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Posts Tagged “USVI”

banana flower-9
bananasOnce upon a time, bananas were wild plants that grew only in Asia. Then, like now, bananas were a tasty fruit. The problem with them was that they were difficult to eat, because the wild bananas were full of extremely hard seeds about the size of small peas. The seeds could make up about eighty percent of the banana fruit, leaving only twenty percent as edible flesh. To eat a banana in those days one needed to be either very hungry or have a lot of patience.

Every once in a while, however, a wild banana plant would undergo a genetic mutation causing it to produce a seedless fruit. (The tiny dark particles that you see in the commonly seen bananas of today are actually undeveloped seeds that are so small and so soft that you may not even notice them.)

Without fertile seeds the mutated bananas could not reproduce and spread in the normal fashion. The only way the seedless banana can reproduce is parthenocarpically, which means without seeds. It does this by means of suckers, which grow off the main stem forming new plants that have exactly the same genetic makeup and attributes as the parent.

In all probability, these mutated seedless bananas were eventually found and sampled by human beings foraging for food. Needless to say, the seedless variety was much more desirable than the difficult-to-eat seeded ones and once they were discovered, people decided to bring back some slips for home cultivation. This is a relatively easy process. All that needs to be done is to severe the suckers from the main stem with a sharp object. The small, light and easily carried slips can then be transported and replanted in more convenient locations.

The seedless banana undoubtedly became a popular and sought after crop and gradually was spread… read more

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

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

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

Virgin Fire
Rich Greengold & Greg Jones
5:30 – 8:30
779-4982

See Weekly St. John Music Schedule

St. John Virgin islands Weather

Scattered showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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pillsbury sound sunsetPillsbury Sound US Virgin IslandsReturning back to St. John from St. Thomas yesterday afternoon, crossing Pillsbury Sound with my eyes fixed on St. John, I chanced to turn around just in time to see the sunset over St. Thomas. I stopped the boat and took some photos with my iPhone and then shut down the engine contemplating how fortunate I was to be there.

I’ve always been fascinated by the spectacular scenery surrounding this passage between the Caribbean and Atlantic basins, always a different perspective, nuances in colors and clarity, sometimes with rough seas and big waves caused by winds and currents and sometimes smooth, calm and tranquil. The center of Pillsbury Sound was where the Virgin Islands were born, rising above the surface of the ocean in a fiery volcanic blast.

Pillsbury Sound US Virgin IslandsPillsbury Sound is delineated by big islands of St. Thomas and St. John forming the eastern and western boundaries, while Lovango, Congo, Mingo, Grassy and Thatch Cays lie to the north. On the south are Great and Little St. James, Dog Island and Dog Rocks.

St. John USVI Events

St. John Virgin Islands Events: Love City LiveSunday, Jan. 26 – The Ultimate PowerBoat Party – It’s the ever-sexy wind-down beach party of the Love City Live! weekend. All boats sail to Sandy Spit, then White Bay – Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands (BVI). It includes: your reserved space on the Power Boat, drinks on board, BVI customs fees, BVI departure tax, fuel charge, captain’s fee and one of the best days of your life!

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 83. East wind 16 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Chris Klein and the Boulevards
9:00
777-4220

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

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

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

Skinny Legs
The Fiddler
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Sun Dog
Sunday Night Jam
6:30 – 9:30
693-8340

Tap Room
Shane Meade feat. Rob Masten on Sax
6:00
715-7775

See Weekly Schedule

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“Yellow bird,
Up high in banana tree,
Yellow bird,
You sit all alone like me…”

St John US Virgin Islands birds: bananaquitThe bananaquit (Coereba flaveola), also called yellow bird, banana bird and sugar bird, is a commonly seen St. John resident.

Bananaquits will suck the nectar from flowers with their curved beaks and will also eat fruit and small insects.

The local Virgin Islands name, “sugar bird,” comes from the fact that setting out bowls of sugar easily attracts them.

Bananaquit Audio

St. John News

Idaho Olympians: Meet Slalom Skier Jasmine Campbell
Boise State Public Radio
By Tom Banse

Jasmine_CampbellTwenty-two-year-old Hailey resident Jasmine Campbell is headed to the 2014 Winter Olympics to compete for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Campbell was born on the Caribbean island and moved to Idaho when she was nine.

Campbell is a student at Whitman College, but she’s taking the year off to train for the Games. “It’s just basically an 18 hour job where I’m always thinking about skiing,” Campbell told the Northwest News Network. “I wake up in the morning, before going upstairs, I watch a ski video. When I go to bed at night I watch a ski video. During the day, I have double training sessions.”

