Spotlight on: STJ Creative

STJ Creative cameraDisclosure: We received compensation for this article and its timing. As a for-profit company in a niche travel location, we have local businesses that are also advertisers on our site. When we bring you items of interest, written by us, with editorial rights given to the featured advertiser you’ll see this disclosure. We do not receive commissions.

We spent the day with Anne of STJ Creative. Join us as we give you a behind-the-lens look at a-day-in-the-life of one of St John’s top photographers.

STJ Creative is the professional identity of Anne Bequette. A professional photographer for over 6 years – Anne moved to St John the first time in 2005, left to finish college in 2006, and returned in 2012 to launch STJ Creative, a life-long dream of hers. Since then she’s been using her creative eye to capture subjects with a modern mix of formal, candid, and photo-journalistic styles. Whether she’s shooting for a wedding, family portraits, commercial / real estate / or shooting an event – Anne manages to capture the beauty in every moment and convey it as a compelling image.

Anne’s day starts at 6am. A quick look at the day’s weather forecast and “flight check” of her equipment.

”I try to shoot during the magical times of the day: morning and dusk.” – Anne

Packing a dizzying array of photographic equipment into her black duffle, she’s off early to scout the location of her morning shoot. In this case – beach portraits for a family from Massachusetts visiting St. John on vacation. The location: world-famous Trunk Bay Beach on St John’s beautiful North Shore. Black volcanic rocks jut out over sugar-soft sand juxtaposed to the aquas and blues of the bay. The sun is just beginning to pull soft shadows. A quick survey of the light, shadows and natural forms, perfect! Anne is satisfied that the eastern end of Trunk will be ideal; and we head off to meet the family at the entrance.

STJ Creative photographer

The shoot combines her photographic skills with a honed ability to get the best from her subjects without inducing stress. We watched as she lead them through various poses; combining the natural forms and colors of St John with the characters and dress of a couple with two young girls. Between smile inducing humor and professional “tricks” for keeping people from blinking, Anne was pure professional. The shoot lasted just over an hour and a half – and culminated in some pictures that were decidedly fun and spontaneous.

“It’s amazing what can come out of these casual end-of-session images!” – Anne

Next stop Cruz Bay to shoot head shots for one of the busiest wedding planners on the island. The drive back to “town” was along St. John’s North Shore Road. We talk about Caneel Bay Resort and share a story or two about the crazy driving on these winding island roads. The commercial shoot shows off Anne’s wide range of specialties behind the lens. She slips into the creative, selecting props and lighting to bring the images to life. A few hours will pass as she wraps up her second shoot, and heads home to begin the post production process of all the images taken today. Just another day in paradise for those of us that live and work on this exquisite little rock!

To view the results of Anne’s morning shoot, as well as her portfolio, please visit her site at
Interested in having STJ Creative capture your special St. John memories?
Give Anne a call at 314.258.9120 or email her at

Snorkeling Henley Cay

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Henley Cay map



St John is renowned for its shallow water snorkeling. With top snorkeling destinations like Waterlemon Cay, Trunk Bay, Salt Pond and Haulover North …St John certainly has its share of great places to snorkel that are easy to get to while on vacation. So it’s no surprise that one of the least talked about but most impressive snorkeling spots takes a little work to get to. That place is Henley Cay.



Getting There
Henley Cay sits within sight of Caneel Bay Resort on St John’s North Shore. There are several kayak tours that visit the cay; but we chose VI Ecotours out of Honeymoon Bay for our day of snorkeling. We found the relatively short paddle over to Henley Cay provides just the right amount of adventure – and shouldn’t prove too challenging for most people. And our guide used the time to share information about the history of Henley Cay, Lovango and St John’s North Shore – before we ran the kayaks ashore on the tiny crescent of sand and stoney beach that makes upper the western edge of Henley Cay.

The sheer variety of corals and fish puts Henley Cay at the very top of snorkeling destinations on St John!

