-in tariff, however unlike standard feed-in tariffs it will not pay generators a fixed rate.

The rate will be based on a discount to the “avoided cost” paid by the USVI’s Water and Power Authority, which the bill’s author estimates will be around USD 0.26 per kWh, under 10–30 year contracts. Retail electric rates in USVI currently average over USD 0.50 per kwh…. read more

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Lauren Jones
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

Beach Bar
Inner Visions
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Brother Nature
340-777-3316

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
5:00 – 8:00
340-714-6169

Ocean Grill
T-Bird
6:00 – 9:00
340-693-3304

Rhumb Lines
Lauren
7:00 – 10:00
340-776-0303

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00
340-779-4982

St. John Weather

Sunny, with a high near 82. East southeast wind 9 to 16 mph.

Update me when site is updated

Trunk Bay to Jumbie Bay Snorkel

snorkeler trunk bay
Trunk Jumbie SnorkelStarting from the western end of Trunk Bay, we snorkeled over the reef between Trunk and Jumbie Bay and on to the Point between Jumbie and Denis. Although much of the coral was in poor condition, the snorkel had enough interesting highlights and colorful patches to make for an enjoyable alternative to the Trunk Bay Snorkel Trail on the eastern end of the beach.

Trunk Bay reef
Reef at west end of Trunk

brain coral
Brain Coral

porcupinefish
Porcupinefish

orange spiny sea rod
Orange Spiny Sea Rod

nurse shark
Nurse Shark

orange sponge
Orange Sponge

 

Update me when site is updated

Taino Zemis

zemis
Zemis

The Taino believe everything in the universe is interconnected and spiritually alive. They view the Earth as a flat disk suspended between the cosmos above and the watery underworld below. The realms are connected by a supernatural shaft rising from the bottom of the underworld, passing through a hole in the center of the Earth and extending upward to the heavens.

The souls of the dead live in the otherworld. They are ruled by the Zemi Maquetaurie Guayaba, Lord of the Land of the Dead. The Zemis of the underworld are often made in the form of night flying creatures, such as bats or owls. (The second Zemi, found at the Cinnamon Bay site, bears the image of a bat.) These creatures are regarded as the messengers of the Dead.

In the book, Memory of Fire: Genesis, Eduardo Galeano writes:

“He who made the sun and the moon warned the Tainos to watch out for the dead.

“In the daytime the dead hid themselves and ate guavas, but at night they went out for a stroll and challenged the living. Dead men offered duels and dead women, love. In the duels they vanished at will; and at the climax of love the lover found himself with nothing in his arms. Before accepting a duel with a man or lying down with a woman, one should feel the belly with one’s hand, because the dead have no navels.”

Another Taino myth speaks about bats:

“When time was yet in the cradle, there was no uglier creature in the world than the bat.

“The bat went up to heaven to look for God. He didn’t say, “I’m bored with being hideous. Give me colored feathers.

“No. He said, “Please give me feathers, I’m dying of cold.

“But God had not a single feather left over.

“’Each bird will give you a feather,’ he decided.

“Thus the bat got the white feather of the dove and the green one of the parrot, the iridescent one of the hummingbird, the pink one of the flamingo, the red of the cardinal’s tuft and the blue of the kingfisher’s back, the clayey one of the eagle’s wing, and the sun feather that burns in the breast of the toucan.

“The bat, luxuriant with colors and softness, moved between earth and clouds. Wherever he went, the air became pleasant and the birds dumb with admiration. According to the Zapotec peoples, the rainbow was born of the echo of his flight.

“Vanity puffed out his chest. He acquired a disdainful look and made insulting remarks.

“The birds called a meeting. Together they flew up to God. ‘The bat makes fun of us,’ they complained. ‘And what’s more, we feel cold for lack of the feathers he took.’

“Next day, when the bat shook his feathers in full flight, he suddenly became naked. A rain of feathers fell to earth.

“He is still searching for them. Blind and ugly, enemy of the light, he lives hidden in caves. He goes out in pursuit of the lost feathers after night has fallen and flies very fast, never stopping because it shames him to be seen.”

