How to bring home a great shot from St. John

PHOTO St. John has lots of opportunities for snapshots.  But if you want more than a snap, you're going to have to do a little work.  Thankfully, an earlier issue of the St. John Sun Times has done some of that work for you, assisted by Bob Schlesinger of Tropical Focus.

In the article you'll learn when to shoot. Generally, the best time to take great photos is just before around sunset, between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.  That's when the light has a soft and buttery feel.

Read moreHow to bring home a great shot from St. John

Stelzer on the move, doing good works

After almost a week doing charity work in Haiti, journalist and teacher Bill Stelzer is still off island.  Since heaving Port au Prince, he's been to Cambridge/MIT where he did some work with the One Laptop Per Child program (www.laptop.org).

Then it was on to New York trying to figure out ways technology can help Haiti rebuild.  The islander had a bit of trouble adjusting to Gotham, though.

"Was absolutely freezing. St John and Haiti just don't prepare you to walk blocks in NYC at night without a real coat," he wrote on his Facebook page.

Mixed reviews for Chateau Bordeaux

In business, there’s nothing like a great location.  For a restaurant with a great location, there’s nothing like mediocre food. 

Since Cafe Bordeaux re-opened under new management a few weeks ago, there have been a few rumblings about the operation.  Now, a review has appeared on Anthony Finta’s Virgin-islands-On-Line Web site and it’s not good.   

AdamK wrote, “Over all the view is breath-taking and the atmosphere is very nice, but to us the food was just average (about Applebee's quality) for $24-$32 a plate.”  But beyond the food disappointment, there was the service.  AdamK says his party of four got a bill for almost $400.

Read moreMixed reviews for Chateau Bordeaux

Two new ferries for Christmas

The Commissioner of Public Works said he's in the market for $5 million dollars worth of new ferries for the Red Hook-Cruz Bay run.

In an appearance before a Virgin islands Senate committee, Darryl Smalls said the government raised the money "from various federal sources," the Virgin Islands Daily News reported.   Smalls said he is now soliciting bids for the purchases and hopes the ferries will arrive before New Year's.

Smalls also said $23 million worth of Public Works projects are underway on the island, such as repairs and improvements to Gifft Hill.

Read moreTwo new ferries for Christmas

There’s a small hotel …

While resort developments and McMansion construction have changed St. John  in the past 15 years, visitors can still find small pockets of Caribbean island charm for a relaxing vacation.

Besides renting one of the hundreds of beautioful two- and three-bedroom homes on the island (like those of our advertisers on the right and left sides of the page), there are also inns and guest houses. A Department of Tourism winter promotional publication highlights some of these places.

Read moreThere’s a small hotel …

Surly Cantina closed, controversy breaks out

Surly Craig and Suzanne's inventive and fun (and did we say cheap) adventure in Mexican food at Wharfside Village is over, for now. It lasted about a year.

(The Inquiring Iguana wrote about the Cantina months ago. Read it here.)

Forums at Trip Advisor and Virgin-Islands-On-Line tell the story that the landlord raised the rent. That was the final straw in the enchilada.

But just as they say on TV, "Don't be fooled by substitutes."

Read moreSurly Cantina closed, controversy breaks out

Flying? Why it’s still smart to use carry ons

Aiport Anyone who's passed through the Cyril E. King airport knows the baggage handling system is awful.  That includes even the V.I. Port Authority which oversees the airport. 

At a recent meeting of the Authority, plans to redo the baggage system, replace the air conditioning system, improve the runways and alter the layout of the building were discussed. The cost estimate was about $20 million, according to a report of the meeting by the St. John Source.

Read moreFlying? Why it’s still smart to use carry ons

283 days until tastes of St. John

Flavors With a melange of Caribbean flavors still a memory in the mouth, St. John Rotary is already planning for this year's Flavors of St. John.  It'll be bigger and better, according to a club newsletter reporting on the group's weekly meeting.

The 2009 event raised $17,000 for Rotary's community efforts and scholarships.  The tentative date for the 2010 event is Thursday, Nov. 11. Still to be determined is whether the Westin Resort will have the necessary ballrooms to handle the party which, last November, drew about 250 people.

Read more283 days until tastes of St. John

Love letter to Blue Tang villa

Hmpg_297x218_night_pool Mrs. and Mr. Inquiring Iguana have owned Blue Tang for a couple of years.  Whenever they visit, Mr. I reads the Guest Book's comments left by guests.  And, invariably, his eyes get teary as people say what a good time they had with their spouses, their lovers, their children, and even their grandkids.  That a time at Blue Tang , with assistance from Catered To, the house's management company, could be so relaxing and re-energizing for so many warms the  Iguana's cockles.

Read moreLove letter to Blue Tang villa

More parking in Cruz Bay soon

The Achilles Heel of the Cruz Bay restaurant business is parking. For years, there have been complaints. And ill-planned and badly implemented efforts by the government have failed to solve the problem. The Governor's announcement this week that a Planner finally has been hired is a step in the right direction.

Meanwhile, the Port Authority is moving ahead with its plan to use the aprons of the Enighed Pond commercial port for parking.  As many as 150 spaces, according to Islandia Real Estate's blog (http://www.stjohnvirealestateblog.com/?p=1502).  The Port Authority's executive director, Ken Hobson, told a St. John Chamber of Commerce meeting the parking could be operational by May 1st.

He also said that the PA initially wanted to charge for parking.  However, Gov. John deJongh intervened and, at least at the start, parking will be free.