Snorkeling Henley CaySnorkeling Henley Cay
The snorkeling is shallow water …typical of most of St John’s snorkeling destinations. Much of the reef is in 3′ to 15′ of water – providing excellent visibility. Heading along the beach toward Caneel you’ll see plenty of sea fans, gorgonians and colorful reef fish. Just past a short concrete and stone jetty, as you near a rocky outcropping, the number and variety of corals and fish will rapidly increase as will the current. This marks the “edge” of the protected cove. Stay just out of the current and circling back about 60m off the beach you’ll follow a patch reef and coral outcroppings heading toward the north western end of the cay. As you near the rocks at this end of the beach there’s a marked increase in the variety, density and color of hard and soft corals, sea fans, gorgonians and colorful Caribbean reef fish. The health of the reef here is stunning. Everywhere you look Atlantic Blue Tangs, Surgeonfish, parrotfish, Angelfish and wrasses swim! And beneath you is a “forest” of rhythmically waving sea fans, gorgonians and soft corals. Dotting the underwater terrain are well developed brain corals in mystical shades of greens. Look closer and you find a wide range of tunicates …from the simply colorful to the down right bizarre! And every nook and cranny is home to colorful sponges and encrusting corals. As we said, the sheer variety and apparent health of this location is just amazing!

A Bit of History
And when you come ashore you can wander about the 11-acre cay. At the far end of the beach is a short stone and concrete jetty. Follow it back a short way into the thicket and you’ll discover a small concrete structure built in the late 1940’s. The history of their tiny cay is surprisingly rich. During St John’s 1733 Slave Revolt it was used as a safe place for woman and children before moving them to St Thomas. In the late 40’s the son of the island’s owner crashed a small plane on the island. The wreckage is still visible on the island. More recently, during the early 1950’s, the Gibney’s lived on the small island before buying a small stretch of land on Hawksnest Bay [ Gibney Beach ]. And today it is part of the Virgin Islands National Park on St John.

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Tradewinds Cottage – 1 or 2 Bdrm

Tradewinds Cottage 1 or 2 bedroom St John villa rental

Tradewinds Cottage: Can be rented as a 1 or 2 bedroom, 2 bath.Located high above John’s Folly Bay in the quiet area of Concordia, St John, USVI

“Tradewinds” is a Caribbean wooden cottage style house, decorated simply but eclectically in original art and crafts against white walls and natural wood.

Enjoy panoramic ocean views!

The floor plan features a large, light-filled livingroom/ eating area/kitchen, one bedroom, and one bathroom on the upper floor. Downstairs, reached by an outdoor stairway, is the second bedroom and bathroom, with a separate balcony overlooking the ocean. There is also fold-out sleep sofa if needed in the livingroom.

The downstairs bedroom, also overlooking the ocean, is bright and airy, with terrazzo tiles, crafted wood finishes, unique art pieces, sitting area, and large sliders opening onto a small private balcony. Fall asleep to gentle warm breezes and the sounds of waves and tree frogs, and watch the moon rise out of the ocean.

Tradewinds Cottage, St John, US Virgin Islands

Cottage can be rented as a one-bedroom for two people, with downstairs bedroom and bathroom locked up. Or, it can be rented as a two-bedroom for four people.

Rates start as low as $179/night!
During high season (Dec 15-April 15) a one-week minimum stay is required.
During off season (Nov 15–Dec 15 and April 15-Aug 1), only a four-day minimum stay is required.
Most of our guests arrive/depart on Saturdays or Sundays, but ask about other days of the week.

Contact for Availability and Rates

Availabilty & Rates:


Tel#: Lois or Doug at (781)934-9070

Fatty Crab St John – Restaurant Review

Restaurant review - Fatty Crab , Cruz Bay, St John

Like Fatty Crab’s West Village, NYC and Hong Kong locations – Fatty Crab on St John combines rich Malasian style seasonings using local ingredients. The chef uses Josephine’s Greens [ organic] and locally caught deep water fish along with local fruits, veggies and meats!