The Zemis of the cosmos, such as the creator and lord of the cassava, Yúcahu, and his mother, Atabey, bring the Taino successful harvests, fertility and good health. Zemis could also reside in the natural world of trees, mountains, rivers, caves and communities. Destructive Zemis from the nether world could cause droughts, illness and natural disaster. The Zemi, Guabancex, lady of the winds, controls hurricanes aided by her two assistants, Guataubá, herald of hurricane force winds, and Coatrisquie, the god of floodwaters.

In addition to the fabrication of idols, Taino artisans carved symbolic pictures on rocks found in areas of obvious spiritual significance. Such petroglyphs exist at Reef Bay on St. John, along the side of a fresh water pool and on the platform cliffs of Congo Cay. It is believed that these carvings represent the natural spirits that resided in these places.

The Taino used sacred psychoactive herbs to communicate with Zemis and spirits of ancestors in an elaborate ritual called the Cohoba ceremony. Caciques (chiefs) and bohutí (shamans) with sufficient spiritual power used this ceremony to heal the sick, predict the future and to ensure the well being of the community. The participants fast before beginning the ceremony. They then cause themselves to regurgitate by inserting a ritual instrument in their throat. Once purged they inhale the cohoba from an intricately carved vessel equipped with snuffing tubes, which are placed in the nostrils. The cacique or bohutí could then leave the natural world through the hole in the center of the Earth and enter the supernatural shaft which connecting the realms of the universe.

The Spanish were repelled by the Taino religion and believed the Zemis to be Satanic in nature. They are said to have burned hundreds of cotton Zemis and to have destroyed countless works of Taino religious art. As a result of severe persecution by the Spanish, surviving Tainos went underground, meeting in secret to carry on their traditions.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

FIT Act presents huge opportunity for Virgin Islands
May 21, 2014 | By Barbara Vergetis Lundin

U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) Governor John deJongh has signed the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) Act into law, allowing residents to build renewable energy projects and sell all of the electricity to the local utility.

Currently, the USVI is almost entirely dependent on imported fossil fuels and retail electric rates average over $0.50 per kilowatt-hour. Through the feed-in tariff, the Water and Power Authority (WAPA) will purchase up to 15 MW of local renewables, paying less than WAPA’s avoided wholesale cost at around $0.26 per kilowatt-hour. Renewable energy generators will enter a power purchase agreement with WAPA lasting between 10 and 30 years.

While the feed-in tariff marks a significant step toward cleaner, more affordable and more reliable power on the USVI, Craig Barshinger, a USVI Senator and author of the Feed-In Tariff Act, believes this is just the beginning in a larger effort to modernize the USVI’s power grid

REI Adventures Announces New Volunteer Trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands

REI Adventures has just announced their new trips for 2015, including a Volunteer Vacation in the Virgin Islands.

On this new tour travelers will work with National Park Service rangers on maintenance projects in the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park on St. John.

For ten days volunteers will work from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM clearing debris, fixing trails, and removing vegetation in a tropical locale. Then, they will be rewarded with 2 well-earned days off to snorkel, swim, or just hang out and relax.

This twelve day tour starts at $1,950 per person (based on double occupancy) including all meals, accommodations in group lodging, guide leadership, all van and ferry transportation, gratuities, and park entrance fees.

The 12-day Volunteer Vacation in the Virgin Islands trip is set to depart on Nov. 2, 2014, April 5, 2015, and Nov. 1, 2015.

USVI wins Optimist Cup at BVI Dinghy Championships
By Dean Greenaway (Special to the Daily News)
Published: May 21, 2014

TORTOLA – The annual BVI Dinghy Championships wrapped up two days of competitive racing Sunday that also included the final leg of the Virgin Islands Sailing Triple Crown – which began with races on St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Teddy Nocolosi of St. Thomas, who was the overall winner in the Optimist Red Fleet, led his team to the VI Optimist Cup.

The BVI Dinghy Championships also attracted participants from Antigua, St. Maarten, St. John and St. Croix.

“This was great because we had light air conditions and this is most likely what we’ll have in the North American Championships in Mexico in July, so it was a great training toward that regatta,” St. Thomas coach Agustin Resano said. “I’m glad it was like that. I also liked that the fleet was competitive, unlike last year when we had three top sailors way ahead of the rest, this year was more compact, so it showed a lot of improvement from the bottom all the way up.”… read more

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