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sunset from lind point battery overlook

Yesterday’s sunset seen from the Lind Point Battery Overlook

Virgin Islands National Park SignThe Lind Point Trail is a favorite hike for people coming to St. John by ferry or for those who don’t have a vehicle. That’s because the trail is within easy walking distance of downtown Cruz Bay and offers not only a great trail experience such as the great views from the Lind Point Battery Overlook, but also access to the beautiful beaches and snorkeling at Salomon and Honeymoon Bays.

But day-trippers are not the only ones who choose to experience the Lind Point Trail and most of these hikers arrive by vehicle. This presents a problem. Finding a place to park near the trail can be difficult, to say the least.

Now the Virgin Islands National Park offers a solution, of sorts. Hikers bound for the Lind Point Trail can go to the National Park Visitors Center located just across the street from the trailhead and obtain a parking permit that allows them to park in spaces reserved for the park employees. You’ll need to show the attendant at the center your drivers license, which they will hold until you get back. They will then issue you a  sign for you to place on your windshield. Be aware that empty employee’s parking spaces are limited and are often unavailable, and that parking anywhere else on the street will put you in danger of being ticketed by enforcement rangers.

Park back wheels to the curb, windshield facing out towards the street and enjoy your hike.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

List of the Friendliest Islands in the Caribbean from the Huffington Post

St. John came in number six, with the annotation: “What’s even nicer than “soft sand beaches” and “water that’s clear like glass”? The “warm, kind locals,” according to our readers—they’re ‘”friendly and welcoming, without pestering you.”‘

St. John was topped by the British Virgin Islands, which came in number five.

Vieques was number nine, and the number one spot went to the island of Saba…. read article

In another list compiled by the Nassau Guardian the Virgin Islands came in fourth:

Report Ranks V.I. Homicide Rate Fourth in Caribbean
By John Baur — January 16, 2014

The U.S. Virgin Islands rated fourth in the Caribbean in 2013 in the number of homicides per 100,000 residents, according to a study by the Nassau Guardian in the Bahamas.

… the island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis had the highest homicide rate in the region…. Jamaica’s homicide rate was second highest in the region…. and the Bahamas ranked third… read more from the St. John Source or from the Nassau Guardian

Bordeaux Farmers Rastafari Fair This Weekend
By Molly Morris — January 16, 2014

It’s time again to gather up family and friends and head out to the rolling green hills of Bordeaux for the 17th annual Bordeaux Farmers Rastafari Agricultural and Cultural Food Fair on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll have no trouble finding it; just head west on St. Thomas and follow your nose. The heady aromas of fresh food will lead you.

The fair bursts with fresh produce, herbs, vegetables, cook pots filled with pumpkin soup, kallaloo, homemade vegan and raw food, pumpkin fritters – it goes on as it has for years, the annual celebration of all that is right with the world. It runs from 10 a.m. to midnight or thereabouts each day.

The fair is the proud product of the Bordeaux Farmers Collective We Grow Food Inc., illustrating the group’s belief: “To lose agriculture is to lose our culture, integrity, self-worth and pride. Without these characteristics, we as a people fail to exist.”… read more

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Get Right Band
9:00
777-4220

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
Plus Comedian Tim Hofmann!
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 79. East wind around 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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Bubbly Pool, Jost Van Dyke, BVISurf’s Up!

Surf’s up! Good news for surfers, not so great for beach goers and snorkelers. But a great time to visit the Bubbly pool on Jost Van Dyke, but be careful, the waves are big!

St. John Weather

High Surf Advisory in Effect

Today: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers early in the morning… Then partly cloudy with isolated showers in the late morning and afternoon. Highs around 84. Northeast winds 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 50 percent.

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Revolver
8:00
777-4220

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

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

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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John News

Island Profile: Beverly Biziewski is a Straight Shooter
By Lynda Lohr — November 18, 2013

Longtime St. John resident Beverly Biziewski admits she says what’s on her mind.

“I confess I have a very big mouth,” she said, sitting still for an interview at the island’s Catherineberg sugar mill.

She said she says what everyone else thinks but lacks the – she couldn’t come up with quite the right word, but courage covers it – to say.

Yes, Biziewski is outspoken and asks personal questions others wouldn’t dare, but she’s got a big heart and gives back in many ways to the St. John community.

She’s president of St. John’s chapter of AARP of the Virgin Islands but has her fingers in many pies. They include the St. John Historical Society, the Audubon Society of the Virgin Islands, St. John Singers, and Nazareth Lutheran Church.

Long past the age of retirement – she won’t say how many – she still cleans houses for a villa management company to augment her funds. It was a job she first took to build her bank account so she could buy land and build her house…. Read more

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Cruz Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands (USVI) 1965

Cruz Bay Corner 1965 photo courtesy of the Bob “Trail Bandit” Garrison

Cruz Bay 2013

Cruz Bay Corner 20134

Local Officials Assess Impact of Federal Government Shutdown
By James Gardner — October 2, 2013

While parks, courts and other federal agencies with operations in the territory either closed or began to prepare Tuesday for the final news of a federal government shutdown, local officials said that, overall, Virgin Islands government operations will not be feeling an immediate impact.

