The Crown Bay Ferry is Great!

Crown Bay Ferry Wake

Today’s story is going to be rather short and sweet. All I want to say is that the new Crown Bay ferry is great!

I was finally able to take the ferry earlier this month, and it was such a nice experience. For those of you unfamiliar with the ferry service here, we now have three options for traveling between the islands. 1. We have the regular Red Hook to Cruz Bay ferry that leaves every hour on the hour from 6 a.m. to midnight. 2. We have the car barge that transports vehicles back and forth, although I do not recommend this for tourists visiting the island. 3. We have the new Crown Bay ferry.

The Crown Bay ferry has limited runs, so your schedule has to work with its. It travels between the Creek in Cruz Bay and the Crown Bay Marina on St. Thomas four times a day. The ferry leaves from Cruz Bay daily at 11 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. It leaves from the Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas daily at 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. (The Creek is the area in front of the National Park Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay.)

The ferry ride is about 35-40 minutes. When I took it earlier this month, we left a few minutes before 11 a.m. and my friend and I were ordering beers at Tickles (a bar/restaurant) at Crown Bay by 11:30 a.m. We downed two rather quickly (don’t judge! haha), grabbed a nearby taxi and were at the airport by noon. This is the same time we would have arrived if we had taken the regular Red Hook ferry and then taken the taxi ride across the island.

The Crown Bay ferry at the marina in St. Thomas.

The Crown Bay ferry at the marina in St. Thomas.

What I personally loved about the Crown Bay ferry is the fact that I did not have to take the long taxi ride across the island. The roads are steep and windy, and this little blogger gets a tad nauseous by that, so I will skip it any day of the week! The staff on the boat was also great. And the best part, there were taxis waiting for us at Crown Bay, so the whole process is just so simple and relaxing.

The cost is a tad more, but worth it in my opinion. I paid $25 for a one-way ticket with one piece of luggage. The taxi ride was either $6 or $8. Sorry I can’t remember the exact price… I blame those two Coronoas I had!

We have heard that a few of the taxi drivers are trying to sway people from taking the ferry when leaving the airport. Just be adamant that it is where you need a ride to, and they will take you.

So, if you want to take the ferry from St. John, make sure to arrive a bit early. I arrived about 15 minutes before it was scheduled to leave. You can enter the gates across from Cool Breeze Car Rental and the ticket office is to your right. If you want to take it from St. Thomas, get a taxi to the Crown Bay Marina. The boat leaves from the dock near Tickles.

The Crown Bay ferry is operated by Inter Island Boat Services. Click here to visit their website. 

Caneel Bay: The 2013 Environmental Assessment

Caneel Bay, June 2019

Caneel Bay, June 2019

Earlier this month, we told you that the current leaseholder of Caneel Bay wants $70 million to walk away and that he wants protection from any environmental liability. Well we finally got our hands on the 2013 environmental assessment performed at Caneel that mentions these environmental hazards among other things. It’s Monday morning and many of you are back to work after a wonderful weekend, so I thought I would give you a good amount of reading to pass the time today. :)

“The 2013 Environmental Assessment was prepared for the National Park Service to evaluate the proposed relinquishment of the Caneel Bay Resort Retained Use Estate Indenture Agreement (RUE) and award of a long-term lease of the RUE property (and certain property associated with the RUE) to be entered into by NPS and the owner of the relinquished RUE,” the report states. “Public Law 111-261, signed by the President in 2010, expressly authorizes NPS to enter into this transaction, provided that, under the lease, as stated in the law, the general character of the Caneel Bay Resort must remain unchanged during the lease term, including a prohibition against any increase in the overall size of the resort and any increase in the number of guest accommodations available at the resort. In addition, as required by the law, such a lease must include provisions that ensure the protection of the natural, cultural, and historic features of the resort and associated property, consistent with the laws and policies applicable to property managed by NPS.”

