Iguana is a genus of herbivorous lizards native to tropical areas of Mexico, Central America, several islands in Polynesia such as Fiji and Tonga, and the Caribbean. The genus was first described in 1768 by Austrian naturalist Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti in his book Specimen Medicum, Exhibens Synopsin Reptilium Emendatam cum Experimentis circa Venena. Two species are included in the genus Iguana: the green iguana, which is widespread throughout its range and a popular pet, and the Lesser Antillean iguana, which is native to the Lesser Antilles and endangered due to habitat destruction.

The word “iguana” is derived from the original Taino name for the species, iwana.[1]

In addition to the two species in the genus Iguana, several other related genera in the same family have common names of the species including the word “iguana”…. Read more from Wikipedia

St. John and Virgin Islands News

V.I. Skiers Qualify for Winter Olympic Games
By James Gardner — January 15, 2014

National reporters chronicling the return of the Jamaican bobsled team to this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, have also been talking about another phenom: 22-year-old Jasmine Campbell, who will most likely be representing the territory in the slalom and giant slalom (alpine skiing) events.

Campbell and fellow St. Johnian Veronica Gaspar, 18, both earned the five qualifying finishes needed for the Olympics, but V.I. Olympic Committee head Angel Morales explained Tuesday that no one country can have two athletes competing in the same standard.

“Both have qualified but we have to make a final decision,” Morales said in an interview with the Source. “Both have been competiting all during the winter season the one with the highest points – because they both have been competing in various international events – will be the one representing the Virgin Islands. I need to hear from the federation on the final standing.”

It looks like Campbell is in the lead, though, and the national media is already talking about her hopes for the slopes. Giant slalom involves skiing between sets of poles spaced at a distance to each other. The vertical drop for a course is usually around 1,200 feet. On average a giant slalom racer may reach speeds of 50 mph. In slalom, poles are spaced much closer together than in giant slalom. Racers must pass approximately 50-60 poles in slalom to reach finish…. read more

Health Officials: Chikungunya Disease Confirmed in BVI
By Source Staff — January 15, 2014

A viral illness similar to dengue fever known as Chikungunya or CHIK has been confirmed in three residents of Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands. Chikungunya is transmitted by the Aedes species mosquitoes.

According to Dr. Marc Jerome, USVI territorial medical director, symptoms usually begin three to seven days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms are fever and severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet. Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling or rash…. read more

owers, mainly before 11am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. East wind 15 to 18 mph. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Update me when site is updated

Margaret Hill Overlook

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.

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….

Update me when site is updated

Annaberg Sugar Factory

The Virgin Islands National Park Service has prepared a self-guided tour of the historic Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins. The walk through this partially restored old sugar factory provides a great deal of insight into the history and culture of St. John during the plantation and post-emancipation eras…. read more

St. John and Virgin Islands News

6.4-magnitude earthquake rattles Puerto Rico
Published January 13, 2014
Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico –  A strong earthquake out to sea shook Puerto Rico early Monday, causing minor damage in some places.

Some people reported items falling in their home and dozens said they felt buildings sway in the capital of San Juan, about 61 miles from the quake’s epicenter.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 and struck just after midnight about 35 miles north of Hatillo. It said the quake occurred 17 miles deep….

Health Beat: Bryan Barnes Pitches in at St. John Rescue
By Lynda Lohr — January 12, 2014

When his job as assistant maintenance manager at the now-closed Maho Bay Camps ended last May, Bryan Barnes, 29, wanted a way to get involved in the community he had come to call home.

St. John Rescue beckoned, and he joined up in April 2013.

“I had some skills and they needed them,” he said.

