North Shore Tour

North Shore Tour 1

Happy Sunday Funday!  For those of you who are dreaming about those Caribbean Blues this morning, here’s your fix!  I took a drive out North Shore Road and stopped at some overlooks this weekend to get some fresh air and take in the post-Sahara dust views.

You’ll still see a little bit of haze in these pictures but, man, it’s so good to have the vivacious blues back in sight.  You’ll also notice there is still a WEE bit of brown on the hillsides but after the dust cleared this week, we got a ton of rain!  Things should hopefully be greening up nicely very soon!


North Shore Tour 2
Cruz Bay from the overlook


North Shore Tour 3
Caneel Bay from the overlook on North Shore


North Shore Tour 4
Caneel Bay gate – Still no updates on the future of the property…


North Shore Tour 5
Hawksnest Beach from Peace Hill


North Shore Tour 6
Gibney Beach from Peace Hill


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Jumbie Bay with Great Thatch and the BVI in the background – Also from Peace Hill


North Shore Tour 8
Jost, boats and blues


North Shore Tour 9
Trunk Bay looking magnificent as ever! Have you noticed recently, the shoreline resembles the shape of a heart? 🙂

That’s all for this morning, but I hope these sights of STJ help to kick your Sunday off right.

Help Track the 2013 Hermit Crab Migration

Photos by Steve Simonsen
The 2013 hermit crab migration and a close up of the Caribbean hermit crab. Photos by Steve Simonsen.

It happens often, and it’s pretty cool. Thousands of hermit crabs migrate in the US Virgin Islands and on St. John. Researchers are looking for your help this year in their efforts to track the predicted 2013 migration.

Their request is pretty simple: If you happen to come across hermit crabs anywhere on the island, they would like to know about it. This could be in your backyard, at your villa, on a trail or even on a roadway or in a parking lot. Researchers are asking that you make note of the date, time, location, number seen, as well as the direction they are traveling (toward or away from the water). Once you jot down that information, please fill out their questionnaire which can be found here. You can help determine when and where the hermit crabs are migrating.

Last year’s hermit crab video taken by Steve Simonsen was so incredible, it went viral. To date, it’s received more than 476,000 views on Vimeo and YouTube.

Check out last year’s video here:

Inner Visions videos

If you weren’t there, you shoulda been. 

The island’s premier reggae band, Inner Visions, has been busy on the island.  They played at the St John benefit to support Cancer research in Cruz Bay last month, and also at Skinny Legs' Halloween party.  

Standing in the crowd with a video camera was r8395ors and he/she has posted to YouTube nearly a dozen videos of the band. Click here to see the videos.

Some of the songs were performed in the streets of Cruz Bay in front of Woody's and the Iguana Grill. Others are from Skinny Legs. Tracks include Are You ReadyCan You Feel It, and Mama Africa.  The video’s kind of static and dark in places, but the audio is good enough.

There is more than an hour of the Inner Visions sound.

How to bring home a great shot from St. John

PHOTO St. John has lots of opportunities for snapshots.  But if you want more than a snap, you're going to have to do a little work.  Thankfully, an earlier issue of the St. John Sun Times has done some of that work for you, assisted by Bob Schlesinger of Tropical Focus.

In the article you'll learn when to shoot. Generally, the best time to take great photos is just before around sunset, between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  That's when the light has a soft and buttery feel.

Read moreHow to bring home a great shot from St. John

Eye popping underwater photography


Image sourced from Steve Simonsen's Facebook page

A popular Web site for professional photographers has turned its lens on St. John's Steve Simonsen. 

Photoshelter.com calls the 20-year resident "a specialist who has made his life's work under water."

The article details Steve's "strategic factors" of photography: having access to the best locations, specialized equipment – with backups, understand the unique challenges of water, get close, watch for stray reflected light, and keep shooting.

"I usually go in with multiple cameras just so that I have multiple exposures available to me," he told Photoshelter.com. "With today’s digital cameras exposure, count isn’t a factor anymore and that is great."

Oh yeah, one more thing. Besides being a great photographer, Steve says if you want to be an underwater photographer, you should also know how to scuba dive.

St. John’s party animals party pictures


A good time was had by all – as many as 200 people – who attended last weekend's benefit for the Animal Care Center, the Snow Ball.  Attendees got a full evening of food and fun, as well as party favors including flashing bracelets and rings and glowing necklaces.  Fun!

"Many people said this was the best party ever," said Bob Schlesinger, owner of Tropical Focus Photography.  "Essentially, that's because the entire community came together to make it work."  (These are Bob's pictures; there are about 250 more you can see here.)

There was also marvelous food. "There was plenty, and a lot of variety," said Schlesinger. "BJ Harris was in charge of the food committee, and it was a great way to end her tenure on the Board."  

There was also lots of entertainment.  The groove band Ish played.  (You can hear some of their tunes here.)  Pyros of the Caribbean also wowed the crowd attending the soiree at the Great Cruz Bay villa owned by Janet and Martin Marshall.


Simonsen photography exhibition set

The photographic skills of the island's Steve Simonsen will be on display at the Bajo el Sol Gallery in Mongoose Junction this month.  This is his third show there.

Titled "Into the Light," the works are all about light from different perspectives, said Janet Simonsen

"Filtering through sunlit Caribbean ocean water, in a corkscrew canyon, on a coral reef, on a starry night," she explained. Most of the photographs were shot on and around St. John. Two were captured at a slot canyon in Arizona. Prices will range from, approximately, $250 to $1,000. 

Besides a variety of light, there are also a lot of angles to Simonsen's work.  Some pictures were taken from helicopters, some on land, and some underwater (where his talent really shines).

There are 17 images in the exhibition which opens with a reception at 5 p.m. on November 25.  It will be on view at the gallery during December. 

Hundreds of gorgeous St. John photos

It's not unusual to see a helicopter winging across the island.

The Inquiring Iguana, by nature a pessimist, always thinks there's always a real estate developer on board, imaging where he'll draw lot lines on the parcel he's just bought to subdivide. But, truth be known, more often there's probably an artist on board, like St. John's Steve Simonsen.  

For Steve, photography is often about the point of view.  He's made a career of shooting award-winning images from both above and below; in the sky and under the ocean.

This shot is part of a series over the three islands.  It features the Annaberg Ruins.

Read moreHundreds of gorgeous St. John photos

Island pictures take chill off arrival of Fall

William Torrillo is keeping his nose to the grindstone, or at least his eye in the viewfinder as he builds the archive for his someday-to-be-published guidebook to the Virgin Islands.

While gathering material, he's posting some of his gorgeous images on his blog at OldMango.com.

Torrillo's also holding himself out for commercial shoots, family portraits and even weddings (as low as $200). 



St. John sunsets and sunrises keep coming

"Oct 2009…from Cruz Bay… a magical time for my family… 
there for daughter and her beloved to get married."

Kate Armstrong


"I took this in May 2004 from my balcony at Battery Hill while testing my new camera. It saddens me that I haven't been back since that trip.   At the time, I had a one year old, now I've got three kids and as soon as they are all strong swimmers we are coming back so I can teach them about the island, the reefs, fish, and how fragile they are."

Mark from Oakton, Va.


"Took this sunset photo a few years ago (2008 May).  View is from our Condominium at Gallows Point."

Ron & Michelle Rossio



Read moreSt. John sunsets and sunrises keep coming