Tag Archives: St. John USVI

Giant Sea Anenome

anemone

The giant Caribbean sea anemone, Condylactis gigantean, is usually found attached to a hard substance like a rock or shell in shallow water. They can move, however, slowly crawling from one location to another.

The giant sea anemone, giant because they can range from six to twelve inches across, feeds on small fish, crustaceans and mollusks. The anemone captures its prey and defends itself by utilizing their nematocysts, or stinging cells that are located on the tips of the anemone’s tentacles. The toxins released can immobilize prey and discourage predators. The proximity of these nematocysts also serves to provide protection for cleaner fish and shrimp and act as a sort of base station for fish cleaning. The toxins released by the anemone are only mildly irritation to humans.

The giant anemone reproduces sexually with males releasing sperm and females releasing eggs into the water. If they are in close enough proximity to one another then fertilization will take place.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Wednesday 3/19

Beach Bar
Groove Thang
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

Coconut Coast
St. John Flutes
5:30 -7:00
776-6944

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade & the Sound
7:00 – 10:00
776-0303

Shipwreck
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

Virgin Fire
Gypsy Jazz
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Marine Life: Spotted Trunkfish

spotted trunkfish
Spotted trunkfish, Lactophrys bicaudalis

I photographed this spotted trunkfish at Hurricane Hole. I was lucky to get the photo, as they are not that common and are generally wary of divers and quickly shoot back into ledges and holes in the reef when approached. Locally, trunkfish are also boxfish and cowfish.

The Spotted trunkfish, Lactophrys bicaudalis, as well as other species of trunkfish secretes a colorless toxin that it produces from gland on their skin when they are under stress. For humans, the toxin is only dangerous if eaten and won’t harm them if they touch the fish, but marine predators, even large ones like nurse sharks can die as the result of eating a trunkfish.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Beach Bar
Cactus Brothers
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 8:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Quest Theory
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

St. John Weather

Isolated showers before noon. Sunny, with a high near 79. East southeast wind 14 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

THIS HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK IS FOR THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS AND THE ADJACENT COASTAL WATERS.

UPPER LEVEL RIDGE WILL CONTINUE TO BUILD OVER THE REGION TODAY LEADING TO LARGE SCALE SUBSIDENCE AND SIGNIFICANT DRYING. WINDS WILL STRENGTHEN TODAY WITH RED FLAG CONDITIONS POSSIBLE FOR SAINT CROIX.

(A Red Flag Warning also known as a Fire Weather Warning is a forecast warning issued by the United States National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire ignition, and rapid propagation.)

Update me when site is updated

Virgin Islands Marine Life: Needlefish

St. John Virgin Islands Marine Life: needlefish
Needlefish (Tylosurus crocodilus)

Some years ago my friend, John Campbell, the father of Jasmine Campbell who represented the Virgin Islands in the Sochi Olympics, was water skiing in Rendezvous Bay. At precisely the wrong time, a needlefish jumped out of the water, its sharp beak colliding with John’s knee and penetrating deep into the joint. This led John on a quick trip to the clinic and a successful removal of the bony beak.

The needlefish, which range in length from one to 37 inches, can jump out of the water at speeds of up to 37 mph. making them a danger to humans that like my friend John happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. There have, in fact, been several recorded instances of needlefish causing deaths and injuries, especially during the night when the lights from boats excite the needlefish causing them to leap out of the water in the direction of the light. Night fishermen and divers in the Pacific find needlefish to be more of a danger than sharks.

A three-foot long needlefish killed a10-year-old Hawaiian boy who was night fishing with his father, the fish’s beak passing through the boy’s eye into his brain. A surfer in Hawaii suffered the same fate. A Vietnamese boy diving for sea cucumbers in 2007 was killed when the beak of a needlefish penetrated his heart. A snorkeler in Florida was nearly killed in the same manner and in 2012 a needlefish seriously injured the German kite surfer Wolfram Reiners in the Seychelles.

