Anancy Story

Notes: I don’t know if the tradition continues today, but most of my West Indian friends were brought up with tales of Anancy, the clever spider, who is a character taken from West African folk tales.

“Club” refers to the old Virgin Island custom of family and friends helping one another out when big jobs needed to be done. The one holding club would traditionally prepare food and beverages for the helpers and would be available if called upon to do club work for someone else.

The term “to resen” means, “to baptize.”

The Club

Once upon a time, there were two spiders, one name Bru Tuckomar and the other Bru Anancy.

One day, Bru Tuckomar said to Bru Anancy, “Bru, would like you to help me cut some wood.”

Bru Anancy said, “Surely. I will willingly help you.”

So Bru Tuckomar said, “I will cook peas soup for your lunch.”

So, when the day came for the wood to cut, he cook the soup before they began to work. After he finish cook, he said, “Let us go to work.” And they went.

About 9: 30, Bru Anancy said, “Lord have marsey, every day resenin’ bastard child! Resenin’ child so!”

But, before they went to work, he hang a pan in the tree and whenever the wind blow, the pan made a loud sound much like a bell.

So he would say, “Bru, I have to go to resen that child.”

Bru Tuckomar said, “All right, you go.” He went right where the pot was and began to eat. He ate one third of the soup and went back to work. When he reach, he said, “Well, I resen the good-for-nothing!”

Bru Tuckomar said, “What the child’s name?”

“Just Begin,” said Anancy.

They work until about eleven and the pan made the same noise. Bru Anancy stop work and listen. Bru Tuckomar said, “I hear a call, Bru. They must be calling you to a next resening.”

Anancy said, “Hell! Then I wish all them damn chirren would die. Anyway, me go.”

And he went, and he did resen the child! He ate about three fourths of the food and went back.

What this child’s name?” said Bru Tuckomar.

“Half Gone,” said Anancy.

Bru Tuckomar said, “Quare names, indeed!’

Anancy said “Half Gone” because there was less than that in the pot from what there was at first.

So they work and conversed and, all of a sudden, a big wind come and the pan call again for the rest of the food to be finish. Bru Anancy made as if he didn’t hear a sound and Bru Tuckomar said, “Bru, them is call again for you to resen another bastard child.”

Bru Anancy made believe that he didn’t want to go. Bru Tuckomar said, “You know it is your duty to go, so go.”

And Anancy began to swar and say all manner of thing so Bru Tuckomar would think he didn’t want to go. But it was just from joy. He want to make a finishing touch.

He went and all was gone this time so, when he went back, Bru Tuckomar said, “What’s the name?”

“None Left For You!”

“What? None Left for Me! The idear of such a name for a child!”

When the club finish, the two left for food and rest. But, to Bru Tuckomar surprise, the pot was empty. They look at one another.

Bru Tuckomar said, “I know the children had funny names!” and he rush for Anancy. But Bru Anancy, being too fast, side-slip him, and cut his head off with a cutlash.

And since that, spiders never keep club.”

(From the book, Escape To The Tropics, by Desmond Holdridge, Harcourt Brace and Company, NY 1937.)

St. John News

VIPD reveals few details in investigation of woman’s suspicious death on St. John
By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 4, 2014

ST. THOMAS – The questions are piling up as police investigate the suspicious death of a woman who was found dead in a St. John vacation villa after she and her husband had a quarrel the evening prior.

Police said that they cannot yet release the identity of the 41-year-old woman from Harrisonburg, Va., whose death was reported to 911 dispatchers at about 11:50 a.m. Sunday.

V.I. Territorial Emergency Management Agency records show the incident’s location as the Lavendar Blue Seas, a vacation rental property in the Lavendar Hill Suites complex on a hillside above Cruz Bay.

Police also could not confirm Tuesday whether the husband, the only publicly known witness at this point in the investigation, was a person of interest or whether he still was in the territory…. read more

St. John Live Music Schedule

Karaoke Night

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

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00

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

Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30

Virgin Fire
Gypsy Jazz
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00 – 9:00

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 80. East wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

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Anchor in Hurricane Hole

Elliot Hooper from Tall Ship Trading told me about a huge anchor that lies in only 15 feet of water in Hurricane Hole. The anchor that dates back to the 1800s was inadvertently moved from Virgin Islands National Park waters and subsequently recovered and returned through a team effort of Elliot, the  VI National Park and the Friends of the Park. Learn more about the recovery.


This was no mean feat. The anchor measures 15 feet in length with a cross bar eight feet long and weighing some 2500 pounds was in 80 feet of water. The task was accomplished by floating the anchor using lined 55 gallon drums into which air was pumped and once free of the sea bottom it was dragged by dinghies to its current resting place in Hurricane Hole.

