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That One Time Something “Amazing” Happened Around St. John

Carval Rock is located in the center of the image, near the horizon line.

A lot of interesting things have happened here on St. John over the years, but today I’d like to let you all know about the time when something “amazing” happened.

It was June 2014. I had been blogging about St. John for a little over a year when I first heard that a major TV show was filming in the area. I reached out to a man who always had all the latest St. John gossip – the late Captain John Brandi. Just as I thought, Captain John had all the details.

Me & Captain John (with a shot of Cruzan, of course!) on the Willy T in 2012.

Captain John informed me that The Amazing Race had chosen the US Virgin Islands as the first stop on Season 25, which premiered on Sept. 26, 2014. Contestants started in New York City and then had to hop on either the Delta or American flight from JFK to STT. From there, they took a taxi to Vendor’s Plaza in Charlotte Amalie where they found a clue that sent them onto a nearby seaplane. This is where the St. John connection comes in.

Teams flew from Charlotte Amalie and landed between Congo and Lovango, which is just north of Cruz Bay. Numerous St. John boat companies were involved, including Island Roots Charters. According to Captain Jason Siska, owner of Island Roots, more than 20 boats participated. Some carried the camera operators while others transported the contestants from the seaplane over to Carval Rock.

Boats waiting for the teams to arrive near Lovango in June 2014. Image credit: the late Captain John Brandi

Carval Rock is just east of Congo and Lovango. It’s north of Caneel Bay. You can see it from the Caneel Bay overlook, which is pictured at the top of this post.

Upon arrival at Carval Rock, teams had to climb up a net (they must have received a permit to do so as this is a protected area), and then grab a clue before jumping off and into the water below. From there, they were taken to Hans Lollik (an island north of St. Thomas) where they had to dig up another clue using a treasure map.

Setting up the net on Carval Rock. Image credit: the late Captain John Brandi

According to Captain Jason, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for production. The current can be pretty strong in that area, and the clues, which were initially about five to 10 feet underwater, shifted dramatically due to the strong current. Therefore production had to reset everything, holding back the race by a couple of hours. This subsequently affected the last leg of the race as several contestants were forced to dig in the dark, all while getting chewed up by our notorious no see ums.

“Typical island style,” Captain Jason joked.

The episode aired about three months after it was filmed, and although none of our boats made the final cut, it was pretty cool to see so many familiar places included.

Want to check out the episode? You can watch it on CBS or Paramount+. A subscription is required though, so borrow a friend’s password if you don’t have one of your own. ūüôā You can see all of the Season 25 episodes here.

That’s all I have for you today. I hope you enjoy these blast from the past stories as much as I do. And if there is something you’d like to know more about, feel free to send me a quick email at jenn@explorestj.com. Have a fantastic day everyone!

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. Kevin

    Wow, very cool, Jenn. I’ve been to STJ many times in the past 30+ years and watched The Amazing Race for many years, however, I never knew that there was a connection.

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