Needlefish swim close to the surface and survive on a diet of smaller fish. In the Virgin Islands, needlefish are often referred to as garfish, but, although somewhat similar in appearance, they are not related to that species.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Aqua Bistro
Lauren Jones
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Ocean Grill
David Laabs
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Shipwreck Landing
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

Skinny Legs
Groove Thang
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Sun Dog
Sunday Night Jam
6:30 – 9:30
693-8340

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 77. East wind around 16 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

HIGH SURF ADVISORY

SEVEN FOOT SWELLS AT 12 SECONDS AT SAN JUAN BUOY 41053 WILL PRODUCE BREAKING WAVES OF 9 TO 12 FEET ALONG ALL COASTS OF PUERTO RICO…CULEBRA…VIEQUES AND ST THOMAS, ST. JOHN AND ADJACENT ISLANDS. SWELLS EXPECTED TO SUBSIDE QUICKLY EARLY THIS EVENING.

A HIGH SURF ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM AST THIS AFTERNOON.  WAVES AND SURF: BREAKING WAVES OF 9 TO 12 FEET FROM THE NORTH NORTHWEST.

TIMING: THROUGH 4 PM AST TODAY.

IMPACTS: LIMITED COASTAL EROSION AND DANGEROUS CONDITIONS   AROUND ROCKS AND REEFS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…  A HIGH SURF ADVISORY MEANS THAT HIGH SURF WILL AFFECT BEACHES IN THE ADVISORY AREA…PRODUCING RIP CURRENTS AND LOCALIZED BEACH EROSION. HIGH SURF IS ESPECIALLY HAZARDOUS AT NIGHT. RESIDENTS AND VISITORS ARE URGED TO KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE FROM THE WATER.

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St. John Snorkel: Kein Bay to Ditleff

     fish dem-9

rendezvous bayThere’s a series of rock ledges along the coast between Klein and Ditleff Bays that provide shelters for hundreds of small colorful reef fish. The ledges are in shallow water and the fish are always there and can be observed by snorkelers without having to dive into deeper waters. In addition to reef fish, I’ve seen lobsters, shrimp and crabs nestled under the ledges.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
6:00 – 9:00
693-5055

Beach Bar
Flipswitch
9:00
777-4220

Concordia
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4 :30 – 6:30
693-5855

High Tide
Island Girl
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
776-1100

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Education officials seek feedback from parents about closing Guy Benjamin School on St. John
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 12, 2014

V.I. Education Department officials met with parents last week about the possible closure or re-purposing of Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay, St. John.

“We have not made a decision yet, this was just to get feedback,” Education spokeswoman Ananta Pancham said.

Education officials said the final decision depends on how many students register for the upcoming school year.

The school has seen a steady decline in enrollment during the last few years, and the Education Department is having trouble justifying the financial expense to keep the doors open to serve only a few students, particularly when the students can be taught at Julius Sprauve School in Cruz Bay.

At a Parent Teacher Organization meeting on Thursday, St. Thomas-St. John District Superintendent Jeanette Smith-Barry said enrollment at Guy Benjamin has dropped from a high of 112 students to the current 55.

Despite the school’s declining number of students, it still costs the same amount of money – $1.1 million annually – to operate the school, according to the department.

It costs about $2.3 million per year to operate Sprauve, according to Education Commissioner Donna Frett-Gregory. Benjamin has only 15 employees compared with Sprauve’s 44.

Sprauve poses some concerns – it is located in the center of Cruz Bay and is surrounded by bars and traffic – but it does have a maximum capacity of 729, more than enough to absorb the 55 Guy Benjamin students…. read more

St. John Weather

Isolated showers before 8am. Sunny, with a high near 77. East southeast wind 13 to 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

 

 

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Hurricane Hole Mangrove Snorkel

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The seas on the south were exceptionally calm making the ride over to Hurricane Hole quick and comfortable. The video and stills were shot with a Canon G15 in an underwater case.

hurricane hole mangroves
Red Mangrove

spotted trunkfish
Spotted Trunkfish

Mnagrove and Roots
Mangrove Environment

St. John Live Music Schedule

Beach Bar
The Carpet Baggers
9:00
777-4220

Castaway’s
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

Coconut Coast
St. John Flutes
5:30 -7:00
776-6944

High Tide
Steel Pan
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Rhumb Lines
Shane Meade & the Sound
7:00 – 10:00
776-0303

Shipwreck
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-5640

Virgin Fire
Gypsy Jazz
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

St. John Virgin Islands Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 75. East wind around 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

St. John and Virgin Islands News

Natasha Barnard models Ranifly BikiniVirgin Islands Swimsuit Designer Featured Again in Sports Illustrated
In the small island town of Coral Bay, St. John, swimsuit designer Rani Keohane is making big things happen. Her swimsuit line, Ranifly, was recently featured for the second time in Sports Illustrated, and she was also featured on GrindTV’s website in a piece on swimsuits for active women.