A must-eat place in St. John if you are a genuine foodie. – surfonmt

True to their Malasian inspiration, Fatty Crab’s menu is a wonderful, even playful, combination of sweet, sour and spicy! Using wonderful curries, chillies, fermented condiments and coconut milk – each dish is a volcano of flavors! Supporting this play of flavors and culinary textures is a unique menu concept where portion sizes encourage diners to order several dishes to Fatty Crab on St. Johnbe shared by the table rather than the more traditional main entree selection. We found this to be delightful on so many levels. It allows you to taste a range of dishes. It promotes and encourages literal sharing of a meal. And the end result is a more intimate dining experience. One not to be missed when on Saint John.

Our Experience
We like the international-hippster atmosphere of the place. Great lighting and interesting furnishings and artwork. Booth style or open table layout [ we love booths]. The service was flawless – even while training another staff member! Each “course” came out perfectly timed and we never felt rushed or over served. We started off with the Green Mango Papaya Salad – yum! Fresh and the perfect balance of sweetness. Next up, Watermelon Crispy Pork – take our word for it and try it! Then on to the Brisket. Not like the brisket you know …this is something almost reinvented. Moist, tender and full of flavor. We all agreed this was our favorite dish!

But don’t take it from us. Check out the restaurant reviews on Trip Advisor …
Fatty Crab on St John

But enough talk – here’s a peek at their dinner menu and specialty drinks.

Fatty Crab St John Menu

Green Mango Papaya Salad | palm sugar, chili, nuts, cilantro | 11
Crispy Shrimp | sweet chili sauce | 27
Fatty Sliders | mini spiced beef & pork burgers, chili aioli, pickles| 10
Vegetable Tempura | local veggies, fish palm glaze | 8
Josephine’s Greens | creamy green peppercorn dressing | 11
Crab Ramen | pork, peekytoe crab, Smoked lobster broth, egg, sprouts | 14
Local Sautéed Vegetables | chili, smokey pork jus, lemon | 10

Fatty Specialties
Watermelon Pickle and Crispy Pork | 24
Yellow Curry Chicken | freebird organic chicken, coconut rice, pickles, poached egg | 24
Indonesian Fried Rice | shrimp, pork, chicken, fried egg | 22
Roti | green curry, local vegetables, rice | 17    add chicken | 4

(smoked in-house, low-and-slow)
Pork Ribs | Indonesian long peppercorn, fish-palm | 12
Pulled Pork | smoked BBQ pork shoulder, sweet rolls, pickle | 17
Brisket | calamansi-chili rub, sweet rolls, chili jam | 16

Coconut Rice | 3
Kim Chi | 6
Pickled Local Vegetables & Fruits | 10
Crispy Potatoes | curry spices, aioli, sweet chili sauce | 10

Coconut Panna Cotta | cucumber, rum raisin, chili-sugar-salt, lime | 10

How to get to Fatty Crab

in Cruz Bay, St. John , US Virgin Islands – Google Map with Directions

18-11A Enighed, Cruz Bay
St. John, VI 00831
ph: 340.775.9951 | fax: 340.775.9770

Wednesday – Monday | Dinner, 5PM to 10PM
Sunday  | Brunch, 11AM to 3PM

Closed Tuesdays (from July 1 to October 31)

Island Fever, 2 Bdrm Island Cottage

Island Fever, 2 bdrm island cottage on St John, USVI

Island Fever – Brand new to the short term rental market……Hear the sound of the surf lapping at the waters edge which is a stones throw away from this pod style quasi waterfront home. East End & BVI views. Take the two person kayak for a paddle around the bay. Enjoy the beautiful sunrises, cooling trade-winds, walk to shops and restaurant. Newly remodeled living room, kitchen with new countertops and cabinets and stainless appliances, and loft bedroom, bathroom and second pod gazebo bedroom. The loft bedroom has a king bed and the gazebo bedroom has a queen bed. There are two outside decks for lounging and relaxing. The driveway is shared with a small upper cottage off to one side that has a long term tenant in residence.

