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Tales of St. John and the Caribbean

Tales of St. John and the Caribbean
Tales of St. John and the Caribbean
Tales of St. John and the Caribbean

Price $14.95 ccnow



Paperback: 160 pages - size in inches 6.0 x 0.5 x 9.0
Publisher: Sombrero Publishing Co.; ISBN: 0964122022; (March 1, 2001) by Gerald Singer, Jack Andrews, Curtney Chinnery, John Gibney, Andy Rutnik and Bob Tis

Tales of St. John and the Caribbean is an elegant and friendly book of short stories that people can carry to the beach with them and taste the flavor of the islands. "Tales of St. John and the Caribbean" has some something for everyone. All your friends who flip through your copy will want to borrow it when you're done.

Authors' Biographies

Gerald Singer came to the Virgin Islands in 1969. He became a commercial fisherman in partnership with John Gibney. He later managed a vacation rental villa and served as a captain and guide for "adventure" boat charters. He is also the author of the popular guidebooks St. John Off the Beaten Track, and St. John Beach Guide.

Bob Tis is a career newspaper reporter, sailor and anarchist with roots in St. John and New Hampshire. He is also the author of Down Island

Jack Andrews, a successful entrepreneur and talented writer, is best known on St. John as the developer of the prestigious Peter Bay Estates. He was born in New England and attended a one room school house in Nabnassett, Massachusetts. At the age of 17, he broke his neck in a diving accident and became the first person in medical history to survive a cervical spinal fusion. In the unprecedented procedure his head was wired to the rest of his body with a silver wire. Jack feels that this wire now acts as a built in antenna through which he receives otherworldly guidance. His next big project after the completion of the Upper Peter Bay development is to build a time machine atop the 962-foot-high Peter Peak in honor of Enoch and the angel Uriel.

Curtney "Ghost" Chinnery was born in Jost Van Dyke in 1954, a time when there were no roads, cars, electricity, telephones, TVs, tourists or white people on the island. It was a time when people survived by fishing, tending gardens and raising cattle. As a youngster, he moved to Tortola and became a "water rat" diving for coins thrown into the sea by visiting tourists and sailors of the British Navy. He later served as a mate on a private yacht that sailed throughout the Caribbean.

As a young man Curtney moved to New York City, receiving his education at NYCSU (New York City Streets University). After too many misspent years in and out of trouble with the law, Mr. Chinnery (a.k.a. the Ghost) returned to the Virgin Islands where he has slowed down long enough to put a few of his stories in this book. A lively raconteur, he is now well known on St. John as a poet, storyteller and philosopher.

John Gibney was born on St. John. His parents, both writers, came to the islands in the 1940s and built a house at Hawksnest Bay (now known as Gibney Beach). John, a gentle but imposing island fixture, reminiscent of a Caribbean Tarzan, lived on Gibney Beach, along with his wife, Teri and son, Tommy, where he wrote and tended his magnificent garden of tropical fruit trees, until his death on January 14, 2003 at the age of 48. John was loved and respected by all segments of St. John society. Almost 1,000 people attended his memorial service at his home at Gibney Beach.

Andrew Rutnik came to St. John in 1969. An ex-hippie, dedicated family man, and grower of fine fruits and beautiful tropical foliage, Andy now serves as Commissioner of Licensing and Consumer Affairs for the Virgin Islands Government.


(Lynda Lohr, The Daily News March 16, 2001)

"Tales of St. John and the Caribbean" is a potpourri of stories by St. John resident, Gerald Singer, and other island residents.

Some are stories about Caribbean life and people that Singer gathered to tout Marina Market, a local grocery store. They ran on the back page of a local newspaper.

Others are fresh from the computer about island characters and places that will be well known to the readers.

Even the cover will be familiar. It is a painting by artist David Wegman titled "Out Where the Buses Don't Run."

It depicts the artist hanging on to a rope ladder aboard his boat while a storm rages around him. The painting hung for years in the now-closed Sea Breeze Restaurant in Coral Bay.

In fact, the first story in Tales of St. John involves Wegman, a sometime St. John sailor well known up and down the Caribbean for his salty adventures. Wegman got involved with burying a body of a friend, Kenny Capen, that didn't stay put when he was buried at sea.

Singer said he started writing the stories for Marina Market about two years ago. The weekly job served as the germ of a book, and Singer soon decided to include others.

"I loved everyone's stuff," he said of work by St. John residents, John Gibney, Jack Andrews, Andy Rutnik and Bob Tis and Jost Van Dyke resident, Curtney "Ghost" Chinnery.

Gibney writes about the first ice cream stand on St. John, run by a man named Papa Doc. To increase profits, Papa Doc extended his vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavors with crushed Styrofoam cups blended with Mazola oil. Papa Doc went on to open the island's first motorcycle rental shop before fleeing the island with the feds hot on his tail.

"Maybe some in the long line of carpetbaggers, unscrupulous Realtors and con men who have followed in his footsteps have stopped to wonder why their actions have barely raised an eyebrow among St. Johnians. Why, because we knew Papa Doc," Gibney writes.

And then there's this wild story about a man who had a crab in his ear. Related to Singer by Dr. Robert Walker, who practiced here in the 1980s, the story tells the true tale of a man who had a crab crawl into his ear. As if that wasn't trouble enough, when Walker pulled the crab out, it had the temerity to crawl right back in.

Don't miss the story by Rutnik, who by day serves as the territory's Licensing and Consumer Affairs commissioner.

In a story that will be familiar to all the island residents who lived through 1995's Hurricanes Luis and Marilyn, Rutnik writes about surviving the storms.

"We were near the eye. Communication had to be by instinct because we couldn't hear each other even at distances of one foot. Screaming did not work; 27 years of marriage did. We got the job done," he writes.

Other books by St. John Authors
Down Island by Bob Tis
St. John People
Me and My Beloved Virgin by Guy Benjamin
Adrift on a Sea of Blue by Peter Muilenburg


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