Ranifly swimsuits are coveted by women of all shapes and sizes thanks to their durability, comfort, and Keohane’s ability to create custom suits that flatter any body. She hand selects her fabric from a secret source in small batches and makes swimsuits in various styles, ensuring each Ranifly suit is unique.

“The suits are reversible, and we have hundreds of fabrics to choose from,” said Keohane, who makes the suits right in her Coccoloba complex shop.

Ranifly swimsuits can be purchased off the rack at Keohane’s Coral Bay shop and at various other St. John retailers, or ordered custom in the shop or online at www.raniflybikini.com.

Keohane’s success story begins with her simply trying to solve a problem: how to stay comfortable while working long days as a charter boat crewmember.

“I was working on boats and could never find anything that fit or was comfortable for the whole day,” she said. “I was always getting headaches from the suit pulling on my neck. So I started designing suits I could work in.”

Coworkers and friends took notice of Keohane’s designs, and immediately started placing their orders.

“They were so comfy and people loved them,” she said. “They’ve developed into being some of the most comfortable and flattering suits. Once people wear them, they’re hooked.”

In the 12 years since Keohane began making her own swimsuits, her business has grown in popularity, and today her easily recognizable designs are prolific on St. John’s beaches. Keohane works with her assistant, Sarah Swan, to come up with ideas for creative new styles, and Keohane engineers the suits to ensure their comfort and durability — hallmarks of Ranifly bikinis.

“Sarah will come up with something she thinks is really creative, and we’ll tweak it so that it’s functional too,” said Keohane. “That’s the part I do — I’m the mechanic. We don’t follow trends; we follow function, and we’re creative within that functionality. We try to be innovative. We’re trendsetters.”

Ranifly’s clientele ranges in age from teenagers to women in their mid-60s, and she’s made flattering, comfortable suits for every type of body.

“We get to make people feel good about themselves, and feel comfortable and confident at the same time,” said Keohane. “Bikinis are really hard. It’s a struggle for people to find something that works for them. We enjoy helping people leave happy and satisfied.”

To learn more about Ranifly, visit www.raniflybikini.com or contact Keohane at ranifly@gmail.com

Coral Bay Residents Cool to Idea of Clustered Housing Plan
By Lynda Lohr — March 12, 2014

Many of the approximately 75 Coral Bay area residents gathered Tuesday for a Planning and Natural Resources Department group dwelling permit hearing on an East End project called East Bay Beach Club were definitely cool to the idea.

“This is a textbook example of pure greed-driven projects,” St. John resident Doug White said at the meeting held at Guy Benjamin School in Coral Bay.

White and many others who attended the hearing wore black T-shirts with “Do Not Approve” blazoned across the front.

White, an architect and proponent of green building, has a house at the Privateer Bay development. His home is on one of what he said was nine lots with houses on them at the largely undeveloped and remote area that sit adjacent to the proposed project.

East Bay, with Marc Davies and Clark Bottner as principals, plans to build a 28-unit development on eight acres. It would have 16 three-bedroom units and a dozen four-bedroom units. The buildings will have one unit downstairs and another upstairs. The project also includes a club house and a pool.

The property sits adjacent to the Privateer development and will be accessed through Privateer’s privately owned roads. Privateer resident Barbara Crowder said the easement given to East Bay allowing it to use the Privateer roads prevents commercial development…. read more

Police Release Information in March 2 Villa Death
By Source Staff — March 12, 2014

Police have released additional information in the March 2 death of a female who was visiting St. John with her husband.

In a news released issued Tuesday, police identified the dead woman as 41-year-old Kimberly Lapsley.

According to the initial report, officers interviewed Lapsley’s husband, who said he and his wife were on vacation from Virginia and had an argument in the villa where they were staying. The husband told officers that, 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 wife.

Detectives investigating the case said the autopsy has been completed and investigators are awaiting toxicology results. The V.I. Medical Examiner’s Office is the entity that sends and receives the toxicology report. Once that office receives it, they contact the police.

