All posts by gerald

New Species of Fan Worm Discovered in Hurricane Hole

FanWormMaine researcher discovers new species of sea worm
By Kaitlin Schroeder Morning Sentinel

A member of the University of Maine at Farmington faculty was credited recently with discovering a new genus and species of marine worm, which she first spotted near the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Five years ago, Nancy Prentiss, a UMF lecturer in biology, was snorkeling at Hurricane Hole off St. John, an island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, when on the underside of a rock she found fanworms unlike any she had seen before.

At the time of the discovery, Prentiss, who had been teaching UMF students and working as an ecology camp science educator on the island, said she knew immediately the red-and-white worms protected by coiled calcium carbonate tubes were a unique find.

“I had never seen fanworms like these before and knew immediately I was looking at something special,” Prentiss said.

After years of painstaking research, working with experts in Greece and the Netherlands on eliminating the possibility that the worms were part of an existing genus or species, Prentiss published her work on the find in December in the academic journal Zootaxa.

“It’s not just a new species, but a whole new genus,” she said by phone Wednesday. A genus is a biological classification of plants or animals… read complete article

 

The newly discovered worm Turbocavus secretus is named for the location where it was found with “Turbocavus” referring to Hurricane Hole.

 

Specimens of the new fanworm species now are deposited permanently in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. In nature, they have been found only “attached to the undersides of rocks, firmly embedded in fine sediment,” according to the Zootaxa article….

St. John Live Music Schedule

Thursday 3/26

Aqua Bistro
T-Bird
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Flipswitch
9:00
340-777-4220

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

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
8:00
340-201-1236

Concordia
Groovus
4:30 – 6:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
James
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Inn at Tamarind Court
Groove Thang
7:00
340-776-6378

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade
7:00
340-776-0303

Virgin Fire
Hudson and the Hoodoo Cats
Kick off Blues Blowout Weekend
6:00 – 9:00
340-244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

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Pesticide Poisoning Update

By Chad Pradelli
“First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with the family. Sea Glass Vacations, LLC acts as a rental agent for several rental units at Sirenusa and elsewhere on St. John, including Villa Capri. Sea Glass is aware that the family that rented Villa Capri from 3/14/15 to 3/22/15 all became seriously ill and were transported to the hospital for treatment. We are also aware that authorities are actively investigating the possibility that the illnesses were due to chemicals used for pest control. The unit immediately below Villa Capri was recently treated for pests by Terminix, however, Villa Capri itself had not been so treated. With respect to questions you may have regarding the application of chemicals, we direct you to Terminix. Sea Glass Vacations does not treat the units it manages for pests but instead relies on licensed professionals for pest control services. We are committed to full cooperation with all the authorities currently investigating this matter. However, as a rental management company, we generally do not share information about the affairs of our clients and customers with the media, and therefore will not comment further at this time.”

Dr. Panettieri says the amount of exposure will determine any long term effects.

He says, “Each individual will respond differently. If the dose was substantial enough for a fairly substantial period of time, hours, maybe some of the consequences will not resolve completely.”…read entire article

St. John Events

Press Release:
St. John Film Society presents TIE IT INTO MY HAND as part of Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation’s On Screen/In Person Tour

On Screen/In Person is designed to bring some of the best new independent American films and their respective filmmakers to communities across the mid-Atlantic region. The filmmakers will tour with their films and work with the host sites to provide audiences context and greater appreciation for their respective work and the art of film.

ST. JOHN FILM SOCIETY will present Tie It Into My Hand on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at the St. John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay, St. John. A $5 donation is requested at the door.

Tie It Into My Hand by Director Paul Festa
At once entertaining and deeply insightful, Tie It Into My Hand is an unprecedented look at the life of an artist, told entirely through interviews with pre-eminent directors, filmmakers, visual artists, writers and performers, including Alan Cumming, Barbara Hammer, Peter Coyote, and Harold Bloom, among many others. The filmmaker challenges each of the artists he interviews to teach him a violin lesson, though none of them is a violinist, prompting fascinating discussions of the joys and challenges of life as an artist, including how a chronic hand injury curtailed the filmmaker’s own musical career and redirected his artistic path.

Director Paul Festa will be on hand for Questions and Answers following the screening.

Filmmaker, actor, musician and writer Paul Festa creates work, which relates to the performing arts and their role in society. His current project, Tie It Into My Hand (2014), was screened as a work in progress at the Cannes film market and at the ODC Theatre in San Francisco. Festa also produced, wrote and edited the Emmy-nominated documentary Stage Left: A Story of Theatre in San Francisco with director Austin Forbord and is the author of OH MY GOD: Messiaen in the Ear of the Unbeliever, based on his first film, Apparition of the Eternal Church (2006).