JASMINE CAMPBELL
Hometown:  Hailey, Idaho
Sport:  Alpine skiing
Events:  Slalom and Giant Slalom
Birthdate:  Nov. 8, 1991
Team: U.S. Virgin Islands

Stats: Campbell is the one and only representative of the U.S. Virgin Islands at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She is the first skier from the tropical Caribbean territory to reach the podium in an international ski race, finishing 2nd and 3rd in giant slalom races in China this past December. As of late January, she was ranked 1097 in giant slalom and 1295 in slalom on the worldwide list maintained by the International Ski Federation.

Campbell on the 2014 Sochi Games: “It is a tremendous honor and privilege to compete in the Olympics. I want to ensure that I ski to the best of my ability so that I may represent my birthplace in the most honorable way possible.  At Sochi, I want to perform in a way that makes my countrymen proud, and gives the sport the respect and dedication it deserves,” says Campbell.

Why will she carry the Virgin Islands flag?: Campbell was born in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Her family left the Caribbean for Sun Valley when she was 9-years-old. She started skiing soon after her arrival to Idaho. Theoretically, Campbell could have pursued an Olympic berth on either the U.S. Ski Team or Virgin Islands team, though the latter offered a more realistic route to Sochi. Her father, John Campbell, skied for the Virgin Islands in the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

Campbell is taking a year off between her junior and senior years at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington to pursue her Olympic dreams. At Whitman, she is double majoring in psychology and philosophy. “This Olympic odyssey may well have helped direct me to a potential career path in sports psychology,” Campbell says.

St. John Virgin Islands Events

Love City Live, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)Saturday, Jan. 25 – Beres Hammond “Live” in Concert at Winston Wells Ball Park (Cruz Bay – St. John) …also performing D Harmani, Unity Band, Fyah Train Band, Final Faze and The Echo People. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Live performances begin at 5:30 p.m. Enjoy the full line-up of performing artists and our festival-like atmosphere of arts & crafts vendors, Ital/vegan food, Caribbean food, fresh coconut and premium bars. Get there early and “indulge” in the full island-roots experience.

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Don Dilego & Bree Sharp
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Brother Nature
777-3316

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

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

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
779-4982

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

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

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In the above video, Curtney “the Ghost from Jost” Chinnery demonstrates how to catch a tarantula.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Catamaran Ferries Should Be Moving Passengers Soon
By Molly Morris — January 23, 2014

The territory’s two sleek new catamaran ferries, which were christened in a Dec. 6 ceremony at the Crown Bay marina, should be plying the waters between St. Thomas and St. John soon.

Department of Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said Wednesday afternoon that he met and ironed out details with the franchise operators Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services earlier in the day.

“We went over their contracts and terms of expectation for receipt of the boats,” he said, “as well as considerations of the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.”

Smalls said that insurance was the holdup. He had said at the December ceremony that he hoped to have the vessels in operation before Christmas.

“I didn’t have the insurance, so the Coast Guard couldn’t go aboard,” Smalls said. ‘I don’t want to jump the gun, but now that we have the government insurance and the contracts executed, we should begin moving passengers between St. Thomas and St. John, once the federal entities give their blessings.”

The handsome two-decker boats – the Red Hook 1 and Cruz Bay 1, both with comfortable seating for 201 – will be a blessing to passengers…. read more

Senate Overrides deJongh Veto of Legislation for Coral Bay Park
Created on Thursday, 23 January 2014 05:30
Written by Tom Oat

St. John Senator at Large Craig Barshinger won a fiscal skirmish with the deJongh Administration, but he is not done fighting to get an accounting of the St. John Capital Improvements Fund.

At the start of the 30th Legislature’s 2014 session on Tuesday, January 14, the V.I. Senate voted to override several of Gov. John deJongh Jr.’s vetoes of legislation which were part of the omnibus bill passed in November at the Legislature’s final session of 2013.

One major provision of the omnibus bill vetoed by Gov. deJongh which was overridden was the measure that provided a $1 million annual appropriation for four fiscal years for the purchase of 170 acres in Estate Carolina for the Coral Bay Park.

The legislation also provided for the construction of a  center for recycling trash by the V.I. Waste Management Authority which would remove the bins from the roadside on the shore of Coral Bay.