So basically, this assessment was performed to see the impacts a lease would have on the Caneel Bay property and what the impacts would be if a RUE continued. The alternative is that the Park take control of the land.

One interesting that I read, which really doesn’t have much to do with the current Caneel situation, is how they mentioned potentially paving the Lind Point Trail from the National Park Visitor’s Center in Cruz Bay to Honeymoon beach to make it ADA compliant. I personally would love to see that happen as a momma who has very few shady places to walk her nearly one-year-old son. :)

Ok, but back to Caneel… There’s a lot of pages to get through, so let’s get right to it!

Click here to view the Caneel Bay 2013 Environmental Assessment.

Click here to view the Caneel Bay 2103 Environmental Assessment Appendix and Consultation.

Summer is Here & So is the Dust

Dust June 21 2019

The dust is heavy today. June 21, 2019

Today is the first day of summer … yahoo! And with summer, here on St. John, comes the dust, and the dust is currently here in force.

For those of you who regularly watch the webcams, you may have noticed a bit of a haze in the picture today and over the last couple of days. That haze is actually dust, dust that came all the way from the Saharan Desert in Africa. It’s something that happens each summer, and it’s supposed to help keep hurricanes away. So it’s a welcomed thing of sorts.

The dust occurs when an increase of warm air causes sand particles to rise above the desert. Those particles are then transported over the Atlantic Ocean and across to the Caribbean. When the dust arrives in the territory, the islands’ typical bright blue skies are replaced by a haze. Visibility is reduced, and the air quality becomes poor. It also becomes very hot, something those of you on island may have also noticed over the past few days.

Here’s a better explanation that Eleanor Gibney gave us back in 2015:

“What we are seeing is the effects of desertification as the Sahara has been spreading south. The fine particles of soil from formerly fertile lands are easily blown off, unlike heavier sand particles. The process accelerated in the past 40 years, prior to that visible dust was never noted in the VI.”

The first satellite image shows the amount of dust that’s currently near the Territory. The second shows the amount that will be here Monday. The swath isn’t as large, but it will still be here.

The dust layer as of Friday morning.

The dust layer as of Friday morning.

The dust layer for Tuesday, June 24.

The dust layer for Monday, June 24.

You can track the dust layer here.

When the dust arrives, I usually get questions asking how long it arrives. That’s hard to answer other than to say that it comes and goes. Your best bet it to check the forecast using this link. One great thing about the dust is that it makes for great sunsets. So be sure to check out those webcams around 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. as sunset is currently at 6:58 p.m. EST.

That’s all we have for you today. “News” you can use! Have a great Friday everyone!

Our Webcam is FINALLY Fixed!

Jenns webcam

Click here to view our webcam.

I have great news for those of you who enjoying watching St. John live each and everyday… our webcam is FINALLY back up and running! We finally figured out the problem – we had some minor interference from a neighbor’s wifi connection – and now that we fixed that, the webcam should be streaming live 24/7 once again! Phew!

Our webcam is placed above Great Cruz Bay, so there is a great view of the Westin, the bay and beyond. We have great sunset views too! During the winter months, the sun sets directly in front of the camera, which is beautiful! It’s currently setting off to the right of the screen. Tonight’s sunset is 6:58 p.m. for those of you wanting to check it out.

Click here to view our webcam. 

Want to see more live images from St. John? Click here to see all of our webcams.

Thank you all for your patience with this… Have a great day!

Details on the New Steakhouse Coming to Cruz Bay

Construction has begun at the former Da Livio space.

Construction has begun at the former Da Livio space.

Hello everyone and happy Wednesday! A few weeks ago, we told you that Da Livio was closing and a new steakhouse was set to take its place. Well today we have all the details, and we’re eager to share them with all of you!