Anchor MapIf you’d like to find it, it’s relatively easy to do. The anchor rests at a depth of about 15 feet just off the peninsula between Princess Bay and Otter Creek.

The GPS Coordinates are 18°21’7.20″N by 64°41’38.40″W, but its easy to find following Elliot’s simple directions:

Look for a green bush with a fallen rock on the peninsula. Believe it or not it’s the only bush unless you count mangroves. Then snorkel straight out (west) until the water starts to get deeper. Look around; you’ll find it.

St. John Events

St. John Film Society presents: “Las Carpetas” (The Files)
Date: Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Time: 7:30 pm
Place: St John School of the Arts, Cruz Bay
$5.00 suggested donation or become a 2014 SJFS Member ($35. individual, $50. family)

“Las Carpetas,” a 2011 documentary, examines a painful chapter in Puerto Rico’s history in which secret police, supported by the FBI, spied and persecuted those who disagreed with the government. For decades, the collected information was classified in archives known as “the files”. An entire network was set up so “subversives”, were denied certain jobs through which they could exert influence or authority (police, university, journalism). Those who already had jobs were hounded until they resigned and many citizens were forced to emigrate since they could not find jobs in Puerto Rico.  When the existence of the files became known in 1987, the practice known as “the carpeteo” was declared unconstitutional. It wasn’t until 1992 that 15,000 files were officially returned to the persecuted citizens, opening a Pandora’s Box of painful memories.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
7:00 – 9:00

Beach Bar
Karaoke Night

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 8:00

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan

Island Blues

La Tapa
6:30 – 9:30

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:30 – 9:30

See Weekly Schedule

Virgin Islands News

Coral World dolphinarium work under way on land
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 3, 2014

ST. THOMAS – Work has started on the $5.2 million, 70,000-square-foot interactive dolphin exhibit at Coral World Ocean Park.

The Coastal Zone Management permits were approved by the Senate and signed by Gov. John deJongh Jr. late last year.

The work being done on the property is on the land. The permits for building the dolphin enclosure in Water Bay have not yet been approved by the Army Corps of Engineers.

According to the permit application, the dolphins will be kept in a large rectangular enclosure built in Water Bay, bordered by decking containing a viewing platform and low bleacher seating.

The decks that will make up the enclosure will measure about 300 feet by 250 feet.

An additional 40-foot buffer will be set up around the perimeter of the decking using a buoy line. The decking will be supported by 158 concrete pilings that will necessitate the removal and relocation of some corals and seagrass beds.

A stainless steel mesh will connect the dock on the surface to the ocean floor, keeping the dolphins in the 2-acre enclosure while allowing the natural currents of the bay to clean out the dolphin habitat….

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 77. East northeast wind 13 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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Anegada Airports

anegada landing

The unlikely island of Anegada has the distinction of being the site of the first airport ever built in the British Virgin Islands. The airstrip that first brought the age of air travel to the BVI was not much more than a hard-packed dirt runway. It was located at West End near Cow Wreck Beach and constructed in hopes of servicing a fledgling shark fishing industry that had started up on the island.

(In the 1800s when a ship carrying cow bones, used at the time to make chalk and buttons, wrecked on the reef just offshore of a small sandy cove on the northwest coast of Anegada. For years afterwards these bones washed ashore and the cove became know as Cow Wreck Beach.)

The shark fishery never really got off the ground, and the only aircraft to ever land at West End were one or two small private planes from St. Thomas carrying store-bought goods to Anegada residents and returning with local produce and seafood. These flights, however, were so few and far between that it was not long before the airstrip was abandoned and fell into disrepair.

(The last plane to ever use the airport before it literally disappeared into the bush was made by “a doctor from Tortola who flew his own plane and tried to make a call to Anegada by air. Having inspected the airfield from above and deciding it looked okay, he went in for his landing and touched down. All went well until an 18-inch ditch across the runway sheared off his landing gear. It seems that one of the locals, wanting to drain a salt marsh, had dug a ditch across the runway. Such is aviation across the West Indies…”Street’s Cruising Guide to the Eastern Caribbean, by Donald Street. The doctor mentioned in the story was identified by some Anegadians as Tortola’s Dr. Tattersoll.)

Although Anegada’s first introduction to the age of air travel had little to no effect on the lives of the residents of that remote island, the next airport to be built on Anegada did bring about considerable social change, but not in the way that most airports do. Anegada’s Auguste George Airport was built in 1969 and is located towards the northern part of the Settlement. As its 2,500-foot runway can only accommodate small aircraft, most visitors still arrive on sailboats and the airport has never been a major player in Anegada’s burgeoning tourist industry.

