Earl’s storm path slips closer to St. John

"From weeks of relative and unusual quiet to uh oh!!!!" So writes Dave at StormCarbib.com

He is keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm, soon to be Hurricane, EarlTracking map from WeatherUnderground.com

 The site has an interesting tool to let you see how close a storm will come to wherever you are.  As of Friday morning, the prediction was that Earl will pass 260 miles northeast of the island early Tuesday morning.

"At this point, all bets are off until it organizes better," cautions Dave. "The quicker it organizes, the quicker it should curve. 500 miles isn't much room for error so don't take that for granted." Dave continues, "Behind … Earl is several more waves on the African continent and it looks like the train is ready to run at full speed for a while."

The tracking map on the right is via WeatherUnderground.com. It updates the map for Earl daily at 5am, 11am, and 5 pm.

Storm watch

The National Weather Service says we'll have a hurricane northeast of the territory by Monday morning. 

Let's hope Tropical Storm Earl stays on that projected track.

The NWS says 'stuff can happen.'

"If the circulation center does reform farther south…the forecast track will have to be adjusted south…or to the left of this advisory package."

No matter what, could be some rough weather and sea conditions early next week.

Four minutes of St. John

BoatOne of our readers, Mark Kichler, spent some time on the island at the end of July. 

He took lots of pictures and built a nice slide show using the Animoto service.

It lets you produce professional-looking presentations/.slideshows/animations easily on both your desktop or iPhone.

He sent along a link to his video.  Click to relax.

Thanks, Mark.

St. John animal shelter on life support


Thanks to generous readers of NewsofStJohn.com, and others, the Animal Care Center will not close next week.

Alarms were sounded late last week by ACC board members that the "no kill" shelter would have to close at the end of August because it was broke. The volunteer organization was in dire shape, financially overwhelmed by the expenses of operating, caring for, and housing about 60 dogs, puppies, kittens and cats.

Despite what seem to be fund raisers held quarterly, all of which were described as "successful" a day later, the $13,000 monthly operating budget was not being met.  "Fund raising is not enough.  Know any grant writers who could help us," said the ACC's Jennifer Dale.

You can help now by making a donation through PayPal here.

Skinny_dogsMany readers of this Web site responded to our story published Friday. John Fuller, the ACC's Treasurer, said nearly 100 people contributed $5 to $1,000, totaling nearly $7.400. "We're not out of the woods yet," he said.  One source said the ACC now has enough money to operate to the middle of October, when another fund raiser is planned.

Read moreSt. John animal shelter on life support

Have what it takes to move to St. John?

Several times a month, I get e-mails from people asking advice about moving to the island.  Do you know of any jobs?  How about renting an apartment?  Is the cost of living high? Often, the writers have vacationed on the island more than once and have decided they'd like to make St. John their permanent address.

Schlesingers One couple who have made the switch, successfully, is Bob and Karin Schlesinger.  He's a photographer, specializing in portraits and weddings; she's his right hand gal. 

At first their's was a 10-year-plan to make the move from New England.  Then it became five years, then three, then … they were gone.

"All that planning wasn't necessary," they said. "You can just do it."

The Schlesingers' story has just been featured by Islands magazine as part of a Best Islands to Live On section. It ranks the Virgin islands 5th best.  Each island is highlighted in a story about some new residents who made a move.

Read moreHave what it takes to move to St. John?

Grande opening for Grande Bay

GrandebayCalling itself Grande Bay Resort, the condominium project bordering Cruz Bay harbor announced it's formally open-for-business on Sept. 1.

In a news release, the resort said it is 
"Nestled in the Cruz bay Quarter … near everything to see and do on the island."

In a bit of a competitive shot, Grande Bay said it will provide "a distinct departure from the Caneel Bay Resort or Westin Resort St. John and we are sure once you stay with us, we'll be your new St. John Virgin island retreat."

The rate schedule shows a winter season rate  of $475/night for a one bedroom, or $3,325/week.  The two bedroom rate is $650/night, $4,550/week.  Cleaning charges are also added on, beginning at $100 for a one bedroom unit.

The VI’s love turtles

Turtle hatchlings, free at last

Steve Simonsen, the world class St. John photographer, has been working on a documentary about sea turtles.  Here’s a clip of his work-in-progress, showing baby turtles escaping their underwater nest and heading swimming to the future.  It’s wonderful the Virgin islands waters can be a part of this circle of life.

The footage of the baby hatchling leatherback turtles was filmed with a Sony PD 150 and Nite Rider HID 14 W lights. No tripod.

Video copyright, Steve Simonsen.

Businesses newly for sale

 A quick look at the businesses for sale on the Multiple Listing Service turns up a few new ones (at least to The Inquiring Iguana).

Burst Green Island Breeze
opened about a year ago at the newish-Greenleaf Commons shopping center on the South Shore road across from the Westin resort.

Walter Hobot opened the shop with the intention to sell souvenirs including eco-friendly clothing.  Asking price is $179,000. "Seller is motivated," says the listing.

Breath is a rigged ketch sailboat and a 25-year charter business. "This sailing business has tremendous growth potential or this strong and safe boat with new masts makes the perfect cruising vessel for a buyer who just wants to sail." sailbreath.com. Asking $200K.

Arizona couple fawns all over Caneel

David and Carol Porter, aka The Roaming Boomers, are either just having a hell of a good time in retirement or very smart business people.  Probably both, to judge from their work-in-progress travel web site.


The latest stop on a 25th wedding anniversary Caribbean tour (aka 'romantic' trip) was Caneel Bay Resort. Their video chronicle shows off beauty of the resort, includes a bit of original video featuring Carol, and a lot of stock photo shots from Caneel's promotional library.  A credit at the end of the video offers "Thanks to our Host: Caneel Bay Resort" which hints at, perhaps, the Porters' stay was a freebie, or partially comped, in exchange for the publicity.

The Porters' Web site makes clear that they are into high-end travel spots.  And it looks like they're developing it into a new business. (They sold a previous venture in Michigan and moved to Scottsdale.)

Kudos to the Porters.  They like to run their own business, they like to travel, they're putting the two together.

Whether there is a disclaimer that should have been included in their video, there is no denying … Caneel is gorgeous and we'd agree that it's, as the Porters said, "a place you should attempt to visit at least once in your life."

  • Watch the Roaming Boomer's video of Caneel here.

New ferries for St. John

800px-Ferry_loading copy
The Virgin Islands government expects to pay as much as $2.5 million for new ferries to go into service between Red Hook/Charlotte Amalie and Cruz Bay.

According to the St. John Source, $5.3 million has been set aside by the Department of Public Works to purchase two new water buses.  The Federal Highway Administration provided some, if not most, of the funds.

Public Works will invite bidders to submit proposals later this month. Commissioner Darryl Smalls told the Source, "We are looking for vessels that are brand new."

Could this be what one of the new boats will look like?  Probably not, since this ship holds as many as 2,000 passengers.  But maybe a scaled down version is likely.

While the Commissioner said requests for suppliers will go to national as well as local providers, it's unlikely the new ferries will be built in the territory. One resource for ferry manufacturers, Alibaba.com, shows ferries are manufactured in 20 countries.  China has the most builders, 46, followed by Ukraine (23), and the United States (11).

  • All you ever wanted to know about ferries here.
  • St. John Source story on new ferries here.