Good Morning, Good Morning! There has been a lot of really feel good stuff going down on St. John this week. Charity events this weekend raised a pretty sizeable sum of money for great causes on island, The rain has been coming down more regularly and the island is starting to green up quite nicely. The crowds continue to thin out and restaurants have begun the slow closing of their doors for a little break from the hustle and bustle. The seas remain calm and some of our underwater friends who enjoy the seasonally warm Caribbean waters have been passing through. Oh, and (in the realm of not-so-great news) there seems to be a bit of Tropical Wave activity in the Atlantic Basin that is definitely worth keeping an eye on if you are headed this way over the next few weeks. So, I thought today it might be time for a little Island Update!
Ok, first…This past weekend, the community of St. John put on a glorious display! On Saturday night, a karaoke benefit at Lovango Rum Bar and Distillery raised $2100 to assist a friend and community member who has unfortunately happened upon some unexpected medical expenses. And Bar Wars at The Beach Bar raised $10,000 for Island Health and Wellness Center! The funds raised are the bottom line and the goal at the end of the day. But the way this beautiful cluster of humans turns out for events like these are the REAL story here!
On Sunday at High Noon, the Bar Wars games kicked off with a grand showing of 14 teams competing for the bragging rights as the winners of this 17th edition of the competition. Capes, custom made tees and tanks, face paint, coordinated team outfits and SO MUCH team spirit of friendly competition combined to make this an incredible day. DJ Top Notch, Ian Samuel, crushed it as the emcee and provided an incredible soundtrack for the day. Casey, lead referee and coordinator, executed an incredible Bar Wars exhibition. The Beach Bar owners and staff worked tirelessly all day with a massive crowd of thirsty residents surrounding the bar and beach. And all of the teams fought hard until the end of the day.
The results were Dave & Jerry’s Island Steakhouse winning over the second place Windmill Bar team by JUST ONE SECOND! It was amazing!
Oh, and I mentioned the bar being filled with residents…We all kind of marveled at the fact that 90% of the crowd was made up of folks who live on St. John. I DID have two different readers approach me who were in attendance and were extremely grateful for last week’s notice of the event. I love it when you guys come say hi! But, all in all, the showing of familiar faces at Beach Bar on Sunday and at Lovango on Saturday night attest to the dwindling visitor traffic as we move farther into the depths of the off season.
Please keep in mind, I am referring to visitors who are staying on St. John and this information comes from the traffic in town and my knowledge of overnight lodging reservations volume. Last week when I mentioned the dwindling crowds, I was corrected about the beach traffic (And, I admittedly do not have much time for beach days…Ah, paradise 🙂 ). We are still seeing a ton of daytime traffic from cruise ships at port on St. Thomas and visitors coming over from the “big” island for the day. So, always check the cruise ship schedule before heading out to the North Shore and avoid the more high traffic beaches on days with an abundance of ships at port!
Oh, speaking of beaches…Jellyfish! This time of year, we see a high concentration of beautiful jellyfish which keep our resident turtles very happy. They are the turtles’ favorite snack! And they are also very beautiful to see while you are snorkeling. Moon Jellies are pretty much harmless and they are the most commonly seen here in the Virgin Islands. When we snorkeled the Indians last month they were EVERYWHERE (Yes, we finally made it to the BVI. Yes, I have some stories to share from that trip!).
The stinging power of the Moon Jelly is relatively harmless to humans. If you brush up against one in the water, it will probably only feel like a slight stinging or scratching sensation. Their tentacles are not super long and intimidating like other types of jellies. But, even so, keep your distance from these and all types of sea life while exploring our seas and beaches.
However, the Sea Wasp has also been sighted in BVI waters recently. These ones DO pack a bit more of a punch in their longer tentacles. If you, or someone in your party gets stung by a jellyfish while visiting….Don’t freak out. Chances are very low that a jelly sting here in the USVI will cause long lasting harm. However, DO keep an eye on anyone who has been suspected to be stung by one of these guys. They are venomous and CAN cause serious medical issues in a small number of cases. If someone in your party starts exhibiting difficulty breathing, nausea or dizziness after a jellyfish encounter, play it safe and head to the clinic! But, most stings can be immediately treated by simply rinsing the affected area with salt water or vinegar (add it to your beach packing list!) until the burning sensation subsides. Salt Water Heals All Wounds….right? 🙂
Alright, let’s talk weather. The RAIN has been glorious over this past week! If my plants could dance, they would be doing a happy one right now 🙂 It has rained nearly every day, at least for a bit. And the mountainsides are getting all happy and green and the flowers all over the island are showing their beautiful colors. It is absolutely beautiful. I report this from my little hub near Gifft Hill and my comings and goings into town. The rain has been extremely variable dependent upon your location on island. While our side of the island got a huge downpour last week, giving it a good jump start on greening up, Coral Bay has received next to nothing over the past little bit. According to Eleanor Gibney, rain in the territory has ranged from several inches to a half an inch over the past little bit, location dependent. So, let’s do a little rain dance for Coral Bay!
And, with the rainy season comes the inevitable threat of hurricanes. The Atlantic Basin has been relatively quiet so far this summer but now is the time to put our guards up. Every major storm that has graced us with its presence over the past 50 years has occurred during the first half of the month of September. So, now is the time to keep an eye on waves rolling off shores of Africa and across the Atlantic towards the Caribbean and the Southeastern United States. There are a few notable movements out there right now, Invest 90-L being the most pressing to keep an eye on. Dry and dusty conditions in the Eastern Atlantic Basin might make it hard for this particular wave to come to full formation. But if it pushes through those conditions, storm formation is more likely the farther west it gets.
As I always say, prepare for the worst and hope for the best when we get into this unnerving time of year in the Caribbean. If you are visiting in the coming weeks or months, make sure you are paying attention to storm trackers and radars. Always make sure you have some form of travel insurance during this time of year as well. We can never fully predict the actions of Mother Nature. And so, during the fall, we focus on the positive but keep an eye on potential threats heading west across the sea. Check out Mike’s Weather Page, St. John VI Weather and the Windy App to stay up to date on tropical storm activity.
To leave you on a positive note…It’s my mom’s birthday today!!! Sally is a pretty fantastic lady and has put up with me and my shenanigans all of these years. So, Happy Birthday mom! Thank you for being a spectacular human 🙂