Curfew lifted, ports remain closed

Good morning!  As of 6:00 am, the roads are clear and the curfew has been lifted.   The ports are closed until further notice; we will let you know when they re-open.  The airports remain open.

According to the Governor, the ocean is not safe for swimming today due to remaining swells, but there are many other enjoyable ways to spend your day!  Help support our local economy with some shopping, go for a hike on one of our many trails, or learn about some of the fascinating and important St. Johnian history at Annaberg Sugar Plantation.

 

Storm-related ferry and port closure this morning

Good morning!  A tropical storm warning is in effect for St. John.  We will bring you the latest update regarding the storm shortly after the Governor’s press conference at 10:00 am.  In the meantime, if you are leaving the island today, the last passenger ferries to Red Hook and Crowne Bay will depart at 11:00 am before the ports shut down entirely for the day.  If anything changes we will let you know!

Keeping our doors open for “safe tourism”

According to Governor Bryan, the regulations we have put into place regarding our efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 continue to appear to be working, as our active number of cases in the territory has decreased from last week.   There are currently five active cases on St. John at this time, and no new cases this week.

Location of positive COVID-19 cases on St. John

The Governor assured our local residents that he is listening to their comments and concerns about tourism, and said that our governmental agencies are working as hard as possible to ensure that we have the resources needed to protect all of our entry points in an effort to keep our residents and guests as safe as possible.  We have requested additional testing supplies – especially for St. John – and recently added four testing machines that produce same-day results in the territory.

Read moreKeeping our doors open for “safe tourism”

USVI Travel Screening Update

The US Virgin Islands launched an online travel portal in an effort to increase the safety of residents and visitors, and to clarify the screening process for travelers.  This portal will allow travelers to upload their COVID-19 test results to expedite the screening process at the airport, and to increase the efficiency of the policy.

Effective July 24, 2020:

  • Any traveler aged 15 and older whose home state (state of residence) has a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) positivity rate greater than 10 percent will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 antigen (molecular/PCR/rapid) test result received within five days prior to travel to the U.S. Virgin Islands OR a positive COVID-19 antibody test result received within four months prior to travel to the territory. Currently, residents of Puerto Rico are also subject to this requirement.
  • COVID-19 test results are also required from travelers aged 15 and older who have spent more than seven days in and are traveling from a state with a positivity rate greater than 10 percent.
  • COVID-19 test are recommended, but not required for travelers aged 15 and older whose home states have positivity rates greater than 7.5 percent.  This is to ensure travelers are prepared for possible “spikes” in rates while preparing for travel.
  • COVID-19 test result are not required from travelers transiting impacted states en route to the USVI.

Read moreUSVI Travel Screening Update

Underwater photo editing tips

Now that you’re back at the villa and out of the direct sun, the first thing you will likely want to do is review your photos to find out if you actually captured all of the exciting sea life you saw while underwater.

Step 1:  Editing software

The editing software that comes pre-installed on your computer or camera will allow you to make a majority of the basic corrections.  You can purchase advanced editing software, like Adobe’s Lightroom package, but rather than spending hours in your villa instead of the beach, I suggest taking advantage of the free editing software available to you.  Be sure to save a copy of your original photos while learning the editing software so that you can go back to the original photo and start over if necessary.

Don’t be afraid to be creative.  Photos that might otherwise seem unexciting can become artsy with just a click of a different editing filter.

Read moreUnderwater photo editing tips

St. John Tours: See the Island with Me!

Hello everyone and happy Thursday! We just wanted to take a quick moment today to remind you all that we conduct island tours here on St. John.

We started conducting island tours in each 2017, and the reception has been amazing! I absolutely love this island, and I love sharing that love with all of you. Whether this is your first visit to the island or if you are a repeat guest, I guarantee you will see something new. In fact, at least half of my guests are repeat visitors to the island!

During your tour, we will do a little sightseeing – St. John has some of the most beautiful views in the world. We will check out some of the island’s stunning beaches – who doesn’t want to dip their toes in our beautiful Caribbean waters! We can stop at one or more of the island’s sugar plantation ruins, and we can even do some light hiking if you’d like. I can guarantee some sea turtles sightings and we usually stumble on the donkeys too! I will tell you about the history of the island, and I can share with you the current happenings on island. Most importantly, we will have fun!

So you may be wondering what makes my tour different from the other island tours? Well, what makes us different is that we are the only, personalized tour on St. John. I will take guests pretty much anywhere they want to go. The taxi tours are sometimes limited in where they are able to go, but not us. I enjoy taking my guests off the beaten path and to out-of-the-way spots that they would typically never see. Another difference is that I can only take up to four guests and I never combine groups, so it’s a more private and personal tour. When I am out and about with my guests, it’s more like I am out with friends. And I love that.

