St. John Dust Comparison

Sahara Dust and Road Dust

Sahara Dust
The Virgin Islands are in the path of streams of airborne dust sent aloft by storms over the Sahara Dessert, which are carried over the Atlantic by the westerly trade winds. This dust accounts for most of the haze often seen especially during the summer months.

One side of my house faces east towards the Caribbean and as a result, I have been able to collect some of the dust that accumulated on that side of the house that presumably originated in African deserts.

Road Dust
The many unpaved roads on St. John also produce their share of dust. As westward side of my house lies exposed to an unpaved road the dust that I collected there presumable came from vehicles passing over the dirt road.

In the magnified photos of the two samples of dust you can see the difference between the sandy Sahara dust and the sticky fibrous road dust.

Sahara Dust
dust sample from the east (Sahara dust)
road dust
dust sample from the west (road dust)

In a report by researchers from the University of California, Davis, Thomas A. Cahill called the Virgin Islands the dustiest place in the United States and stated, “the Virgin Islands have more dust than the Grand Canyon, the Badlands, or Death Valley.”

St. John Happenings

Sol Driven Train will be performing at the Inn at Tamarind Court at 5:30 this evening

Inn at…

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St. John Beach Sand

Ever notice the different looks and feels of of beach sand on St. John? Well, I’ve decided to look into this phenomenon more closely:

I examined samples of sand from three beaches, Trunk Bay, Maho Bay and Chocolate Hole and found them to be quite different from each other.

Trunk Bay, Maho Bay and Chocolate Hole Sand

Trunk Bay Sand
Trunk Bay
maho bay sand
Maho Bay
Chocolate Hole Sand-
Chocolate Hole
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High Surf Advisory

The high surf advisory issued yesterday by the National Weather Service will remain in effect until 6:00 am AST tomorrow.

Yesterday, as I’m sure they’ll do today also, the cruise ships activities operators cancelled their Trunk Bay tours.

I was at Trunk Bay yesterday morning and the surf was indeed up, but not quite as bad as the 10 to 12 foot breaking surf that the weather service had predicted. Nonetheless, swimming that morning seemed uncomfortable, and I decided to change locations to the much calmer Maho Bay.

However, being that I was at Trunk Bay anyway, I took the time to record the following video:

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Bougainvilleas and Aphids


Almost all the new and many of the older homes on St. John use exotic, as opposed to native, landscaping plants; one of the most popular of which, are bougainvilleas.

Bougainvilleas have beautiful foliage and are in the most part easy to take care of, but they still need to be sprayed for pests from time to time and do a lot better with irrigation, than they do depending on the rain. Other varieties of exotics used for landscaping can be even more problematic and expensive to maintain. For this reason, I would advocate landscaping with native varieties and work on eliminating the pesky exotics such as the ubiquitous  wild tamarind.

I’ve kept my bougainvilleas, however, but they have to fend for themselves now. One in particular hangs on to life, but has a horrible problem with aphids.

Bougainvillea with aphids
Aphids on a bougainvillea leaf
Aphids close up
Enlarged image of aphids on the underside of a bougainvillea leaf

Aphids Video

Endangered Lizards

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that seven species of Caribbean skinks found only in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands may qualify for Endangered Species Act protection. The Caribbean skinks are near extinction (or already extinct) due to introduced predators like mongooses and cats and habitat destruction.

Four of the seven species are found in the Virgin Islands: the Greater St. Croix skink (St. Croix and its satellite Green Cay), The Lesser St. Croix skink (St. Croix), Greater Virgin Islands skink (St. John and St. Thomas) and the Virgin Islands bronze skink (St. Thomas and several of its islets and several British Virgin Islands).

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Airlines with a St. John Connection

Antilles Airboats

In the Lind Point Shoreline Scramble chapter of the new 2016 edition of St. John Off the Beaten Track, I wrote a few paragraphs about the St. John connection (the old seaplane ramp) with Antilles Airboats and their founders Charlie Blair Maureen O’Hara.

Blair was a United States Air Force Brigadier General and flying ace who made air travel history by flying his scarlet-red P-51 Mustang, named Excalibur III, non-stop from New York to London in 1951 and by making the first solo flight over the North Pole.

Maureen O’Hara was a famous movie actor who retired from show business to marry Blair and who took over Antilles Airboats after Charlie Blair’s death in 1978. (Charlie Blair died in 1978 when the Grumman Goose he was piloting developed engine trouble and crashed between St. Croix and St. Thomas.)


There is another airline with a personal St. John connection. That is, Caribair and the Trigo Brothers. The connection works like this. The Trigo Brothers from Puerto Rico were once the owners of Caneel Bay, having purchased the property from the West India Company in the early 1940s.

The Trigos were also the founders of Caribbean-Atlantic Airlines, which in 1942 became the first scheduled airline to fly to St. Thomas and St. Croix from San Juan, Puerto Rico using a small fleet of Stinson A Tri-Motor aircraft.

Stinson A Tri-MotorThe name of the airline company was changed to Caribair in 1945 and upgraded their fleet to the larger DC 9 aircraft. In 1972 Caribair merged with Eastern Airlines.

Caribair DC9

The UFO Connection

“In June 1970, the Puerto Rican Air National Guard apparently received reports concerning a mystery object from a Caribair jet as well as from a Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) jetliner. Pilots in both aircraft reportedly claimed to have seen an unidentified flying object (UFO) close to San Juan’s Isla Verde International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement about this incident in 1977.”
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Document #: 39
Date Sent: 09-22-1986
Subject: 1977 FAA REPORT PAGE 2

  1. The object remained oriented in a northeasterly/southwesterly direction with the nose pointed northeast; the stern to the southwest, and drifting slowly against the prevailing winds to the southwest about 8 knots per hour.
  2. There were no signs of any type of propulsion unit on the object.

The San Juan Star published a series of articles concerning the incident.

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Trunk Bay in the Morning

My favorite time to visit Trunk Bay is in the morning. No hassles; I don’t have to show my drivers license at the booth, few, if any, people at the beach and by the time I’m ready to leave I can count on the showers being turned on. Every morning that I’m there absolutely blows me away. I ‘m totally amazed by how beautiful it is and I can’t believe that I’m actually there. So fortunate!

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