St. John’s Prom Happening Tonight!

Image credit: Yelena Rogers

Image credit: Yelena Rogers

Well folks, tonight’s the night when many ladies here on island kick off their flip flops and put on a pair of heels for a few hours. The men, well they actually throw on a pair of nice slacks for the night. We often joke that living on St. John is like living in a high school, so naturally tonight’s fancy event is dubbed prom!!

The 23nd Annual All Island Holiday Party aka “the prom” is happening tonight at Mongoose Junction. The event kicks off at 9 p.m. Here are the details straight from the organizers…

The prom began as an effort to rebuild the community after Hurricane Marilyn in 1995, and through the years has become a social highlight for many full time St. Johnians and a homecoming for many seasonal residents. It’s an opportunity to dress up, island fancy, and celebrate the holidays in the gracious courtyards of Mongoose Junction, with friends new and old, amid holiday cheer and festive decorations. Music will be performed by Hatch, with original member Ryan Balthrop, with special guests, performing in the center courtyard from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Somewhere along the way, the lengthy title: The All Island Holiday Party was shortened to “the prom”, and so there will be a photo booth and a Prom King and Queen Award, selected by the Prom Committee for a presentation at midnight.

A complimentary hors d’oeuvres buffet hosted by Sun Dog Cafe will feature Maryland Crab Cakes, Tuna Tartare, Smoked Salmon Cucumber Cups, and an assortment of artisan pizzas. Cash bars abound and a wine bar completes the scene on the first floor of the complex.

The event is for adults, no children or pets, please.

Sounds like it’s going to be another great event! I hope to see you all there!

On the Market: Successful Vacation Rental with Views

Southern Exposure Yard Pool

Who wants to do a little house shopping today? If so, you may want to check out this successful vacation rental that recently listed for sale!

Southern Exposure is a very well maintained three bedroom, three bath home located in Fish Bay. It features a sprawling deck area with beautiful views of Fish Bay and beyond. The upper level great room is situated right off the expansive deck. The home features both indoor and outdoor dining areas, plus a nice pool. The master bedroom also has its own outdoor living space. The lower level has two bedrooms and two baths plus its own living area and wet bar.

The raised pool area is surrounded by beautiful native stone and coral walls, plus an array of colorful bougainvillea, allamanda flowers, hibiscus and palm trees. The home features and easy driveway with ample parking. The home is located close to Cruz Bay and is accessed by paved roads. Check out a few pics plus a shot video…

Southern Exposure Hallway

Southern Exposure Living Space

Southern Exposure Living Space View

Southern Exposure Kitchen

Southern Exposure Bathroom

Southern Exposure Deck

Southern Exposure Yard Pool

Southern Exposure is being offered for $825,000 by Tammy Donnelly of 340 Real Estate Co. For more information, please contact Tammy at at 340RealEstateCo@gmail.com

Kekoa Set to Return to the Water Today!

Kekoa sits on Hansen Bay beach Tuesday afternoon.

Kekoa pictured on Hansen Bay beach Tuesday afternoon.

Well folks, we have some great news to share with you all! Kekoa is going back into the water today!

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Kekoa, the beautiful wooden catamaran with black sails that is typically anchored in Cruz Bay. Kekoa, sadly, was severely damaged during Hurricane Irma and has sat at Hansen Bay where her owners have been working on her since late last year. Here is what Andrea Milam wrote about Kekoa in the February 2018 Caribbean Compass:

“Winds thundered across the landscape, whipping up the sea and tossing boats, cars, and large sections of people’s homes through the air with the ease of a toddler throwing his toys mid-tantrum. Kekoa, a 50-foot wooden catamaran, was tied down in St. John’s Hurricane Hole alongside more than 100 other Virgin Islands vessels in preparation for a direct hit by powerful Hurricane Irma,” Andrea wrote. “Slowly, one by one, Kekoa broke free of the 15 three-quarter-inch lines with 75 feet of three-eighths-inch chain per line anchoring her to the ocean floor, and then edged herself toward the shore line. The sleek gray vessel had been here before, alone at sea in a terrible storm. She knew how to take care of herself. Kekoa crawled up on the shoreline, narrowly missing several large boulders and a pileup of wrecked boats that would have torn her body apart, and came to rest where she awaited discovery by her builders, brothers Ryan and Jamison Witbeck.”

Over the past 15 months, the brothers have been working tirelessly to bring Kekoa back to life, along with their friends, over on the beach at Hansen Bay. And today is a day they have been waiting for for quite some time. Here is what they wrote on their Facebook page:

“After 15 months and 6 days we are ready to push Kekoa back into the Caribbean to make her way to Tortola for final repairs! Along with our families, we’d like to invite you to Hansen beach for the launch. Show up at noon on Wednesday for a little chaos as we begin our next chapter.

