Green Musings of an Eco Resort

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

up in the trees

Ever wonder how we have such incredible and natural looking views all around Maho? It's thanks in large part to one of our maintenance staff members, Woody. With a property spanning 14 acres its more than a full-time job maintaining and keeping the vegetation at bay that grows here in the tropics. Fortunately, Woody likes to spend his days up in trees, trimming branches and clearing views. Often times you'll be walking down the boardwalks and hear a rustling in the trees, but instead of looking up and seeing an iguana it will be Woody, securing a spot in a tree 20+ feet in the air. Selective tree climbing and trimming comes naturally to Woody and plenty of guests will find reason to thank him for it this season. Rumor has it he at one point made his way from Harmony to Little Maho beach, without stepping foot on the ground and all via climbing through trees.

Since we use radios here at Maho it's not uncommon to hear staff ask where certain staff members are working at any given moment. The radio call for Woody can often be: "maintenance to Woody are you available to give a guest a ride to Harmony, or are you treed?"

The next time you're enjoying that incredible view from your tent, the dinning pavilion, F-pavilion, the store, activities or any other spot at Maho you can probably thank Woody, as he's the only one of us crazy enough to spend his days so high off the ground.

If you find Woody "treed" here at Maho say hi & thank you!

Pictured below he is working just off the Maho driveway, below the dining pavilion, and about 10-12 feet off the ground.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

its been a hard day's work

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas here at Maho typically give us the time we need to take care of a few major projects before the high season gets into full gear. One of those projects that I'm sure will make plenty of guests happy in the coming months is the new layer of asphalt on the lower part of our driveway.

Each season the driveway leading up to Maho gets it's fair share of abuse though all the guest vehicles, taxi cabs, delivery trucks, and pouring rain. For the most part though, aside from a few potholes here and there, the entire driveway holds up pretty well. Unfortunately the lower part of the driveway leading up to Maho saw more than it's fair share of abuse from heavy tracked vehicle equipment leading to the new villas being built. Add to that the massive amounts of runoff from the construction site during heavy rains and you have a road that is in desperate need of repair.

Getting asphalt from St. Thomas to St. John, arranging a steamroller and driver, buying plenty of shovels and rakes, and getting enough staff together to rake the asphalt off the truck and onto the driveway takes quite a bit of coordination, and perhaps a little luck.

If anyone needs a good idea of what it felt like last week for 3 hours in the mid-day St. John sun laying the asphalt then it may be time to re-watch Cool Hand Luke. Pictured below we have 6 or 7 of us shoveling and raking it out, with plenty of steam rising from either the road or ourselves!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Holiday decorating

It may not be cold, and there may not be snow on St. John, but we still like to decorate for the Holidays! Last week was the official holiday decorating party for staff & guests here at Maho, with the restaurant getting a full treatment of lights, garland, tree, bows, ribbons, and of course a few of our own hand blown ornaments hung on the tree and around the restaurant.

If you look closely you can see some of the incredible ornaments made by our glassblowers, including a hummingbird. And if you'll be down this season for the holidays you'll have to pick up a few ornaments for next season.

No decorating party would be complete without eggnog (adult style) and cookies:

Monday, December 12, 2011

will it rain?

One of the most common questions we get via email from guests arriving in a week would have to be about the weather. Understandably, having beautiful weather while on vacation is a big deal. Would it be too much to ask just to have nice sunny days while down here? Working 50 weeks a year to enjoy 1 week of vacation in paradise, it should almost be a guarantee the weather be perfect during your vacation!

With most places in the states, the weather forecast doesn't change drastically throughout the week. Checking the weather each morning gives you a pretty good idea of what it will be like for the rest of the day and even the next few days.

Here in the islands the forecast is pretty much always the same: partly cloudy with a 20-30% chance of rain. Translation: 1) we could have a beautiful sunny day +/- a few clouds and no rain 2) we could have a beautiful sunny day with 3 or 4 ten minute rain showers 3) we could have sunny skies and zero cloud cover in the morning, a tropical downpour all afternoon, and a beautiful clear-sky sunset in the evening! I would say about 80-90% of our weather falls into something similar to above.