So what types of tours do we offer? Well here are the details:

  • Half-Day Tours: For those of you who want to see a great deal of the island, but do not want to commit a whole vacation day to a tour, our three-hour, half-day tours are for you! These tours are great for those of you who would like to see the island from the eyes of an insider, but you do not want to commit to an entire day to touring the island. During this tour, we can still do some sightseeing, we can check out the beaches, ruins, and do some super light hiking (like a tenth of a mile walk in the woods to a beautiful site) while learning about the island’s history and current happenings. The only difference with this tour is that the stops are a bit shortened when compared to our full day tours. We offer half-day tours from 9 a.m. to noon or from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The cost for a half-day tour is $300.
  • Full-Day Tours: Our full day tour is five hours long and includes a lunch stop in Coral Bay or over at Lime Out. During these tours, we can see nearly the entire island if you’d like to. We can check out the beaches, ruins, hiking trails and more! If you’d like to spend some time snorkeling with the turtles, we can do that! Want to see the more obscure, out of the way places? We can do that too! Again, all tours are completely customizable, so we will do exactly what you want! Don’t have an itinerary? Well we’ll provide options and you can choose what you would like to do and see! The cost for a full-day tour is $425.
  • Land and Sea Tours: We offer St. John’s only land and sea tour. For this tour, we partner with our friends at Flyaway Charters in Coral Bay. These tours are six hours long. For our land and sea tours, guests spend the first half of the tour exploring on land with me, and then they spend the second half of the day on the water with Flyaway Charters. These tours are really the best of both worlds for someone who wants to see all that St. John has to offer in just one day. You can do some snorkeling at some great offshore spots and even visit Pizza Pi, the Caribbean’s floating pizza boat, or Lime Out, St. John’s floating taco boat! Flyaway Charters can also provide a great deal of history of the island. The cost for a land and sea tour is $600. Fuel for the boat is not included, and costs between $50 and $100 depending on where you choose to travel.

All prices are per tour.

Don’t they all sound great! Who is ready to book??!

If you are staying in the Cruz Bay area, I will happily pick you up right at your villa, condo or hotel. If they are staying outside of the Cruz Bay area, we can arrange a meeting point. We’ll pick you up with a cooler filled with water and ice, and if you’d like, we can bring along a jug of Painkillers for an additional $50 fee. We have beach chairs, noodles and boogie boards for you to use throughout the day. And to make your day even better, we can even take the top off of the Jeep!

You can book directly with me either by emailing me at [email protected], or by messaging me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/newsofstjohn. Please let me know which tour you prefer, as well as your preferred date.

Want to know what other guests have said? Then please check out my reviews on TripAdvisor.

I look forward to meeting you all and showing you just how amazing this little island is! Thanks everyone, and have a great day!

Tag: St. John Tours

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:

Best Invention Ever?

Best Invention Ever
Lollie from St. John Brewers

Check out this fun little gadget we stumbled on over at St. John Brewers. It’s called a Lil’ Suckers Beer Magnet and it just may be the best invention ever. (We’re easily impressed over at NOSJ. We’re also pretty big nick-nack fans.)

Here’s how it works:

Place a bottle, glass or can into the the ring, stick it to any flat surface and voilà! It sticks!

The folks over at St. John Brewers say it’s great for boating. We here at NOSJ also think it’s great for kids who love to spill their beverages.

Pop over to St. John Brewers or visit their online store here. The Lil’ Suckers Beer Magnet retails for $7.

 

Packing List: Swimsuits and Twizzlers

To judge from comments on some of the St. John travel forums, a lot of people have more then flip flops, t-shirts, and magazines in their luggage.

Many also have food. Which results in folks trading tips about what to bring, and how.

Tinkerbelldee says granola bars, coffee, Splenda, and Crystal Light are among her must-packs. Besides several cans of Pringles, "In our small backpack cooler, I have chicken, hamburger, bacon, and cheese. ( I am picky about certain things, meat being one of them)."

It's not the high cost of groceries on St. John that prompts people to bring their own food. Convenience is a big factor, as well as being sure you've got what you like. "Because I'm a little bit of a foodie and just want to have certain things. And this foodie likes to have her Twizzlers and Gummisavers poolside!," said Mari6625.

Bluewater43 has this strategy: "Vacuum pack & freeze anything … at least a week ahead. Morning of the trip, throw everything in the cooler, packing lunchmeat & cheese in-between the frozen meat. Don't use ice packs at all (can't in carry-on) and everything is still frozen 8 hours later when we arrive." In that cooler – steaks, pork tenderloin, chicken breasts, burgers and Italian sausages.

The whole concept was news to Cfbbnell." I didn't know you could bring meat as a carry on! We are serious about our meat – 3 freezers in the garage. We buy whole cows, hogs and lambs. Being able to pack it into a cooler for the trip is awesome."

St. John not ‘bizarre’ enough for cable show


image from t2.gstatic.com
Andrew Zimmerman
is the guy you see on the Travel Channel eating the most awful things. He’s tasted (enjoyed?) baked muskrat in Baltimore, deep fried piglet testicles on a hog farm in Iowa, and fermented fish eggs on an island in Alaska. 

And since he was a boy, he’s spent some time on St. John. Zimmerman told the St. John Source that he used to visit St. John, with his mother, a lot.  Every few years, they’d rent a villa for a vacation.

“There is a great park, a couple of fantastic hotels and restaurants. Cruz Bay is a great little town. But,” he said, “I wouldn't call it a hot bed of indigenous or local cultures, right?” 

That’s why he really likes St. Croix.  Its economy is not dependent on tourists or catering to their mainland tastes.  St. Croix’s culture stands and has not been deemphasized.

“I do not want to come to the islands for a half-baked version of French or Italian food,” he told the Source.  “You see it on every island.  There is no island that is immune to that disease.”

What does Zimmerman like about St. Croix? Reef fish, rotis, pates, produce, and bull foot soup.