Amenities and cottage details: 800 sq’, 2 bdrms, sleeps 4, 1 bath, washer and dryer, dishwasher, cable, DVD, grill, kayak, deck, beach view.
Tammy Donnelly at (340) 779-4478

Availability and Pricing:
View the VRBO Listing for Island Fever

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Bismarkia, 2 Bdrm, Fish Bay

Bismarkia, 2 bedroom St John rental villa in Fish Bay

Bismarkia is a brand new stone 2 bedroom 2 bath luxury pool villa. The master bedroom has a queen bed, ac, large walk in closet, satellite tv, large ensuite bathroom.
The second bedroom has a queen bed, ac, ensuite bathroom.
The gourmet equipped kitchen has all the finest top end bosch appliances, cookware, glassware, dishes and utensils and silverware. There is a a beautiful wooden dining table for six off the kitchen. 
Travertine marble floors and countertops
The centrally located living room comfortably seats 6 with an entertainment center and wifi. The pool veranda opens off the living, dining, and master bedroom.

There is a ample outdoor seating around the pool and beautiful mermaid fountain. 
Bismarkia is surrounded by lush gardens and bismarckia palms. The stone pillared entry has a large flat turnaround car park for several jeeps. 
Tastefully furnished and finished to the highest standards.
The swimming pool is 3′ to 5’9′ deep and 15X 24 rounded. Brand new spa just added October 22, 2013! Bismarkia has central AC

Amenties and villa details: 2 bdrm, 2 bath, 3358 sq’, children welcome, A/C, gourmet kitchen, dishwasher, washer and dryer, wifi, spa, pool, grill deck/patio. Sleeps 4

Tammy Donnelly at (340) 779-4478

Availability and Pricing:
View the VRBO Listing for Villa Bismarkia

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Villa Mear, 4 Bdrm, Rendezvous Bay

Villa Mear St John rental villa

Villa Mear is a stunning four bedroom four bath property. This villa has the old time St John charm of beautiful stonework but was just recently remodeled.

Villa Mear has a large high ceiling breezy great room, kitchen, dining, living room with the master bedroom / bath off the living room all on one level. The second lower bedroom has an en suite bathroom and queen bed. The bedroom pod has each two twin beds or a king bed and en suite bathrooms. Every bedroom comes equipped with a mini fridge. Every room in this villa has an amazing water view and sounds of the surf. The beach for this area is a short walk down the road from Villa Mear and then down several flights of stairs you will be on a rocky beach in Rendezvous Bay.

The lot next door has a house under construction. There could be possible noise from it during daylight hours after 7 am. The house be finished by December 2014. Sounds of the surf block most of the activity.

Amenties and villa details: 4 bdrm, 4 bath, 2267 sq’, A/C, washer dryer, cable, DVD, internet, spa, grill, oceanfront / ocean view, sleeps 8

Tammy Donnelly at (340) 779-4478

Availability and Pricing:
View the VRBO Listing for Villa Mear

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Dining Review – Aqua Bistro, Coral Bay

Aqua Bistro Review

Disclosure: We received compensation for this article and its timing. When we bring you items of interest, written by us, with editorial rights given to the featured advertiser you’ll see this disclosure. We do not receive commissions.

Ponzu Tuna at Aqua Bistro Coral BayLet’s face it, eating and drinking are top activities on any vacation!

Luckily St. John has some great places to eat and drink. So how do you know which places to visit? We review the restaurants on St John and give you our first hand impression including specialties, atmosphere, price and service.

“…Ponzu Tuna is so good it’s literally made Friday nights at Aqua Bistro “the” destination for island dining!”

Aqua Bistro is located on the “quiet side” of the island in Coral Bay. This local’s favorite spot has a great mix of plenty of bar seating, outdoor dining and ample parking. The atmosphere is casual but elegant – making it the perfect spot to kick back, relax and enjoy a wonderful meal under the umbrellas of their outdoor courtyard and romantic garden landscaping. Or enjoy an appetizer and a cool island-style libation surrounded by both tourists and locals, beneath the tiki-hut style outdoor bar.