The legislation included providing for preservation of the plantation era ruins on the parcel and establishing a “Parcel 7 Remainder Land Trust,” Sen. Barshinger explained.

Envisioning Future of Coral Bay

Sen. Barshinger still envisions the Coral Bay Park as the center of the growing Coral Bay community.

“Coral Bay is going to grow up,” Sen. Barshinger said. “I want to design Coral Bay around this property.”

“(Property owner) Sheldon Marsh’s vision is to have hiking and biking trails that would highlight the ruins,” the Senator at Large said. “A few acres will go to Waste Management on the south side of the property to move the dumpsters from the roadside mangroves.”… read more

Archaeological Dig on Main Street Yields Artifacts
By Source Staff — January 23, 2014

On Monday, Jan. 20, an archaeological team began the excavation of the large Saladoid Era archaeological site on Main Street between the Francis Market Square and the 75 corner. In the first day off cleaning the site in preparation for the start of scientific excavation on Wednesday over 100 Pre-Colombian artifacts were found. There are signs on the fence with information.

For more information, call David Hayes at 277-4072 or visit the site.

St. John Events

Love City Live
Thursday, Jan. 23 – Hush…The exclusive, all-Inclusive Villa Soiree. 7 p.m. to midnight. We convert a private villa into a swanky Caribbean- themed lounge.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
6:00 – 9:00
693-5055

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Ike
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Beach Bar
Treehouse Band
9:00
777-4220

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

High Tide
Island Girl
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Get Right Band
5:30
776-6378

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

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

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

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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers before noon. Sunny, with a high near 81. East wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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St. John USVI Marine Life: orange cup coral

Close up of orange cup coral

The shaded environment within caves and under ledges often supports colorful corals and sponges. These photos were taken just inside the entrance to a cave. With the yellow polyps extended, the corals take on the appearance of flowers and because of this they are often referred to as flower corals.

Cup coaral

cup corals on cave wall

cave entrance

sponges

sponges

St. John USVI Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Treehouse Band
9:00
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

Police Investigate Suspicious Death
By Source staff — January 19, 2014

St. John Deputy Police Chief Maria Jones confirmed Sunday that police are investigating a suspicious death that occurred at an apartment on Boatman Road.

Dispatchers at the 911 emergency call center notified police of the case at 9:55 a.m. Sunday.

The male victim was found dead in his apartment, according to the deputy chief reported. Detectives from Major Crime and the Criminal Investigation Bureau are investigating the case. Forensic agents were processing the scene. There was no indication from the police about what might have caused the death.

The name of the deceased was not released by authorities.

The investigators urged anyone with any information about the death to call them at 1-340-714-9834 or 1-340-715-5522, or through the 911 emergency call center or the anonymous tip service, Crimes Stoppers USVI, at 1-800-222-8477.

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 81. East wind 11 to 13 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

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AA jet prepares for VI flight

American Airlines jet at Miami International Airport prepares for flight to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

St. John Events

St. John Animal Care Center

acc-gala

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Treehouse
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Brother Nature
777-3316

High Tide
Jason Laurence Jones
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

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

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 79. East southeast wind around 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

MJ Approved: Travel
St. John by Kayak
St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands

If you want a hotel room that sits right on the beach in the Caribbean, St. John isn’t for you. But if you want a beach all to yourself, there’s no better place. With nearly two-thirds of the island protected by the Virgin Islands National Park, St. John has an undeveloped beauty and solitude that’s rare among its built-up neighbors – and the best way to explore it is by hugging its deserted coastline in a kayak. “Some of the spots are accessible only by boat or by hiking in,” says captain Arthur Jones of Arawak Expeditions. “So you can get to beaches you wouldn’t otherwise see.”

Don’t let the word expedition fool you – kayaking here couldn’t be easier, because you’ll spend about 20 percent of your time paddling and 80 percent swimming or lying on the beach under the shade of a palm tree. The national park covers 7,000 acres of St. John’s 20 square miles, encompassing almost the entire north shore, a stretch of lush green forest with cove after cove of empty white-sand beaches. A kayak trip all the way around the island takes four or five days, but you can also get a taste of that same solitude with easy day trips from the main town, Cruz Bay. … read more

Feds Lower V.I. Medicaid Match
By Source Staff — January 18, 2014

The V.I. Department of Human Services announced it is preparing to expand Medicaid coverage for childless adults, thanks to recent news the federal government is dramatically lowering the local matching requirement.