Barnes is a first responder, which allows him to provide basic treatment…. read more

St. John Dawn

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 21 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Update me when site is updated

Moray Eel

St. John USVI Sea Creatures: Moray EelGreen Moray Eel
Green morays normally hide during the day in holes in the reef sometimes sticking their head out for a look around. They come out of their holes in the night and hunt in open water. They will let snorkelers come fairly close but at a certain point they’ll shoot back into their holes. You’ll probably notice them opening and closing their mouths, but that’s not to scare you or threaten to bite; it’s just the way they breathe.

The green moray, Gymnothorax funebris, is a moray eel of the family Muraenidae. They can be found in the western Atlantic from New Jersey to Brazil. They can grow to as much as six feet in length and can be found in depths of from 5 – 130 feet.

St. John Events

Skinny Legs Super Bowl Trip Drawing
Skinny Legs is giving away a super awesome trip to the Super Bowl. The drawing is this Sunday during the half-time of the Denver vs. San Diego game (around 7:00 p.m-ish) Must be a resident to win. Just buy Bud and Bud Light for $2.50 all day, every day for a chance to win.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

N.J. woman arrested on St. Thomas after pulling police officer’s hair, scratching her face
By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)
Published: January 10, 2014

ST. THOMAS – A New Jersey woman was jailed early Thursday morning after police said she pulled a police officer’s hair and scratched her face.

Ritika Mehta, 31, was arrested at 2 a.m. Thursday and charged with aggravated assault and battery of a police officer. Her bail was set at $25,000.

V.I. Police Officer Kira Browne responded to another officer’s request for assistance with a drunken couple fighting near “Quiet Mon Pub” in Cruz Bay, St. John, according to the probable cause fact sheet…. read more

New Sapphire owner blocks beach parking
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: January 10, 2014

ST. THOMAS – The owner of the Sapphire Beach Resort erected barricades Thursday to prevent the public from parking on the resort’s property, raising the question of public beach access in the territory.

The new restriction is the latest action taken by the property’s new owner, Dean Morehouse of Beachside Associates.

For years, the gravel parking area to the left of the main entrance has been used by locals and visitors coming to enjoy Sapphire Beach.

According to the resort’s original Coastal Zone Management permit, issued in 1985, public beach access is a general condition of the permit.

One of the special conditions states: “The permittee shall provide a clearly marked 20 foot wide pedestrian access to the shoreline from the Sapphire Resort road.” … read more

St. John, Virgin Islands Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before 10am. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. East wind 20 to 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Virgin Islands Marine Life: Nurse Sharks

St. John USVI SEa Creatures: Nurse Shark
Nurse Shark

The nurse shark, (Ginglymostoma cirratum) can be as long as 14 ft and a weight as much as of 730 pounds. The nurse shark in the video was photographed on the north side of Waterlemon Cay.

We Should Been Number One!

Best Caribbean island? 10Best readers say Puerto Rico

Our readers voted and chose Puerto Rico as the best Caribbean island in the 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. Puerto Rico is a land of colonial forts, sandy beaches, tropical rainforests and more than 500 festivals per year — all right in the USA’s backyard.

After four weeks of voting in 10Best.com’s Readers’ Choice contest, your votes helped identify the “Best Caribbean Island.” The winners are:

1. Puerto Rico
2. Curacao
3. Dominica
4. St Martin / Sint Maarten
5. Grenada
6. Barbados
7. Bonaire
8. St John (USVI)
9. Tobago
10. Anguilla

“Dominated by national parks, the island of St John — coming in eighth — in the U.S. Virgin Islands is the Caribbean of days gone by — a quieter, more intimate slice of paradise.”  USA Today

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. East wind around 22 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Culture: Sugar Cane

Being that sugarcane has been so much a part of the history and culture, I felt that I should at least have some sugarcane plants around the house to show people that sugar in fact comes originally from sugarcane plants and not just from the grocery store. Planting sugarcane is one thing, but harvesting them is another. For this I enlisted the help of the locally famous poet ans culture man, Curtney Chinnery better known as “the Ghost from Jost.”