St. John Live Music Schedule

Wednesday 3/25

Aqua Bistro
Mark Wallace
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers
9:00
340-777-4220

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

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

Cruz Bay Landing
Matt Mirkut
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Shipwreck Landing
Chris Carsel
6:30-9:30
340-693-5640

Virgin Fire
Fire on the Water Dinner Cruise
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00 – 9:00
340-244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

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Pesticide Poisoning Update

Cris Barrish, The News Journal

A Tatnall School administrator and his family poisoned by a banned pesticide at a luxury resort in the U.S. Virgin Islands “have stabilized and are showing improvement” after returning to the United States, their spokesman said Tuesday.

Steve Esmond, the head of Tatnall’s middle school; his wife, Dr. Theresa Devine; and two teen sons were sickened during a vacation in the Caribbean island of St. John.

The boys, who are in 11th and 9th grade, respectively, at Tatnall, remain in critical condition…

…Investigators have confirmed that methyl bromide was applied inside the Esmond family’s condo and others at the complex “to deal with indoor bugs,” and that the agency knows who applied the chemical. Investigators will be “working backward” to determine if other tenants have become ill at Sirenusa or other places where the contractor has fumigated rooms. “It’s possible people have fallen ill and not known it.”… read entire article

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Family Hospitalized by Suspected Pesticide Poisoning

Don’t drink the water… seriously?
After a Delaware family of four was hospitalized by suspected pesticide poisoning at their Sirenusa condo, visitors in a neighboring condo were advised by the villa management company “not to drink the water.”

Cris Barrish, The News Journal
A top Tatnall School administrator and his family suffered serious pesticide “poisoning” in their luxury condo while vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands last week, according to federal environmental officials and a Wilmington attorney who spent time with them on St. John.

Steve Esmond, the head of Tatnall’s Middle School, his wife, Dr. Theresa Devine, and their two teenage sons “were seriously exposed to a highly toxic chemical at their rental condominium,” said James J. Maron, the lawyer from Wilmington who is acting as the family’s spokesman.

The family, which lives in Wilmington, is in the process of being airlifted back to the United States and all except Devine are in critical condition, Maron said.

The suspected source of the poisoning is methyl bromide, which might have been used to fumigate a room at the Sirenusa resort where the family was staying, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said in a news release late Monday afternoon.

Methyl bromide is restricted in the United States due to its “acute toxicity,” the EPA release said. “Only certified applicators are allowed to use it in certain agricultural settings and is not authorized for use in dwellings. Health effects of acute exposure to methyl bromide are serious and include central nervous system and respiratory system damage.”…

…The family was staying at Sirenusa complex in the Capri villa, a $800-a-night hilltop condo in an enclave overlooking Cruz Bay…

…Maron said the chemicals the family was exposed to “bio-accumulated and metabolized until it became an acute poisoning.”

Over the weekend, he said, the family “began having seizures in the middle of the night and their lungs stopped working. All had to be intubated.”… read entire article

Don’t drink the water
Visitors staying at the same resort at the time reported meeting the family and later seeing them taken away in an ambulance. They were subsequently sent an email by their villa management company advising them not to drink the water at the condo.

Update me when site is updated

Pineapple Propagation

PineappleThere are three different ways I know to grow pineapples:

You can cut off the crown on the top of the fruit. (See above photo) Its easy and available, but the bad part is that it could take two years before it flowers and another six months before the fruit is ready to eat.

You can also use the shoots that grow off of the sides of the fruit, if you happen to find them, which will be more likely if you buy locally grown pineapples as opposed to the commercially grown ones. Planting these slips will cut down your waiting time.

sucker-9The quickest way to get fruit is to use the shoots that come of the main stem. You’ll need to have your own garden to get these slips that are also known as suckers. You can then either cut them off and replant them or leave them on the original plant and let them grow.

Pineapple Seeds
Photo by Shoomery.org

Apparently pineapples can also be grown by seeds, which are sometimes found inside the fruit. Personally, I don’t remember ever coming across them as they are not often found in commercially grown pineapples.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Monday 3/23

Aqua Bistro
Matt Mirkut
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Lovebettie
9:00
340-777-4220

Concordia
Open Mic
4:30 – 6:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
Chris Carsel
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Inn at Tamarind Court
Tom Mason & the Blues Buccaneers
7:00
340-776-6378

Virgin Fire
Mark Wallace & Broheem
6:00 – 9:00
340-244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

Update me when site is updated

Black Durgon

Black Durgon
Black Durgon (Melichthys niger)

I’ve been trying for some time to get a good photo (better than this one) of the black durgon, but the fish won’t cooperate. I’m fascinated with the iridescent white band that outlines their dorsal and anal fins. But as soon as I approach, they swim away and head into their little crevices in the rocks.I read that they lock themselves in by raising their trigger.