Detectives said the case is still under investigation and they will continue to interview anyone who has any information on the couple. Anyone with information can call detectives at 1-340-714-9834, or 1-340-715-5522, or call 911 or the anonymous tip service, Crimes Stoppers USVI, at 1-800-222-8477.

Tips also can be sent by texting “USVI” plus the message to CRIMES – or 274637.

Judge deems murder suspect a flight risk, sets bail at $750K
By JENNY KANE (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 11, 2014

ST. THOMAS – The man who police said stabbed a St. Thomas woman and left her body in a wrecked car made his initial appearance in court on Monday.

Adisa Bertrand, 33, appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Kathleen Mackay to be advised of his rights on first-degree murder and other charges. A butcher knife was among the items found in the vehicle containing the body of 24-year-old Shantee Seivewright on Friday night.

Seivewright was lifeless when V.I. police recovered her body at about 10:15 p.m. Friday from the wrecked vehicle. She had suffered several stab wounds that were not related to the wreck, according to police.

Slightly more than three hours later, police arrested Bertrand.

During Monday’s hearing, more than two dozen sets of eyes were on Bertrand. Family and friends of Seivewright lined the courtroom benches, some of them shaking their heads and some of them crying quietly.

Bertrand, who wore an oversized red jumpsuit, shivered in his seat, looking back at the crowd a handful of times.

Mackay set Bertrand’s bail at $750,000 and said he is a flight risk and danger to the community.

Bertrand, who has been living in the Chocolate Hole area of St. John for the last seven years, is in the territory illegally, making him an even greater flight risk, according to V.I. Assistant Attorney General Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte. He originally is from Dominica, Mackay said….

 

 

 

 

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St. John Beaches: Honeymoon Bay

St. John USVI Beaches: Honeymoon

History of the Name
The beach we now call “Honeymoon” was not the original “Honeymoon Beach.” That distinction belongs to Jumbie Bay.

Jumbie Bay is situated in such a way that it cannot readily be seen from passing vehicles on Route 20 or from boats sailing to and from Cruz Bay. Years ago, when there was only a donkey trail on the north shore, Jumbie was even more remote and private than it is today and was reputedly the venue for lovers enjoying private liaisons. Because of this, it earned nicknamed “Honeymoon Beach.”

At that time, Salomon and Honeymoon Beaches did not have separate names, the entire bay being called Salomon Bay.

Sometime after the creation of the National Park and the development of Caneel Bay, the hotel designated the eastern of the two beaches at Salomon Bay to be the new Honeymoon Beach.

Lind Point TrailHow to Get To Honeymoon Beach
Like Salomon there is no road to Honeymoon. You need to walk the trail or go by boat.

From Town
Honeymoon can be reached by taking the Lind Point Trail. It will be a little over a mile from Cruz Bay to Honeymoon. Follow the directions to Solomon Bay, but when you get to the Solomon Bay spur, continue on the Lind Point Trail instead of turning left.

Shortest Walk (steep)
Caneel Hill Spur TrailFor the shortest walk (less than a half mile, with a descent of 250 feet) to Honeymoon Beach, take Route 20 past Mongoose Junction and up the hill. Turn left at the top of the hill where there is a blue Virgin Islands National Park sign.

Immediately on the right hand side, is a parking area for approximately four vehicles. Park here if you drove. The Caneel Hill Spur Trail intersects Route 20 and is marked with a sign that reads: “To Lind Point Trail.” Take this trail north and downhill bearing to the right at the Lind Point Trail junction.

Easiest Walk
The Caneel Bay Resort provides public land access to Caneel and Honeymoon Beaches. Unlike the narrow forest trail that winds down a rocky hillside, the dirt road from the Caneel Bay parking lot is well-maintained and there are no hills to climb. On your way to the beach, you can enjoy the magnificent landscaping that borders the road.

Facilities
Virgin Islands Ecotours now operates a “Beach Hut” on Honeymoon Bay. Facilities include rest rooms, lockers and a beach hut where you can rent beach chairs, snorkel equipment, single and double kayaks and standup paddleboards. Cold drinks ice cream and snacks are also available for purchase.

