The unlikely island of Anegada has the distinction of being the site of the first airport ever built in the British Virgin Islands. The airstrip that first brought the age of air travel to the BVI was not much more than a hard-packed dirt runway. It was located at West End near Cow Wreck Beach and constructed in hopes of servicing a fledgling shark fishing industry that had started up on the island.
(In the 1800s when a ship carrying cow bones, used at the time to make chalk and buttons, wrecked on the reef just offshore of a small sandy cove on the northwest coast of Anegada. For years afterwards these bones washed ashore and the cove became know as Cow Wreck Beach.)
The shark fishery never really got off the ground, and the only aircraft to ever land at West End were one or two small private planes from St. Thomas carrying store-bought goods to Anegada residents and returning with local produce and seafood. These flights, however, were so few and far between that it was not long before the airstrip was abandoned and fell into disrepair.
(The last plane to ever use the airport before it literally disappeared into the bush was made by “a doctor from Tortola who flew his own plane and tried to make a call to Anegada by air. Having inspected the airfield from above and deciding it looked okay, he went in for his landing and touched down. All went well until an 18-inch ditch across the runway sheared off his landing gear. It seems that one of the locals, wanting to drain a salt marsh, had dug a ditch across the runway. Such is aviation across the West Indies…”Street’s Cruising Guide to the Eastern Caribbean, by Donald Street. The doctor mentioned in the story was identified by some Anegadians as Tortola’s Dr. Tattersoll.)
Although Anegada’s first introduction to the age of air travel had little to no effect on the lives of the residents of that remote island, the next airport to be built on Anegada did bring about considerable social change, but not in the way that most airports do. Anegada’s Auguste George Airport was built in 1969 and is located towards the northern part of the Settlement. As its 2,500-foot runway can only accommodate small aircraft, most visitors still arrive on sailboats and the airport has never been a major player in Anegada’s burgeoning tourist industry.
(The airport was named after Captain Auguste George Airport. His daughter, Anegada-born Gracita Faulkner, earned international fame and appeared in leading roles in “La Traviata” and “Faust” for the American Opera Guild.)
Nonetheless, the construction of the Auguste George Airport in 1960 did result in major changes in the lives and lifestyles of the residents of Anegada. The story of how this came about begins with the unorthodox nature and history of land ownership on the island…. read more
St. John Virgin Islands News
Police Investigate Tourist’s Death at St. John Villa
By Source Staff — March 3, 2014
Police are investigating the death of a woman at a private villa on St. John. The incident was reported to 911 emergency dispatch Sunday morning.
According to preliminary information from the V.I. Police Department, officers interviewed a man who said he and his wife were on vacation from Virginia and had an argument at the villa. The man said after the argument he slept outside the rental property in his vehicle. The next morning he tried to enter to the villa but could not gain access.
He called for assistance to get inside and, once inside, discovered the unresponsive body of his 41-year-old wife.
Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. Northeast wind 14 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Willy T, The Bight, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands
The William Thornton aka Willy T is a floating bar and restaurant that has been anchored in the Bight off Norman Island since 1985. The original Willy T was a wooden Baltic Schooner built in 1935, which sank at its mooring in 1995. The Willy T is most famous for some of the outrageous activities that regulatory occur aboard, especially during and after their popular Happy Hour. I’m talking ladies with no bathing suit tops, group activities such as body shots, shotski’s (shots lined up on a water ski) ladies and gentlemen publicly having Willy T Temporary Tattoos applied to various body parts and of course, the now forbidden, but done anyway, jumping off the deck, more often topless than not.
- shotski’s- topless jumping off the deck – tattoos – body shots
St. John News
NOAA to Hold Public Meetings on Proposed Endangered Corals
By Lynda Lohr — February 1, 2013
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will hold meetings next week to discuss the agency’s proposal to include 66 coral species on the Endangered or Threatened Species List. Seven of those proposed for the endangered list are in the Caribbean. Two are proposed for the threatened list…. read more
St. John Weather
Clear with rain showers in the morning, then partly cloudy
High of 82 degrees F.
Breezy: Winds from the East at 10 to 20 mph.