The black durgon also known as black triggerfish has a really cool name in Hawaiian, “humuhumu’ele’ele.”

So until I learn to be sneakier underwater or the until that black durgon that I always seem to find at the Indians in the late afternoon, isn’t paying attention,  I’ll have to be satisfied with this photo taken from afar.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Friday 3/20

Aqua Bistro
Steven Sloan
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Groove Thang
9:00
340-777-4220

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
T-Bird
8:00
340-201-1236

Cruz Bay Landing
Bri Felix
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Inn at Tamarind Court
Conor O’Brien of Big Blue World
7:00
340-776-6378

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

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel & Friends
6:00-9:00
340-779-4982

Virgin Fire
Inner Vision
6:00 – 9:00
340-244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

Update me when site is updated

A Rescued Donkey’s Progress and Two More Rescues

A Rescued Donkey’s Progress and Two More Rescues
By Pamela Holmes

When I tell you that I’m pretty sure I could write a story every month about Dana Bartlett and her animal rescue efforts on St. John, I’m not kidding. I was no sooner in the process of writing an updated story about Suzie Q, the wild donkey found missing a rear hoof on February 1st, and also about TJ, a male donkey born on February 6th who initially required bottle feeding as he was not nursing, that I received a text from Dana at 5pm on Saturday, March 7th. Another donkey was found near Zootenvaal with one of his testicles bitten off. I couldn’t believe what I saw when I met Dana at Sandy Stein’s house on Eden in Coral Bay after Dana had followed the injured donkey through the trails. Apparently, he had gotten into a fight over territory with another male donkey the night before. The poor guy had been bleeding for almost 24 hours. He was weak but still very wild. It took the three of us awhile to get a halter on him and tie him to a tree. Dana then called Dr. Laura Palminteri. We tried to get him to walk to Dana’s farm, the Carolina Corral, but he had lost too much blood and was very weak. He went down in the middle of the road. Now what?? It was getting dark and we were afraid we were going to lose him. Luckily, Dr. Laura called back and said she was on her way. She arrived with Scarlett Steer, who settled herself down at the donkey’s head, while Laura immediately started the castration procedure via car headlights. It took all four of us women to try and hold him down and keep his back legs from kicking Dr. Laura. Luckily, a couple visiting from New York City appeared and jumped in to help; she holding the surgical implements and he a flashlight. After he was stitched up, we rolled him on a sheet and lifted him into the back of Dr. Laura’s pick up truck with the additional help of Matt Trayser. Dr. Laura drove him to Dana’s farm and was carried into a private stall. After a short while, he was up and eating a banana out of our hands. Like Suzie Q, though wild, I think he knew he was in a safe place and that we were trying to help him. Though Sandy had originally called him Stubby, as he was missing the end of his tail, Dana renamed him Ali (as in Muhammad) for the great fights he gave with the male donkey as well as us! Ali is recuperating at the Carolina Corral and getting proper medication for his wounds. He will be released once he is healed.

A huge thank you to all for giving up their Saturday night to take care of this poor helpless guy. I don’t know what we would’ve done if Dr. Laura wasn’t able to come. She has been helping Dana save animals since 1997. Thank you also to all who made donations to Dana in support of rescuing Suzie Q as a response to my article published in several sources last month. Suzie Q was checked by Dr. Laura on February 11th and given a good bill of health and encouragement that her hoof would grow back over the next six months. She lets us change her bandage on a regular basis and is so sweet, (maybe even appreciative)! The baby donkey, TJ, who was not nursing at first, finally got the hang of it after a couple weeks and he and his mom, Cinnamon, are doing well at the Carolina Corral.

Dana has been the only hands-on, all-volunteer donkey and other large animal rescuer on St. John for the past 23 years. She has continued to do it all these years because it fills a need in the community to care for the larger animals who have nowhere else to go. Despite the challenges and/or because of them, her work at the corral is able to make a difference in people’s lives as evidenced by two recent notes. The first is from a visiting couple and the other from a part time resident. They read:

“Dana, We enjoyed spending time visiting with you and your special animal friends. Meeting and knowing how your kindness helps so many animals on St. John and your beloved donkeys will forever be in our hearts.”

“Dear Dana, Thank you for helping the animals. Your example and energy make a profound difference for all of us. A kinder community. Grateful.”

