Animal Care Center benefit raised $5K

Acc flea market 2009_5 The annual "No Fleas" flea market raised $5,100 for the Animal Care Center and assured its operation through the end of the year or until the next fund raiser.

Shoppers hunted for great deals among a largeAcc flea market 2009_6 variety of goods and furniture donated by local residents and businesses. More than 20 vendors also contributed by donating $25 for a space at the event to sell stuff, too.

An energetic addition this year's event was "Top Dogs" hot dogs, who were able to raise significant funds thanks to generous donations from Island Blues Bar & Grill, Tyson Trucking, Cute Cozy Cottage and KateNDesign.

The next ACC fund raiser is Christmas for the Animals, scheduled for Dec. 12.

Livin’ large at Lovango

 LovangoFriends of the Inquiring Iguana built a fantastic house on Lovango Cay, a tiny island north of St. John. They have now begun renting it.

The Iguana is not in the business of writing fluff about rental houses.  But when something makes a villa stand out, that's a different story.  Like Villa Serendipity's Webcam. You might even call it news. 

Well, what makes The Love Shack different is the fact that it's not on St. John.  Lovango is a short dinghy ride away. The property has both a beach cottage and a main house, including 2 1/2 bedrooms and 2 baths. There are no roads.  There are no restaurants.  The ocean, literally,
laps at your front yard. 

If it's privacy you want this is the place.  Which apparently is what MSGColleen and her husband wanted because they stayed at the Cottage a few weeks ago and live blogged their Trip Report at Virgin-islands-On-Line.

Msgcolleeen"We felt like teenagers whose parents just left and we had the whole place to ourselves," MSGColleen wrote. "Ahhhhh – paradise.  Also, the great thing about being right on the beach with the constant breezes is NO MOSQUITOES.  We were eaten alive last year in Coral Bay."

MSGColleen stayed about a week and wrote a report each day, complete with photos.  Despite this having been their seventh trip to St. John in eight years, they found new things to do, made new friends, and had a great time.

VI National Park in peril

Coral The Virgin Islands National Park is endangered by climate change, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization.  The park is especially threatened by rising global temperatures, as are 24 other of the country’s 351 national parks.

“In 2005, the Caribbean basin saw unprecedented water temperatures and some dramatic bleaching, followed by coral disease and mortality,” the U.S. Climate Chance Science Program found last year.

“The most dramatic monitored bleaching took place in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where National Park monitoring showed that at some sites 90 percent of the coral bleached. To date there is an estimated 50 percent combined mortality from bleaching and disease in the Virgin Island National Park surveys. As of yet, there are no reports of recovery as amounts of mortality continue to increase.”

Other likely effects of global warming for the VINP include higher seas, stronger storms, more downpours and flooding, the report said. 

Dolphins, Ahoy!

No, not Dolphin Market.  Dolphins.  Like fish.  The real things.

On his blog, Gerry Singer reports a pair of dolphins put on a show for kayakers, swimmers, and boaters near Maho Bay on Saturday. 

Gerry was there and, fortunately, had his camera.  See the photos and his post at http://seestjohn.com/st_john_life/life-on-st-john/st-john-virgin-islands-maho-bay-dolphin/

Parking lot plan revealed

Map The Inquiring Iguana learned from reading the Virgin Islands Daily News yesterday that the Port Authority wants to create a parking lot at the Enighed car barge dock.  The plan calls for 150 parking spaces.  The lot will be built using about $2 million from a PA bond issue, the Daily News said.

To get to Cruz Bay from the lot, most people would either walk north, past the fire station, then take a left and walk into town; probably a 10-minute trek.

Of course, parking has been a critical problem for Cruz Bay for years.  One recent idea was to building a parking garage where the tennis courts are, which is also close to the Moorehead Marine Facility aka the Enighed car barge dock.

There’s little question whether people would prefer free or paid, but the Authority says it will make that decision when it awards the construction contract. 

The Inquiring Iguana is urging the PA to make the lot free.  That will insure it gets used, which is the point after all, to decrease the stress of going downtown.  Furthermore, the PA’s record on overseeing the finances of the barge company revenues is pretty poor.  It doesn’t make sense to put another cash business under the agency.

