Animals party at St. John villa

The cash and credit card slips are still being counted but by all indications the weekend's Animal Care Center fundraiser was a huge success.

Almost 200 people attended the event, "Walk on the Wild Side", hosted at the Chocolate Hole home by Glenn and Joanne Hall.

Halls

They opened their magnificent villa to all manner of locals – whiskered, be-tailed,  or masked – and a good time was had.

Tropicalfocus_1

An extensive menu was available courtesy of many island restaurants. For instance, Skinny Legs offered Crab Cakes and Ted's Supper Club provided Flash Fried Eggplant Croistini.  Cactus on the Blue served up Spinach and Mushroom Enchiladas whilke the Lime Inn had Beef Tenderloin available.

Troipicalfocus_menu
"So many incredibly hard working volunteers and generous restaurants and chefs," said Jennifer Dale, an ACC Board member.

A band played on a balcony off one of the bedrooms overlooking the deck (a.k.a., dance hall) and the pool.

Tropicalfocus_sunset
"It really was a fantastic party.  The Halls were incredibly gracious hosts, Dale added.

Virgin Islands photog swims with the fishes

Simonsen_turtle The Virgin Island's Steve Simonsen has made an international reputation for himself specializing in marine photography

The St. John resident's underwater images of divers, coral reefs, and fish have been published in magazines including Caribbean Travel & Life, Scuba Diving and Sport Diver.  His work is also on display in his book, Living Art.

Recently, Simonsen's been drawn to video projects, one of which will be shown in rough cut at the Marketplace Thursday night.  He will talk about the experience of making the film "Leatherbacks of St. Croix."

Livingartt The documentary focuses on the conservation of Leatherback sea turtles at Sandy Point Wildlife Refuge on St Croix. Working alongside members of the Fish and Wildlife Service and The West Indies Marine Animal Research and Conservation Service, Steve hopes the film will help raise awareness of the endangered creatures to help protect, recover and sustain the threatened and endangered marine animals of the West Indies.

Leatherbacks is one of two projects being shown at St. John Film Society's Free Movie Night Thursday.  The other chronicles diminishing 'spawning schools' in the VI's. Fishermen are struggling to preserve their livelihoods, and scientists from the University of the Virgin Islands are racing to understand how to restore and maintain fish populations across the Caribbean.

Villa inventory climbs, prices hold

After a two-week decline in available homes on the Multiple Listing Service, the number of villas for sale is again headed into record territory.

In late March, the MLS showed 141 properties available, a decrease from the 150 mark reached earlier in the month.  In the last three weeks, the number of listings has risen higher to 148.

But despite the growing inventory, there are few signs of fire sales.  The average asking price for a home is $2.2 million, compared with $2.16 million in January.  If you remove a Peter Bay property that's been on the market for six months or more, priced at $32 million, the average drops to $2 million.

The median price of homes for sale now is $1.5 million, compared to $1.375 million in January.