Several V.I. government departments, including Education, Labor and Human Services, have programs or offer services that operate off of federal funds, but in a statement Tuesday night, Gov. John deJongh Jr. said that, for the most part, any negative impact would be felt over time if the shutdown continues.

“I have asked each commissioner and department head whose agency benefits from federal funding and federal services to take a close look at how their day-to-day operations are being affected by the shutdown and what can be done locally to bridge the gaps that exist,” deJongh said in the statement.

Labor Commissioner Albert Bryan Jr. said that his department’s funding and general operations are fine, for now, and that there is enough money to operate through the end of the year. No programs, including regular unemployment and Extended Unemployment Compensation, are affected and checks will be issued as usual, he said.

According to the Government House statement, the Department of Health’s Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program has been affected by the shutdown. Any check given to WIC participants with an Oct. 2013 date cannot be cashed, and no food or other benefits will be given out until the shutdown is over, the statement said.

All WIC clinics will be open until Friday, with staff processing waiting list appointments. New participants will be processed when funding becomes available….read more

UPDATE: Burned restaurant will leave a void this winter – Premier
BVI News Online – Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 8:40 AM

The Virgin Islands Fire Department is still trying to find out what resulted in the blaze that has destroyed Pirates Restaurant at Norman Island, located on the southern tip of the British Virgin Islands.

The fire, which started on the morning of Tuesday (October 1), quickly transformed the recently rehabilitated structure into ashes, and left many pondering their fate.

Scores of workers are among those affected. No one was injured.

In a statement to the press hours after the bad news started to spread, Tourism Minister Dr. D. Orlando Smith stated that he is saddened by reports of the blaze…. read more

 

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Data Roaming

There are several places on St. John, especially on the north shore between Trunk and Cinnamon Bays, where your phone may pick up a signal from the British Virgin Islands that will result in exorbitant roaming charges. If you are in one of these locations, your phone will display “Lime” instead of AT&T, Sprint, Verizon etc. On my iPhone the name of the carrier and signal strength are displayed on the top left corner of the phone. Look out for “Lime” or Boat Phone,” they’re BVI-based and calls  will be expensive. Ironically, when on Jost Van Dyke and parts of Tortola where the cell signal will be handled cheaply by US Virgin Islands carriers. Check your phone to make sure.

Besides calls, the other danger occurs when you’re using mobile data like Safari, Google, Facebook, email or any other internet based app and you inadvertently move to an area where you’re picking up a BVI signal, in which case your cost for the data will skyrocket.

The best way to prevent this is to simply turn of data roaming on your phone.

(Data roaming means using mobile data in another country where charges are considerably higher than in the US when using the Internet abroad.)

To turn off data roaming:

iPhones
1- From the home screen tap Settings
2- Select General and then choose Mobile Data. On some iPhones, this might be called Cellular instead. On older versions of iOS, look for Network.
3- Choose Data Roaming and select Off

Android
Go to Settings
Select Wireless & networks
Select Mobile networks
Make sure the Data roaming option is not checked

 

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Willy T

Willy T, The Bight, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands

William Thornton, Norman Island BVIThe 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

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

Beach Bar
Get Right Band
4:30
777-4220

Concordia
Bo
Sunday Brunch 10:00 am

Cruz Bay Prime
Mark Wallace
7:00 – 10:00
693 -8000

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

Miss Lucy’s
Sambacombo
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
693-5254

Ocean Grill
David Laab
6:30 – 9:00
693-3304

Rhumblines
T-Bird
7:00 – 10:00

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club
7:00 – 10:00

Sun Dog Cafe
David Laab
11:00 am- 2:00 pm
244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

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The Baths Virgin Gorda BVI

The Baths Virgin Gorda British Virgin Islands

St. John Film Society Press Release:

SPOTLIGHT ON CUBA

Tuesday, February 5, 7:30 pm
St. John School of the Arts
Cruz Bay

ADOLPHO

Directed by Sofie Delaage, 45 minutes, Comedy, 2006.
Poor Adolpho yearns for life beyond his broken-down taxi and plots a journey across the sea in this contemporary Cuban comedy of errors.

CON EL TOQUE DE LA CHAVETA

Directed by Pamela Sporn, 28 minutes, Documentary, 2007.  In the cigar factories of Cuba, a unique tradition persists: ‘la lectura de tabaqueria’. Every day, specially employed workers read aloud to hundreds of tabaqueros as they sit rolling the country’s famous cigars. From classic novels to national politics and local baseball results, for centuries this daily tradition has been an education for the workers, or chavetas. But after years of listening, they are knowledgeable and demanding, and the readers must be at their very best if they are to keep their discerning audience interested.

MAESTRA

Directed by Catherine Murphy, 33 minutes, Documentary, 2011.

Cuba, 1961: 250,000 volunteers taught 700,000 people to read and write in one year. 100,000 of the teachers were under 18 years old, over half were women.  The Bay of Pigs invasion impacted the women and the literacy campaign.  The young women who went out to teach literacy in rural communities across the island found themselves deeply transformed in the process. This documentary includes the oral history of one of contemporary Cuba’s greatest achievements in present day interviews with the volunteer teachers, archival footage, and still photos from the sixties.