Will it rain while you're down here? Absolutely, I would definitely bet on it. Will it be a total disaster the entire week? The odds are not good. But just because there's a 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% chance of rain for the day, doesn't mean you won't have a beach day. Heck, you'll probably still have a full beach day when it says 80% chance of rain. When I started this post 10 minutes ago the forecast was: partly cloudy in the morning, then clear, chance of rain 20%. The actual weather outside: The sun is shinning and I can't see a cloud anywhere in the sky, there is no way it could rain today. But will it? you bet it will!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

She Came, She Paddled, She Conquered

Our Guest Services Manager, Erin McNaught, went to Tortola over the weekend for a Stand Up Paddle Race and took the Gold in the women's open division. Paddle Boarding has been catching on quickly over the last few years and you can now rent them here at Maho Bay during your stay. The BVI Beacon has the article referencing our staff triumph in what we consider to be an international competition!

Like Erin mentions in the article, you can see all kinds of cool stuff while paddling. Ginger in the Art Department even got to spend some time paddling with a spotted eagle ray which is really cool. It is a different perspective when paddling while standing up instead of in a kayak. So if you are looking for something new, see what the craze is all about and let someone know what you saw!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Cyber Monday incredible deal!

Getting a one year lease extension is definitely something to be thankful for, but we have another reason thanks to the USVI Department of Tourism!

There is an amazing opportunity for those who wish to come visit Maho or Concordia Eco and Premium Tents in January that has just been announced by the Department of Tourism. Travelers who book this promotion on Cyber Monday November 28, 2011 will get $500 instant credit/discount, $750 in gift certificates to use while on island, and the fifth night free. This is by far the best deal that has been offered by the department of tourism! In order to receive this promotion, you must book Air and Hotel together through, we will not be able to provide this package through our own reservations office. If you miss Cyber Monday, you can still book before Dec 9th and receive part of the promotion. We've taken the nuts and bolts of this directly from the DOT and it is below for further clarification.

For a 24 hour period on Cyber Monday (November 28, 2011) a very rich promotion will be offered. After Cyber Monday, from November 29 through December 9, a slightly less rich promotion will be available.This offer will only be available through


OFFER for booking window of NOVEMBER 28, 2011only:

i. $500.00 Instant Credit PER PACKAGE The booking must be a minimum of five nights, fall within the designated travel dates and be booked within the booking window. The instant credit promotion must be a package that has been combined with air and a USVI hotel. We will not honor back-to back room only bookings that have not been combined with air. The voucher must include the booking code USVICM11.


iii. 5th night FREE



*TRAVEL WINDOW: January 1-16, 2012 (travel must be completed by 1/16/12)

OFFER for the booking period of NOVEMBER 29 – December 9, 2011

i. $200.00 Instant Credit PER PACKAGE The booking must be a minimum of five nights, fall within the designated travel dates and be booked within the booking window. The instant credit promotion must be a package that has been combined with air and a USVI hotel. We will not honor back-to back room only bookings that have not been combined with air. The voucher must include the booking code USVICM11.


iii. 5th night FREE



    *TRAVEL WINDOW: January 1-16, 2012 (travel must be completed by 1/16/12)

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    lease extention

    The Maho landowners have just extended the lease through June of 2013. I agreed to this with great relief. This last lease extension will offer everyone an opportunity to enjoy Maho for two more winter seasons.

    I will not accept another short-term extension. We will either get a long-term lease which will allow for some wonderful capital improvements and investment in new technologies or close at the end of the lease in June 2013.

    You can imagine the stress and anxiety of our employees, boat captains, artists, concessionaires and all the small businesses who make Maho special, not knowing if they have a job next year and who need to prepare for their own future.

    This additional year means a great deal to our guests, staff, and the Island of St. John. It means that we all get extra time to do or redo some of our most favorite things. It has been a tough year for many which meant the possibility of not visiting Maho one last time. We hope this will afford you the opportunity. There is a special magic here that cannot be found anywhere else, and we are all grateful to have just a little more time to enjoy it.

    I hope you are as excited as we are about this extra time we have acquired. For all of you that have already booked for May 2012, have no worries. We will be changing those rates back to our standard low season rates and will adjust your reservations accordingly.

    Once again, I am so pleased to be able to share this news with everyone and hope to see you at Maho.


    Stanley Selengut

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    being an artist is hard work

    Everyone here at Maho is incredibly excited to see our glass blowing facility back up and running for the season. Each year we shut it down for the "H-word" season, and start blowing again sometime in November.

    To get things properly tested they decided to run a class with a few staff members, lucky us! The 3 of us that took the class had never tried before, but had plenty of "experience" watching the resident blowers over the past few seasons. Turns out actually working the glass is very difficult, much harder than the artists make it look. Simple things like gathering glass, rolling the glass, re-heating the glass, all become very difficult upon your first try. While using the jacks to separate a ball of glass from the rod or "punte" all I could think about was how easy the glass blowers had made it look and how impossible it seemed for me to do!

