In Virgin Islands backtime days, whist was used for making rope. The vine was collected on the days of the dark moon. Three strands would be twisted until the end of the shortest was reaches then that strand would be knotted with the next one and so until the desired amount of rope was obtained. In some cases this called for a lot of whist like when used for setting fish pots when the rope needed to be 35 fathoms (210 feet) long.
I have always enjoyed the melodious song of our tiny native tree frogs. The symphony begins around sunset and continues until dawn. It is a love symphony, meant for male frogs to attract the attention of nearby females.
Our island now hosts another species, the Cuban tree frog. They have a reputation of being toxic, even to the touch. Cannibals, they eat the native frogs, but worst of all is their abominable screeching.
“I hate wild tamarind. They’re ugly, untidy and unruly. They spread rampantly and take over the place. They’re prejudiced and intolerant. They grow close together and won’t let any other plants live in their neighborhood.
They’re resilient and tenacious. Their sturdy taproot goes straight down into the earth and holds on tight. They can withstand drought, flood and even come back after a fire. There are no insects, predators or diseases that can cause them any significant harm.
They’re hard to get rid of. If you cut them down, they’ll grow right back. If you try and pull out the small one, you’d better have a lot of time and a lot of patience. If you try and dig out the big ones, you’d better have a good hoe-pick and a strong back.”
Nonetheless, their flower is kind of pretty!
The Ghost vs the Wild Tamarind
St. John and Virgin Islands News
Sahara Dust Impacts Territory By Source Staff — May 28, 2014
Dust from the Sahara Desert has caused an air pollution alert to be issued for the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to Alicia Barnes, commissioner of the Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The dust causes the skies around the Virgin Islands to be hazy, reducing visibility and resulting in poor air quality, Barnes said in a statement issued Tuesday night.
The cloud is raised from dust storms in Africa and a rise in the warm air. These sandy dust particles are transported by prevailing winds from the North African desert westward over the Atlantic Ocean across the Caribbean.
Carlos Anselmi, a meteorology intern at the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico, confirmed that there are traces of Sahara dust over the territory and that the satellite indicates it will show a stronger presence over the next week.
While the haze may not be an immediate threat, people with allergies or respiratory ailments should remain indoors when possible and consult their physicians or health care professional for further guidance, Barnes warned.
Sahara dust storms pass through the region several times a year, but mainly in the spring and summer months. While the dust can be a nuisance and even a health threat, it is also known to hamper the development of tropical storms…. read more
St. John Live Music Schedule
Barefoot Cowboy Lounge Ike
9:00 pm – 2:00 am
St. John Flutes
Cruz Bay Landing
5:00 – 8:00
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
6:30 – 9:30
Michael Beason Open Mic
6:00 – 9:00
Iguana burrowing in rocky soil – Chocolate Hole, St. John, Virgin Islands
On April 15, I wrote a blog in which I presented a photo of an iguana burrow, which I found in the sand by the boat ramps in Great Cruz Bay. At the time, I didn’t actually see the iguana making the hole.
Yesterday, however, I did catch an iguana in the act of burrowing and captured some of the project on video. This time it was in back of my house in Chocolate Hole, a more difficult endeavor for the iguana due to the rocky nature of the land. At one point it actually looked like the iguana was thinking about moving the big rock that was in its way.
The t’rushie bird is a teef! (For those of you who don’t know the word, teef: it’s St. Johnian for the noun, thief, as in one who steals, like in the t’rushie’s a teef. It can also be used as a verb meaning to steal like in the t’rushie teefed my mangoes.)
Anyone familiar with the thrushie or pearly-eyed trasher, or scientifically, Margarops fuscatus, and who has a fruit tree in their yard knows what a teef the thrushie is. The bird will hang around open air restaurants and steal the food off your plate if you’re not looking. On St. John, the outdoor Caneel Bay Beach Restaurant and the Trunk Bay snack bar have lines and wires placed to discourage the thrushies, but that doesn’t mean that it’s 100% successful in preventing the larcenies.
Not only does the thrushie steal from people, but it also steals from other birds, like taking their nests or eggs.
Thrushies live on the smaller islands of the Caribbean and the Bahamas and avoid the continent and the larger islands, with the exception of some remote areas of Puerto Rico. They are ugly. They build ugly sloppy, messy nests wherever they want, have an annoying sound and are general nuisances.
My mango tree is full of mangoes and the t’rushies are lying in wait hoping to get the ripe ones before I do. It will soon be war.
St. John Weather
Scattered showers, mainly before noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 82. East wind 9 to 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.
Its springtime in the Virgin Islands and my mango tree is in the fullest bloom I’ve ever seen since it was planted some ten years or so ago. There are little baby mangoes and flowers all over the tree.
It’s a special tree. Anyone who knows about it will testify to the fact that it bears the best or t least one of the best mangoes on St. John.
This morning I hear something (someone?) high up in the tree branches and there is this parrot and its eating the baby mangoes, maldito loro! I hope its allergic.
St. John Live Music Schedule
Lauren & Bo
3:30 – 6:30
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 7:00
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
6:30 – 9:30
Hot Club of Coral Bay
7:00 – 10:00
Twenty-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.”
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
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 Weather
Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 77. East wind 16 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Remoras and Sea Turtles
Some cultures use remoras to catch turtles. A cord or rope is fastened to the remora’s tail, and when a turtle is sighted, the fish is released from the boat; it usually heads directly for the turtle and fastens itself to the turtle’s shell, and then both remora and turtle are hauled in. Smaller turtles can be pulled completely into the boat by this method, while larger ones are hauled within harpooning range. This practice has been reported throughout the Indian Ocean, especially from eastern Africa near Zanzibar and Mozambique, and from northern Australia near Cape York and Torres Strait.
Similar reports come from Japan and from the Americas. Some of the first records of the “fishing fish” in the Western literature come from the accounts of the second voyage of Christopher Columbus. However, Leo Wiener considers the Columbus accounts to be apocryphal: what was taken for accounts of the Americas may have been, in fact, notes Columbus derived from accounts of the East Indies, his desired destination…. read more about remoras
All about St John in the beautiful US Virgin Islands (USVI) American Paradise