Kekoa – A Life Worth Living

Kekoa Sailing Expeditions on St John, USVI

Kekoa Charters St John USVISt John – Sail with Kekoa
Kekoa “The Brave One” is a 50′ hand-built catamaran. Brothers Ryan and Jamison Witbeck spent over 2 years building her at their small boat works in North Carolina. Captained by Jamison Witbeck, with her signature black sails and his experienced hand at the helm, Kekoa is a popular sailing excursion around St John and the BVIs.

The best way to get to know him [ Jamison ] is to get to know his boat – Savannah Jane Buffet – Host of Ex-Pats

Available for full day, half day, sunset sail, Jost Van Dyke (BVI) and private charters. Whether you are looking for snorkeling, swimming or sailing to the BVIs -  you’re sure to find an adventure that’s right for groups of any size!

Located in Cruz Bay you can reach Kekoa Sailing Expeditions
by calling (340) 244- SAIL(7245)

Click for hundreds of Reviews of Kekoa Sailing Expeditions on Tripadvisor

Check out this episode of EX-PATS with host Svannah Jane Buffet. You’ll learn how the Kekoa was sold to an operation in the Virgin Islands – and how she was abandoned at sea during a huge storm on her way to St Thomas. But fate stepped in and the brothers found her adrift, brought her in for repairs and made the move to St John. Truly inspiring …

Discover St John’s History

St John - Life in Five Quarters

The history of St John, USVIEver wonder what life was like on St John in the 1950′s or 1900 or 1780 or earlier? If so, then you’ll likely find the St John Historical Society’s web site, , and publications a true treasure trove of knowledge and entertainment!

Life in Five Quarters is the St John Historical Society’s latest effort. The pages of the 200+ page book contain selected articles and historic images from the Society’s archives. From the Danish struggle to colonize the island through “modern day” St John ( 1950′s) you’ll discover, through text and pictures, some of the most important events to shape today’s island of St John.

“… 66 unique articles …as well as an impressive collection of images … many never before published.”

I encourage you to discover St John beyond the beautiful beaches, villas and watersports. There is a St John beneath the modern exterior that is brimming with fascinating history. Whether you are driving, walking, hiking or snorkeling – every corner of St John bears evidence of its past. Give context to the things you see and the places you visit on St John by learning a bit about life before cruise ships and Piña Coladas. I think you’ll find it enriches the experience!

Life in Five Quarters is available at many of the gift shops on St John or by visiting the St John Historical Society’s site Shop Now. The price is $29.99 for the printed book or $9.99 for an electronic download. Your support helps to protect and promote the island’s history and treasures.

Spotlight on Maho Bay Beach

Maho Bay beach and snorkeling

Maho Bay beach, St John mapAsk anyone who’s visited St John and they’ll likely tell you that Maho Bay is among their favorite beaches. And why not, with its easy to reach location, beautiful shallow water, soft sand beach, towering coconut palms, parking, facilities and excellent snorkeling.

Planning to spend the day on one of St John’s beaches?
Voted a “Visitors Favorite Beach”- Maho deserves it’s fame. Located on North Shore Road, the beach is just a few yards from parking. This makes it a top choice for anybody with kids and chairs and coolers and snorkeling gear and floatation.

The beach is narrow, but the water is usually calm – with only the lightest surf. The sand is as soft as sugar and extends a fair distance from the shoreline. The shoreline is rimmed with sea grapes and coconut palms that cast an inviting shade throughout the day. There are plenty of “pockets” along the beach so that you feel almost like you’ve got Maho to your self!

But, popularity comes at a price …and the beach can get crowded especially at high season and on holidays! The best times to avoid a crowd are early in the morning ( before 10:30am) or late in the day ( after 3:30pm). Because of its location, Maho is fairly shaded by late afternoon.

Sea turtle at Maho Bay beachMaho is home to a large variety of marine species that live and feed on the extensive sea grass beds of the bay. Chief among them are sea turtles and rays that frequent the bay. You’re also likely to sea schools of young Tarpon hunting for small fish and crabs in the shallow waters. Looking for corals? The best spots are along the western edge of the bay. There you’ll find a mix of shallow water coral outcroppings and colorful fish.