    Fortunately the class we took (and the classes we offer for guests) started from the beginning, at a very fundamental level; learning your way around the glass shop and different tactical strategies for working helps considerably. Everything was done in a "dry run" at first before attempting to work the glass. The pieces we made started out easy and gradually turned more difficult as we learned the different aspects of working the glass. First we learned how to make a small rose, before graduating to the mixing of colored glass in making either a paperweight, a starfish, or a stamped soap dish. We all chose the paperweight, as it had a medium degree of difficulty compared to the starfish which apparently takes quite a bit more "artistry." Learning to twist the glass, flatten the glass, gather different colors and smooth the sides became very interesting and fun. The best part? whatever you create tends to look pretty good when finished - after all, it's a glowing ball of art that you created at the end of a rod, how could it not?

    If you're visiting this season I highly recommend giving it a try, it will give you a completely new appreciation for what our glass blowers are doing during their demonstrations each night. It will also give you a glob of glass that you can say you created yourself! And if you have any artistic ability at all (not me!) you'll be going home with a colorful glass starfish.

    Above: "gathering" glass from the furnace on a rod
    Below: Applying color to the gathered glass. The color is actually shards of broken glass

    Above: Stamping a sun catcher
    Below: From left to right are the possible creations during the class, paperweights in different shapes and forms, a soap dish in the shape of a shell, and the ever-impossible starfish

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    big waves at Little Maho


    Those of you that live on the coast in the states will probably get a good laugh out of this, but the waves in this video are monstrous to us!

    During the winter we tend to get swells every other week or so, bringing "big" waves to our beaches. This swell is a few weeks early, and since it was mainly a north-northeast swell our own Little Maho beach saw some heavy wave action. Previous guests to Maho will indeed think these waves are much different than the 1-2 inch ripples that usually hit our beach. Those visiting Cinnamon Bay will find almost a direct hit from the swell, producing the kind of waves you can actually surf - something that doesn't happen often here on St. John!

    If you happen to be visiting during one of these swells and feel like it's taken all of your beach options away; fear not: if we're getting heavy waves on the north side of the island it means that the south side should be perfectly calm.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    We've been hit!

    As if we weren't far enough off the grid and disconnected from the rest of the world already.............our phone system and internet here at Maho has been down for the past couple of days due to lightning giving us a direct hit. At about 2:30am Friday morning one of the loudest and most violent thunder & lightning storms made its way over the hill from Annaberg and towards Whistling Cay, but not before striking a phone pole and tent in staff section.

    According to NOAA, the odds of being hit by lightning are about 1/1,000,000, though one staff member came dangerously close during this storm - the lightning came through the tent and struck the bed, just a matter of inches away from where he was sleeping. Needless to say, it was a very scary moment and night for all of us here at Maho as we started to access damage and deal with the emotional aspects of coming so close to being hit.

    Nothing other than our phone system, internet, and one staff tent was damaged (though we're still in the middle of fixing everything!).

    If you're trying to reach us please email. We have our internet back up and running, but the phone system is still down. If you're trying to make a reservation please send us the request via email and we will email or call you back asap.

    Top picture: where the lightning came through the tent, near the roof
    bottom picture: portion of the mattress that was hit

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Maho pumpkin carving contest

    Last week at Starfish Market here on St. John they were selling pumpkins for $5.99 each, which by St. John standards is quite a deal! You'd almost expect them to be $5.99 a pound down here!

    We couldn't pass-up buying a bunch and doing our own pumpkin carving contest here at Maho for our guests and staff. Everyone at dinner last night was very impressed with the creativity on display. 1st prize was quite a "sweet treat:" dessert at the restaurant, followed by a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream from our store.

    1st Prize:
    Notice the bent plastic forks for arms and legs!

    2nd Prize:
    Wish we had a picture of the cute tail on this pig!

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Snow Day Discount Today!

    (Image from

    In light of the impending snow day, we have decided to share some happiness. Today only, Saturday October 29th, all online reservations with "Snow Day" in the comments will receive a 10% discount on their stay. This applies only to Maho Bay Tent Cottages and Concordia Eco&Premium Tents and is subject to availability. Again this is only for online reservations made through . Happy Snow Day!

