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The Dust from Africa is Here

Dusty skies in Coral Bay

If you’ve been watching our webcams this week, you may have noticed that our skies look a bit hazier than normal. Or perhaps you are one of the very few people currently on island, you have definitely seen this for yourself. Well, in either case, it’s not haze you’re seeing in our skies. It’s actually Saharan Dust, dust that has traveled all the way over here from Africa. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

Each year, typically during spring and summer months, dust and sand from the Sahara Desert float up from Africa and travel thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean via the trade winds. When the dust arrives in the territory, our typically bright blue skies are replaced by a grey haze. Visibility is reduced, and our air quality becomes poor. The dust can last for a day, a few days, or even a week in some cases. It looks like the dust that is currently clouding up our skies will pass through by the end of the week.

One cool thing about the Saharan Dust is that you can track it on radar, just like you can track a rainstorm. I like to use myfoxhurricane.com to track it. The first image below is the dust as of this morning (May 10th), and the second image is Friday night’s forecast.

Saharan Dust May 10th at 8 a.m.
Saharan Dust forecast for Friday at 11 p.m.

Ther good news is that the dust is expected to clear by the end of the week. The not-so-good news is that it may return at some point next week.

A good consequence of the dust is that it makes it harder for hurricanes to form, as it consists of very dry air. So while I miss my bright blue skies, I will take some dust over a hurrance any day of the week. 🙂

Here are a couple of pictures that show what the skies look like with and without the dust to give you a better idea of its effects.

The view from The Windmill Bar
The view from The Windmill Bar with this week’s dust
Coral Bay without the dust
Coral Bay this week
Cruz Bay
Cruz Bay with yesterday’s dust

If you would like to track the Saharan dust in St. John, check out myfoxhurricane.com.

And if you’d like to check out the dust in realtime, please check out our webcams at explorestj.com/webcams.

That’s it for today, folks. I’m heading out to pick up island tour guests now. I’ll take some more photos today and will share them with you all later. And if you’re looking to take an island tour, please email me at jenn@explorestj.com for more information or visit www.explorestj.com/tour.

May 9th Sargassum Update

Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! I just realized that it’s been more than a week since I posted a sargassum update. So here we go. 🙂

Good news! The sargassum that we saw on the more popular beaches – Honeymoon, Trunk Bay, and Cinnamon, for example – is gone. We still have some sargassum in the area, but it is no longer affecting the popular North Shore beaches. There is a bit dried up on some, but it is not affecting anyone’s beach days.

Over the past few days, I have seen sargassum in Chocolate Hole, Hart Bay, Borck Creek (which is part of Hurricane Hole), and over at Drunk Bay (which is near Salt Pond Bay). I have seen some on Ms. Vie’s beach on the East End too. There wasn’t much on either Hansen or Saltwell Bottom out there. I have been everywhere except Salt Pond and Lameshur, so I apologize that I cannot report on those bays.

Chocolate Hole
Hart Bay
Ms. Vie’s on the East End

I know that sargassum is being talked about in the media quite often, but please know, it really isn’t affecting us here. So go ahead and book those flights! The island is quiet. Come visit us!

I will continue to provide updates, as needed, at www.explorestj.com/sargassum. So please check that page often. Thank you for reading Explore STJ! Tell your friends about us. 🙂


Looking to take a St. John island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj


Popular Restaurant Closes After Nearly 20 Years in Business

Aqua Bistro was a great restaurant located in Coral Bay.

Well folks, this isn’t the best news to begin the week with. After nearly 20 years in business, Aqua Bistro – the popular Coral Bay bar and restaurant – has closed.

“There was a breakdown in lease negotiations,” owner Andi Vacharat told me Sunday night. “We are grateful for the support we received during our time in the community.” Andi co-owns Aqua Bistro with Carrie Glenn. The pair took over the restaurant back in 2017.

Aqua Bistro was located in the Cocolobo complex, across the street from Coral Bay harbor. It was located in a courtyard beside Dolphin Market and next door to Salty Mongoose and Surf Club Cantina.

This might not be the end of Aqua Bistro, however. (Fingers crossed it’s not!) Andi said she and Carrie are looking at potential spaces around the island. I will keep you posted on that.

In the meantime, if you are curious about where all of our restaurants are located, you can always check out our restaurant map at www.explorestj.com/restaurantmap.


