Enter Now! Raffle Ends Saturday at 9 a.m.

Win a five-night stay at Ardisia, a brand new luxury villa in Great Cruz Bay

Win a five-night stay at Ardisia, a brand new luxury villa in Great Cruz Bay

Time is running out folks! If you haven’t entered our raffle, please do now!

And for those of you who have already entered, thank you for supporting the Island Health and Wellness Center on St. John!

The response to this raffle has been overwhelming. We have raised a good deal of money that will be used wisely for health care services here on St. John. To those of you who have entered, thank you. And to those of you who are unable to but simple love this little island of ours, I thank you too.

Here is what you can win for just $25…

  • A five night stay at Ardisia (the stay is good for up to six guests)
  • Roundtrip airfare for six people on JetBlue
  • Best of the BVI boat charter with Palm Tree Charters
  • Four beautiful St. John bracelets courtesy of Coral Bay Jewelers.
  • A pretty swanky gift basket upon their arrival which will include items from several local businesses.

Again, tickets are just $25. The raffle will benefit the Island Health and Wellness Center here on St. John in the US Virgin Islands.

The raffle continues through this Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 9 a.m. EST. We will announce the winner on or about June 20, 2018.

The raffle period ended on June 16, 2018 at 9 a.m. EST

All entrants will receive a confirmation email from PayPal after purchasing your ticket. Because of the expected high volume of entries, we cannot personally email each entrant. Your email from PayPal will serve as your confirmation of entry into the drawing.

How the drawing works: Once the entry period is over, we will pull a report from PayPal. We will then personally write the names of each entrant on a raffle ticket. If you bought one ticket, we will write your name on one ticket. If you bought two tickets, we will write your name on two tickets. And so forth… All of the names will be placed into a secure bucket/basket. Once all of the names are written on tickets, we will draw the winner live on video. That video will be posted on newsofstjohn.com

Now on to the fine print, the small print, the possible storm print, etc…

  • The five-night stay at Ardisia is good for low season dates only. These dates are now through December 15, 2018 (the week of Thanksgiving – November 17, 2018 through November, 24, 2018 is excluded) and also from April 16, 2019 through December 16, 2019 (Thanksgiving week 2019 is also excluded). This five-night stay is subject to availability. You will book directly with the villa at www.ardisiastjohn.com. This stay is good for six people. Add-on guests are not allowed. Please visit ardisiastjohn.com for complete reservation policies. This stay is valued at $7,850. 
  • The six round trip tickets on JetBlue can be used between October 1, 2018 and October 1, 2019 only. All travel must be booked and flown during this time period. Blackout dates may apply. We will provide booking instructions to the winner.
  • The Best of the British Virgin Islands boat charter with Palm Tree Charters is good for up to six people and is subject to availability. You must book directly with the business. Gas, BVI customs and gratuity are not included. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the owner of Palm Tree Charters reserves the right to cancel your boat charter. They will then work with you to rebook. If Palm Tree Charters is out of the water during your preferred travel time, Palm Tree Charters will work with you to rebook. If Palm Tree Charters is unable to fulfill this donated charter due to a loss from a tropical storm or hurricane, this portion of the raffle will be forfeited. 
  • You will receive the three bracelets courtesy of Coral Bay Jewelers upon your arrival on St. John. (We do not want to risk them getting lost in the mail.)
  • We strongly encourage the winner to purchase trip insurance. 

Our (Still) Beautiful Underwater World

We received the following video from Larry McLain. It shows how beautiful, yet fragile our underwater world remains following hurricanes Irma and Maria last fall. Here is what Larry had to say:

“My name is Larry McLain and I have been in love with the islands sense the early 70s. We moved to St John in 1980 and were here for 20 years. I worked in marine science and became totally obsessed with the underwater world. Marylyn beat us up pretty good so we left in 1998 for 10 years but couldn’t stay away and started coming back for 3 or 4 months a year.

“I have always done a lot of under photography but the last 8 years I have become obsessed (again) with video using GoPros. In December I put a short video together as a tribute to those beautiful critters out there that got so beat up during the storms … Our shallow reefs have been hit hard, so everyone should be aware and help preserve what we have left.”