A Little St. John Sugar History
Sugar production in colonial times was an arduous and labor intensive activity; especially on St. John with its dry climate, rocky soil and steep hillsides. Nonetheless sugar was a profitable commodity and the industry, fueled by slave labor, dominated St. John’s economy until the latter half of the nineteenth century.

The virgin landscape was slashed and burned changing the ecology of the island forever. The cleared hillsides were then terraced using the native stone as retaining walls. Holes were dug and sugar cane slips were planted. Water was painstakingly hauled from cisterns located at the sugar factory to the cane fields either by donkey cart or by hand.

At harvest time slaves worked 18-20 hours a day. The cane was cut, loaded into donkey carts and taken to the horsemill for crushing.

Four slaves were needed to run the horsemill. One drove the animals, two worked the rollers, feeding the stalks back and forth, and a fourth man took away the leftover sugar cane pulp called bagasse.

Some plantations used windmills to crush the sugar cane. On St. John only six plantations; Annaberg, Carolina, Denis Bay, Susannaberg, Caneel Bay and Catherinberg used the windmill, which was far more efficient and faster than the horsemill. The remains of these windmills can still be seen at these estates…. Read more

St. John Virgin Islands Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Stephan Sloan
5:30 – 8:30

Beach Bar
Funck Show

Mikey P
Dance Party

High Tide
Steel Pan
6:00 – 10:00

Island Blues
Brother Nature

Morgan’s Mango
6:30 – 9:30

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:30 – 9:30

Shipwreck Landing
Tropical Sounds
6:30 – 9:30

Skinny Legs
Chris Carsel
Plus Comedian Tim Hofmann!
6:00 – 9:00

James Milne
5:00 – 8:00

Virgin Islands News

Caribbean Kidney Center Opens St. Thomas Facility
By Susan Ellis — January 10, 2014

Although the territory’s hospitals are often criticized for the quality of care or the lack of available services, dialysis patients now have state-of-the art options to meet their needs, according to the physician/owner of the private kidney centers on St. Thomas and St. Croix.

Dr. Walter H. Gardiner, nephrologist and proprietor of the Caribbean Kidney Centers, spoke to members of the St. Croix Rotary on Thursday about treatments and his facilities, especially the newest Caribbean Kidney Center on St. Thomas. He also commented on the state of the territorial hospitals’ dialysis units…. read more

st john sunriseSt. John Weather

Sunny, with a high near 82. East wind around 23 mph.

Update me when site is updated

Maria Hope Trail

St. John Virgin Islands Trails: Maria Hope
View from Maria Hope Trail Overlook

Now that the remainder of the Big Maho Bay land has been turned over to the Virgin Islands National Park, rangers are already working with Friends of the National Park in clearing the property’s Maria Hope Trail and improving parking at the beach.

The Maria Hope Trail follows an old Danish road that runs between the Josie Gut Estate on the Reef Bay Trail and Maho Bay on the north shore.

 History of the Maria Hope Road

Until early in the nineteenth century, people couldn’t travel all the way from east to west on what was then called Konge Vey (King’s Road) and which is now known as Centerline Rd or Route 10. The road was divided in two by a gorge located at the saddle of the Maho Bay Valley on the north and the Reef Bay Valley on the south. This gorge was known as the defile and was impassable by donkey cart or horseback.

When travelers on horseback or wagon going between the Coral Bay side of St. John and the Cruz Bay side came to the defile, they had two options:

Option 1: There were corrals for horses on both sides of the defile. They could leave their horses in the corral on one side, cross the defile on foot and arrange to take another horse to continue east.

Option 2: They could take the Maria Hope Road down the Maho Bay Valley to the north and continue east on the north shore.

Around the year 1780, the defile was filled in by the owner of the Old Works Estate, Peter Wood, and the two sides of the island were connected by one road for the first time.

