All your cisterns are full

Lots of rain Sunday and all Monday night.  Torrents.

How bad? 

This photo shows exactly what many folks on island are
worried about – tremendous runoff from the land and construction cites,
filing in the bays, and choking the coral.  The run-off extends here at
Great Cruz Bay as much as 50 feet into the bay. (Click on it for a larger version.)

Schools are closed on all three islands, today, Tuesday.

No one was in the street at Woody’s last night, the rain was so hard.

People were going up Jacob’s ladder in 4WD.

Eating a burger at the Beach Bar, guy next to me says he’s on island for a wedding on the beach. It’s scheduled for Tuesday.  60 people.  Hope it works out.  odds are it won’t.  Forecast is for this to last thru the day and kind of continue off and on to Thursday.

Batters up for annual Ruby tournament

The signs of Spring are unmistakable on St. John, according to Janet Cook Rutnik, long-time resident and award winning artist.  "The sun clears the horizon well before 7 a.m.  Water trucks start lining up at the Cruz Bay standpipe. Agave plants send up shoots like giant asparagus, and girls who play softball are on the field practicing for the Ruby Rutnik Memorial Tournament."

This is the 11th year Rutnik and her husband, Andy, have sponsored the event, in memory of their daughter, Ruby, who died in an auto accident while a student at American University in Washington, DC.  The tournament raises money through sales of sponsorships of innings and T-shirts. Proceeds are used to support a scholarship fund.  So far, the fund has awarded $64,000 to 19 students.

This year’s tournament will be held at the Winston Wells Ballpark in Cruz Bay Friday and Saturday, May 4 and 5.  Teams of schoolgirls from St.. Thomas and St. Croix will compete to win a $2,500 scholarship for one of the college-bound seniors from the winning school.

Sirenusa decision riles the island


The St. John Source reports the island’s former Administrator, Julien Harley, is hopping mad at the Senate for approving more condo development at Sirenusa.  Newly-elected Sen. Carmen Wesselhoft is singled out.  The full story from the Source.

Meanwhile, The Source has been getting letters, too.

“Green Tourism” a draw for St. John

St. John was "green" before green was cool.

Stanley Selengut’s Maho Bay and the National Park’s Cinnamon Bay have been drawing eco-friendly visitors and nature lovers for decades, and more are on the way.  Lots more, possibly, according to a survey conducted by Orbitz, the online travel service.

The Orbitz-sponsored survey found 67% of Americans said they place importance on how eco-friendly a destination is.  More than half (65%) also state it would somewhat impact their decision" where to stay if they knew a hotel or resort was using solar or wind energy.

Orbitz said St. John is one of their top recommendations for travelers interested in protecting and appreciating the environment, pointing out that the island offers activities including hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and educational tours to learn more about the island’s flora and fauna.  A birdwatcher who writes at About.com recently posted that during her recent visit to St. John a pair of Pearly Eyed Thrashers became her favorites.

Orbitz also encouraged visitors to participate in the Friends of the Park’s weekly volunteer clean up parties http://friendsvinp.org/work_party.htm. Here’s the Orbitz news release: http://sev.prnewswire.com/travel/20070411/AQW08711042007-1.html.

Not yet: booking a car barge online

The Web site looks too good to be true.  It offers "On-Line Booking" as a choice, and when you click it you’re teased with a button that reads "Buy Ticket" for a trip via Love City Car Ferries, Inc. 

"On board our vessel, the M/V Capt. Vic, passengers can look forward to bathing in the beautiful views of Pillsbury Sound, the waterway between Red Hook, St. Thomas and Cruz Bay, St. John," says a message on the site.

But, alas, after a few more mouse clicks you get a message that says this feature hasn’t been enabled yet.  Soon come, as we have come to expect.  But the site (http://www.captvicvi.com/ ) does dangle the invitation to e-mail [email protected] for a reservation.

The site explains that Capt. Llewellyn T. Sewer "helped to establish the first passenger ferry" between St. Thomas and St. John while another family member began ferry service between St., John and Tortola. "Hence, this corporation was started in honor of his grandfather and great-grandfathers. The M/V Capt. Vic is the first vessel owned by the corporation and it was named in honor of the late Captain Victor Sewer."

Kudos to Love City Car Ferries for beginning the e-process for their business … hopefully, they’ll continue.

For sale: Baked in the Sun

The latest commercial property to be added to the Multiple Listing Service is Baked in the Sun, the award-winning bakery/sandwich shop on the third floor of the Marketplace.  Asking price is $450,000.  Town and Country Real Estate listed the business.  The bakery’s owner has agreed to train a buyer for up to four months.

Meanwhile, in other real estate news, the Polli’s restaurant space is becoming the new home of the Artists’ Association of St. John.  The Lumberyard location will give the group plenty of room to exhibit members’ works.

St. John – getting there is not half the fun

St. John may not be able to profit from the next big trend in tourism – "green vacationing."  It’s got the beaches, eco-tours, and an unspoiled environment.  But it also has hassles today’s travelers will not put up with. The biggest obstacle, says a nationally known travel industry consultant, is getting to the island.

"It’s all about facilitation," explained Berkeley Young of Randall Travel Marketing.  "From the time people get off the plane in St. Thomas at the airport, they are frustrated.

"There’s no proper greeting. They’re given a urine cup’s portion of punch. There’s nobody asking, ‘How can we help you?’  They have to fight taxicabs.  It’s a horrible experience," Young said.

While veteran travelers will endure the challenges of getting to Red Hook, onto a ferry, and finding their villa or resort greeter in Cruz Bay, Young warns many will not.  “They get on island and they’re irritated and angry.”

"When people come to these islands, they are desperate for escape.  They want someone to do it all for them," Young said. He warns that cruise ships are strong competition for tourists’ dollars. The industry has made it simple.  You make a phone call, they’ll book your airline ticket, greet you at the airport, they’ll handle your bags, put them in your cabin.

He urged the island’s Tourism Commissioner to work with hotels, restaurants, and villa managers to work together to improve the experience for travelers.

How do you think St. John could be more accommodating to visitors?  Offer some advice here.


Listen to the first part of our conversation with travel consultant Berkeley Young.

Click the play button below.

You can also download or hear the file by clicking here.

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