A Whole New Way of Viewing St. John


For those of you who simply cannot get enough of St. John, you’re going to love this. The only caveat, however, is that you need to own an iPhone or iPad to enjoy it.

I received an email last week from Brad Volk. He and his family are frequent St. John visitors, avid News of St. John readers and dear friends of the late Captain John Brandi. Brad mentioned that Apple had just released a new 3-D flyover of the Virgin Islands on their map app. “Made me think of John Brandi,” he wrote, “he would have loved that.” I immediately checked it out and he was right. It was super cool and John would have loved it. I think you all will too.

Grab your iPhone or iPad and open the Maps application. Then either find St. John on the map or type in Cruz Bay. Once you have St. John on your screen, hit the little “i” icon on the bottom right. Then choose Satellite and click 3D Map. You’ll immediately see a change on your screen.


From there, you simply explore. You can zoom in pretty far and also spin the map around. Press your fingers together and apart to see different perspectives. Here’s Cruz Bay (not zoomed in as far as it can be.)


Then the ferry dock from two different perspectives…



Curious to what the pool looks like over at Gallows Point?


Or perhaps you want to get a better look at Marea, the sprawling vacation rental on Ditliff Point…


Here’s a view of Maho from the water…


And the pool over at the Westin



Pretty neat, right? Go ahead and check it out yourself. It’s pretty fun. Have a great day everyone!

Cruising Around Cruz Bay, Part 2

Hello everyone, happy Monday! Sorry that we’re crazy late posting this morning, but we stayed up way past our bedtime last night to watch the Super Bowl. In was a sleep-in kind of morning here at Casa News of St. John… That being said, we have a brand new video for all of you today. It’s an extension of last week’s video – We start off over at Coconut Coast Studios in Frank Bay and cruise through town all the way over to the Westin. You can watch it with or without the Kenny Chesney background music. Hope this makes your post-Super Bowl Monday a bit more enjoyable. Have a great day everyone!

On the Market: Price Reduction for Successful Short-Term Rental

paper moon alternate exterior

So I got a message from Mama News of St. John this morning and she said it’s snowing in Connecticut … yuck! Well for those of you looking to escape the cold, here’s a great opportunity for you here on island. And the best part – there recently was a sizable price reduction. Here are the details…

Paper Moon is a handcrafted stone and masonry villa located in the gated Johnson Bay Estates. Johnson Bay Estates is a gated, waterfront neighborhood located on the east side of the island, just a few miles past Coral Bay. Paper Moon has two bedrooms, two baths and a small caretaker’s cottage on site. The property also comes with expired plans for a second home on the property.

A lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into the design of Paper Moon – from the limestone kitchen counters to a sliding window that connects the kitchen to the outside dining area, to the pitch pine top shelves and cypress shutters.

Paper moon kitchen paper moon ladder to loft paper moon bedroom paper moon bedroom 2 paper moon bathroom

paper moon porchpaper moon exteriorpaper moon exterior 2paper moon yard

Paper Moon is now being offered by 340 Real Estate Co. for $775,000. Looking for more information? Contact Tammy at 340 Real Estate Co. at 340RealEstateCo@gmail.com

It’s Whale Season!

Image credit: Steve Simonsen Photography, March 2015

Image credit: Steve Simonsen Photography, March 2015

They’re here!!

If you know me personally or if you’ve been reading News of St. John for the past couple of years, you’re probably aware of my whale obsession. Each year around this time I start searching the waters around St. John for whales. And guess what, they’re here!

I was perusing Facebook last night when I came across a post on David Thomeczek’s page – David manages both Coconut Coast Studios and Hale Lani over in Great Cruz Bay. In his post, David mentioned he was out on the deck with a guest at Hale Lani when they saw a whale just off the South shore – so exciting! Unfortunately he wasn’t able to snap a pic with his iPhone, but I’m sure someone out there will be able to in the next few days.

So some of you may be wondering what the deal is with the whales. Well, each year during the months of February and March, whales can be seen swimming through our waters and also around Thatch Cay, North Drop, Congo and Lovango Cays. The whales travel to South America via the Caribbean so they can mate and calve. The calves spend their first few months of life in the warm waters of the Caribbean, building up a layer of blubber that will keep them warm in colder waters.

Last March, Captain Jason Siska of Island Roots captured an amazing video just off of St. John. Check it out:

For those of you who plan on doing a bit of whale watching, adult humpback whales have dark grey bodies and are between 35 and 60 feet long. They are endangered, so you’re not allowed to touch them. Just love them from afar, which is at least 100 yards away according to federal law. And most importantly if you are lucky enough to see the whales, send us pics!