(The airport was named after Captain Auguste George Airport. His daughter, Anegada-born Gracita Faulkner, earned international fame and appeared in leading roles in “La Traviata” and “Faust” for the American Opera Guild.)

Nonetheless, the construction of the Auguste George Airport in 1960 did result in major changes in the lives and lifestyles of the residents of Anegada. The story of how this came about begins with the unorthodox nature and history of land ownership on the island…. read more

St. John Virgin Islands News

Police Investigate Tourist’s Death at St. John Villa
By Source Staff — March 3, 2014

Police are investigating the death of a woman at a private villa on St. John. The incident was reported to 911 emergency dispatch Sunday morning.

According to preliminary information from the V.I. Police Department, officers interviewed a man who said he and his wife were on vacation from Virginia and had an argument at the villa. The man said after the argument he slept outside the rental property in his vehicle. The next morning he tried to enter to the villa but could not gain access.

He called for assistance to get inside and, once inside, discovered the unresponsive body of his 41-year-old wife.

St. John Live Music Schedule

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

Beach Bar
Jeff White

Open Mic with Johnny B & Lauren
3:30 – 5:30

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

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

Virgin Fire
Instrumental Jazz
Rich Greengold & Greg Jones
6:00 – 8:00

St. John Weather

Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. Northeast wind 14 to 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.


Update me when site is updated

Marine Animals at Waterlemon Cay

st john virgin islands marine life: elkhorn coral
Elkhorn Coral

st john marine life: brain coral
Brain Coral & Christmas Tree Worms

st john usvi marine life: sponge

It’s always intrigued me that corals, sponges and tube worms are animals as they appear more like plants in a garden than members of the  animal kingdom. Actually, the only plants on the reef that come to mind are algae and sea grasses.

Snorkeling Waterlemon Cay

Excepted from St. John Off the Beaten Track
Many visitors name Waterlemon Cay, the small island found off the beach at the end of the Leinster Bay Trail, as their favorite snorkel.

Enter the water from the beach and snorkel towards Waterlemon Cay. The distance between the beach and the cay is about 0.2-mile. You’ll be snorkeling over seagrass lying in about 25 feet of water. This is the best place on St. John to see starfish. Also, look for conch, sea cucumbers, green turtles and stingray, creatures that also frequent this sand and grass environment.

To decrease the snorkeling distance to the island, follow the trail at the far end of the beach. Bear left at the first fork in the trail, which will continue to follow the shoreline. At the end of this trail, walk along the shore and choose a convenient place close to Waterlemon Cay to enter the water. The distance across the channel to the island is only about 0.1 mile. This entry is from the rocky shoreline to a rocky bottom. Be careful not to step on live coral or sea urchins.

From this entry point to the eastern part of Waterlemon Cay, you will snorkel over an area of seagrass and scattered reef. Closer to the island the water becomes quite shallow. Here you will see schools of blue tang and some very large parrotfish. You can hear the parrotfish crunching their beak like teeth along the surface of the rocks and dead coral. They do this to scrape off algae. Chunks of coral and algae pass through the parrotfish’s unique digestive system and are excreted as fine coral sand. Much of the sand on our beautiful beaches is produced in this manner.

Around the north and west sides of the island, the underwater seascape is truly an “Octopuses’ Garden.” There are several varieties of hard coral, including excellent specimens of brain coral. Sea fans and sea plumes are found on the deeper parts of the reef. The whole area is teeming with fish and other sea creatures. Look for eels in holes and for octopus where you find opened seashells piled together, signaling a place where they have feasted.

There is often a current around the island, which is especially strong during new and full moons. If you are not a strong swimmer, keep this in mind and proceed with caution. Obviously, it is easier to swim in the direction of the current rather than against it, so choose your direction around the island accordingly.

St. John Weather

Isolated showers before noon. Sunny, with a high near 77. Southeast wind 3 to 6 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Update me when site is updated


godwin and fish

The Importance of Culture

Attending the Annaberg Folk Life Festival had me thinking about local culture and the importance of its preservation. That led me to remember a conversation I had some years ago with Ivan Chinnery of Jost Van Dyke.

Ivan and I were working on a book about Jost Van Dyke, which Foxy and Tessa’s daughter, Justine, jokingly said would be the world’s shortest book. I got the joke, but really that wouldn’t have been the case. Although it has not yet been published, we had collected quite a bit of information, including history, backtime culture and interviews.

At one point, concerned about who would be the potential audience for the book, I turned to Ivan and asked, “why are we writing this book?”

Ivan though for a few moments, pointed to a papaya tree full of ripe and ripening papayas and replied, “we’re writing it so that one day, when your son and my son are walking down this path and come to this tree and your son asks mine, ‘what’s that?’ my son doesn’t answer, ‘I don’t know.’”

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