When Centerline Road was constructed along the mountain ridge, hundreds of tons of fill were brought in to make the road passable by motor vehicle. In the process, the Old Works Estate and the uppermost section of the Maria Hope Road were completely covered over with the exception of the horsemill wall the horsemill wall, which can be seen as soon as you descend the stairs to the Reef Bay Trail.

The ruins of Maria Hope Estate lie just about 200 feet from Centerline Road at the trail entrance to the Maria Hope Trail. Access to the ruins is provided by a trail going east and up just as you enter the Maria Hope Trailhead…. Read more

Excerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track

St. John and Virgin Islands News

A Major Addition to Virgin Islands Park

Virgin Islands National Park – which already encompasses 60 percent of the tiny Caribbean island of St. John — just got a little bigger.

The beach at Maho Bay and its surrounding hillside recently was sold to the National Park Service in a $2.5 million deal, the Trust for Public Land announced. It’s the park’s largest addition since 1956, when the philanthropist Laurance Rockefeller, hoping to preserve the island paradise he fell in love with, donated more than 5,000 acres toward its creation

Organizers Seek Input on Plan to Control Invasive Lionfish

By Susan Ellis — January 8, 2014

During the three years after their first sighting in the territory in 2008, about 800 lionfish were taken from the waters around St. Croix. In 2012, the number had grown to between 7,000 and 10,000 fish, but according to research the infestation may be leveling off.

At the end of 2012, members of dive and fishing groups on St. Croix estimated they had removed 7,000 lionfish that year, according to Anthony Mastroianni of Lionfish Safari, a private non-profit group. Jenn Travis, project coordinator and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration coral fellow, said local fishermen could account for another 3,000 fish.

On Wednesday, the Friends of the East End Marine Park, a non-profit organization, hosted a public meeting, attended by a handful of stakeholders, at You Are Here Bar and Grille to review and update the Lionfish Response Plan, written by The Nature Conservancy in 2009.

The updated comprehensive plan, with input from public forums and a written survey, outlines goals to address control and removal of the fish, education and outreach, research and monitoring as well as marketing and communications.

“If we lose the reefs – the coral – we lose the sea grass beds, we lose the sea turtles,” Travis said….

… The Pacific Lionfish was first discovered in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida in 1992. Its spines are venomous but when removed, the fish is edible. Since 1992, the marine predator has migrated to South America and has infested some areas, like the Bahamas, with unmanageable numbers.

The lionfish endangers reef ecology and the fish industry by eating juvenile fish, octopus, squid, shrimp and lobster. They are prolific and adaptable. Mature females can lay 30,000 eggs every four days and they can live up to 15 years.

Lionfish have been spotted at a various depths – from a dozen inches of water to more than 1,000 feet.

As the waters become infested with lionfish, there are fewer fish to feed residents. Tourism suffers because fewer people visit the territory to dive and snorkel. The victim species negatively affect the oceans’ ecology and impacts recreation and commercial interests…. read more

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. East wind 21 to 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

Update me when site is updated

St. John USVI Environment: St. John’s Sandy Beaches

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.


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 sunrise

St. 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.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Environments: Mangroves

St. John Virgin Islands Environment: mangroves
Red Mangrove

The term mangrove loosely describes those tropical trees or shrubs that are specially adapted to grow in salty, wet and muddy environments, such as the shallow waters of calm bays, the periphery of salt ponds, and within marshes and wetlands that are exposed to flooding and salt water intrusion.

red mangrove seedling
Red Mangrove Seedling

white mangrove leaf and flower
White Mangrove Leaf and Flower

white mangrove salt glands
White Mangrove Salt Glands

Red Mangrove
The red mangrove proliferates along the shorelines of shallow calm bays, both on the muddy shore and in the water itself. The red is the classic mangrove characterized by its numerous arch-shaped roots that start at the base of the tree and arch out and down into the water and mud. It also has distinctive seeds that at maturity look something like foot-long red pencils, which emerge prominently from the center of the mangrove’s leaf clusters.