The beginning of the video was filmed prior to the storms near Henley and Lovango, Larry said. The rest was filmed back in December near Frank Bay and Gallows Point. It is roughly seven minutes long. We hope you enjoy it.

National Park Bringing Back One of Our Favorite Programs

annaberg

Annaberg

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I am so excited to tell you all that one of our favorite programs offered by the National Park is officially back … garden tours at Annaberg! This makes me so happy!

Some of you may be saying, why is a garden tour so exciting? Well for one, you get to learn about and sample a variety of native plants and fruits grown here on St. John. But even better, you get to once again chat with Charles, Annaberg’s gardener who was born here on St. John.

I visited Charles several times a week prior to last fall’s storms while out and about on my News of St. John Tours. Charles would show my guests around the garden and then offer them samples of everything ranging from sugar cane and coconuts to mangoes and gooseberries (depending on the season). It would also introduce my guests to other native plants and discuss their medicinal or traditional uses. It was a very cool experience, one all of my guests loved.

So this is why I am happy to tell you that Charles is once again up tending the garden and offering tours Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I met up with Charles last week, and he said he is looking for volunteers to help him with the garden tomorrow, June 12 around 10 a.m. So if you are on island and have a green thumb, please head up to Annaberg and help Charles out.

And for those of you looking to visit Annaberg soon, Charles’s garden is located straight up the hill and to the right when you enter Annaberg.

The National Park is also offering the following programs this month:

  • Tuesdays at 9 a.m. – Take a post-hurricane ranger-led hike along the Lind Point Trail. During this mile hike, guests will learn how the park’s wildlife and habitats are recovering following the storms. The hike finishes at Honeymoon Beach. It begins at the National Park Visitor’s Center.
  • Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. – The Park will present Sky Watch, an up close and personal look at the stars through the Park telescope. This occurs at Peace Hill, so please bring a flashlight for the quick .1 mile hike up. Also wear comfortable shoes. You may want to bring a chair or towel to sit on.
  • Fridays at 10 a.m. – Explore the water’s edge at Leinster Bay. Wander through the shallows and along the mangrove coastline to discover the marine life on St. John. Please bring sturdy shoes that you don’t mind will get wet. This walk meets at the Leinster Bay trailhead just below Annaberg.

Last Week to Enter Our Raffle!

ardisia st john

Ardisia is a brand new, five bedroom, luxury waterfront villa in Great Cruz Bay.

We have been absolutely overwhelmed by the support all of you have shown for our latest raffle. While we won’t share the amount raised until the raffle is closed, we can tell you that it’s big! And that’s great!

The raffle continues through this Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 9 a.m. EST. We will announce the winner on or about June 20, 2018.

Here are the details:

The winner will receive a five night stay at Ardisia (the stay is good for up to six guests), roundtrip airfare for six people on JetBlue, a Best of the BVI boat charter with Palm Tree Charters and four beautiful St. John bracelets courtesy of Coral Bay Jewelers. The winner will also receive a pretty swanky gift basket upon their arrival which will include items from several local businesses. Tickets are just $25.

The raffle will benefit the Island Health and Wellness Center here on St. John in the US Virgin Islands.

The raffle period ended on June 16, 2018 at 9 a.m. EST

All entrants will receive a confirmation email from PayPal after purchasing your ticket. Because of the expected high volume of entries, we cannot personally email each entrant. Your email from PayPal will serve as your confirmation of entry into the drawing.

How the drawing works: Once the entry period is over, we will pull a report from PayPal. We will then personally write the names of each entrant on a raffle ticket. If you bought one ticket, we will write your name on one ticket. If you bought two tickets, we will write your name on two tickets. And so forth… All of the names will be placed into a secure bucket/basket. Once all of the names are written on tickets, we will draw the winner live on video. That video will be posted on newsofstjohn.com