What we liked

  • Good food – range from island pub fare to culinary delights
  • Price – $$$
  • Good wine list
  • Outdoor dining
  • Ample parking
  • Live music

What to Expect

Really Good Food Starts with a Great Chef
The cornerstone of any great restaurant is a skilled chef and a great menu. Aqua Bistro is blessed with both. Chef MJ Foody [ yes that’s his real name ] is famous on island for his culinary abilities. In fact, his Ponzu Tuna is so good it’s literally made Friday nights at Aqua Bistro “the” destination for island dining! Wednesdays he serves up incredible cuts of prime rib with a rich “beefy” Au Jus that’s simply to-die-for. But don’t let these signature dishes  cast a shadow on the menu’s other gems! The appetizer conch fritters are tender, light, perfectly fried and come with a wonderfully -complex cajun tartar sauce. Aqua Bistro’s ceasar salad is crafted with plenty of flavorful dressing and large shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese [ a favorite of this writer ]. MJ’s burgers are arguably the best on the island. The fish sandwiches ( Grouper or Mahi ) are hearty-portions of lightly deep fried fillet. A Staff Favorite is the Pan Seared Sea Scallops! Jumbo, tender sea scallops …done to perfection! We choose blackened for an island-style spicy entree. We also highly recommend the Pamesean Crusted Grouper. This dish is a signature MJ creation – well worth the drive out to Coral Bay! Rich alfredo over a hearty risotto topped with a belly-busting portion of grouper!

Aqua Bistro boasts one of the Island’s best wine lists! Soak up the Painkillers and tropical drinks but when it comes to dinner you’ll most likely want to switch to food-friendly libations like beer and wine. Aqua Bistro’s owner, Marc Kaye, loves wine and has expertly put together a great wine list. Whether you enjoy red or white … there’s something for just about every taste and price range.

If we have one gripe, it’s that the restaurant’s outdoor dining leaves no place to “hide” when it rains. Luckily, most showers pass quickly and you can get back to enjoying one of St John’s top restaurants! We give it a 4 forks out of 5 rating. A great spot to grab a bite after the beach, have a romantic dinner or to celebrate a special occasion.

“This was the only place on the island we went to twice.” – Douglas T, Florida

The staff is experienced …no small feat on an island where staff changes are a part of high and low season migration. The waitstaff and bartenders, some of whom have been with the restaurant since it first opened nearly a decade ago, are some of the islands best. Don’t hesitate to ask them for recommendations …be it drinks or eats!

Getting to Aqua Bistro
Aqua Bistro is located in Coral Bay on St John’s eastern end. Visitors coming from the Cruz Bay side of St. John will take Centerline Road ( steepest exit off the rotary in Cruz Bay ) and follow the winding road for about 8 mi ( 25>30 minutes). Or, for a more scenic drive, take North Shore Road heading east – up the hill from Cruz Bay. Along the way you’ll have ample opportunity to see St. John’s North Shore beaches and scenic vistas. The road is slightly steeper so plan on a few more minutes travel time.

Aqua Bistro Reviews
Check out the hundreds of reviews on TripAdvisor® –

On busy nights ( Wed, Fri. ) the busiest hours are usually 4:30pm > 8:00pm.
Call 2 to 5 days in advance for peak dinner reservations.
Call (340) 776-5336
or check out the web site for more info:

St John Carnival 2014 Schedule

St John Festival 2014 USVI Carnival

St John Festival 2014 – Grande diamond Jubilee Anniversary
Festival Village Honoree: Leona E. Smith
Festival Food Fair Honoree: Avelino Samuel
Festival Parad Grande Marshal: Elsie V. Thomas – Trotman

Each year Saint John, US Virgin Islands, plays host to a month of activities, live music, beauty pageant, food, parade and fireworks! Visitors will enjoy the upbeat tempo of the festival celebration that accompanies the festival season. Listed below are this year’s main events. Be sure to plan accordingly for traffic and parking! And have some fun …!