“This launch date coincidentally falls on December 12th, the 10 year anniversary of the day she was abandoned at sea by her delivery crew. We are excited to turn this date into a victory! See you all there!”

From Kekoa's Facebook page

From Kekoa’s Facebook page

How beautiful is that…

So if you happen to be on St. John today, head out east and check out this great event. I hope to see you all there! In the meantime, have a wonderful Wednesday everyone!

Commercially-Zoned Maho Property Sells

Maho Bay overlook

A parcel on the far right across the roadway recently sold.

For those of you who were out and about near Maho Bay Monday, you may have seen that some clean up was happening on the land across from the bathrooms on the western side of the beach. Well that’s because that property recently sold, and the new owner is readying it for a new business that promises to leave a “very, very low footprint.”

Now before we get into the details, I understand that many of you wish Maho would stay as is and not be developed in any way. I agree with you. However there are privately-owned parcels in the area, some of which are zoned W-1, so it is up to the owners to decide how they should be used. I spoke with the new owner of this Maho parcel Monday, and here is what I learned.

Let’s start with the actual property. Its legal address is 3-2 Estate Miland Maho Bay Quarter, and it’s under two acres. The property is zoned W-1 commercial which allows for an array of development including apartment houses, hotels and guesthouses; night clubs; planned developments; and refreshment stands among other businesses. Here are a couple of maps:

Maho area map

Overview of Maho Bay

Maho Property Sold December 2018

The recently sold property is outlined in red.

The new owner, John Yob, is planning to open a small business that consists of a tiki bar made out of a converted trailer, and a food truck which is a converted VW bus. There will be trailer-like portable restrooms on the property, as well as a container for storage. DJ Ahladis, owner of North Shore Deli, is managing the project, John told me Monday, so he will determine the type of food to be offered.

John said his new venture, dubbed Maho Crossroads, will have a 1960s hippy-like vibe. John is an avid Grateful Dead fan, so Maho Crossroads will include an abundance of that type of memorabilia. When I asked John if he planned to build any sort of hotel or resort on the property, he adamantly said no. When I asked why he would buy such a prime and pricey piece of real estate only to open two food trucks on site, he did admit that he is “keeping (his) options open.” He asked me to stress to you all that “(they) aren’t proposing any development, it’s simply solar-powered food trucks with storage container.”

John plans to use this food truck on his new Maho property.

John plans to use this food truck on his new Maho property.

John purchased the property from the Penn family, and he hopes to have Maho Crossroads opened within the next month. He said the two food trucks are currently on St. Thomas. They are waiting for licensing to be completed, and to finish cleaning up the property. Many of the dead trees will be repurposed and used as stools on site, he said.

Guests can visit the food trucks from land or water. Boaters can pull up a mooring ball and dinghy into the eastern end of the beach. Beachgoers can simply walk over.

John said he feels this project will fill a void with regard to the lack of concessions in the National Park following the hurricanes. As of today, the only beach that currently has food or drink options is Honeymoon.

For many of you, John’s name may sound a bit familiar. He is a political strategist who moved to St. John from Michigan back in 2015. He’s worked on John McCain, Rand Paul and Rick Santorum’s presidential campaigns. He also made an appearance on the Daily Show back in 2016 when they filmed on St. John following a delegate debacle. Click here to read all about it and to watch the video. 

For those of you who’d like to learn more about John and to get a better sense of what he would like to accomplish with this project, please check out this 2015 interview.

We will keep you all posted on what happens with this property. Have a great Tuesday everyone.

The Story of the Conch Shell

Ital Delroy Anthony

Ital Delroy Anthony at the 2018 Coral Bay Bizarre Bazaar

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. I know I did!

I stopped by the Bizarre Bazaar in Coral Bay Saturday where I bumped into Ital Delroy Anthony, one of the island’s cherished residents. You may recognize Ital as he sold his native crafts out near Salt Pond during the pre-Irmaria days and more recently over in the park in Cruz Bay.

When I bumped into Ital Saturday, he was blowing on a conch shell which reminded me of a video I took of him nearly five years ago. In it, he tells the story of the conch shell. It’s very cool and very interesting. Please take a few minutes to check it out. And please don’t forget to turn up your volume. Enjoy. :)

St. John: Under the Water

Hello everyone and happy Friday! So I get a ton of questions about what it’s like under the water these days. Truth be told, I don’t snorkel that much. However, my good friends over at Flyaway Charters do and they always convince me to hop in the water and explore the underwater world when we’re out and about together. We did just that yesterday, and I brought my GoPro along for all of you.

Now again, I am not an avid snorkeler, but I saw what appeared to be some very healthy coral off of St. John’s North Shore. I also stumbled on a few turtles, a “shark” and several friendly fish. Please take a few minutes to check it all out!

(And a big thanks to Leah Randall Hanson for capturing some of the amazing turtle footage for me!!)

Enjoy!