We received an email asking about the dust everyone was talking about in the trip advisor and virgin islands online forums. The pictures below show the effect of the dust on visibility. Keeping in mind that St. Croix is 43 miles. Even with the dust, the visibility in St. John is still greater than at our home in Pennsylvania.
The dust has little negative effect (other than limiting long range visibility). It does however help to create some amazing sunrise and sunset opportunities for photography.
Last night Morgan's Mango had a fire break out in their kitchen. There is a go fund me campaign to help them get back to serving Island Hospitality.
A few months ago we discovered that our friend John Brandi had retired. He owned and operated Palm Tree Charters for years. It is the only business that i know of which had over 10,000 reviews on Trip Advisor and every one was 5 stars. No one ever left John's boat unhappy. I feel sad for those who never had the opportunity to sail with John.
One of my favorite memories of John was last year we were out with our children and their friends when I spotted a large turtle. We were moving slowly past Maho beach and I told John to stop, I wanted to go visit the turtle. By the time he turned around I had leaped in the water, followed by Lisa and our son. The turtle was much faster than us, and all we saw was a blur, but it was fun. Upon getting back into the boat John was shaking his head and muttered to me, "Lisa is right, you really are a goof.....wait until i stop the damn boat next time." To this day I take this as high praise as John has pulled a number of his own stunts.
Last April fools day, he had half the island convinced he was going to run a charter service to the soggy dollar on the large ferry ships which were sitting idle in St. Thomas. Apparently his wife had no idea and from Johns telling called him in a panic about it. He managed to recruit Mick from the Soggy Dollar and Jen from News of St John to pull off this prank. Here is the link to John's April fools day prank from 2014. http://newsofstjohn.com/2014/04/01/ferry-boat-to-serve-new-purpose/
Anyone who went out with John realizes he loves photography. His favorite topic to shoot are the new ships cruising around our little rock. I remember cruising back from White Bay nearing Cruz Bay and all the sudden we are being whipped to one side.....a large sailing vessel was moving past and John needed to get a picture of it....so our little boat needed to circle it to get the correct shot. He has a Facebook page Captain John's iPhotography which shows his love for the islands and quite a few of the sailing ships he found. I enjoy looking through it while stuck in Pennsylvania between trips to Villa Tesori.
On every trip we took with John, we learned something new about our little piece of the planet. John loves history and how it relates to our little rock called St. John. To say he is knowledgable about St. John is an understatement. Here is a "shot of Brandi."
John's better half is Sue. She is a wonderful woman who managed to take care of all the paperwork so John could be where he wanted, on the water. If you ever went out with John, you would have heard him mention her a number of times. Hearing John talk about Sue and you immediately understand this man would walk through fire for her. She is also a saint....he enjoys surprising her at times.
We managed to get involved in one of John's surprises for Sue last year. John and Sue love Italian food. While St. John is the most beautiful place we know of tomatoes are not native to the islands and must be imported. Which means most are hydroponic and tend to taste like cardboard. We were able to bring down some local grown tomatoes for John last year.
We had just gotten off a boat at the national park dock, John was waiting...as we settled up with Dohm's and John was staring at our suitcases. We immediately open up a suitcase with John watching like a hawk. Finally we get to the tupperware containing the tomatoes, hand them to John....he hugs Lisa and darts off while telling us he needs to get home so he can surprise Sue.........in retrospect it seemed like some drug deal or spy hand off.
Later that week while walking to the Westin Beach Bar for lunch we found ourselves being hugged from behind. We heard "thank you so much". When we turned around we found Sue, who explained that she came home to the most wonderful smell the other night. John had surprised her with home made red sauce.
Visiting with John and Sue at a restaurant or bar on St. John is an event. Every few minutes someone will stop by and visit to say hello or share a story with him. There is the constant shout of "hey John". Sue just shakes her head as John starts one story or another.
There is a belief in certain religions that you will be judged by the number of people you helped in life, that your positive influence on each person will determine your fate. If that is the case, John has enough good Karma to go to heaven thousands of times. Thank you again John for all your friendship and the wonderful memories.
Lisa and Brian blog about their adventures on St. John and the experience of owning Villa Tesori.