America Hill Great House Ruins – Look high up on the ridge to the west and you can see the ruins of this 19th century Caribbean great house. If you’re looking for a wonderful hike – it can be reached via the Cinnamon Bay Trail > America Hill Trail.

Getting there:
From Cruz Bay – take Rte 20 ( North Shore Road) approximately 5 miles. There is a small parking area beach side or a larger parking area at the eastern end of the beach.

Blue Chair Rum Review

Kenny Chesney & Blue Chair Bay Rum review

>>> Click for Blue Chair Bay Rum Drink Recipes \_/ \_/ \_/

Blue Bay Rum Review

Well, I finally got my hands on a couple of bottles! Talk about something catching on …and fast. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are buzzing with fans asking the same question …”Where can I get a bottle of Blue Chair Rum?“. And the distributor has responded by getting more bottles on more shelves and quick!

“We took all the beauty out there and bottled it up in here.” – Kenny Chesney

Blue Chair Bay Rum reviewUsing the Rum Locator on their site I found a shop near me. Short drive, if 30 miles is a short drive. When my wife and I got home we decided to try one of the signature drinks, an Island Girl. It uses Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum and we like coconut anything. So, here’s the drink recipe and our review:

1 1/2 oz. Blue Chair Bay Coconut Rum1 oz. orange juice
1 oz. pinapple juice
2 oz. lemon-lime soda

Mix all of the ingredients in a tall glass half full of ice, stir and serve with a garnish of orange or pineapple

Now for the Review
Full disclosure,
I tried some straight so I’d have a better idea of the true taste of this premium rum. Glad I did because the soda in the Island Lady was just a bit too sweet for me. What I will say is that it is definitely easy to drink. It’s a clear white rum with a nice but not over powering flavor of coconut. It definitely puts some distance between itself and say Malibu Rum. It’s a lot more subtle coconut flavoring. And surely not as sweet as some coconut rums on the market. And Blue Chair Bay Rum would be a great rum choice for just about any of our favorite rum mixed drinks. On the rocks it was smooth and cool …warming as it went down without any hints of fake coconut flavoring. IMO, it stands out from some of the other coconut rums in its balance and drinkability. It’s a true premium product …no doubt and no disappointment. This will be one of the top rums in a very short time.

Find out where you can pick up Blue Chair Bay Rum using their handy store locator.

So pick up a bottle and give it a try then let me know what you think.

St John Beaches – Spotlight on Trunk Bay

Trunk Bay - St John beaches

Panoramic view of Trunk Bay – mouse over or tap to scroll left and right!

Trunk Bay beach mapTrunk Bay is St John’s most famous beach, the most photographed beach and voted one of the top ten beaches in the world by Condé Nast Traveler magazine! Located on St John’s north shore and under the protection and management of the Virgin Islands National Park – Trunk Bay should be on everybody’s short list for destinations beaches.  Conveniently located with amenities, good parking and taxi service, you’ll find plenty of  beautiful white sand beach, coconut palms, aqua blue water and terrific snorkeling. Trunk Bay is the only St John beach with a lifeguard(s); and the only beach with an admission fee.

” …snorkel at Trunk Bay, where you might end up swimming with a Hawksbill turtle.” – Condé Nast Traveler

Trunk Bay underwater snorkeling trailSnorkeling the underwater snorkeling trail is great for first-timers, kids and adults. Although this site sees a lot of visitors, it’s still one of the best snorkeling spots on St John to see colorful fish and corals in less than 20′ of water. Keep an eye out for clusters of indigo-blue tunicates. They are a rare treat – and seem to thrive in this location! Snorkel around the rocky cay is more adventure than sightseeing. Waves increase and corals decrease as you reach the far side. The eastern side of the cay is relatively barren of corals.