Now on to the fine print, the small print, the possible storm print, etc…

  • The five-night stay at Ardisia is good for low season dates only. These dates are now through December 15, 2018 (the week of Thanksgiving – November 17, 2018 through November, 24, 2018 is excluded) and also from April 16, 2019 through December 16, 2019 (Thanksgiving week 2019 is also excluded). This five-night stay is subject to availability. You will book directly with the villa at www.ardisiastjohn.com. This stay is good for six people. Add-on guests are not allowed. Please visit ardisiastjohn.com for complete reservation policies. This stay is valued at $7,850. 
  • The six round trip tickets on JetBlue can be used between October 1, 2018 and October 1, 2019 only. All travel must be booked and flown during this time period. Blackout dates may apply. We will provide booking instructions to the winner.
  • The Best of the British Virgin Islands boat charter with Palm Tree Charters is good for up to six people and is subject to availability. You must book directly with the business. Gas, BVI customs and gratuity are not included. In the event of a tropical storm or hurricane, the owner of Palm Tree Charters reserves the right to cancel your boat charter. They will then work with you to rebook. If Palm Tree Charters is out of the water during your preferred travel time, Palm Tree Charters will work with you to rebook. If Palm Tree Charters is unable to fulfill this donated charter due to a loss from a tropical storm or hurricane, this portion of the raffle will be forfeited. 
  • You will receive the three bracelets courtesy of Coral Bay Jewelers upon your arrival on St. John. (We do not want to risk them getting lost in the mail.)
  • We strongly encourage the winner to purchase trip insurance. 

Caneel Now Renting Rooms to the Public

Caneel - May 2018

Caneel – May 2018

Despite stating publicly that it is “impossible to reopen Caneel Bay” and that it needs an act of Congress to allow it to continue operating, CBI Acquisitions continues to profit as it is now renting out rooms to the public at the destroyed resort. Here are the facts:

  • CBI Acquisitions, the firm that manages Caneel Bay, has stated that it cannot reopen at this time and will be closed for all of 2018.
  • CBI Acquisitions, the firm that manages Caneel Bay, has stated that it will cost $100 million to rebuild.
  • CBI Acquisitions, the firm that manages Caneel Bay, has stated that it needs Congress to extend its retained use agreement in order for it to reopen.
  • CBI Acquisitions, the firm that manages Caneel Bay, had been renting rooms to first responders and relief workers engaged in recovery efforts following the hurricanes. These rooms were not donated; CBI Acquisitions received compensation for these rooms.
  • CBI Acquisitions, the firm that manages Caneel Bay, is now renting rooms to the public.
  • In an email sent on June 8, 2018, Anita Wu, director of revenue strategy for Caneel Bay, stated, “As demand for accommodation from first responders has started to diminish, Caneel Bay is able to extend a larger number of rooms to private individuals, who would like to stay at the Resort.  Rooms are offered with the understanding of guests, that they will not have those services and amenities offered prior to the storms.”
  • CBI Acquisitions, the firm that manages Caneel Bay, is renting rooms in the “garden area” for $235 a night and up. It is renting “ocean” rooms on Little Caneel beach for $285 a night and up. Guests will have to pay an additional 12.5% occupancy tax, as Caneel does not pay taxes.
  • In the email, Anita Wu, director of revenue strategy for Caneel Bay, also stated:
    • Accommodations are in full working order and maintain the Caneel Bay philosophy, where all rooms are absent of televisions and telephones. Internet access is provided free of charge and cell-phones are serviced by US carriers without roaming charges.
    • Meals and refreshments are currently not offered on the Resort property and additionally there is no guest laundry services or recreational activities of any kind.
    • Some areas of the resort are restricted to access and as a condition of any stay, you must agree to waive and release Caneel Bay Resort of any responsibility or liability for any claim regarding your visit.  Upon check-in you will be required to sign a waiver and release form.

Thoughts everyone?

Customs Back Open in Cruz Bay!

cruz bay overlook june 2018
We have fantastic news to share with you all this morning! You can once again clear back through US Customs in Cruz Bay!

We just received word from the Virgin Islands Port Authority that beginning today, June 8th, “pleasure craft and charters boats arriving from foreign destinations can now clear Customs in Cruz Bay!” Customs will, once again, be open in the Creek daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is unclear what building will be used to do so, as the Customs’ building was destroyed during Irma.

Passenger ferries between the USVI and BVI will not resume in Cruz Bay at this time. They will continue to operate out of St. Thomas.

For more information, please contact the US Customs and Border Protection at 340-776-6741.