St. John Film Society

St. John Weather
Mostly cloudy with rain showers in the morning, then overcast
High of 81 degrees F.
Breezy: Winds from the West at 10 to 20 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon
Sunrise: 6:52 AM AST – Sunset: 6:13 PM AST
Water temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas) 82.9 degrees

St. John Live Music Schedule, Friday February 1

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

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Michael Beason
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Beach Bar
Don Dilego Band
9:oo
777-4220

Castaways
Mikey P 8:00
Dance Party 11:00
777-3316

Cinnamon Bay
Eddie Bruce Drum Circle
6:30 – 8:00

Concordia
Bo & Lauren
6:30 – 9:00

High Tide
Mikey P
9:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:00 – 9:00
776 6378

Island Blues
Get Right Band
8:00
776 6800

Morgan’s Mango
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
T-Bird
6:30 – 9:00
693-3304

Rhumblines
Erin Hart
7:00 – 10:00

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

Shipwreck Landing
Mitch Woods
7:00-10:00

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel & Company
6:30 – 9:30
779 4982

See Weekly Schedule

 

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Photo by Jack Boucher 1960

2009

2011

2012

(1933 photo by Jack Boucher, 2009 photo by Gerald Singer, 2011 and 2012 photos by Shaun O’Boyle)

Reef Bay Great House
The Reef Bay Estate House, also known as the Par Force Great House was built in 1832 and reconstructed in 1844. In 1994, it was partially renovated by the National Park Service. After being cleared in 2009, the condition of the historic estate house has been left to deteriorate.

The great house can be accessed via a spur on the Lameshur Bay Trail

Love City Live Tonight
Love City Live – The Ultimate Power Boat Party – White Bay, Jost Van Dyke BVI 11:00 am – 6:00 pm. It’s a beach party only accessible by boat. As one writer put it “A late night of live music and quality rum deserves a proper cool down the next day.”

St. John Weather
High Surf Advisory
Partly cloudy with rain showers
High of 82 degrees F.
Winds from the North at 10 to 15 mph shifting to the ENE in the afternoon
Chance of rain 20%.
Full Moon
Sunrise: 6:53 AM AST Sunset: 6:10 PM AST
Water Temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor St. Thomas) 82.9 degrees F

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Concordia
Bo
Sunday Brunch 10:00 am

Cruz Bay Prime
Mark Wallace
7:00 – 10:00
693 -8000

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

Miss Lucy’s
Sambacombo
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
693-5254

Ocean Grill
David Laab
6:30 – 9:00
693-3304

Rhumblines
T-Bird
7:00 – 10:00

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club
7:00 – 10:00

Sun Dog Cafe
David Laab
11:00 am- 2:00 pm
244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

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West End Tortola

West End Tortola, circa 1967

Photo of West End Customs 2001

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

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

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

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

St. John Live Music – Friday April 13

Aqua Bistro – Steve Sloan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar – Jon Beninghof Band – 9:00 – 777-4220
Castaways – Mikey P – 9:00 – 777-3316
Cinnamon Bay – Eddie Bruce Drum Circle – 6:30 – 8:00
Cruz Bay Prime – James Cobb – 7:00 – 10:00 – 693 -8000
Driftwood Dave’s – John W Lee -7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Island Blues – Slammin – 776 6800
Morgan’s Mango – Lauren – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – T-Bird – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Rhumblines – Erin Hart – 7:00 – 10:00
Spyglass – James – 5:00 – 8:00 – 776-1100

See Weekly Schedule

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Virgin Islands Photo of the Day

The Bight Norman Island, BVI

The Bight, Norman Island, British Virgin Islands (BVI)

St. John Weather

Partly cloudy
High temperature: 88 degrees F
Water temperature: 80 degrees F
Winds: east southeast at 12 -16 mph
Sunset: 6:26 pm

St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Sunday, March 4

Aqua Bistro- Lauren – 3:30 – 6:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar
– The Fiddler – 5:00 -777-4220
Concordia – Bo – Sunday Brunch 10:00 am
Driftwood Dave’s – Live Music – 1:00 – 4:00 – 777-4015
Miss Lucy’s – Samba Combo – 10:00 am – 2:00 pm – 693-5354
Ocean Grill – David Laab – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Hot Club of Coral Bay – 7:00 – 10:00

See the weekly St. John live music schedule

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Bubbly Pool, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Bubbly Pool Jost Van Dyke, BVI

Surf’s Up! Good time to visit the Bubbly Pool on Jost Van Dyke, natures own Jacuzzi.

St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Tuesday, February 7

Castaways – Karaoke Night – 9:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – James Cobb & Michael Beason -700 -10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Erin Hart – 4:00 – 7:00 – 714-6169
Miss Lucy’s – David Reed – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5354
Morgan’s Mango – Greg Kinslow – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Rascio on Steel Pan – 6:00 – 9:30 -693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Chris Carsel – 6:00 – 9:30

See the weekly schedule

St. John School of the Arts Presents: Free Film Night

Concrete, Steel and Paint
7:30 pm at St. John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)