Getting there:
Taxi service is available in town. If traveling by car – you’ll take North Shore Road out of Cruz Bay. Travel along the winding road for about 2 mi and you’ll come to a scenic overlook. This is where the majority of Trunk Bay pictures are taken. Continue on down to the bottom of the hill and the entrance to Trunk is on your left – you can’t miss it.

NOTE: Because of Trunk Bay’s popularity – it’s best hit the beach early …or later in the afternoon.


Snorkel Waterlemon Cay / Leinster Bay

Waterlemon Cay, St John

Waterlemon Cay and Leinster Bay panorama. Mouse-over scroll left and right!

Waterlemon Cay, St John mapSt John’s #1 Snorkeling Destination!

Waterlemon Cay / Leinster Bay
The #1 “St John attraction” on Tripadvisor is also one of the top spots to snorkel on St John! The water is clear, corals are abundant, fish and sea life abound. This should be on everyone’s “must see” list when visiting St John.

Snorkeling is the reason most visitors come to Waterlemon. Each year thousands of people make the snorkeling pilgrimage. Waterlemon Cay is one of the best snorkeling  spots to see schools of fish, rays, turtles, star fish, conch and beautiful hard and soft coral reef formations. Access to the water is fairly easy via a sandy beach or a coral stone beach closest to Waterlemon Cay. This location is famous for the variety and density of sea life. You see lots of mustard hill coral, yellow and red sponges, huge purple sea fans, fire coral and large elkhorn. The variety of fish is equally as rich – with schools of blue Atlantic Tangs, parrotfish, blue runners, Seagant Major Damsels and an assortment of colorful and inquisitive wrasses species. Leinster Bay and its sea grass beds are a great place to spot turtles, rays and Queen conch.

Getting There:
The Leinster Bay Trail to Waterlemon Cay leaves from the lower parking area of the Anneberg Ruins on St John’s north shore. The short hike takes you along the shoreline of the beautiful aqua-blue waters of Leinster Bay. The best spot to enter the water is along the coral rubble shoreline – nearest the little island or Cay just off shore. Snorkel out to Waterlemon Cay and you’ll likely see lots of huge red and yellow cushion starfish.

CAUTION! - Depending on the weather, tides and moon phase – there can be a strong current on the western edge of the Cay. Use common sense and never exceed your abilities and always snorkel with someone.

Snorkeling Waterlemon Cay video

Uniquely St John – Trinidad Charlie’s Hot Sauces

St John hot sauces by Trinidad Charlie

Trinidad Charlie hot sauce St JohnNothing captures the soul of a place quite like food does. And although St John doesn’t have a signature dish it does have some really great hot sauces produced right here, on island. One of the first and one of the best is made by Trinidad Charlie.

“Trinidad Charlie” Deyalsingh arrived on St John in 1968. With him he carried a handful of pepper seeds from his native land. He planted those seeds and created his first hot sauce. Those first batches were sold locally – and provided Charlie some important feedback. People came to him furious that his sauce had ruined their meals! Deyalsingh discovered that the pepper sauce enjoyed by people of Trinidad was just too hot for St John. So Charlie set to make a pepper sauce that packed all of the flavor of his original – but better suited the foods and culture of his new home. The rest is history …

The birth of his West Indian Sizzle – hot but not too hot. He combined the heat of the peppers with the sweet of the papaya and the subtle pucker of vinegar. The sauce was a huge hit and today enjoys fans from around the world!

One of Trinidad Charlie’s biggest fans is none other than famous country singer Kenny Chesney. It seems Chesney spent an afternoon at Island Blues sharing drinks and stories with our very own Trinidad Charlie. That experience made its way into Chesney’s song “Nowhere to go, nowhere to be”.

“Nowhere to go and nowhere to be,
“Trinidad Charlie” on a stool next to me,
 Readin’ his book ’bout the “haves” and “have-nots,”
 In between chapters we take another shot.
 And one by one we slide from reality,
With nowhere to go, and nowhere to be…” – Kenny Chesney / Lucky Old Sun

West Indian Sizzle
REVIEW: Hot but not too hot, with a sophisticated blend of West Indian spices and sweet papaya

West Indian Pumpkin Pepper Sauce
REVIEW: Not as hot as the Sizzle and with a hint of fresh sweet pumkin and Indian spices of cumin and turmeric.