.
Virgin Islands Ecotours

Excerpted from the St. John Off The Beaten Track App

St. John Events

The St. John Historical Society would like to invite the St. John community to celebrate its 40th anniversary at a party at the Battery on Tuesday, March 11, at 5 p.m. The event will feature catered food and drinks and a slideshow of St. John and Historical Society images. A video entitled “Flight to Freedom: Hans Jonathan,” which follows the quest of a modern-day Icelandic family to discover the true story of their enslaved Crucian ancestor, will be shown, along with a presentation by V.I. historian and SJHS board member George Tyson. All are welcome to attend. Non-members are asked to consider making a donation at the party.

St. John Live Music Schedule

Barefoot Cowboy Lounge
Erin Hart
7:00 – 9:00
201-1236

Castaways
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 8:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

See Weekly Schedule

St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Sunny, with a high near 75. East northeast wind around 7 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

Update me when site is updated

St. John Beaches: Salomon Bay

Salomon Bay
Map-9Why Salomon?
Although Salomon is every bit as beautiful as any of St. John’s incomparable north shore beaches, this unconventional access, keeps the number of visitors down and insures a more intimate beach experience. Additionally, if you’ve come by ferry from St. Thomas for the day or are staying in Cruz Bay, you won’t need to rent a car or hire a taxi to get to the beach.

 How to Get There

 Hike from Town
Take the Lind Point Trail, which begins at the National Park Visitors Center in Cruz Bay.

Parking
For those who arrive at the trailhead by car, finding a place to park near the trail can be difficult, to say the least.

Now the Virgin Islands National Park offers a solution, of sorts. Hikers bound for the Lind Point Trail can go to the National Park Visitors Center located just across the street from the trailhead and obtain a parking permit that allows them to park in spaces reserved for the park employees. You’ll need to show the attendant at the center your drivers license, which they will hold until you get back. They will then issue you a sign for you to place on your windshield.

Be aware that empty employee’s parking spaces are limited and are often unavailable, and that parking anywhere else on the street will put you in danger of being ticketed by enforcement rangers.

If you opt for permitted parking, make sure that you return before the Visitors Center closes to get your license back. (The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Park back wheels to the curb, windshield facing out towards the street and enjoy your hike.

The Trail
From the trailhead, it will be a little less than one mile to the beach at Salomon Bay. When you get to the fork in the trail, you can go either way.

The lower trail is slightly shorter and less hilly. On the other hand, the upper trail is often better maintained and more scenic, passing by the beautiful Lind Point Overlook.

From either the upper or lower trails, take the spur trail to Salomon Bay, which will be on your left and leads downhill.

Combining a Drive and a Walk
For a shorter walk (a little over a half mile, but with a descent of 250 feet and the consequential ascent later on) to Salomon Beach, you can use the Caneel Hill Spur Trail.

Ttake Route 20 (the North Shore Road) past Mongoose Junction and up the hill. Turn left at the top of the hill where there is a blue Virgin Islands National Park sign.

Parking
Immediately on the right hand side, is a parking area for approximately four vehicles. Park here if you drove.

The Caneel Hill Spur Trail intersects Route 20 and is clearly marked with a sign. Take this trail north and downhill to the Lind Point Trail and turn left. Then take the first spur trail to the right, which goes down the hill to Salomon Beach.

The Name

Salomon Bay was named after the brothers Jannis and Isack Salomon, The Salomon brothers, were Dutchmen from a prestigious family, who came to the Danish West Indies from Statia in the early 18th century. They dedicated the Salomon Bay property to the production of cotton.

salomon bay kids
Salomon Beach is now more family friendly
Salomon Bay anti Nudity laws
Lacking federal anti-nudity laws the Park enforces Territorial Law

Old Reputation
At one time Salomon had the reputation of being a clothing optional beach. In 1997, a federal court decision allowed the Park, a federal entity, to enforce Virgin Islands territorial laws prohibiting public nudity. With continued enforcement, nudity was discouraged and today only old time residents remember the days when Salomon was “clothing optional.”

Snorkeling
Some of the finest snorkeling on the north shore can be found on the reef between Salomon and Honeymoon Bays. This easily accessible, shallow water snorkel can be thoroughly enjoyed by snorkelers of all experience levels.

Salomon and Honeymoon Bays can be reached via the Lind Point Trail or from the Caneel Bay Resort.