Schedule of Events

DATE                      |     EVENT               |      TIME & LOCATION

Saturday, May 31 – Pan-O-Rama – 4pm at Winston Wells Ball Field
Friday, June 6 – Festival Beach Jam – 7pm Cruz Bay Beach
Sunday, June 8 – St John Festival Jr Miss 2014 Selection Pageant – 6 pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Friday, June 13 – Senior Variety Show – 7pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Saturday, June 14 – Festival Bike Race 2014
Sunday, June 15 – St John Festival Princess Selection Pageant – 6pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Friday, June 20 – Festival Musical Mix 2014 – 9pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Saturday, June 21 – St John Festival Queen 2014 Selection Pageant – 8pm Winston Wells Ball Field
Sunday, June 22

  • Food Fair & Coronation – 1pm Franklin Powell, Sr. Park
  • Festival Boat Races – 3pm Cruz Bay Harbor
  • Children’s Festival Village – 6pm St John National Park

Friday, June 27 – Festival Village Opening – 7pm Cruz Bay Parking Lot
Thursday, July 3 – Emancipation Day – 10am Franklin Powell, Sr, Park
Friday, July 4

  • Jouvert – Sunrise at St John National Park
  • Festival Parade 2014 – 11am St John National Park
  • Festival Fireworks Display – 9pm Cruz Bay Harbor

Saturday, July 5 – Festival Village Wrap-up

St. John Festival 2014 events

Best Snorkeling on St John

Best snorkeling spots on St John Virgin Islands

Snorkeling 101 mask and finsTop on any visitor’s list of activities has got to be snorkeling on St John in the US Virgin Islands. Much of the island’s beaches and reefs are under the protection and management of the Virgin Islands National Park. The result is a marine environment without equal in the Caribbean – protecting world-class snorkeling for years to come!



So what makes the snorkeling on St John so special? Well, first and foremost is the accessibility of many of the patch reefs and sea grass beds. Most are within a short walk of roads and parking. Most are located in and around the many world famous beaches. Second is the variety and health of the marine habitats under park protection. The reefs surrounding St John are home to over 400 species of reef fish and dozens of species of hard coral. The sea grass beds support rays, turtles and protect many juvenile marine species.

The following are our top picks for snorkeling destinations on St John, Virgin Islands. We hope this guide will help you pick the destinations that are right for you.



Waterlemon Cay – #1 snorkeling destination on St John.
Henley CaySTAFF PICK, requires guide or kayak, best overall snorkeling on the island!
Haulover (North)STAFF PICK, Some of the most dramatic underwater structure and corals on the island.
Salt Pond – Can get a bit crowded but offers some nice snorkeling especially center of the bay.
Yawzi Point – Located between Great Lameshur and Lameshur Bays, Yawzi Point has some of the best snorkeling on St John.
Hurricane Hole MangrovesSTAFF PICK, Located in Coral Bay, the mangroves are teaming with juvenile fish and corals!
Trunk Bay – A beautiful beach with an underwater snorkeling trail! One of the most popular snorkeling spots on St John!


Maho Bay – Easy access, shallow water, shade and a good chance you’ll see turtles, rays and lots of fish!
Caneel Bay beach – Shallow entry, calm waters and plenty to see close to shore.
Trunk Bay – Virgin Islands National Park snorkeling trail and a lifeguard!

Honeymoon Beach – The name says it all …out of the way; but has a small water sports shack!
Hansen Bay – Off-the-beaten-path location with a beautiful beach, food and some of the best snorkeling.
Trunk Bay – One of the top beaches in the Caribbean also has some great snorkeling!

Snorkeling is one of the most enjoyable things to do on St John. But, even a confident swimmer can be distracted. Make sure you stay within your physical limitations. Be aware of your surroundings. Never snorkel alone. Watch for strong currents, waves, boats, jet skis, changing weather and the distance you’ve traveled.

Snorkeling Information and Instructions

US Virgin Islands – St John Snorkeling Map


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