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    cleaning cleaning cleaning

    One of the greatest problems of living in the Caribbean is fighting mold & mildew. When your home (or in our case tent) is located in dense vegetation with frequent rain showers the battle is exaggerated. Most areas of Maho are within easy reach with a rag and cleaning solution, but one area in particular gives us quite a bit of trouble: The Big Top

    Fortunately we've devised a rather unique yet time consuming solution: scaffolding - where we both stand and lay on our backs scrubbing the ceiling, getting it nice and clean for all those dining in our pavilion this winter. One interesting note during the cleaning each year?: the amount ofJack Spaniard nests located on the roofing material. Most often you'll find small nests under tree branches and leaves while on hiking trails, but at Maho we find them taking shelter under tents and boardwalks which probably gives them a little better protection from wind, rain, and the sun. I guess the best protection is under our restaurant pavilion roof, which offered enough space for 30-40 little nests.

    Below is a section of roof that has been cleaned, compared to a section that has yet to be touched.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Cinnamon Bay gut

    Expanding on our non-existent "field guide for trails close to Maho Bay Camps:"

    America Hill & Cinnamon Bay via the gut.

    For those staying at Maho looking to do a short yet very different trail with incredible views, the America Hill trail from the Cinnamon Bay ruins is a great choice. How to make it even better? Try hiking up the gut instead of the trail! You don't have to be a serious rock climber, but it is definitely recommended you do this only when it hasn't rained in a few days. Being a gut that is filled with running water after each rain, it understandably would not be possible to hike after a serious rain. The start point is directly off the North Shore road just before you reach Cinnamon Bay from Maho, just turn left and upwards once you reach the only section of road that looks like a dried-up river bed with huge boulders. It's probably easiest to walk from Maho, but driving to Cinnamon and parking is an option as well. The gut itself goes all the way up to Centerline road, but you'll be getting off after about 10-15 minutes of boulder climbing or once you reach the America Hill trail that passes directly over the gut. Something to keep in mind if doing this hike relatively soon: there are a TON of bees once you reach to top. The entire ruin at the top is very overgrown with vines & flowers, creating the perfect meeting ground for those looking for nectar.

    Pictured above is one of the viewpoints from the gut, of Cinnamon & Peter Bay. Below is part of the gut (an easy part) just before reaching the America Hill trail.

    Check out our post from June 7th if you're interested in a sneak preview of the views once you get to the top.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    a hunter's moon

    15 staff, volunteers and guests decided to celebrate the hunter's moon, or blood moon last night with a late night hike out to Ram Head. As has been the case for the past 4 months, this full moon night was truly spectacular - no rain, just a handful of clouds, and plenty of breeze to cool us during the hike.

    If you find yourself at Maho during the full moon then take the opportunity to do something really different and hike Ram Head at night, the moonlight vs. the sun shining on your back makes the hike much more enjoyable!

    Sunday, October 2, 2011

    find me if you can......continued

    Keeping with our individualistic theme of the week: custom hermit crab shells!

    Hermit crabs roam the grounds and even the boardwalks here at Maho, and save for the size of their shells most of them look very similar. A couple of staff members thought it would be fun and entertaining to paint a few shells (empty of hermit crabs) to see if the little guys had a preference when it comes to choosing a new "mobile home" if you will. Well they do! it didn't take long before a handful of painted shells were quickly occupied, their "plain" shells left lying where the painted shells once were. So don't be surprised if you see a painted shell crab among the thousands around camp.

    The little guy pictured below was extremely happy with his new shell, so happy that he decided to show-off by climbing a tree.

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    find me if you can

    You know the pace has slowed here at Maho when we start posting about toilets!:

    Your next visit to Maho will certainly include a "visit" to one of the stalls in our bathhouses. And if you're lucky enough it could be the stall with our brand-new poured concrete and glass toilet seat cover! Wow!

    The idea came about through an accident of sorts: upon finding the cover broken one morning we knew the next trip to St. Thomas would be awhile, so the creative minds that work here at Maho decided to build one out of wood. Next came the idea of poured concrete/glass, which stuck, and we think you'll agree looks pretty amazing.

    Sunday, September 4, 2011

    September Deals with USAir

    Check out the list below, sorry its not in a better format! Each fare from the cities below are one way, so double it for your round trip price. These are historically pretty cheap for USAir prices. The sale is for travel between now and Sept 30th. Use that with the gift certificates mentioned in this previous post: Restaurant, Diving, and Retail Certificates and its a winning combination!