Visitors arriving from the Caneel Bay Resort will be subject to a $20.00 parking fee that will be waived for those spending money at the resort’s facilities.

Snorkeling equipment, as well as single and double kayaks, standup paddleboards and beach chairs can be rented at the Honeymoon Beach Hut. Cold drinks ice cream and snacks are also available for purchase. Other facilities available at Honeymoon Bay include rest rooms and lockers.

Most of the reef lies in calm shallow water with some sections even rising above the surface at times of extreme low tides, thus snorkelers should make an extra effort to avoid situations where the water is too shallow for them.

The coral reef here is in relatively good condition and the reef community is colorful and diverse. Snorkelers will encounter intricate coral formations and lots of fish with different varieties arriving at different times of the day.

Snorkeling in the center of the bays can also be a worthwhile experience. Stay in areas protected by swim buoys to minimize danger from dinghy traffic in the area. Here, the environment is sand and coral rubble. You will have to look more carefully to find interesting activity, but there really is a great deal of life here. The hills and holes on the sea floor are formed by eels, worms, shrimp, clams and crabs that make their homes on this underwater beach.

Snorkeling just off the beach is also a good way for beginners to get practice before attempting to snorkel over the reef where there is a possibility of danger to both the snorkeler and to the reef from accidental contact.

The reef on the east end of Honeymoon around the point between Honeymoon and Caneel Bays is also a good snorkeling area. It’s closer to the beach and smaller than the more extensive reef on the other side of the bay. There are always a lot of fish here as well as some excellent examples of colorful elkhorn coral.

(Excerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track)

St. John and Virgin Islands News

New ferries are one inspection away from starting service
By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 8, 2014

ST. THOMAS – The two new passenger ferries still are awaiting a final Coast Guard inspection before they begin to take passengers to and from Red Hook and St. John.

The vessels, named Red Hook I and Cruz Bay I, were delivered to the territory in November and were supposed to be in operation by the end of 2013.

At first, a problem with insurance policies delayed the start of operations, but now the only thing holding up the boats is the final coast guard inspection, Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said….

…The ferries are 85-foot aluminum catamarans, each of which can carry about 250 passengers and are loaded with state-of-the-art features. The current ferries in operation belong to Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services, the companies franchised to run the St. Thomas to St. John ferry route.

However, the two new boats will belong to the V.I. government and be operated by the franchisees. At the end of January, Smalls said he expected the new vessels would be operational for the public by the end of February.

On Friday, Smalls told The Daily News the last piece to be put in place is the final Coast Guard inspection and certification of the franchised operators.

Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said Friday that the inspections done in Louisiana, where they were built, were for sea-worthiness.

“These two ferries have already been inspected and received documents of inspection good for five years,” Castrodad said.

However, when the boats came to the U.S. Virgin Islands, they passed out of one port zone and into another. That requires another set of inspections, these more specifically geared to the operator.

“They will go over some drills on the proficiency of handling the vessel,” Castrodad said.

The drills will include an “abandon ship” exercise, a “man overboard” rescue and other safety and security drills, according to Castrodad.

The only obstacle is scheduling a time for the inspections with the Coast Guard and the two ferry operators…. read entire article

Vice President Joe Biden and wife visit St. Croix
By JOY BLACKBURN (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 8, 2014

ST. CROIX – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, again are visiting St. Croix.

Information from the White House Office of the Vice President indicates that the Bidens are visiting the territory Friday through Sunday, with no public events scheduled.

It is their second visit to the St. Croix in just more than two months. The Bidens last visited the island for a holiday vacation from Dec. 27 through Jan. 1.

They have quietly visited the territory around holiday time more than once in recent years, initially on Water Island and, more recently, on St. Croix.

Suspect Arrested in Women’s Murder
By Source staff — March 8, 2014

A 24-year-old woman from St. Thomas was found dead at about 10:15 p.m. Friday in a car in Tutu Valley, according to the V.I. Police Department, and one man was later arrested and charged in the crime.

Adisa Bertrand, a 34-year-old resident of Chocolate Hole, St. John, was charged with first-degree murder and other charges….

IMG_0544St. John Weather

Isolated showers. Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 75. East southeast wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.