Black Mangrove
The black mangrove, Avicennia germinans, is easily identified by little sticks, called pneumatophores, coming out of the mud around its trunk. These are actually part of the black mangrove’s roots and serve two purposes. Most importantly, they act like snorkels bringing fresh air to the majority of the root that exists in the oxygen-depleted environment underwater and underground. Secondly, the pneumatophores help to anchor the black mangrove to its tenuous foundation of loose mud. The red mangrove’s lenticles and the black’s pneumatophores are extremely sensitive to greasy contaminants, which can clog up the openings. They are, therefore, at particular risk from oil spills.

The black mangrove is less tolerant of salt than is the red and cannot live its entire life in salt water. It is, therefore, usually found behind the red mangrove or on the shore side of salt ponds or marshes. Like the red, this mangrove excludes salt at the roots, but at a 90% efficiency instead of the 99% capability of the red. The salt that enters the black mangrove tissues is excreted by salt glands on the upper surface of the leaves. If you hold a black mangrove leaf up to the sunlight, you will see the salt crystals on the leaf.

White Mangrove
The white mangrove, Laguncularia racemosa, is the least salt-tolerant of the three mangrove varieties and cannot withstand prolonged periods in flooded conditions. For this reason white mangroves are usually found on drier land than are its red and black cousins. On St. John white mangroves are particularly plentiful around the edge of salt ponds and along guts where they open to the sea.

The white mangrove, like the black, excretes salt from its leaves. It does so through salt glands that occur in pairs on the stem just below each leaf. These glands look like two raised bumps and provide a good way to identify the white mangrove…. read more about mangroves

St. John Events

St. John Film presents a very special evening you won’t want to miss!
TONIGHT – TUESDAY, JAN 7, 2014 – St John School of the Arts in Cruz Bay 7:30 pm

Please join us for a selection of short, painfully funny films from the early Women’s Liberation Movement.

EARLY WOMEN’S LIB FILMS – Julia Reichert: Visiting Filmmaker will help place these archival films in context.

st john film societyGrowing Up Female Jim Klein, Julia Reichert | 1971 | USA | 50 min
Widely recognized as the first feature film to come out of the modern women’s movement, Julia Reichert’s landmark documentary “Growing Up Female” follows six girls and six women living in Middle America and gives voice to their powerlessness over imposing institutional forces. Recently inducted into the National Film Registry.

Make Out Geri Ashur, Andrea Eagan | 1970 | USA | 5 min.
“Make Out” shows a young couple making out in a car while a voice over reveals the young woman’s real thoughts about what is happening.

Up Against the Wall Miss America Newsreel Group | 1968 | USA | 8 min.
A now-historical film about the disruption of the Miss America pageant of 1968, with raps, guerrilla theater, and original songs.

Anything You Want to Be Liane Brandon | 1971 | USA | 8 min.
A teenager’s humorous collision with sex-role stereotypes.

Julia Reichert was nominated three times for the Academy Award for her documentary work and is winner of the Primetime Emmy Award. She has directed both documentary and fiction features. Her films have screened in major film festivals worldwide, including Sundance, New York, Telluride, Cannes and Rotterdam. Her first five documentaries were all broadcast on national PBS. GROWING UP FEMALE, which was her student project at Antioch College, was recently named to the National Film Registry. Her films have screened theatrically around the U.S., playing in over 100 cities, and internationally in theaters and television in dozens of countries. She is a proud co-founder of the distribution co-op, New Day Films, a founder of the Independent Feature Project, a professor of film production at Wright State University, a mom and a grandma.

Visit our website: www.stjohnfilm.com to find a list of recommended independent films that we purchased for the Elaine Sprauve Public Library on St. John. We recommend you check out a related film entitled “BODY TYPED”, a series of 3 short films about women’s body image.