    Each way*
    Albany, NY
    Austin, TX
    Baltimore, MD
    Boston, MA
    Buffalo, NY
    Charleston, SC
    Charlotte, NC
    Chicago, IL (O'Hare)
    Cincinnati, OH
    Cleveland, OH
    Columbus, OH
    Dallas/Fort Worth, TX (Dallas/Fort Worth)
    Dayton, OH
    Denver, CO
    Detroit, MI
    Harrisburg, PA
    Hartford/Springfield, CT
    Houston, TX (George Bush)
    Indianapolis, IN
    Kansas City, MO
    Las Vegas, NV
    Los Angeles, CA
    Manchester, NH
    Memphis, TN
    Milwaukee, WI
    Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
    Nashville, TN
    New Orleans, LA
    New York, NY (Laguardia)
    Newark, NJ
    Norfolk, VA
    Orlando, FL
    Philadelphia, PA
    Phoenix, AZ
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Raleigh/Durham, NC
    Richmond, VA
    St. Louis, MO
    Syracuse, NY
    Washington, DC (Reagan)

    Wednesday, August 31, 2011

    Quiet times

    September is here and things are really starting to slow down here at Maho and on St. John as we head into the true off-season. There's so little foot traffic here at Maho that the Hermit crabs are the only ones using the boardwalks in some areas of camp:

    Nothing quite like having your own boardwalk expressway if you're a Hermit crab used to taking the off-road route. In case you're curious, this little Hermit made his way down those steps........though not as gracefully as he had hoped.

    If you like peace and quiet then come stay with us this can entertain and tease the resident Hermit crabs, be the only visitors on the beach, and still take advantage of an incredible dive promotion.

    Sunday, August 28, 2011

    a hike for trash

    Last week a few of us staff & volunteers thought we had a pretty good idea: do a hike & pick up some trash along the way. What sounded like a simple and great idea turned into one heck of a challenge. The plan was to walk from the Annaberg parking lot out to Waterlemon along the trail, then "scramble" or "rock walk" along the shoreline from Waterlemon to Brown Bay. Once at Brown Bay we'd then hike the trail back to Waterlemon and eventually the Annaberg parking lot where we started. Under normal conditions we figured on about 2 1/2 hours or so, maybe 3ish max. Well, about 4+ hours later we found ourselves gasping for breath, each carrying at least one 30 pound bag of trash on our shoulders. All totaled there were 11 of us hiking the shoreline, and boy did we get a lot of trash: the estimate is roughly 300-350 pounds of trash, enough to fill the back of a pickup truck. We even had one person kayak from Brown Bay to Annaberg with garbage bags attached to the kayak!

    While it was a great success, we all couldn't help but feel how sad it was there was so much trash on the shoreline in the first place. About 80% of what we picked up was plastic, and of that most of it was plastic bottles. If we were to do it again we'd probably consider leaving the trash at Brown Bay and coming back for it, or perhaps meeting a boat in Brown Bay. The last stretch after reaching the beach was definitely tough. While we made a considerable dent there is still plenty of trash along the shoreline, especially at Brown Bay. Another option for next time may be going straight to Brown Bay. An even better idea for next time would be to bring a few donkeys - something to help carry that load!

    If you're planning on doing this hike yourself? bring LOTS of water and sunscreen, wear a bathing suit, and bring shoes that WILL get wet (not sandals). The good news is that for most of the hike it should be free of trash, but just in case you could bring a trash bag :)

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Hurricane damage

    "Tim" is Maho blog follower, a previous volunteer worker, and a returning volunteer this fall and had posted the following comment yesterday: "Good to hear that Maho survived another bout with nature, but that's the "nature" of eco-resorts, they are able to bend and roll with the punches! Looks like I'll have some cabins to repair come October."

    He couldn't be more right! The tents here at Maho seem to work with nature in more ways than not, one being in the face of an angry Irene. While most tents had little or no damage, there were a few that will take us some time to repair. We'll most likely not start working on the bigger repairs until sometime in October, in case another storm passes through just after the repair is made.

    Highlighted below is an example of a tent and the damage caused to it. This tent was damaged in part because those familiar "roll downs" were left down during the storm. You would think putting down the barrier would help protect the tent from rains and winds, not quite: Having the roll down "down" actually causes more damage to the tent and allows more water and debris to enter, not to mention the time and expense of repair. During a storm like this we have very high winds that cause the roll down to act as a sail, banging against the screen until it breaks, eventually opening up the entire window. Unfortunately we had a few tents where the roll downs were left down or fell down during the storm, pictured below is an example.

