“Personal Legends” – A Testament to the Virgin Islands

"Personal Legends" - A Testament to the Virgin Islands 1

Good morning, and Happy 1st of March, also known down here as Virgin Islands History Month! 

Over the last three years, as a resident on St. John, I’ve learned about the deeply rooted, rich culture of the Virgin Islands. Picking fresh fruit from mango trees, eating saltfish and pates, and listening to the harmonious sounds of the steel pan are all aspects of this beautiful culture that I’ve come to know and love. 

"Personal Legends" - A Testament to the Virgin Islands 2
Moko Jumbies © Tsunami’s Photography

Recently coming across a series of interviews titled Personal Legends, created by the Friends of the Virgin Islands artist-in-residence Kayden Richards, I am reminded of the time-honored and diverse heritage of the Virgin Islands. By exploring generational traditions shared by nine subjects from St. John, St. Thomas, and St. Croix, Richards perfectly encapsulated the vibrant spirit of these islands and its people. 

Read more“Personal Legends” – A Testament to the Virgin Islands

Something “Amazing” Just Happened…

Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters
Boats waiting to transport the racers – Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters

Anyone see an abnormally high number of seaplanes flying near Lovango and Congo cays yesterday? Perhaps you saw a helicopter flying back and forth in the area? Want to know why???

CBS chose our happy little slice of heaven as a location in its latest season of The Amazing Race! How cool is that??!!

We got the call yesterday morning from Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters.  He mentioned how someone inquired a while back about booking a charter for yesterday. Seeing how Captain John typically takes weekends off, Island Sue [Captain John’s better half :)] turned down the request. Captain John did do a bit of snooping, however, and soon learned what was up.

It turns out that another boat captain friend of ours was tapped to help out. (Now we’re not sure if any confidentiality releases were signed, so we’re keeping his name out of today’s post.)  What we do know is that this second captain was out near Carval Rock for a good part of the day. It seems that they did some filming in a variety of places around St. Thomas and St. John.

Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters
Set up for The Amazing Race – Image credit: Captain John Brandi of Palm Tree Charters

Check out this mobile movie of the seaplane coming in courtesy of Captain John Brandi:

And here is a helicopter moving in, again courtesy of Captain John Brandi:

Once we heard that CBS was using helicopters, we knew Caribbean Buzz had to be involved. Here’s their super official statement (my guess is they signed something):

“We provided aerial support for filming of a CBS reality TV show. It included (Carval) rock, Hans Lollick, Magen’s Bay and downtown at Fort Christian.”

So cool!

Amazing Race Map

Laurie and Craig Crandall just happened to be passing through St. Thomas yesterday afternoon when they caught a glimpse of filming.

“We just came home from a week in Alaska and were coming to the waterfront. And there were all of these filming crews and teams,” Laurie said. “We asked what was happening and we were told it was The Amazing Race. The seaplane was at the waterfront, so I think it was whoever arrived first got on the plane … There were probably about six teams. I wish I was able to get out and talk to them because it looked really cool.”

Documentary planned for 8 Tuff Miles

Steve Simonsen has begun making plans to produce a documentary about next year's 8 Tuff Miles.

The 16th annual event will be Feb. 25 and Simonsen hopes to cover it, as they say, like a blanket. He wants help. That's why he's posted on Facebook, "Looking for video camera operators for next year's" race.  He'd like to find 20-25 camera people with their own HD cameras.

His plans for a documentar of the race, founded by Peter Alter, include using historical video and/or film of the race and its activities.  So if you've got any from previous years, he'd like to know about it.

Simonsen made a career for himself doing world-class work in the Caribbean including his specialty, underwater photography.  In the past few years, he's branched out into video documentaries.  

"I just wrapped shooting on this year's Pine Peace School auction," he said. "First time I've shot it in HD."