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St. John Lobster Hunt 1933

lobster
Caribbean Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus

A Lobster Hunt on St. John in 1933
When we left New York, we were told we would go soft in the tropics…but two months after landing at Cruz Bay, we were healthier, harder, and infinitely more serene people than we had ever been before.There was nothing softening about a lobster hunt on the reefs. Landlord Davis, on one of his visits, put us up to it and then retired with a book and a bottle of rum while we, with the Sewer boys, piled in a rowboat and made for the shallows on the other side of the bay. A brilliant moon shone down on a gently heaving sea, and we could see the rollers breaking white over the reefs where the lobsters came. A full moon makes a fairyland anywhere, but in the trade winds the effect seems more marked, and we agreed that, even if we got no lobster, it would be worthwhile.

Drawing the boat out on the nearest beach, we gathered at the beginning of the reef, and commenced an activity sufficiently picturesque to make any artist catch his breath and sufficiently sporting to warm the heart of anyone who like to see the hunted creature get a little better than an even break. We spread out fanwise, carrying lanterns and flashlights, and waded into the warm, shallow water that covered the jagged coral of the reef. The coral was brown with sea growths and the lobsters, consequently, very hard to see. In addition, the reef was honeycombed with sea eggs, round black affairs from whose cores extend long, black spines that are very sharp and armed with microscopic barbs whose removal from an injured foot is a hospital job. I am afraid that Bet and I paid far more attention to the sea eggs than we did to the possible lobsters but, when the boys started one, the six of us plunged after it in a splashing, headlong pursuit that lasted several minutes. The lobster took refuge in its color protection again, but one of the boys immediately put a forked stick over its back and held it until another one, with what seemed incredible courage to us, seized the lobster in his hands, and bore it ashore in triumph. From tip to tip, the grotesque creature was nearly three feet long and, to add to our awe, one of the boys announced that he was small.

After another hour of stumbling about among the sea eggs and sharp coral, we cornered one more, and returned home soaking wet, with our canvas shoes torn to rags, but satisfied that we had found still another way to make the island take the place of a canning factory in a town we had never seen.

From Escape to the Tropics by Desmond and Bet Holdbridge, published in 1937

SHEL: Sarah, Violin, Hannah, Piano, Eva, Mandolin, Liza, Drums

 St John School of the Arts
St. John School of the Arts presents: SHEL or Sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eva and Liza were born within five years of each other. Nestled within SHEL’s enveloping sound, wisps of folk revival, vaudeville, renaissance fairs and steam-punk esthetic blur around one another. Tracks such as “Tuscany” borrow liberally from their classical training, yet there’s nothing ponderous or unapproachable about them. “The Wise Old Owl” showcases their daring, fanciful vocal arrangements. They revel in strong dynamics, so a single song like “Stained” can grow from airy lace to a driving, white-water rush. They are richly feminine, but they don’t shy from covering Led Zeppelin’s “The Battle of Evermore.” Above all, there’s variety and creativity. Pure acoustic tone is best when it’s best, but if an electric mandolin or special effect is called for, they let the song dictate the production

St. John Live Music Schedule

Banana Deck
Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels
6:00 – 9:00
693-5055

Beach Bar
Flipswitch
9:00
777-4220

Concordia
Wayne Clendenin and Pamela Love
4 :30 – 6:30
693-5855

High Tide
Island Girl
Happy Hour 4:00 – 7:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Brother Nature
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Gann – Solo guitar
7:00 – 10:00
776-6800

Morgan’s Mango
James Anderson
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Chris Carsel
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

Skinny Legs
Lauren Jones
6:00 – 9:00
779-4982

Spyglass
James Milne
5:00 – 8:00
776-1100

St. John Weather

Isolated showers before 8am. Sunny, with a high near 75. East wind 16 to 18 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.

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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
201-1236

Beach Bar
T-Bird
9:00
777-4220
Castaways
Karaoke Night
9:00
777-3316

High Tide
Chris Carsel
6:00 8:00
714-6169

Inn at Tamarind Court
Steel Pan
6:30
776-6378

Island Blues
Karaoke
8:00
776-6800

La Tapa
Sambacombo
6:30 – 9:30
693-7755

Morgan’s Mango
Greg Kinslow
6:30 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Lauren Jones
6:30 – 9:30
693-3304

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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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
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%.

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