Digging Up the Old Domino

Something’s happening at the site of Coral Bay’s old Domino gas station. Workers were recently seen removing the old tanks from the site, as well as truck loads of soil. We do know that the soil was being transported over to St. Thomas, but its future remains unknown. One worker said he heard a new gas station and store was being built, while a local businessman simply stated the tanks needed to be removed due to abandonment.

What would you like to see happen here?

Gas Station Before

Gas Station After

Guns and boats stir up Coral Bay

Allegations that VI government employees, toting guns, harassed and intimidated Coral Bay boat owners are being investigated by the Department of Planning  and Natural Resources.

Commissioner Alicia Barnes announced an internal probe after her office “received complaints from several St. John residents about DPNR officers brandishing weapons and cutting mooring lines in the Coral Bay area,” she said in a news release.

Director Roberto Tapia of the Division of Environmental Enforcement confirmed his officers were involved “in a week-long initiative in Coral Bay to rid the area of illegal moorings and to enforce on the many unregistered vessels in that area.”

 The owner of Coral Bay Marine commented to the St. John Source. Sandy Mohler said, “What they did was wrong, unacceptable and illegal.”  Read the Source story here.

In a posting to YouTube, TheDweave69 described a video clip saying it showed “agents checking registration of dinghies … officers walking back down from the parking lot showing their gun etiquette after intimidation, interrogation, and demanding ID from anyone … They are not concerned about boats in the parking lot.

Coral Bay road update

SPRAYThe road into Coral Bay, Centerline, is driveable, even if riding on it is a little unsettling.

HungryTraveler posted his concern on TripAdvisor. "We just came back from Maho and the safety of Centerline continues to worry all. Any good rain will start slides up again."

He added there's more to worry about, too. "We are expecting a healthy mosquito hatch any day now. It's sunny and warm. Dengue fever is epidemic now so bring citronella spray." (Amazon's got it.)

New tax on airfare to the Virgin Islands?

The company responsible for providing cargo, baggage and technical services at the St. Thomas airport is not happy. 

Faced with the continuing poor baggage belts and an "unreliable infrastructure", a spokeswoman for Worldwide Flight Services raises an interesting issue on behalf of her co-workers. (Photo via William Hartz' Flickr account.)

"Many in the airlines and airport community would like to see an accounting of what the Passenger Facilities Charge (PFC) has been used for," Joanne Bohr said to the St. John Source.  She reacted to word the Port Authority wants to increase the PFC from $3 to $4.50 per passenger.

Those funds, she said, are supposed to be used for projects approved by the airlines to improve the experience of using the airport. "The PFCs are not intended for overhead or salary," she said, implying the Authority may have been tapping the fund for operations rather than repairs and improvements.

"As difficult as it may be for the passenger," she continued, "it is a much bigger hardship for those that work in the airport … without … bag belts, (and) without any air conditioning."

Before the Authority can increase the fee, which would apply to both inbound and outbound tickets the Federal Aviation Administration must give its approval.  And presumably the FAA won't do that unless the airlines agree, and believe, the money will be used to pay for improving the St. Thomas and St. Croix airport.

Some people have a good, good time waiting at STT.

One place you don’t want to be: Virgin Islands airport

CanceledNotice on Spirit's Web site 

Pilots at Spirit Airlines went on strike Saturday morning.  The airline canceled all its flights for the day, potentially stranding hundreds of people at the St. Thomas airport. News reports indicated the airline told customers they were on their own to find alternate flights.

When the Inquiring Iguana tried to book a flight for Sunday, Spirit's Web site said there were no seats available, perhaps indicating more flights will not operate this weekend.

Spirit is a low-cost airline, offering occasional specials of $9 a ticket.  Pilots  say they are paid well below market salaries.  The airline reportedly offered the pilots raises of 30% which, Spirit said would allow it "to continue offering you the ultra low fares you have come to know and love."

The Iguana can only imagine the holy heck that the STT airport is today.

Surly’s old space for sale

Cantina A few hours after the Surly Cantina's owners announced they were leaving the island, it became known the operator of the Mexican food spot that replaced them at Wharfside Village has put the business up for sale.

"Resturant-Mexican Cantina – $65000 (St.John, USVI)" is the headline.  The ad reads, "Here is your opportunity to get away and own your own buisiness (sic) in St.John. This is a turn=key (sic) operation with minimal experience needed. A perfect chance for 2 people to own their own buisness (sic) on a tropical island."

So, even if you can't spell business, you can buy one.

Saga of the Surly Cantina: The End

Surly Cantina is leaving St. John. 

On the popular Mexican restaurant's Facebook page, this message appeared over the weekend.

"The Surly Cantina is no longer. We are moving to Charlotte NC on Wednesday. We will miss all of our incredibly loyal fans. Who knows, maybe a Surly in NC. Best to all."

Suzanne_craig Comments made it clear that many folks will be sorry to see the cantina owners, Suzanne Schlessinger and Craig Sullivan, leave the US Virgin Islands.

Some posted saying they hoped the news was a late April Fools joke.

  • Rosanne Perkins said, "That is a bummer!!! I was hoping to see you over the summer!!" 
  • Cici Davis said she was "Sad to hear" the news.
  • Tiffany Gilbert Thomas sounded melancholy, writing, "The island of broken dreams."

History of the Surly Cantina

For Virgin Islands roundabout fans

If you sometimes think life has you going in circles.


Anthony Finta of Virgin Islands On Line shot a one-minute video of St. John's traffic roundabout in Cruz Bay. One person commented, "I must be bored.  I watched this video five times."