    Here we have the picture of a roll down, properly attached to the top of the screen with rope. During really big storms we would hope to have all tent roll downs look this way.

    Pictured below we have a roll down left down during the storm, and the damage it has done to the bottom of the screen.

    Worst case scenario is when the roll down has been blown off, also damaging the screen.....allowing the maximum possible wind, rain and debris into the tent during the storm:

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    We've been very busy this past weekend dealing with that white mess of clouds that goes by the name of Hurricane Irene. Somewhere below the area of white in the picture above would be land, and more specifically St. John & Maho Bay. While we did need to close Maho and evacuate, the good news is that we're all safe and Maho is open for business again.

    No major damage to report, but a heck of a lot of branches and debris to clear over the next couple of days.

    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    plastic grocery bags

    In perhaps one of the more interesting stories in yesterdays Daily News, there was an article explaining the plastic bag situation at Pueblo Market on St. Thomas. Apparently Pueblo will not be using plastic grocery bags in the near future: "in accordance with a plea agreement for stealing electricity, the four Pueblo Supermarkets will discontinue using plastic grocery bagsonce they exhaust bags stocked nearly two years ago, according to a status report filed in V.I. Superior Court." Wow, I'm not exactly sure what to make of that statement, but the end result is pretty good! This blogger is certainly interested in how they came to the settlement, which is certainly interesting based on the initial charge of stealing electricity. Not to mention how or why a 4 store chain of grocery stores in the Virgin Islands is trying to get away with stealing electricity in the first place!

    In the islands discontinuing the use of plastic grocery bags makes a lot of sense. Plastic bags that make their way into our coastal waters look quite a bit like a tasty jellyfish to our resident sea turtle population, and they've been creating a stink lately about seeing so many grocery bags on their reefs.

    At Maho Bay Camps we've never carried plastic bags in our general store, but do get asked quite frequently when guests are at the register. Old habits are hard to break, and when you're custom to having everything bagged before leaving a store it can seem a bit odd when you carry your items out in a reused cardboard box or nothing at all, but that's what we offer! The best alternative of course is to bring your own bag into our store or any store. Pictured below is the selection of boxes available, if needed, in our Maho store.

    Monday, August 15, 2011

    Maho Restaurant; changes and updates!

    Maho Bay is always changing, so if you have been a visitor during the high season you might want to come and see what we are like during the low season. Some of my favorite events are the marching of the sea stars at Warterlemon Cay and the blooming of the Coral Vine, while it is invasive it is still beautiful. While nature changes around us we at Maho Bay change too, from the influx of volunteer workers or the departure of the Schooner Yacht Heron for the season, things are always evolving.

    One of the newest and most exciting evolutions is the changing of the Pavilion restaurant into Café Maho Bay. For all you out there that visit Maho between November and July this is something new to you. We take the standard four item selection and explode it into a full twenty plus option menu. The menu included classics like Grilled Chicken Ceasar and an eight ounce Angus Burger to the more exotic dishes like the Rajun Cajun and the regional Rasta Pasta. The menu was developed to suit everyone’s needs from the veggie burger made especially for vegans to smaller portioned items just for kids. If your vacation plans include Maho Bay, between now and November 1st , get your taste buds ready for an exciting culinary event.

    Along with changing to the new menu there have been evolutions in other areas. We have started to offer some handmade desserts and no more premade salad dressing. All dressings are made in house by our chefs. While the menus and offerings at the restaurant change to reflect the seasons the service and quality of your stay will always remain the same. We look forward to welcoming back or for the first time to Maho Bay.

    Café Maho Bay is open every night from 5:30pm until 7:00pm until November 1st, so make plans to join us.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Diving, Restaurant, and Retail Certificates!


    Thanks to the wonderful people over at the VI Department of Tourism, we are now able to offer a special Diving promotion for our guests. We are not currently listed as a participating property/diveshop, but we assure you the gift certificates are fully redeemable here at our Dive Shop, Restaurant, Store, and Art Gallery.