House shopping video (again) in Coral Bay

A recent House Hunters International episode on St. John was on cable last Saturday night.  The HGTV channel will broadcast it at 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. In the show, Remax’s Diana Beam shows a couple from North Carolina three villas. And they buy one.

The Inquiring Iguana found another St John HGI episode that was new to him.  The Web site has a three-minute digest version of the show,  You can see Hareth and Grace “look for their perfect vacation home” at http://www.hgtv.com/videos/st-john-us-virgin-islands/38942.htm.

New tunes at the Beach Bar

Logo_blog Jazz VI is the quintet carrying on the tradition of Sunday afternoon music and good times at the Beach Bar

Founded years ago by St. John’s Steve Simon, the  4 p.m-7:30 p.m. island-wide meet-up draws locals, cruise shippers, campers and everyone else to gather around the BB’s four-sided bar.  Good times, good conversations, new friends make it the place to be at least once when you’re visiting.

PS … there is now a Beach Bar theme song … hear it on the Web site, www.beachbarstjohn.com.

Steve Simon has turned over the Beach Bar to Jazz VI, partly because he’s doing more and more to evangelize the blues around the world.  He’s just announced he’ll be producing the first annual Charleston Blues Festival in February.  Performers include Shemekia Copeland, Zac Harmon, aka ‘The Soul of the Delta’, and Billy Gibson, aka ‘The Prince of Beale Street.’

24 hours of St. John

'Weather Weirdness’ appeared in force this weekend on the mainland.  Four days of rain from the Carolinas to Canada and eight inches of snow in State College, Pa.

In October! The calendar says winter doesn’t begin for another month. Is it time to dream about St. John, already???

Well, in case you need some shots shot of sun and sand, here’s a gimmick the folks at Villa Serendipity have done.  And I am jealous because it’s a great promotion for their rental villa.  (The Inquiring Iguana’s favorite villa is Blue Tang.  🙂

Ya gotta give Serendipity credit for putting this together … a video mash-up of about 13 hours (October 14th, from 5:50 AM to 7:06 PM) of their Webcam's stills overlooking Chocolate Hole. Watch for the rainbow
at 8:00 AM. Click the watch in HD button for better results,

Hootin’ ‘n Hollerin’ on Halloween

Tricktreat Looks like this Halloween will be the biggest and nosiest ever on St. John.  At least four parties are planned at restaurants.

Morgan’s Mango will start with Kids Halloween Specials at 5 p.m., with music by Luba lasting until 6:30 p.m,.  Then from 10 p.m. to bewitching hour when Jumbies start floating through the island ether, Mark Wallace and (Tina Turner-influenced) Lauren Jones will entertain.

Just up the road at Mongoose Junction, Sun Dog Cafe’s the kids' party will be on Friday, after school, 3 p.m. tpo 5 p.m. Munchkins are encouraged to show up in costume.

The Beach Bar’s annual spooktacular is for grown ups, including music and a costume contest at 9 p.m.

The Marketplace will be the scene for a bash cosponsored by Happy Fish and La Plancha del Mar.  Several bars will be pouring, a DJ will be spinning, and there will be plenty of pizza and finger foods.  Big kids who can stay awake, and in costume, could win prizes in the Midnight Costume Contest.

Good news for Paradiso, Asolare and Chloe’s?

Hours after the Inquiring Iguana spoke with Coby Cooper, he resigned his position overseeing Paradiso, Asolare and Chloe b& Bernard’s (PAC).  He has moved to the General Manager's slot at the Balcony at Wharfside. Winston Bennett, the original owner of P, A, and C, is now managing those businesses.

The Iguana can only speculate about what’s going on. 

It appears that Bennett’s plan to have San Filippo oversee the business hasn’t worked out.  It wouldn’t be unlikely that part of the incentive was to have him take an equity position in the restaurants, while Bennett held onto a share, too. THEN …. The economy crumped, tourism fell and the high-end eatery business went south.  And San Filippo went off island.

Bennett, still with an ownership stake, and perhaps his name on the leases, had little option but to step back into the business. If this is the case, there is every reason to expect that Bennett is going to do all he can to make Asolare, Paradiso, and Chloe’s the successes they have been.  It;’s going to take time and money to reassure the employees and suppliers.  But Bennett is not without resources or motivation.

Good luck.