In the meantime, here’s a not so professional video we took when we saw the whales in February 2014:

And here are a few more images taken in 2014 by St. John’s amazing resident photographer Steve Simonsen:

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

Image courtesy of Steve Simonsen.

New Charter Boat Business Launches on Island

sol searchin water

Some of my favorite days in the Virgin Islands are the days I spend out on the water, so needless to say, I get pretty darn excited when a new charter option pops up. I get even more excited when I have the opportunity to take a cruise around St. John on a brand new boat. Well both of those things happened recently, and I’m stoked to tell you all about it.

BoatDay V.I. is a newly launched charter boat business that’s comprised of two boats – Sol Searchin and Isle Mon. Sol Searchin is a brand new 36-foot vessel that was just completed in December and was designed specifically to accommodate BoatDay V.I.’s guests. At 36-feet in length, Sol Searchin can carry private groups up to 24 passengers, so it’s the ideal option for larger groups who prefer a private charter over a larger, group trip. They can, however, carry less should you prefer that.

Beside the fact that Sol Searchin is brand new and can accommodate a ton of guests, it’s also fast. Sol Searchin can cruise at speeds of 20+ knots comfortably, and I can attest to that personally. I recently took a spin from Cruz Bay over to Maho and it only took us minutes to get there … and I didn’t even spill my beverage along the way. Bonus!

Sol Searchin has plenty of room for both sun and shade, and it features an extra large swim platform and oversized ladder providing easy water access to all guests. Check out these pics and see for yourself:

sol searchin palms sol searchin interior

BoatDay V.I.’s second boat, Isle Mon, is 27-feet long and can take up to eight guests. Like Sol Searchin, it’s also spacious and comfortable. Both boats are captained primarily by Kevin McKinney, who has more than 30 years of experience as a captain on St. John.

isle mon

Both Sol Searchin and Isle Mon excursions include snorkel gear, and a bottomless cooler of water, soda, beer and Painkillers – yes, please! BoatDay V.I.’s goal is to take its guest “away from everyday.” I think a bottomless cooler of Painkillers can easily do just that…

Rates for Sol Searchin’ start at $1,200 for eight people. The rate increases per additional guest. Rates for Isle Mon start at $695 a day for six guests. That rate also increases per additional guest.

For more information on BoatDay V.I., please visit its website at www.boatdayvi.com. You can also check it out on Facebook by clicking here.

The Latest on the Zika Virus

national park sign

We’ve been getting a ton of emails and messages over on our Facebook page asking us our thoughts on the Zika virus. For those of you unfamiliar with Zika, it’s a virus spread person to person by mosquitos. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. It usually only lasts from a few days to a week.

So far, I know no one who has come down with the Zika virus on St. John. There was, however, one confirmed case on St. Croix, so it is relatively close.

The real issue surrounding the Zika virus pertains to pregnant women or women who plan on getting pregnant. The super scary part about the Zika virus is that it’s been linked to microcephaly, a condition where newborns are born with shrunken heads and severe disability. Please know that there have not been any confirmed cases of microcephaly due to the Zika virus the Virgin Islands. But it is something to be cognizant of.

(Click here to a fact sheet on pregnant women and the Zika virus on the CDC’s website.)

So what should you do? It’s pretty simple – wear bug spray.

In my opinion, this virus is no reason to cancel your trip to St. John. Again, we’ve had no confirmed cases. But if you are pregnant and are concerned, several airlines are offering refunds or the ability to postpone trips. Here are the details we found:

Delta: Customers with current reservations who are concerned about travelling to destinations reported by the CDC to be affected by Zika Viral Illness should call 1-800-221-1212 (U.S.) or your local Reservations office and speak with a Delta Representative. Customers may qualify for a change to alternate destinations, travel dates or a refund. Customers may make fee-waived changes to future reservations/tickets. However, changes need to be made by February 29, 2016.

American: If you are pregnant and scheduled to travel to a destination outside the U.S. that is affected by Zika virus, you and your travel companions can request a refund. To qualify, you must provide a doctor’s note confirming your pregnancy and stating your inability to travel due to Zika virus.

JetBlue: Will give refund or will allow customers to rebook. We are not certain if this is for everyone or solely for pregnant women.

United: Customers can postpone their trip or get a full refund. We are not certain if this is for everyone or solely for pregnant women..

Spirit: Will refund or rebook customers who are pregnant or traveling with a pregnant woman to the affected regions.