She is looking to become a nonprofit organization so her efforts of assisting the animals becomes bigger than just herself and it can continue long after she cannot care for them. If anyone is able to assist her with this process, please reach out to her. In the meantime, her animals are always in need of support via feed, hay, medical supplies and general maintenance materials. Donations through the local feed shops, Home Depot gift cards, Jefferspet.com gift cards and veterinary services would be greatly appreciated and accepted. Dana is also trying to secure a pick up truck and a horse trailer to enable her to rescue future injured donkeys. If you would like to make a contribution to help sponsor Suzie Q, Ali, TJ or any of the other rescued animals, you can visit her website.. Contributions can also be made via PayPal at the Carolina Corral’s email, info@horsesstjohn.com or by check to The Carolina Corral 16133 Spring Garden, St. John, VI 00830. Keep up to date with her animals and their stories on her Carolina Corral Facebook page! Thank you for your support!

St. John Live Music Schedule

Thursday 3/19

Aqua Bistro
T-Bird
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Lovebettie
9:00
340-777-4220

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

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
8:00
340-201-1236

Concordia
Broheem
4:30 – 6:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
James
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Inn at Tamarind Court
Groove Thang
7:00
340-776-6378

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade
7:00
340-776-0303

See Weekly Schedule

Update me when site is updated

Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon Bay St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)
Cinnamon Bay

Cinnamon is the place to go for all around facilities, beach activities and water sports. In addition to swimming, sunning, snorkeling and picnicking, Cinnamon offers surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, windsurfing, volleyball, and camping… read more

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. East wind 8 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Tuesday 3/17

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
8:00
340-201-1236

Beach Bar
Quest Theory
9:00
340-777-4220

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

Cruz Bay Landing
T-Bird
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Skinny Legs
Groove Thang
7:00-10:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

Update me when site is updated

Josie Gut

Josie Gut, Reef Bay Trail, St. John USVI
Josie Gut Horsemill Wall

JossieGutMap-9Josie Gut
The Reef Bay Trail passes through the old Josie Gut Estate about a half-mile from the trailhead at Centerline Road and goes right by the remains of the horsemill and the sugar factory.

The sugar works at Josie Gut, like the Reef Bay sugar works further down the trail date back to the early 19th century. The estate was owned and operated by the Hans Henrik Berg from the 1820s until his death in 1862. Berg served as governor of the Danish West Indies in 1848 and again from 1853 -1862.

Jossie Gut is also significant for using a surface water collecting and distributing system, the remains of which still exist on the opposite side of the trail from the horse mill.

Horsemill
The horsemill lies on a circular platform 65 feet in diameter. It is supported on the lower side by a 16-feet high stone retaining wall, which has a small storage room built into it. The upper side of the horsemill  is cut into the hillside and can be seen on the other side of the trail.

Factory
The remains of the Josie Gut sugar factory lie just below the horsemill. It was built almost entirely out of native stone, with the exception of bricks, used to line the doors and windows and the buildings corners.

The factory is T-shaped. The stem part of the T ends just three feet from the horsemill wall. This part of the factory was single-storied and housed the boiling house. The firing trench can be seen on the back or downhill side of the wall.

The top of the T contained the storage and curing rooms. Two remains of two staircases can still be seen.

Dam and Cistern
On the other side of the trail above the horsemill are the remains of a dam and cistern including a sluice way and gutter that led to the cistern

Ox Pound
North of the factory (up the trail and on the other side of the gut) you can still see what’s left of the old ox pound and two stone buildings.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Monday 3/16

Aqua Bistro
Matt Mirkut
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Buddha Council
9:00
340-777-4220

Concordia
Open Mic
4:30 – 6:30
340-693-5855

Cruz Bay Landing
Chris Carsel
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Inn at Tamarind Court
Quest Theory
7:00
340-776-6378

Shipwreck Landing
Dave Gerard
6:30-9:30
340-693-5640

Virgin Fire
Mark Wallace & Broheem
6:00 – 9:00
340-244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

 

Update me when site is updated

Friday Morning Images

St. John Live Music Schedule

Friday 3/13

Aqua Bistro
Steven Sloan
5:30-8:30
340-776-5336

Beach Bar
Quest Theory
9:00
340-777-4220

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
T-Bird
8:00
340-201-1236

Cruz Bay Landing
Bri Felix
6:00-9:00
340-776-6908

Inn at Tamarind Court
Conor O’Brien of Big Blue World
7:00
340-776-6378

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

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel & Friends
6:00-9:00
340-779-4982

Virgin Fire
Inner Vision
6:00 – 9:00
340-244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

Update me when site is updated