    Nuts and Bolts:
    Guests must book a minimum of 6 nights
    Booking window: Now-Nov 30th
    Stay Window: Now-Dec 31st
    Register here after making your Maho reservation: Dive Promotion

    This promotion comes with $300 worth of certificates for Scuba diving at participating dive shops. Because it is during the off season, some shops will not be diving due to boats being out of the water to be worked on and slow season shut downs. Our dive boat, Ocean Quest, should remain operational throughout the entire off season, although we are at the mercy of good weather. It also includes $100 in dining certificates which can be used in our Maho Bay Pavilion Restaurant and $50 in retail certificates which can be used in our Store and Art Gallery. Again, all you have to do is book for a minimum of 6 nights between now and Sept 15th and your stay has to be between now and Oct 31st. Click here to register! (registration cannot be done upon arrival and it takes about a week for us to get the packets once someone is registered)

    Wednesday, August 10, 2011

    Tommy Star Awards

    Every year the Hotel and Tourism Association has an awards ceremony to celebrate those who work in the industry here. We have for many years been nominating Madre, everyone's favorite Maho Employee since 1976! Madre has been with us from day one. She greeted children with a smile who would eventually brought their own children back one day who recieved the same warm greeting. Madre loves to play jokes on her co-workers and also guests who are at first surprised to hear her say "No, I have towels for others, not for you!" to then realize she is only kidding and hear her say "Hear you go, Sweetie" as she exchanges their linens for them.

    This year as part of our campaign, we are asking former guests and friends of Maho to write in on her behalf. If you have a fond memory of Madre or kind words to say on her behalf, please please take the time to send us a quick letter or even a postcard. We'll take what we can get! The important part is that we let them know the positive influence Madre has had on our guests in the last 35 years and the best way is for them to hear it directly from you.

    We have to officially nominate Madre by Aug 19th, and will send in what letters we have already collected. The whole process usually takes a month or so, and we will have several opportunities to make sure they recieve letters of support that may come in after that date. Don't worry, we'll make sure that everything gets to their office!
    How do you support?

    1) Send a letter: We hope that we do get quite a few hand written (or even typed is fine) notes in the mail as we feel that will really make a difference. Have a picture from the past? Include a copy!
    Maho Bay Camps:
    Attn: Madre Support
    PO Box 310
    St. John, VI 00831

    2) Email: "Madre Support" should be the subject line. We would love as many emails as we can get and please feel free to attach photos of Madre as well.

    Thank you for your support as we hope to help Madre recieve an award she has definitely earned in her years here at Maho!

    Monday, August 8, 2011

    what we do for fun at night

    "We're all here 'cause we're not all there" - popular St. John bumper sticker.

    While thinking of how to write this post I started to think that perhaps those of us that live here are a little bit crazy. How else do you explain 18 Maho staff & volunteers deciding it would be a good idea to go for a hike in the middle of the night to look at the moon? Little crazy, maybe. Lots of fun, yes.

    If you're ever down here for a full moon you may consider doing the same yourself. Ram Head is a great 45 minute hike (one way), but it can get incredibly hot in the late morning and afternoon. Hiking under a full moon offers much cooler temperatures and plenty of light cast upon the trail, though you should still bring a flashlight.

    Pictured below we have 4 of us crazies spelling out "Maho" under the full moon on Ram Head.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    the disturbance of Emily

    The last week has been a nail-biter here on St. John and especially at Maho. A tropical "disturbance" formed last Friday/Saturday 600 miles southeast of us, which meant we've been glued to the computer at 8am, 2pm, 8pm & 2am each day as the National Hurricane Center posts updates on the storm. While never a major threat to us (as in having possible H-word status), it was a threat nonetheless and taken seriously for those of us that live and vacation in tents. Initial tracking had the disturbance making its way directly through St. John, but fortunately the disturbance had time to be thrown off track over the past few days. Tuesday morning the disturbance finally got a name and an upgrade in status, Tropical Storm Emily, though by this point it was close to 200 miles south of us. Regardless we've had at least a day of high winds and heavy rain at times as the outer bands pass through us, and expect to be seeing a bit more of the same today.

    While a bit earlier than usual (July?!) it's definitely the time of year we're checking the weather coming off the coast of Africa each morning as we head into the "season of the H-word."