Sunrise: 6:51 AM AST – Sunset: 6:14 PM AST
Water Temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas) 82.9 degrees F
St. John Live Music Schedule Sunday February 3
3:30 – 6:30
Get Right Band
Sunday Brunch 10:00 am
Cruz Bay Prime
7:00 – 10:00
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
6:30 – 9:00
7:00 – 10:00
7:00 – 10:00
Sun Dog Cafe
11:00 am- 2:00 pm
Dock at Abe's by the Sea, Jost Van Dyke British Virgin Islands. That's Great Thatch and St. John seen across the channel.
The above photo was taken from one of my favorite restaurant in the world (and I’ve been to my share over the years), Abes By the Sea. It’s rather remote, located at Little Harbour on Jost Van Dyke in our neighboring British Virgin Islands. It was even more remote years ago. Now you can take a ferry to Jost Van Dyke and a taxi to Abe’s, but when he first opened, there was no ferry and no roads. You had to get there by boat.
Abe is a native Jost Van Dyke fisherman who decided to open a restaurant to serve the growing number of yachtsmen visiting the island. If you like big portions of fresh lobster, conch, or fish, deliciously prepared this is the place.
Abe's at Night
Chin & Boopy Enjoy Lobster & Conch
View from Window
St. John Weather
High Surf Advisory!
High Temperature: 85 degrees
Water Temperature: 80 degrees
Winds: From the east at 10 – 15 mph with gust of 25 mph or more
Moon Rise: Full Moon rises at 6:55
St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Thursday, March 8
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 Miss Lucy’s – David Reed – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5354 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 The Tap Room – Van Gordon Martin Band – 9:00 – 998-1333
This colorful flamingo lives all by itself on a pond at Brias Creek, on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.
He or she must have come from either Anegada, where there are a flock of flamingos living in the big salt pond in the center of the island or from Sir Richard Branson’s Necker Island upon which some 200 flamingos make their home.
In the following video, Ezius Ashley demonstrates how to climb a coconut palm and pick a coconut. Notice how he uses the natural grooves in the palm trunk foothold. Grasping the trunk on the opposite side and pulling inwards he transfers weight to his feet thus allowing them to adhere to the trunk. Good going Zi!
Abe’s Restaurant, Little Harbour, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
Bob Garrison, better known on St. John as the “Trail Bandit,” has produced the ultimate St. John Trail Map, a must have for any resident of St. John as well as for anyone visiting the island, hiker or not. The maps are available on St. John or can be downloaded or purchased on Bob’s website: trailbandit.org. Back in April of this year, I published an interview of Bob, which our readers may find interesting: Trail Bandit Interview Every year on the last Saturday in September, Bob hosts “Henniker’s Annual Pumpkin Festival” at his airport in Henniker New Hampshire. People arrive from all over, some in their own planes. When weather permits there’s an Air Show where, according to Bob, “People do silly things in airplanes.”
Bob's Plane - Italian Fighter-Trainer, Symmetrical Wing
Trail Bandit Airport - 3000 foot paved runway with lights
biplane parked at hanger
There’s a big barbecue, homemade pies, and hard and soft beverages. Bob personally prepared and marinated 120 pounds of chicken for the event. Mary brought her apple pies, but because of dangerous cross winds she didn’t fly them in herself as she normally does.
Bob "Trail Bandit" Garrison and Mary, the Trail Banditess
Autumn Colors at Airport
The highlight of the day is the trebuchet pumpkin launch. First Bob grows the pumpkins. Then on the day of the festival he sets up the trebuchet. An old wrecked automobile is fork-lifted down the field about two hundred yards from the trebuchet to serve as a target.
Pumpkin in flight
The trebuchet is armed using the force of about five or more people using a line to raise th 800-pound concrete counterweight. The trebuchet arm is then secured by the trigger mechanism and the pumpkin loaded into it’s pouch. Someone is chosen to pull the trigger and the pumpkin flies off to it’s target at a speed of 69 mies an hour. (Someone was there with a radar gun to verify the speed)
Sandcastle Hotel, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands
The founders of the Soggy Dollar Bar and Sandcastle Hotel are George and Marie Myrick. They first came to the Caribbean and cruised the island- on the Water Lily, a 53-foot motor-sailer, which they ran as a charter operation and for the owners. They then leased Little Thatch and ran a hotel there. They built the Sandcastle in 1970 and ran it for ten years after which they returned to the America and toured the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Belize. The couple, now in their 80s, live in Florida. They wrote a book about their experience called Incredible Virgin Island Adventure (Which I’m having trouble finding.) and have at least one post on their blog.
More Soggy Dollar Bar 40th Anniversary Party videos: