Category Archives: St. John Virgin Islands History

A Settlement on St. John That Failed

The Virgin Islands featured only secondarily in the colonial power struggle that came in the West Indies as the Spanish hold was challenged seriously by the English, Dutch, and French at the opening of the 17th century. They were less attractive and less hospitable for settlement than the larger islands, especially ‘there were areas more suitable for agriculture when colonization became a principal objective. As more desirable islands and lands ‘were occupied they did, however, become the subject of claim and counterclaim. Perhaps the evaluation given by Louis de Poincy in his account penned prior to 1666 suggests a little of this:

The Virgins, greater and less, comprehend several islands marked in the Map by that name. There are in all twelve or thirteen of them. They reach eastward from St. John de Porto-Rico, at the altitude of 18 degrees, North of the Line. Between these Islands there are very good anchoring places for several Fleets. The Spanish visit them often, in order to Fishing, which is there plentiful. There are also in them an infinite number of rare both land and seafowl. They afford so little good ground, that after trial made thereof in several places, it was concluded, that they deserved not Inhabitants.

The island of St. John seemingly by one account entered the recorded history picture in this period, in 1647. M. de Poincy, then at nearby St. Christopher, where the French were established, felt a need to remove a number of eminent people at St. Christopher who favored the Governor General rather than De Poincy. Not daring to send them to France and not believing it wise to drive them out as he had done with some of the less influential, he made arrangements to sent them to the Virgin Islands under the pretext of founding a new colony. He selected 60 of the most difficult, some in prominent positions in the settlement. It was not intended that they survive.

The apparent plan ‘”was to drop them on an unoccupied, deserted island. Soon after they had sailed (almost as they were departing) in September 1647, the property of the emigrants was confiscated.

Fortunately Capt. Jean Pinart of the group had cruised the islands and knew of one recently taken by the English where various edibles, including quantities of sweet potatoes, could be found. According to Nellis H. Crouse, “Father du Tertre does not tell us which island it was, but from the hints he gives it was probably St. John.”

On landing, hammocks were stretched and there was rest despite the attack by hungry mosquitoes. The next morning some went out to reconnoiter but only to find a row of corpses on the sand, the remains of a band of English that had come to settle. This suggested that the same fate might be theirs as truly might. Puerto Rico was not Ear away and the Spanish did not intend to allow undesirables, or foreign exiles, to settle in the neighborhood. They knew of De Poincy’s policy. Soon five armed vessels were sent to eliminate the embryonic settlement. Attack followed and on the first try the French, sailors and colonists, drove the Spaniards to the harbor’s edge. But in the second charge the French broke and fled to the mountains where they remained until the Spanish departed for Puerto Rico.

For three, or four, months the refugees eked out a poor existence on what little the island afforded. The Spaniards had seized their supplies and had wrecked Pinart’ s ship. Conditions grew worse and five of the heartier resolved to brave the sea in a 14-foot handmade raft fashioned from logs with help of a single axe that someone found. The logs, bound with vines and moved by a sail made from a couple of shirts held together with thorns, did not make a very seaworthy craft. The hope was to reach a settled island and look for assistance. It is doubtful, after a meal of sorts, who ”were the most deplorable: those who remained, or the five who “set sail.”

Toward evening the raft reached a little island near Virgin Gorda. Here the first sight was that of a grave of a former inhabitant of St. Christopher who had been driven out some time before. There was a dinner of crabs boiled in a kettle and the next day it was to sea again. The next stop was “the fertile island of St. Thomas where they remained five days refreshing themselves with the generous supply of bananas, oranges, and figs that grew here in great abundance. From St. Thomas they proceeded to the southern shore of Puerto Rico.

Despite herds of wild cattle, which they saw inland a little way, they remained fearful of the Spaniards and tarried only long enough to rest, repair their raft, and put to sea again. Three days later they came to a small island, where wild fowl nested in quantity. They also found a few huts and, hopeful that the inhabitants would return, settled down. Here they waited three months hoping for someone who could assist them. Unexpected aid came from the sea eventually.

They finally hailed a vessel, which was passing close enough to see their frantic signals. It was a Spanish fishing boat and its captain, when he saw the wretched castaways, had compassion and gave them clothing, bread and wine. He did more. Two weeks later, with his fishing done, he returned and picked them up, lashing their raft to his bowsprit as a trophy for the governor in Puerto Rico.

En route to San Juan the pilot, with his glass, spotted another raft and detoured to investigate. “On reaching it the Frenchmen saw with amazement a raft similar to their own to which clung six men, all that remained of the castaways they had left months before on St. John….” The Captain answered these pleas, too, with food and clothing and all were carried into San Juan.

The story had a pleasant ending. The hardships they endured and their miraculous rescue made them objects of charitable interest.

There was work for all who knew a trade. “When at last they had accumulated sufficient funds to leave the island, they took passage on a ship (all but one who had married and settled down) and sailed back to France.”

From: Virgin Islands National Park, St. John Island, the quiet place, by Charles E. Hatch, Jr.

Referencing:
The History of the Caribby-Island: In Two Books: The First Containing the Natural: the Second, the Moral History of Those Islands, Rendered into English by John Davies (London, 1666) and French Pioneers in the West Indies, 1624-1664 (New York, 1940)

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A Description of St. John in 1918

St. John may be reached by any of the sloops running between the islands; or from the east end of St. Thomas at Smith’s Bay by boat to Cruz Bay, which consisting of a few detached houses, is called the town.

Many years ago it rejoiced in a battery mounted with cannon and a lieutenant with a detachment of twenty soldiers.

Now only a judge and two policemen represent the majesty of the law in this peaceable and well-ordered island.

Dutch Creole was once the prevailing language, many of the planters being of Dutch descent. The present population of 900 consists almost entirely of Negroes who speak English. They are represented in the Colonial Council of St. Thomas and St. John by three members, one appointed by the government and two eleted by the people. Only on horseback and not without a certain sense of fear can one ride along the pathways of the steep cliffs and mountains. Probably on account of the difficult roads and the distance between the estates, social life is virtually nil….

The lover of natural scenery will find much to reward him in his rambles. Magnificent views are everywhere: whether horseback riding, walling or boating, the excursionist can be assured of the most delightful surroundings.

Should boating be preferable a pull (row) to St. Mary’s Point with its lofty granite cliffs studded with mica glimmering in the sunshine, or Smith’s Bay (Leinster Bay) with its fine bathing beach cannot be easily forgotten. The bottom of the bay is of beautiful white sand, spread like a carpet and covered with all sorts of brightly colored marine plants, which spring up in graceful form and owing to the peculiar transparency of the waters, seem quite near to the observer….

…Denis Bay, America Hill and Leinster Bay are popular resorts among regular visitors to St. John and at all these places good food and splendid living accommodations can be had at reasonable prices….

…The only means of transportation on the island of St. John is by horseback. Narrow and uneven roads over steep and irregular hills are far from suitable for carriages or vehicles of any kind, but horses nay be hired for $2.00 per day and the services of a good guide may be procured at a nominal price….

On St. John there are at the present only two white landowners and only one white man making his home there. The population is almost entirely rural, there being no town worthy of the name in this section, the largest settlement being at Cruz Bay.

From Luther K Zabriskie’s book, The United States Virgin Islands, published in 1918

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Caneel Bay Horsemill Then and Now

Caneel Bay Horsemill 1960
Caneel Bay Horsemill 1960

Caneel Bay Horsemill Today ZoZo's Restaurant
Caneel Bay Horsemill Today ZoZo’s Restaurant

St. John USVI News

Sirenusa Pesticide Poisoning Update

Three members of a Delaware family, including two teenagers who remain unconscious, are still in critical condition from poisoning by a banned pesticide this month…

Steve Esmond… regained consciousness at Christiana Hospital, but sons Ryan and Sean…have not awakened…

Their mother, Dr. Theresa Devine, has been released from the hospital… read entire article

 Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) stands behind its position on the Coral Bay Marina

St. John Live Music Schedule

Thursday 4/2

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
Wayne Clendinen & Pamela One Love
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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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…. read more

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.

Check out all the details at rei.com

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

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
John Gazi
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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

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

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The Origin of the Tainos

puerto ferro man
Site in Vieques where bones of man who lived there 4000 years ago were found

The Origin of the Tainos
Civilization has existed in the Caribbean for thousands of years despite the Euro centric assumption that the “New World” was discovered in 1492. The peopling of the Caribbean is not the product of a single discovery; its history is not mirrored in the narrative of a single expedition. Rather, it has been a lengthy process of assimilation and conquest. The arrival of the Europeans was a harsh and drastic example of this process. Many different groups have migrated to and within the Caribbean. Cultures have dominated, and cultures have submitted. With each new migration the Caribbean culture evolved. The culture continues to change, even today, with recent continental gentrification. Each influx brings new characteristics, oftentimes at the expense of the rich traditions of the past. The tropical paradise for which the Caribbean is known serves only as a backdrop to the colorful tapestry of cultures, which have constructed the history of the region.

The First People to Settle in the Caribbean
The first people to settle in the Caribbean most likely came from Central America and settled in Cuba and Hispaniola. Archeologists and ethnologists call them the Casmiroid. They lived in the upland savannas of what is now the nation of Belize and survived primarily by hunting. They gradually migrated to the river valleys where they could fish and gather plant foods, which grew in abundance in this rich and fertile environment. They then began to make seasonal trips to the coast where they learned to exploit the resources of the sea. It was from these coastal camps that the migration to the islands of the Caribbean began about 6000 years ago…. read more

St. John, Virgin Islands & Caribbean News

Archeological Theories Supported By Microbes From 1,500-year-old Feces
May 20, 2014

American Society for Microbiology

By evaluating the bacteria and fungi found in fossilized feces, microbiologists are providing evidence to help support archeologists’ hypotheses regarding cultures living in the Caribbean over 1,500 years ago. They report their findings today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

“Although fossilized feces (coprolites) have frequently been studied, they had never been used as tools to determine ethnicity and distinguish between two extinct cultures. By examining the DNA preserved in coprolites from two ancient indigenous cultures, our group was able to determine the bacterial and fungal populations present in each culture as well as their possible diets,” says Jessica Rivera-Perez of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, who presented the study.

Various indigenous cultures inhabited the Greater Antilles thousands of years ago. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have thousands of pre-Columbian indigenous settlements belonging to extinct cultures that migrated to the Caribbean at some point in history.

Archaeological excavations in Vieques, Puerto Rico unearthed hand-made tools and crafts as well as fossilized feces dating from 200 to 400 A.D. The presence of two distinct styles of craftsmanship, as well as other clues obtained from the dig sites, suggested these artifacts belonged to two distinct cultures.

“One culture excelled in the art of pottery; in fact, their signature use of red and white paint helped identify them as descendants from the Saladoids, originating in Saladero, Venezuela. In contrast, the second culture had exquisite art for crafting semiprecious stones into ornaments, some of which represented the Andean condor. This helped archaeologists identify the Bolivian Andes as possible origins of this Huecoid culture,” says Rivera-Perez.

To help confirm these archeological hypotheses, Rivera-Perez and her colleagues examined the DNA preserved in coprolites from both Saladoid and Huecoid settlements and compared the bacterial and fungal populations found in each. Major differences were detected between the fecal communities of these cultures, providing additional support that they may have had different origins. Additionally, they found fungal and corn DNA in the Huecoid coprolite that suggests the consumption of an Andean fermented corn beverage, further confirming the theory that the Huecoids originated in the Bolivian Andes.

“The study of the paleomicrobiome of coprolites supports the hypothesis of multiple ancestries and can provide important evidence regarding migration by ancestral cultures and populations of the Caribbean,” says Rivera-Perez.

Source: American Society for Microbiology

Bio Bay Vieques
Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques – Photo by Frank Borges Llosa

Bioluminescence Researchers to Discuss Salt River Bay on Saturday
By Susan Ellis — May 21, 2014

Federal and local scientists will present data collected over the last year about Salt River’s bioluminescent bay and discuss its importance to the community Saturday at the University of the Virgin Islands Great Hall on St. Croix. Results of the research could impact a multimillion-dollar marine research center in the planning for the last 10 years by the National Park Service, the Department of the Interior, the V.I. government and four stateside universities.

Bioluminescent organisms are one-cell organisms found only in a few bays worldwide. The dinoflagellates give off light and have both plant and animal properties – photosynthesizing like plants and processing food like animals, according to Marcia Taylor, UVI biologist for the Center of Marine and Environmental Studies.

Over the last year, researchers from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, the Universities of South Carolina and North Carolina, and UVI have been studying the bioluminescence in Salt River Bay with funding by the U.S. Department of the Interior and support from the St. Croix Environmental Association.

The bay is “economically important” and supports four or five companies who offer kayak tours at night. The bioluminescent salt water is also a tourist attraction…. read more

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
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

Virgin Fire
Gypsy Jazz
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00 -9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers after 8am. Sunny, with a high near 81. Southeast wind 10 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

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Cyril E. King Airport, (STT) St. Thomas USVI

runway cyril e king airportWhat is now the modern Cyril E. King Airport was originally a simple runway and airplane hanger built for the use of the US Air Force. In 1950, this facility was upgraded and became the Harry S. Truman Airport. When jet aircraft began flights to the Virgin Islands, the short runway (4,658 feet) could barely accommodate them. Jets could land at the airport, although with some difficulty, but the runway was not long enough to allow them to take off with a full fuel tank. For this reason, jets would have to take off from St. Thomas with only small amounts of fuel and then make a stop at St. Croix to refuel.

In 1976, American Airlines Flight 625, ran off the runway killing 37 of the 88 passengers and crew on board. Although it was pilot error and not the short runway that was ultimately found to be the cause of the crash, American Airlines suspended jet service to St. Thomas after the incident.

Subsequently, the runway was lengthened by cutting away the mountain on one end and filling in the bay on the other. The terminal was renovated and on October 3, 1984, the present airport was dedicated and renamed the Cyril E. King Airport, after a former governor of the Virgin Islands.

The 7,000-foot runway, the same length as the runway at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, can now accommodate wide-body jets.

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
T-Bird
7:00 – 9:00
340-201-1236

Beach Bar
Brother Nature
9:00
340-777-4220

Castaway’s
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
340-777-3316

Cinnamon Bay
Eddie Bruce – Drumming
6:30 -8:30
340-776-6330

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
Aussie Guitars
The David T Carter Duo
6:00 – 9:00
340-779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm. Cloudy, with a high near 78. East northeast wind around 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND THE ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

DAY ONE…TODAY AND TONIGHT

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL ONCE AGAIN DEVELOP AFTER MID-MORNING AND WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND OCCASIONAL LIGHTNING ACROSS THE ISLANDS AND ADJACENT WATERS.

DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE AREA WILL CONTINUE TO DEEPEN TODAY FORMING A CLOSED LOW NORTH OF OUR AREA BEGINNING TONIGHT. AS IT DOES SO…THE ATMOSPHERE WILL BECOME MORE HUMID AND UNSTABLE WITH SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS BECOMING MORE NUMEROUS AND INTENSE ESPECIALLY ON FRIDAY. MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL…GUSTY WINDS AND LIGHTNING CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THE STRONGEST STORMS. THIS WET AND ACTIVE WEATHER PATTERN IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST THE WEEKEND.

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Seaplane Service in the Virgin Islands

Seaplanes in the USVISeaborne was not the first commercial seaplane service to operate in the Virgin Islands. That distinction belongs to Antilles Air Boats, started by flying ace, renowned test pilot and author Charlie Blair in 1964.

Charlie Blair distinguished himself, among countless other achievements, by flying his scarlet-red P-51 Mustang, named Excalibur III, non-stop from New York to London in 1951.­ In May of that same year Charlie Blair made the first solo flight over the North Pole delivering personally through the cockpit window a letter addressed to Santa Claus from his son, Chris. Excalibur III is now on permanent display at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

In 1968, Charlie Blair married the famous movie actress Maureen O’Hara and the couple lived on St. Croix.

By 1977, Antilles Air Boats, with a fleet of 23 amphibious aircraft including 19 Grumman Goose seaplanes, was making more than 100 flights a day, carrying some 250,000 passengers a year. Virgin Islanders often referred to Antilles Airboats as “The Streetcar Line of the Virgin Islands.”

Charlie Blair died in 1978 when the Grumman Goose he was piloting developed engine trouble and crashed between St. Croix and St. Thomas. (Excerpted from St. Thomas USVI)

Between 1967 and 1995 there was seaplane service between Cruz Bay and San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Croix and Tortola. What is now used as the Virgin Islands National Park boat launch once housed the ramp, rustic offices and ground facilities for Antilles Airboats, a seaplane company that lost its planes to Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Afterwards, other companies took over, until they too lost their aircraft to a hurricane. This time it was Hurricane Marilyn in 1995. After that, the National Park announced that it would no longer lease the seaplane ramp and that wonderful scheduled seaplane service that at one time enabled visitors to change planes in San Juan and fly directly to Cruz Bay is no more. (Excerpted from St. John Off the Beaten Track)

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

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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John News

Murder in Coral Bay: A Tale of St. John by Wilson Roberts

Murder disrupts the calm of Coral Bay on St. John in the United States Virgin Islands. One of the world’s most unique communities, it is a place where many people are known by nicknames, their birth names often buried in life histories some-such as the woman known only as X-would rather forget. Robert Palmer, once a husband, father and physician from the hills of Western Massachusetts, staggered by the sudden breakup of his marriage, finds work as a bartender at Dante’s Landing, a restaurant and bar at the edge of the water. The Landing is a haven for many of Coral Bay’s inhabitants and Robert is quickly accepted as one of them. On his first day at the Landing he is befriended by Bethany Wren, whose rosy image veils a troubled and troubling past. The murder of a loud and abusive tourist outside Dante’s Landing is the first of three violent deaths. A corrupt police sergeant investigating the murders is as much a threat as the unknown murderer to the peace of Coral Bay, a laughing, singing, dancing, drinking, hard-working, sailing, swimming, fishing, eating and loving corner of St. John. Murder in Coral Bay is the story of how Robert, native St. Johnian Moonie, and Dante, owner of the Landing, find the murderer despite the ineptness and corruption of members of the Virgin Islands Police Department. Rich in descriptions of character and place, readers who know Coral Bay will find that Murder in Coral Bay will remind them of why they love this rare and lovely community. Readers who have yet to visit will find themselves drawn to discover it on their own. Wilson Roberts has published six previous novels with Wilder Publications. The Cold Dark Heart of the World; Incident on Tuckerman Court; The Serpent and the Hummingbird; Borrowed Trouble; Poet’s Seat, and All That Endures. Order at Amazon.com

St. John Weather

Scattered showers and thunderstorms, then periods of showers and possibly a thunderstorm after noon. High near 78. East wind 10 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND THE ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

DAY ONE…TODAY AND TONIGHT

SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS WILL ONCE AGAIN DEVELOP AFTER MID-MORNING AND WILL BE CAPABLE OF PRODUCING MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL AND OCCASIONAL LIGHTNING ACROSS THE ISLANDS AND ADJACENT WATERS.

DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN…FRIDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY

AN UPPER LEVEL TROUGH OVER THE AREA WILL CONTINUE TO DEEPEN TODAY FORMING A CLOSED LOW NORTH OF OUR AREA BEGINNING TONIGHT. AS IT DOES SO…THE ATMOSPHERE WILL BECOME MORE HUMID AND UNSTABLE WITH SHOWERS AND THUNDERSTORMS BECOMING MORE NUMEROUS AND INTENSE ESPECIALLY ON FRIDAY. MODERATE TO LOCALLY HEAVY RAINFALL…GUSTY WINDS AND LIGHTNING CAN BE EXPECTED WITH THE STRONGEST STORMS. THIS WET AND ACTIVE WEATHER PATTERN IS FORECAST TO CONTINUE THROUGH AT LEAST THE WEEKEND.