St. John Virgin Islands Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 81. East wind around 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

St. John News

AT&T surges past 500 market mark with 26 new LTE rollouts
7 Jan 2014

US mobile giant AT&T Mobility has extended its nationwide LTE network to 26 new markets, raising its total number of markets served to more than 500. Alongside the likes of Battle Creek (Michigan), Hannibal (Missouri), Poughkeepsie (New York), Lebanon (Pennsylvania) and Walla Walla (Washington), coverage has also been extended to St John in the US Virgin Islands (USVI).

TeleGeography notes that, while AT&T is now able to match rival Verizon in terms of 4G markets served, it lacks the same level of population coverage, reflecting the market leader’s willingness to reach outside of a city to cover its surrounding areas. AT&T purports to cover around 270 million people with its networks, while Verizon covers around 301 million US citizens.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Environment: Salt Ponds

St. John Environments: Salt PondsSalt Ponds
The complex balance of land and sea environments supports the incredible natural beauty of St. John, the white soft sandy beaches, the crystal-clear water, the colorful coral reef, the fish, the sea creatures, the exotic tropical foliage, the birds, bats, butterflies and every other living thing. One of these environments that is often overlooked is the salt pond.

How Are Salt Ponds Formed?
Most of the salt ponds of St. John were once bays, open to the sea. Coral reefs develop naturally around the rocky headlands that jut out and define bays. In time the reef may extend out from the headland toward the center of the bay. When this happens simultaneously on both headlands, the bay begins to be closed off. As the reef matures, the top of the reef rises toward the surface of the water. Strong storms and hurricanes carry sand, rocks and pieces of broken coral and pile them on top of the reef creating a surface platform above sea level. Meanwhile heavy rains and gut washes cause sediments and soil from the land to collect on the protected side of the platform facing the land. With the help of salt tolerant plants, such as mangroves, to secure these sediments, the platform will gradually get larger and denser. A salt pond is born when the spit of solid land builds up enough to close off the bay from the sea.

How Do Salt Ponds Protect the Coral Reefs?
During heavy rains, water runs down valleys and hillsides into guts leading to the low flat areas just inshore from the central portions of the bay. Salt ponds are generally found in these low-lying areas and serve as buffers between land and sea. The salt pond acts much like the septic systems used by many homes on St. John. Water flowing down the valley picks up soil, organic debris and possibly dangerous pollutants. This mix is deposited into the salt pond instead of washing directly into the sea. The sediments settle to the bottom of the pond and the now purified water can seep through the filter-like sand and coral rubble wall of the pond into the bay without causing turbidity or cloudiness.

The Salt Pond Environment
Salt ponds are extremely hostile environments for living things. Depending on the salt pond’s location and on conditions such as temperature, rainfall and windiness, the water within the pond can range from almost fresh to a super-saline solution five times the saltiness of the sea. Add to this the high temperature that the water can reach during sunny dry afternoons and you would think that nothing could survive there. Nonetheless, the salt pond is inhabited by such creatures as brine shrimp, crabs, insects and insect larva, which provide the basis for a food chain. Birds, waterfowl and bats that feed on these organisms are attracted to the pond environment and several species of birds tend to make their nests nearby.

Birds commonly found at or near St. John salt ponds include herons, sandpipers, yellowlegs, and pin tail ducks. In addition, certain fish, such as barracuda, tarpon, mullet and snook, attracted by the brine shrimp, sometimes make their way into salt ponds that have an opening to the sea. In some parts of the world the brine shrimp from salt ponds are harvested commercially for tropical fish food, and the larva produced by brine shrimp eggs has been marketed (particularly in comic books) as “sea monkeys”.

Salt ponds can be smelly and murky and in the past they were indiscriminately dredged, drained, filled or opened to the sea. As a result they have been disappearing from the Virgin Islands at an alarming rate. Fortunately, they are now protected under the territorial Coastal Zone Management department and also under federal legislation, which means no filling, opening or dredging.

From St. John Off The Beaten Track


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