Explore STJ would like to welcome our newest advertiser Dulce Vita Sails. Vita is a beautiful, 45-foot Leopard catamaran. She is fully equipped to give you the perfect Caribbean sail with numerous lounge areas, comfortable sleeping quarters and 360-degree views of paradise. Dulce Vita Sails is owned, operated and crewed by women. They offer day sails and sunsets, overnight charters, and wellness retreats.

Click here to learn more about Dulce Vita Sails. 


If You Need a Laugh, Check This Out…

It’s the little things in life, right?

For those of you who need an extra smile or a laugh every day, I strongly encourage you to follow The Upstairs on Facebook. The sandwich board game has been on fire this week. I’ve been looking forward to their daily posts, and they have all cracked me up this week. Here are a few for those of you who have missed them:

(Karaoke actually starts at 8 p.m. when they have it.)
The island has been slow… let’s help them out!
Not sure if this is an invite or a warning…
#facts

The signs are the work of Andy Peter. I wrote about Andy earlier this year before he flew to Turkey to help with earthquake relief efforts. Click here to read that story. Andy co-owns The Upstairs with Christie Register. The pair also co-owns The Windmill Bar with Ronnie Jones and family. They recently launched a new menu at The Upstairs. You should check it out.

You can check out their Facebook profile by clicking this link. And if you’re not on Facebook, feel free to send me an email at jenn@explorestj.com and I will send you a screenshot. 🙂

That’s it for today, folks. Have a great day!


Looking to take a St. John island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj


New Resort Planned for Former Epstein Islands

Little St. James is located off of St. John’s southwest shore.

Well folks, I didn’t see this one coming.

Forbes magazine was the first to announce yesterday that Little St. James and Great St. James – two islands owned by Jeffrey Epstein – have sold to Peter Bay resident Stephen Deckoff for $60 million. Mr. Deckoff plans to develop a 25-room luxury resort on the island.

Mr. Deckoff is the founder of Black Diamond Capital Management. He has lived on St. John for over a decade and is one of the island’s most philanthropic residents. He told Forbes magazine that he had never met Epstein and that he had never been to either of the islands until they were listed for sale following Epstein’s death.

“I’ve been proud to call the U.S. Virgin Islands home for more than a decade and am tremendously pleased to be able to bring the area a world-class destination benefitting its natural grace and beauty,” Mr. Deckoff told Forbes. “I very much look forward to working with the U.S. Virgin Islands to make this dream a reality.”

Both Little St. James and Great St. James are located off of St. John’s southwest shore. They are located between St. John and St. Thomas. Epstein bought Little St. James for $8 million in 1998. He bought Great St. James, which remains largely undeveloped, for $22.5 million in 2016.

Epstein received generous tax benefits while operating his businesses in the Virgin Islands. His estate agreed to pay $105 million to the USVI after our attorney general sued the estate in 2020, claiming the government was duped into granting Epstein’s company tax benefits. That settlement grants the USVI government half the proceeds from the sale of the islands, which will be put into a trust to provide counseling and other services for victims of sexual abuse.

Want to see what the island looks like? Here’s a quick video I took near Little St. James back in December:

 


Looking to take a St. John island tour?

Learn more here –> www.explorestj.com/tour Full & half days available. Rated “Excellent” on TripAdvisor.

Follow Explore STJ on Social Media

–> www.facebook.com/explorestj

–> www.instagram.com/explorestj


You’re All Invited to Attend a Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and there is a fabulous event planned for all the moms and their families. Whether you live on island or are visiting for vacation, all are welcome and invited to attend.

Coral Bay Catering and Chef Paulie are sponsoring a Mother’s Day brunch on Sunday, May 14th from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Coral Bay. The brunch will be hosted by Beverly Melius at Our Place, Coral Bay’s new community center and event space. Our Place is located near the Coral Bay triangle. If you are coming from Cruz Bay, it’s on your right just before the triangle. There is a sign marking the entrance.

The cost to attend is $65 per person, while children ages 12 and under eat free. The buffet will include an omelet station, biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros, maple glazed salmon, eggs benedict, crab benedict, blueberry pancakes, homemade granola, and more. There will be a cash bar serving mimosas, bloody marys, adult iced coffee, and mocktails for the kids.

The family-friendly event will also feature face painting, arts and crafts, a massage station, and live music. A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit KATS (the kids and the sea program) and the Dynamic Dancers.

Reservations are required as seating is limited. Reserve your spot by calling or texting 340-423-6611.