Update me when site is updated

A History of Religious Tolerance in the Virgin Islands

moravian church
Moravian Church in Coral Bay

A History of Religious Tolerance in the former Danish West Indies (now the US Virgin Islands)

Christianity arrived on St. Thomas with the first European settlers in 1666. The Lutheran Pastor, Kjeld Jensen Slagelse, who had run afoul of church authorities in Denmark, ministered to a congregation of some 100 parishioners, only half of whom were Danish Lutherans. The pastor also served as governor of the settlement when the original governor died.

This first expedition ended in failure due to high mortality from disease, hunger and raids by buccaneers and Pastor Slagelse sailed back to Denmark along with the few survivors of that ill-fated mission.

Pastor, Slagelse joined the next expedition to St. Thomas in 1671, but died aboard ship before reaching the island. He was succeeded by another minister, who died shortly after taking over the position. The third minister had to be sent back to Denmark for drunkenness. (The matter was turned over to the Danish courts where the minister argued that his drunken states were the result of the poor quality of rum: a white, unrefined, high alcohol content concoction known a “kill devil,” produced on the island.)

Life expectancy of Lutheran ministers, as well as for many of the other colonists, was quite short. During the first 100 years that the Lutheran Church conducted services on St. Thomas, there were 31 different ministers.

Lutheran services were originally held in the courtyard of the fort and all colonists were required to attend services regardless of religious affiliation.

When settlers sent back accounts of hardship and disease, the Danes, who were generally comfortable at home, became extremely reluctant to settle the new territories. Even prisoners promised freedom after six years of labor on St. Thomas responded to the offer with riots and mutinies. In order to recruit settlers, the Danish government and its representative in the colonies, the Danish West India Company, resorted to inviting foreigners to settle the islands. One of the incentives employed to entice foreigners to settle on St. Thomas was the prospect of religious tolerance.

The majority of these foreign settlers on St. Thomas were Dutch. So influential were these foreigners that a Dutch Creole, called Creolsk soon became the common language of St. Thomas and St. John.

Cooperation and religious tolerance began with the Dutch being allowed to use the Lutheran Church inside the fort to conduct services until they were able to build a church of their own.

By 1675, the Dutch and French Reformed Churches had built churches just to the east of the fort.

Jews and Catholics were granted freedom of religion in 1685. In the e­arly 1700s, an Anglican Church was set up to serve English settlers and in 1736, the Moravians established a slave mission on the island. (Excerpted from St. Thomas USVI by Gerald Singer)

St. John Events

elephantSt. John Film Society presents: ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT

At the St John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay – 7:30 pm

Screen shot 2014-02-02 at 8.43.39 AMTen years in the making, ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT follows the poignant journey of circus producer David Balding as he tries to find a nurturing and permanent home for Flora, the 18-year-old African elephant that he rescued as an infant, raised as his “daughter” and made the star of his circus. David’s love for Flora is put to the ultimate test when he realizes he made a terrible mistake keeping her as a solo elephant, and decides to retire her from the circus after 17 years of performing.

Knowing Flora will outlive him, and with his health and finances becoming an issue, David sets off on a quest to find a home for Flora can live freely with other elephants. This complicated task begins with Flora’s final circus performance in St. Louis and takes us on an emotional trek across America, then to Africa and back.

We follow David’s journey as he discovers just how difficult it is to find a proper home for an elephant in a world that reveres these animals for their majesty yet slaughters them for their ivory, adores them as cuddly Dumbos yet brands them “rampaging creatures”.

ONE LUCKY ELEPHANT raises critical issues about the well-being and future of the hundreds of thousands of endangered and exotic animals kept in captivity, the over development and destruction of their natural habitats, our intense and often damaging relationship with wild animals, and how all these issues have impacted the life of one very lucky elephant.