On Jan. 13, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified Human Services it will pay 78 percent of the cost to U.S. territories to expand the Medical Assistance Program to cover people who are not pregnant or do not have children. MAP is the local program delivering federal Medicaid benefits. The covered population includes many of the homeless, according to a statement from Human Services

Before the Affordable Care Act, this nonpregnant, childless adult category was not a covered Medicaid group, making the news of the expansion especially welcome, according to the department…. Read more

Leonard’s Best Fresh Farm is ‘farm team of the year’ Bordeaux Rastafari Agricultural and Cultural Fair set for this weekend
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: January 17, 2014

ST. THOMAS – Charles Leonard gets bored easily.

A Vietnam veteran, he worked as an aircraft mechanic for sea planes and a taxi driver, and he has been farming for more than 30 years on St. Thomas.

Farming about 2 acres of land leased from the government, just down the hill from the Bordeaux Farmer’s Market, he grows a little of everything and is always adding something new to his enterprise.

He is a beekeeper, he raises chickens for eggs and meat, and he just bought a female goat he hopes to breed and milk. He grows every kind of fruit, vegetable and herb and takes full advantage of the year-round growing season.

Leonard’s Best Fresh Farm has been named “farm team of the year” for the We Grow Food 17th annual Bordeaux Rastafari Agricultural and Cultural Fair, along with his helper, Jeanne Fatie Deision, and his 12-year-old daughter, Brittney…. Read more

Why many Virgin Islanders don’t swim
Published: January 15, 2014

Now that we have your attention that Swim to Live is not just a catchy name for an article, let’s delve into some reasons why we don’t swim.

There have been numerous statistical studies conducted, including through USA Swimming and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about the percentages of children that swim. The conclusion is clear, as the studies corroborate one another, that a far higher percentage of black children have little or no swimming ability in comparison to children of other ethnic backgrounds. More troubling are the statistics that reveal, in the United States, (there are no validated statistics in the Caribbean) black children drown at a rate of three times higher than their Caucasian peers.

Why is that? We’ll attempt to answer this short yet highly complicated question in the next few articles, but today, we’ll start with one major factor: fear of the water…. Read more

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Shortcut to the Margaret Hill Overlook
If all you want to do is get to the Margaret Hill Overlook and prefer not to take such a long hike, you can begin your walk at the entrance to the Water Catchment Trail at Centerline Road. Walk down to the spur trail. From there it’s a much shorter walk to the overlook…. read more about the Caneel and Margaret Hills Trail

Margaret Hill Overlook, St. John USVI

Margaret Hill Overlook

Videographer Poses at Margaret Hill Overlook

Margaret Hill Overlook, St. John US Virgin Islands

View from Overlook

St. John Events

St. John Historical Society
Leayle Robinson, CGL Board Member, give a presentation on his book “From Mary’s Point to John’s Folly – the Petrus Family Tree” at the January membership meeting of the St. John Historical Society. He will also present a slide show highlighting prominent family members and their connections and contributions to St. John history. Mr. Robinson is an experienced and knowledgeable genealogist and has much to share. Bethany Moravian Church at 7:00 p.m.

More St. John Events

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
The Get Right Band
9:00
777-4220

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 Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers. Partly sunny, with a high near 81. East wind 16 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 31 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Virgin Islands News

V.I. wins fight to keep report on ‘urgent’ conditions at Golden Grove from public
By JOY BLACKBURN (Daily News Staff)
Published: January 13, 2014

ST. CROIX – The territory has successfully blocked the public from seeing an expert’s report on “urgent” conditions at Golden Grove prison, the same week a stabbing and at least one other reported assault occurred inside the facility.

A federal court has found that the conditions inside Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility violate the protection against cruel and unusual punishment afforded to U.S. citizens in the 8th Amendment of the Constitution. Those findings are part of an ongoing case that has been litigated by federal civil rights lawyers for more than 27 years in an attempt to get the territory to treat its prisoners humanely.

Court documents that the public can see suggest that the conditions at the prison that the expert was warning of were serious.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division filed a notice with the court that said it was attaching correspondence and a report on “Urgent Conditions of Confinement Concerns at GGACF.” GGACF is Golden Grove Adult Correctional Facility. The report, according to the notice, was filed on behalf of the independent monitor, Kenneth Ray.

Ray’s job includes monitoring conditions inside the prison, as well as the V.I. Corrections Bureau’s implementation of the provisions of a settlement agreement aimed at bringing conditions at Golden Grove up to constitutional standards….