    Sunday, July 31, 2011

    Big Maho Pavilion walkways

    I know we seem to be posting quite a bit on our crushed glass and concrete projects lately, but we have one more interesting development last week:

    Once the Maho Pavilion area is opened to the public our glass & concrete counter tops will be on display, which we're looking forward to seeing. We'll also have a lot of our glass being used (but not seen) within the concrete walkways surrounding the pavilion area. All of our clear bottles collected on camp during the season get washed, scraped, crushed and melted to create works of art. All of our colored bottled and pretty much anything else glass gets crushed and put in it's own separate pile. Understandably this pile of crushed glass gets pretty big over the course of a season at Maho (thanks for drinking all that beer!). The National Park asked us if we'd be willing to use some of the crushed glass as fill for their concrete walkways, which we were more than happy to help with. Scooping crushed glass is quite a bit of work, considering each shovel full weighs about 8 pounds! While it's hard to estimate how many bottles or how many pounds of bottles were used for this project, we're working on it. We do know it was just about all the colored glass we collected for the season, and it feels great not to be putting it all in the landfill! (St. John doesn't recycle glass). Pictured below are two of our volunteers this summer, taking a break while standing on the forms and glass that has been distributed before the concrete pour. Pictured above is the same section, after the concrete pour.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    Maho Tree

    Pictured below is the popular Maho Tree, appropriately found at Little Maho Beach here at Maho Bay Camps. If you're sitting in the shade on the beach here at Maho, you're probably under one of the many trees like this one at Little Maho:

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    hiking to Waterlemon

    A favorite walking trail for many staying at Maho would have to be the walk to Waterlemon (not watermelon!) beach & Cay along the water. It's a trail/walk that is easy for families to enjoy with kids, as well as couples looking for a leisurely morning or afternoon activity. Leaving from the main pavilion at Maho, it's about a 20 minute walk down the driveway, along the road, and out to the parking lot area at Annaberg. The trail out to Waterlemon starts at the end of the road, and follows the rocky shore about a mile or so out to the tiny beach at Waterlemon. From the beach you have the choice of jumping in the water and snorkeling out and around the Cay, or continuing up the trail above the bay to explore the ruins. Those looking for more of a hike can follow the trail to Brown Bay or even all the way to Coral Bay via the Johnny Horn.

    Last night upon returning from the ruins above Waterlemon Cay I couldn't help but notice how much trash was on the beach, trail, and among the trees surrounding the area. As luck would have it I found a trash bag as part of the beach trash, and decided to pick up all the other trash. All totaled I was able to find 31 ziplock bags in the area! There were a few other items like a water bottle and energy bar wrappers, but generally speaking the majority of trash I found was some sort of ziplock bag. Why? I think it's a perfect combination of beach goers packing a lunch for the day, and the surrounding critters awaiting the arrival and abandonment of said lunch on the beach each day. I'm convinced it's mainly the work of those sneaky little mongoose hiding in the bushes with those beady little eyes scoping out the next available cooler to raid. The Waterlemon Cay mongoose are nobody's fool: when given the choice of searching for insects and crabs for lunch or grabbing a bag of crackers & cheese what do you think they do? Each bag I found was full of bite & tear marks, so it looks like the mongoose haven't perfected the proper opening of a ziplock bag yet. The next time you visit the beach make sure you're cooler is secured! We have plenty of intelligent mongoose, donkeys and birds that think the lunch you've packed for the day is for them to enjoy.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    the bump out effect

    Certain times of the year give us plenty of that wet stuff that falls from the sky, what we call "liquid sunshine" on St. John. Keeping ourselves and everything we own dry when living or vacationing in a tent can become a challenge during a downpour. Fortunately most of our tent cottages have been around long enough that we fully understand where to put the most protection (roll-downs in front of screens). Our latest challenge has been getting the water from the small tent roofs to drain properly, and not into the tent through screens or onto wood that will eventually rot. The latest trial has been our "bump outs" pictured below, keeping the water off the screen & wood and hopefully out of the tent. Now if it would only rain!

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    what we do in the summer, part 1

    Many guests, as well as friends and family, are curious as to what it is we do in the summer. Maho Bay Camps is unique from other vacation spots on St. John in that we don't close for part of the year, our tent cottages are available to rent throughout the summer and fall. While lots of jobs are seasonal at Maho to reflect the time of year we have the most guests, many of us are here through the summer and fall. Vacationing here during our "season" vs. August is quite different, especially when comparing the number of tents booked.

    So what do we do with all those empty tents? Two major projects this time of year would be making plenty of repairs and preparing each tent for our hurricane season.

    Although it appears we're creating a massive skylight in the tent pictured below, it's actually getting a complete makeover: You can see the wood in the foreground right was in desperate need of replacement, along with plenty of other similar areas. New supports to help stabilize the tent, along with new screens and "Stanley cloth" - the white areas pictured below. Last will be the new roof!

    If you're planning on being here for your vacation in the next couple of months don't be surprised if you see our maintenance crew working on a tent like this one. We promise the tent you'll be in will have a roof :)