Come early to help set up the chairs! Thanks in advance!

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 78. South southeast wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

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St. John History: The Annaberg School

St. John History: Annaberg School

Trail to Annaberg SchoolThe Annaberg School
The Annaberg School was one of the Caribbean’s oldest public school houses. The partially restored building, sometimes referred to as the Mary Point School, can be reached by means of a short (0.2 mile) well maintained trail, which begins off the North Shore Road about thirty yards from the intersection of the Leinster Bay Road. The structure was stabilized in 1987 through the efforts of the St. John Historical Society who also provided the informational exhibit. Volunteers from the St John Historical Society have regularly maintained the area with the most recent  cleanup being last Saturday.

The trailheads are not readily visible by cars traveling on the roadway so be careful and pay attention to road traffic when entering and exiting the trail.

Annaberg SchoolHistory of the Annaberg School
In 1839, the Danes passed a law requiring that both free and slave children attend school. The schools were built with funds obtained from the colonial treasury and were run by Moravian Missionaries. Classes were taught in English.

This concern for the education of the slaves was quite unusual considering the low priority given to schooling in the West Indian plantation societies in general. In the Danish West Indies, public education, even for white children, was not available until 1788. As a justification of slavery, the Europeans promoted a philosophy that Africans were somehow less than human and could not be educated. In most colonies education for Africans was prohibited either by law or by custom. In the Danish West Indies, the philosophy gradually became more liberal. This was, in great part, due to the success of the Moravian Church in attracting African converts. White society now had to contend with the fact that many of these enslaved people were, like themselves, Christians.

Moravian clergymen taught the slaves at their missions in the islands, even before the passage of the 1839 law. They also pressed the government for educational reforms.

Another factor that led to the establishment of public schools for slave children was the ongoing process of humanitarianism and reform in Europe. King Frederick VI of Denmark was a liberal and a reformer. He maintained a friendship with Peter Van Scholten who was the governor of the Danish West Indies in the early 1830s. Van Scholten dedicated his governorship to the amelioration of the adverse conditions of slavery, and was instrumental in the passage of the educational reform law. In 1848, Van Scholten declared an end to slavery in the Danish West Indies, when faced with the prospect of a major rebellion on St. Croix.

The Annaberg School was completed in 1844. The location was chosen because, at the time, this was the most populated area of St. John. The recently renovated school building is representative of the architecture of the period. The location, overlooking Mary Point, Leinster Bay, and Tortola is quiet, serene and well worth a visit.

Excerpted from St. John Off the Beaten Track

St. John Virgin Islands Events

st john arts festivalSt. John Arts Festival

On Tuesday afternoon, St. John’s own, first-class reggae band, the Inner Visions, will be playing in the Park.

On Tuesday evening at 7.30pm at the Gifft Hill School auditorium (upper school building) there will be a special showing of the film “Chasing Ice,” in association with the St. John Film Society. This film is a must-see to actually witness, in time-lapsed filming, the dramatic effects of global warming on the Arctic Ice Cap.

There will be a select exhibition of hand-made island crafts in both the Dept. of Tourism’s little park and the main park.

A show of children’s art will be on the 2nd floor of the Market Place, as in past years.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Five years in, efforts to control lionfish reassessed
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: February 17, 2014

ST. THOMAS – The proliferation of the Pacific lionfish throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands has led to a newly revised management plan.

In the summer of 2008, the territorial waters were free of lionfish.

In early 2009, divers and fishermen began to spot lionfish, first on St. Croix, then St. John and finally St. Thomas.

The zebra-striped spiny predators were first sighted off Florida in 1992. Since then, the invasive species has spread rapidly throughout the eastern seaboard and into the Caribbean.

Lionfish have a voracious appetite for smaller fish and can severely deplete fish populations that are necessary players in reefs’ fragile ecosystems. It is a native of the western Pacific, and has no natural predators in the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea.

When the invasive species was first found in territorial waters, local divers and ecologist leapt on the problem, getting word out to the public about the serious economic and ecological threat the fish posed.