His job also requires him to report the information he gathers and his observations to the court on a quarterly basis under a certain procedure that gives the parties a two-week review period and an opportunity for input before a report is made public….

…Later on Wednesday, the U.S. Justice Department opposed that motion, arguing that the monitor must be able to alert the court to “emergency conditions in Golden Grove that are placing prisoners’ lives in danger.”

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Wilma Lewis agreed with the territory and ordered that the notice to the court and the attached correspondence and report be stricken from the record…. Read full article

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St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI) Beaches

tropical sand close up

Tropical Beach Sand Close Up – Photo by WP Armstrong

Where does the sand come from?
The satiny soft coral sand found on the majority of St. John’s beaches comes, almost entirely, from the coral reef community. This is the main reason why our sand is so much finer and softer then the sand found on most continental beaches, which comes from terrestrial sources, such as the weathering of rocks.

Sea Urchin

Sea Urchin

Most of our sand is produced by the force of waves and currents acting on the coral reef as coral, calcareous algae, (algae with a hard exoskeleton) the shells of various sea creatures and sea urchin spines (which make up those little black grains of sand) are gradually broken down into sand sized grains.

Parrotfish

Parrotfish

In addition, reef-grazing fish, such as parrotfish, produce a significant amount of the sand found on our beaches. Parrotfish exist on a diet of algae, which they scrape off the surface of coral rock with their fused teeth that look like a parrot’s beak. They then grind this coral and algae mixture to a fine powder. The algae covering the coral are absorbed as food. The remainder of their meal passes through their digestive tracts and is excreted in the form of sand.

Parrotfish are not shy and by donning a mask fin and snorkel, you can easily observe them at work and even hear the sound of their beaks scraping against the coral, then every so often you may witness them relieving themselves of the indigestible portions of their meal in the form of a fine sand that will settle slowly to the bottom of the reef.

blue tang

Blue Tang

Other grazing fish, such as the blue tang, perform the same function. The amount of sand produced in this manner is considerable – about one ton of sand per acre of reef per year.

How does sand get to the beach?
Sand is basically a waste product of the coral reef. This waste, which would otherwise suffocate the coral, is removed by the action of waves and currents over the reef. This sand collects in a kind of storage area around the perimeter of the reef.

During the winter, storms and cold fronts coming from North America and from over the central Atlantic generate large ocean swells. When these reach the north shore of St. John, they become steeper and break on the shore. This winter phenomenon is called ground sea and it serves to move the sand from the storage areas around the reef deposited it on the beach.

In the summer the same process can occur on the southern coasts, caused by the action of the trade winds or by tropical storms or hurricanes coming from the southeast.

How is sand lost from beaches?
Although sand is regularly brought to the beach from the sea, it is also consistently being lost from the beach. Because most St John beaches are found within bays protected by headlands or points on both sides of the beach, sand is not washed laterally along the coast and lost in this manner, as is the case on the beaches of the continental United States.

However, sand from the drier upper portion of the beach is often blown by winds past the line of vegetation where it will stay forever in the form of soil.

On the wetter lower beach, sand is constantly washed back and forth by waves. This makes the grains get smaller and smaller. When they get so fine that they go into suspension, they are washed back out to sea and lost.

Hurricanes or strong tropical storms are other natural phenomena that could result in sand loss. Large storms may either take away or add sand to existing beaches. They may even create new beaches. In general, extremely high ground seas and hurricanes accompanied by high tides will send large amounts of sand past the vegetation line or wash it back out to sea so far that the depth of the water will be too deep for the sand to be recycled by ordinary ground seas. Moreover, these storms often destroy large sections of reef, reducing the sand supply for years to come.

The balance
The lost sand will be replaced reef community and the beaches will remain in their sandy state. That is, as long as the dynamics of sand production and sand loss are in balance. This balance can be disturbed by natural causes such as hurricanes or coral diseases or as a result of interference by human beings in the natural order of nature. This interference can create a more insidious and continual imbalance, then imbalances caused by natural factors.

Removing sand from the beach or the sea floor can have extremely long lasting effects. For example, dredging operations take sand from sand storage areas, preventing it from reaching the beaches in times of ground seas or tropical storms.

Taking sand from the beach can also be irreversible. When St. John first began to experience the boom of tourism with the resultant construction of roads and buildings, a great deal of sand was taken from the beaches to make concrete. The loss of sand in this manner was so dramatic that the beaches never recovered and some of north shore beaches are now considerably narrower than they used to be. (For instance the now narrow Big Maho Bay used to be on of the widest beaches on St. John.) The process of recovery from this interference is extremely slow, and if the dredging or the mining of sand is continual, the sand beach will be replaced by rocky shoreline.