West Indian Key Lime Hot Sauce
REVIEW: Hotter than the Pumkin and a good punch of key lime blends into West Indian spices

I use his sauces on everything from eggs in the morning, to spice up a sandwich at lunch or as a marinade on fish and chicken dinner. NOTE: Each batch of sauce is hand made and the flavors and heat do vary a tiny bit based on the season/weather and vegetables.

Where to Buy
Most St John grocery stores carry his line of hot sauces. In Cruz Bay check out Starfish Market or Dolphin Market. In Coral Bay you’ll find his sauces at Calabash Market and Love City Market.

How to Order
To order the sauces in 5 oz bottles or by the case:
email or call 340-693-8959

Minimum order 3 bottles – $24.95 includes shipping and handling
Case of 12 – $84.00 includes S&H
T-Shirt – $17.00 includes S&H

Spotlight on – Caneel Bay Beach and Resort

Caneel Bay Resort

Caneel Bay beach is part of the Caneel Bay Resort located within the Virgin Islands National Park.
Caneel Bay beach snorkelingCaneel Bay Beach

This lux-relaxed resort offers the perfect way to enjoy St John. The 170 acres and 7 beaches of the Caneel Bay are located within the Virgin Islands National Park – offering unparalleled beauty, privacy, convenience and adventure. Caneel’s main beach is it’s most popular. Soft white sand and a shallow entry to the aqua waters of the quiet bay make it the perfect spot for families of all ages.
Snorkeling – Caneel Bay beach is great for the beginner or avid snorkeler.  The shoreline that runs along the right side of the beach boasts plenty of coral, sea grass and sea life including turtles, rays and colorful Caribbean fish.

Guests can also enjoy the other (6) beaches and snorkeling: Turtle Bay Beach, Scott Beach, Paradise Beach, Salomon Bay Beach, Honeymoon Beach, Hawksnest Beach. Non-guests have access to Caneel Beach, Honeymoon Beach and Salomon Bay.

If one ventures around the tip of the bay, Cottage Point, the water is deeper and currents and waves increase but the snorkeling is fantastic. As a precaution, be sure to stay close to shore and look around frequently for boat traffic.

Caneel Resort was originally a Sugar Cane Mill and converted to a resort in 1950 by Laurence Rockerfeller. The 170 acres and 7 beaches are surrounded by the VINP.

Getting there:

Caneel Bay Resort is just a few miles away from Cruz Bay heading South on North Shore Road (Rte 20). On your left is the main entrance and gatehouse to Caneel Bay Resort. Visitors can check in at the gate and use the lower parking area. There is a $20 charge – refunded with a $20 purchase during your visit. Access is limited to Caneel Bay beach, Honeymoon and Salomon beaches and does not include use of beach chairs, towels or amenities.


Guide to St John Beaches

For more detailed information and map of St John’s beaches and best spots to snorkel on St John visit

I absolutely love [] web site! It’s really helpful to have the picture of the beach to match the description. – Skywater

St John Beach Guide - mobile friendly siteLooking for a mobile-friendly website that combines first-hand beach information, directions and maps along with pictures of St John’s beaches? is the site. Discover St John’s top beaches, most romantic beaches, most secluded beaches along with information, maps and directions so that you can plan your St John adventure and make the most of each and every beach day on St John. The site also has important information for visitors to the island including transportation and the St Thomas to St John ferry schedules and more!

Lionfish Threat – You Can Help!

St John Lionfish

Zebra Mussels in the Great Lakes and invasive Snakehead fish showing up in greater and greater locations in the US South East. There’s no shortage of news stories concerning invasive species in the US and its territories. And sadly, St John is not immune to this type of threat.