In October 2009, the first Lionfish Response Management Plan was presented to the public, drafted by biologist Barbara Kojis with a grant from V.I. Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Five years later, it was time for the plan to be updated.

The revised plan recognizes that while the lionfish population can no longer be prevented from invading the territory’s reefs, strategies may help slow the growth and protect specific reefs and areas from being wiped out…. read more

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Castaways
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 8:00
714-6169

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

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
776-6800

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

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

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

See Weekly St. John Music Schedule

St. John USVI Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East northeast wind 16 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John History: Cemetery at Estate Enighed

Estate Enighed Cemetery
Grave of Wilam WoodThe renovated Estate Enighed (pronounced EN nee high) greathouse in Cruz Bay now houses the Elaine Ione Sprauve Public Library.

William Wood, an Englishman, born on the Dutch island of Saba in 1692 was the first recorded owner of Estate Enighed was. He came to St. John with his family sometime in the 1750’s and became the owner of the estate. William Wood died on St. John in 1757, and his grave can be found on the Estate Enighed property in back of the library…. read more

St. John Virgin Islands News

Winter storm impacts flights to V.I. airports
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: February 13, 2014

ST. THOMAS – Bad weather on the mainland caused canceled flights at the territory’s airports Wednesday.

V.I. Port Authority spokeswoman Monifa Marrero said all Delta flights were canceled Wednesday through today.

Jet Blue’s Boston flight was canceled Wednesday morning as well…. read more

Investigation Continues into St. John Homicide
By Lynda Lohr — February 13, 2014

The police continue to investigate a homicide on St. John that has garnered attention from the stateside media. The body of James Malfetti, 41, was found inside his Boatman Point Road apartment on Jan. 19 with stab wounds to his neck.

“The officers are working on the case every day,” Police Department spokesman Melody Rames said Thursday.

In response to harsh criticism in stateside media reports that claim the V.I. Police Department isn’t responsive and isn’t aggressive enough in pursuing the case, Rames would only say “the focus is on the case.”

Malfetti, who was from Scotch Plains, N.J., had lived on St. John about a year and ran a technical consulting business.

His parents, James and Rosemary Malfetti, hired a private detective to investigate their son’s murder for them.

“We have what we consider a very strong suspect,” detective Todd Phoenix said from his Florida base.

While Phoenix declined to name the suspect, he said that person resides within the territory.

Phoenix said his investigation was hampered because he was called into the case a week after Malfetti’s body was found. Additionally he said he wasn’t getting cooperation from local law enforcement agencies…. read entire article

Chess Tables Debut in Cruz Bay Park
By Lynda Lohr — February 12, 2014

…Lioness Bruce held court Wednesday as the Chess in the Parks initiative headed by V.I. first lady Cecile deJongh unveiled two chess tables in Cruz Bay Park….

…While deJongh envisions that both children and adults will enjoy the chess tables being installed in the territory’s parks, she said when it comes to students playing the game, it will improve their thinking skills.

Retired educator Alecia M. Wells, who accompanied the Sprauve students to the park, said they’ll learn hand and eye coordination as well.

For now, players will have to bring their own chess pieces because there is nowhere in the park to safely store them. The tables are bolted down to prevent theft.

The two tables installed on St. John, as well as one each in three parks on St. Thomas and three on St. Croix, were made by participants at My Brother’s Workshop, a St. Thomas-based nonprofit agency.

DeJongh said the tables cost $250 each, about a tenth the cost of importing them from the mainland…. read entire article

Caribbean Sea water beneficial to your health
Read VI Daily News Article

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Stephan Sloan
5:30 – 8:30
776-5336

Castaway’s
Mikey P
9:00
Dance Party
11:00
777-3316

High Tide
Mikey P
7:00 ish
714-6169

Island Blues
Brother Nature
8:00
776-6800

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

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

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

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

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

See Weekly St. John Music Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East southeast wind 13 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Full Moon will rise at 6:12 PM AST

Sunrise 6:47 AM AST – Sunset 6:19 PM AST

 

Update me when site is updated