The worst threat to beaches comes from damage to the coral reef.

It is important to remember that a healthy coral reef is responsible for the continued existence of our beaches, and those factors that negatively impact the reef, such as pollution or runoff caused by irresponsible development will eventually lead to the disappearance of our beaches, which are, perhaps, St. John’s the most valuable resource.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Castaways
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

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

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

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

Shipwreck
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

See Weekly Schedule

st john sunriseSt. John Weather

Scattered showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. East northeast wind 20 to 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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St. John Marine Life: seagrass

Shoal Grass at Maho Bay

seagrass001Local seagrass species include shoal grass, turtle grass and manatee grass. These underwater grasses are commonly found on the sandy bottoms of calm bays and between coral reefs. They reproduce and grow by means of an underground root called a rhizome, which lies down horizontally just beneath the sand. From this rhizome the blades of grass grow up and the roots grow down, forming a mat of root fibers that hold the seagrass to the ocean floor. Seagrass is dependent on sunlight and therefore, cannot tolerate cloudy water for extended periods of time.

Seagrasses control erosion by holding down loose sandy soils with their mat of roots, thus protecting our beautiful beaches. Moreover, they help prevent turbidity, or water cloudiness. This is an important function because cloudy water blocks out sunlight.

Seagrasses control turbidity by trapping sediments washed down from land during rains and ultimately incorporating them into a seabed soil that is held securely by the seagrass roots. The blades of grass also slow down bottom currents and keep loose sediments from getting churned up.

Seagrass beds support a great deal of marine life. They provide nutrition for the green turtle and queen conch, and serve as a habitat for many species of juvenile fish and other sea creatures that are small enough to hide between the blades of grass.

Although not quite as sensitive as corals, seagrasses are also threatened by turbidity. They are currently in grave danger from the exponential increase in residential and commercial development on St. John. The prime turbidity-causing culprit is the failure to pave roads. Other enemies of clear water include unprotected and irresponsible excavation, especially on steep slopes, and improper sewage treatment.

A more immediate threat to seagrass comes from the proliferation of boat anchoring. The act of setting down and then pulling up an anchor tears the seagrass up by the roots and destroys the rhizomes, making recovery slow and difficult. Worse yet, when anchors are set improperly, they may drag, causing widespread damage that often includes injury to nearby coral reefs. Moreover, as an anchored boat swings around in the wind, the anchor chain is dragged over the sea floor in an arc, destroying all the grass in its path.

St. John Sea Creatures: Turtle

Sea Turtle Grazes Seagrass

Years ago, harbors such as Caneel, Maho and Francis Bays had extensive seagrass cover. In those days literally hundreds of conch ambled slowly through the seagrass leaves at the bottom of the bays. With the advent of modern tourism and the great increase in the number of boats anchoring in these picturesque and well-protected harbors, the seagrass has all but disappeared and the conch population has plummeted.

Today a mooring program has been instituted whereby mariners enjoying many of the most popular bays in St. John may secure their vessels to moorings as an alternative to anchoring. The mooring program is a powerful step towards the preservation of seagrass and coral reefs. Unlike anchors, moorings are relatively permanent fixtures. This minimizes the disruption of the seabed. Moreover, moorings do not depend on heavy chains lying on the sea bottom for a secure bite, nor are they subject to dragging.

Excerpted from St. John Off the Beaten Track Gerald Singer

St. John Virgin Islands Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

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

Sun Dog
Sunday Night Jam
5:30 – 8:30
693-8340

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. East wind 21 to 24 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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Hassel island, us virgin islands

Crown Bay seen from Fort Shipley on Hassel Island

More Hassel Island Photos

St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Wednesday, February 29

Aqua Bistro – Rascio on Steel Pan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Beach Bar – The Gomorrans – 9:00 – 777-4220
Castaways – Kenny Floyd – 8:00 – 777-3316
Coconut Coast Studios – St. John Flutes – 5:30-7:00 – 776-6944
Driftwood Dave’s – Paradise People – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Chris Carsel – 6:00 – 9:00 – 714-6169
Miss Lucy’s – David Reed – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5354
Shipwreck Landing – Christobal and the Jons – 7:00 – 10:30
Sun Dog Cafe – Wednesday Night Jam – 7:30-10:00 – 244-9713

See the weekly St. John live music schedule

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