CORE Lionfish sightings informationEnter the Indo-Pacific Lionfish
Originally from the Indo-Pacific Ocean and Red Sea; the Lionfish is believed to have been released by aquarists in the mid to late 80′s. Sightings along the South Florida Coast have become increasingly common. And the threat is spreading at an ever alarming rate! The Lionfish has no known predators and is able to produce 30,000 eggs in a single spawning! The result has been an explosion of the population and threatened territories.

Yes they are beautiful
The Lionfish is a dramatic fish with long striped spines and striped membranes like a bristle of flags. But as beautiful as the fish may be it does incredible damage to marine ecosystems by eating juvenile reef fish which form the foundation of every healthy reef. In fact, in some parts of the Bahamas the only fish reported on some reefs are Lionfish!

So what can you do?
CORE Foundation has been educating the public about the Caribbean Lionfish threat and organizing volunteers, teaming with local dive operations and collection dives to protect St John’s coral reefs.

SPOT ONE – REPORT IT. For more information about CORE or to report a lionfish sighting, call (340) 514-4625 or email

St John’s Best Beaches

St John beaches

St John may be the smallest of the US Virgin Islands but it’s world-famous beaches are a huge attraction. Whether you want to enjoy the North Shore’s Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Beach and Caneel Bay beaches or favor the solitude of a beach that’s off the beaten path – like Vie’s beach, Lameshur, Haulover Bay and Salt Pond Bay – there’s a St John beach to match your mood.

Cinnamon Bay beach on St John

North Shore Beaches

St John’s top beaches are along the north shore and within the boundaries of the VI National Park. While each beach has it’s own character – they all share some common traits of soft white sand, incredible aqua blue water, palm rimmed shorelines and amazing views. Ranking them would be difficult but certainly Trunk Bay beach is at the top of the list for most beautiful beaches on St John.

Trunk Bay – is St John’s most popular and most photographed beach. It’s likely that your first image of a beach on St John was a picture of Trunk. But Trunk Bay isn’t just beautiful – it is a great beach for swimming, snorkeling and watersports. With a long white sand beach and the only underwater snorkeling trail on the island – you’ll have lots to do and see. More information about Trunk Bay .

Cinnamon Bay – is popular for its camping area and facilities. And what a great way to experience St John – under the stars! But Cinnamon Bay beach rivals Trunk for its beauty and fantastic soak-up-the-sun location and great swimming! Also a very popular beach – I recommend an early ( 9:30am >10:30am) or late arrival ( 3:00pm > 4:30pm); and you’ll usually find the beach is less crowded at the western end (left as you face the water). Facilities include a camping, snack bar/grill, souvenir shop, showers, restrooms, public telephones, and lifeguards. Cinnamon Bay Beach information .

Waterlemon Cay – while not a beach for sunbathing – Waterlemon Cay offers the best snorkeling on St John. For information and direction for Waterlemon Cay

East End Beaches

St John rental JeepThe remote East End of St John holds several wonderful beaches – each with unique charms. Visiting the East End will require a bit of a drive and some beaches require a hike – but the destination is definitely worth a spot on the itinerary!

Hansen Bay / Vie’s Beach – is the most popular and IMO the finest of the East End beaches. With a beautiful crescent shaped beach, fantastic swimming and some of the island’s best snorkeling you’ll find everything the heart desires. And when you get hungry, Miss Vie’s Snack Shack offers up some yummy Caribbean foods like conch fritters and her famous garlic chicken. More information on Hansen Bay / Vie’s Beach

Brown Bay – requires a moderately strenuous hike ( approx. 30 min each way). Take the Brown Bay Trail just of East End Road outside of Coral Bay. The location is secluded. The windswept beach has plenty of natural shade, sandy beach, shallow water and plantations ruins to explore. More information on Brown Bay, St John

St John Island

Getting to know St John island is half the fun. Discover the best St John resorts, top St John snorkeling beaches, beach bars and restaurants and more!. Our pages are the #1 Virgin Islands resource for visitors - providing maps, guides, bar and restaurant reviews, St John villa rentals and news announcements.


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