Construction has already begun over at Dave & Jerry’s Island Steakhouse, which will be located on the first floor of the Cruz Bay Hotel. The owners are currently working to create an outdoor bar area that will feature lively entertainment. The inside area is being transformed as well, and will be a completely different vibe than that at Da Livio once completed. The ceilings are being lowered to reduce the noise, for example, and the space will feature a community table serviced exclusively by a chef. Guests who reserve a spot at this community table will be able to meet with the chef prior to their reservation to arrange a menu complete with a custom-paired wine list. The owners are hoping to create a space where diners eat together and make new friends, which is becoming popular in the states, they said.

Dave & Jerry’s Island Steakhouse will feature 45-day dry-aged prime angus beef. In addition, there will be fresh local seafood and produce, as well as a global selection of artisan cheeses and charcuteries. It will also feature an Old World-inspired craft cocktail program and a top-notch wine list. Consulting on the project is Buddy Stone, who previously owned Knox & Ollie’s at the Westin. Buddy currently operates a specialty food service company.

Here is a preview of some of the menu items:

  • The Cheese Block: Choose from a worldly selection of artisan cheeses, marmalade of the day, spicy smoked almonds, grilled baguette.
  • Oysters: Fresh on the half shell
  • Baked Rockefeller: Roasted in giardiniera butter
  • Cast Iron Spanish Octopus: Served with herb fingerling potatoes, Iberico chorizo, roasted red pepper emulsion, lemon cracked black pepper aioli
  • House dry-aged beef tartare: Served with mustard greens, pickled red onion, caper berries, grain mustard Caesar, sea salt chips, Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Pan seared jumbo scallops: Served with wild mushroom duxelle, crispy parsnips, white truffle drizzle, pancetta dust
  • Duck fat fried sweet potato gnocchi: Served with candied pecans, baby spinach, Aussie sheep feta, balsamic drizzle
  • Fresh local Caribbean lobster bisque: Served with cool chive cream, house focaccia croutons
  • Hass avocado salad: Grilled romaine hearts, baby heirloom tomatoes, house cured bacon, cilantro lime vinaigrette
    queso croutons
  • Josephine’s locally farmed greens: Served with baby beets, goat cheese, watermelon, spicy smoked almonds, charred citrus vinaigrette
  • Selection of house dry aged beef cuts
    • 32oz Prime Tomahawk Ribeye
    • 18oz Prime Boneless Ribeye
    • 22oz Prime Porterhouse
    • 16oz Prime bone in NY Strip
    • 10oz Prime Filet
  • Nightly vegetarian option

Dave & Jerry’s Island Steakhouse plans to open in October. We will keep you updated on its progress. In the meantime, have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Festival Musical Lineup Announced

The 2019 Festival flags ar cup in Cruz Bay!

The 2019 Festival flags ar cup in Cruz Bay!

For those of you who are lucky enough to be on island during this year’s Festival festivities, the 2019 Festival music lineup has been announced. The music starts on Friday, June 28th and continues through Tuesday, July 4th. Here is the lineup in its entirety:

June 2019 Festival Music

July 2019 Fetsival Music

And here is the schedule of the remaining Festival events:

Saturday, June 22: Queen Pageant – 8 p.m. at the National Park ball field

Sunday, June 23: Food Fair and Coronation – 1 p.m. at Franklin Powell Park

Sunday, June 23: Boat Race – 3 p.m. in Cruz Bay harbor

Friday, June 28: Festival Village opens at 7 p.m.

Saturday, June 29: Children’s Village opens at 6 p.m. The Children’s Village will be located in the National Park parking lot.

Wednesday, July 3: Emancipation Program – 1 p.m.

Wednesday, July 3: Festival Torch Parade – 6 p.m.

Thursday, July 4: J’ouvert – Begins at Sunrise

Thursday, July 4: Festival Parade begins at 11 a.m.

Thursday, July 4: Fireworks over Cruz Bay harbor – 9 p.m.

Saturday, July 6: Festival Music Mixup – 9 p.m. at the National Park ball field

Sunday, July 7: Festival Poker Run – Starts at noon in Cruz Bay harbor