Green Musings of an Eco Resort

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Under the Big Top

No, the circus hasn’t come to Maho – though sometimes it does feel like one! You have likely climbed those stairs up to the dining pavilion and stopped on the first landing to reflect in the windows at your disheveled beach hair, checked on your tan (we hope it’s not a sunburn), or even watched a bannanaquit on the windowsill pecking at his own reflection, until you realize that you are gazing at a mirrored window, which could in fact have a spectator on the inside…?! This is the area we refer to as ‘Under the Big Top’ - the administrative offices of Maho Bay Camps. The supporting foundation of Maho: the Bigwigs, Number Crunchers, and several other folks who quietly help to run the show, all tucked in under the dining area, somewhat immune to the scraping of chairs, excited screeches or tired cries of children, or even the stomping of feet (just think about band night). Herein you will find the Resort and Resident Managers’ offices, the accounting office, and the brains (as well as all of the shipping boxes) of the Art department. Wander by in the wee hours of the morning, or late some evening, and you might glimpse the lights and shadows of a maho staffer diligently posting to your folio the effects of your day – what you ate, snorkel gear you rented at watersports, or the charter you signed up for that sails tomorrow. Staff in the office may not always know you by face, but we know often know you by name, and know that you are eating well and having fun. Repeat guests become familiar to many of us over the years, and it is always a pleasure when we get to meet the face that goes with the name.

The staff time clock marks the entry to the office – an age-old intrigue to some of our younger mischievous campers. While parents are happily dining above, groups of young children are somehow drawn to that electronic box on the wall, often daring each other to push those buttons (reaching them may be half the challenge) – only to be ‘busted’ by the office staff working inside if they’ve giggled too loudly!

If you’ve ever gotten home from your trip and called us with questions regarding your charges, you’ve likely spoken to someone in the accounting office. Several of these folks have both been with Maho for many years and are talented at resolving the nuances of guest transactions as well as the mysterious behavior of your credit card. Some of these staff started out in other departments, only to have their numerical talents discovered and lured into the accounting office….

Periodically, in preparation against heavy rains or a looming hurricane, the office gets completely packed up – boxes of records, file cabinets, computers and copy machine, hidden deep within double layers of plastic bags, only to be unpacked just as readily as things are needed. If the timing is wrong, a deluge of water or mud has been known to get the best of things. But somehow, things all keep functioning. An occasional iguana, resident cat, and miscellaneous other creatures have found their way into the office over the years, teaching each of us to always look carefully as you turn on the light and step in the door – especially if you’re the first one to open up in the morning.

The true Ring Master, Stanley doesn’t work in the office (I know you were wondering), but does always make sure to stop in and see us all when he is on camp. And he’s often on the other end of the phone or keeping in touch via email, checking on the pulse of what’s happening at Maho and Under the Big Top. So next time you walk by those mirrored windows, be sure to wave!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

8 Tuff Miles

At least 35 staff members & guests woke-up this morning at pre-dawn hours and put on a pair of running shoes for the 15th annual 8 Tuff Miles. There were 11 Maho staff members in the race, and at least as many staff member volunteers for the race, including the first ever Maho Bay Camps water station! Those of us working at Maho got quite a boost of energy just when we needed it, mile 7, when we turned the corner to our own Maho water station cheering us on with very loud music, cheering, and of course water & Gatorade. Since there were so many of us in the race and volunteering I'm having a bit of trouble getting any pictures, but should have some soon!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

St. John: Segment Three - Video - WCVB Boston

click to view:

St. John: Segment Three - Video - WCVB Boston

St. John got quite a bit of publicity over the past few days up in Boston as Channel 5 did a 4 part series on the island. The whole island was featured with focus points on restaurants, villas, resorts, snorkeling locations, boat trips, night life, and local resident interviews just to name a few. If you live here it's well worth watching such a huge publicity piece on our small island, if you're dreaming of living here then it's a perfect intro for what you're in for. If you're thinking of visiting you'll have plenty of ideas after watching.

The best part for Maho? Maho Bay Camps had a feature part of segment 3, focusing on our tents, our art department and our volunteer program each summer. There's a great part focusing on our glass blowing, and mention of what we're trying to produce more of - countertops and concrete options with crushed recycled glass right here at Maho.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Relay For Life continued

Wow, what an incredible night and an incredible amount of participation for the 1st St. John Relay For Life on Saturday. It was a night to celebrate, remember and fight back as 40 different teams of 15 members kept at least one member walking around the Winston Wells ball field throughout the night. Each team is responsible for fund raising prior to the event, while many teams continued gathering additional donations during the event and on the track selling food, drinks, shirts and even having a "dunk-tank." For the 1st ever Relay on St. John this event went very well and enough cannot be said for the organization behind getting this started.

Maho of course had a team in place, with staff taking turns walking 30 minute intervals starting at 4pm Saturday and going through the night and the next morning. In reality we had more than 1 staff member walking at most times, while others took turns manning the water and grill cheese stations we had going. Plenty of local bands kept us going, including the Ah We Band, Cool Sessions, Mark Wallace and The Ish. Pictures below and more info for this year and next year at

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Visiting Artists

One of the most popular nightly activities here at Maho would have to be the Glass Blowing Demonstrations. Each evening from 6:30-9:30pm on Tuesday through Saturday a pair of artists work together creating both usable art and decorative pieces out of hand blown glass, all while interacting and discussing their techniques with our guests. The bottles are of course collected, cleaned and melted right here at Maho - more details on that process later!

In addition to our two full time resident glass blowing staff we typically have one or two visiting artists with us in the Winter months. This month we are lucky enough to have Ann Mitchell and Scott Kempton. If you have a chance to be down here or if you live on the island be sure to stop by and check them out!

Scott Kempton (2/16/11-3/2/11)

Owner and Principle Artist of Blacksheep Glass located in San Diego, CA.
Although classically trained Kempton loves to experiment with new designs and combines a variety of techniques in his work. He looks to the beaches and southern California landscape for inspiration, which is evident in pieces such as his “Coral Reef” and “Aquarium” paperweights and “Bird of Paradise” perfume bottles.

Scott Kempton studied glass art at colleges and workshops in California, Corning New York, and Canada. Although classically trained, he loves to experiment with new designs and combines a variety of techniques in his work.

Scott says of his work “I love to work with multiple layers of glass. The blending of colors and textures gives depth and excitement to glass art that is not found in any other medium. I create glass to be handled. When I create a piece glass art of I am constantly aware that it will be looked at from every angle, and that each view needs to be different and exciting.”

Ann L Mitchell (2/1/11-3/2/11)

Based in Poway, California, Ann Mitchell is an experienced glass artist constantly working to create new pieces and learn new techniques . “for me the process of creating art forms from a flowing, hot bit of molten glass opens my creativity to the fullest.” Ann has a B.A. in studio art from UMKC university and post grad workshops in glass. Since 1998 she has worked in the field of off hand glass-blowing professionally. “I like to incorporate nature in my artwork. My hobbies of diving and nature walks is the inspiration for the sealife (I create).”

*(more info/photos at

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Live Music Schedule

Every Monday evening here at Maho in the winter is live music night. With a backdrop of Maho & Francis Bay off of our Pavilion Restaurant the setting couldn't be more ideal; the bright moon shinning off the water, cool breezes coming up the hillside, and cool beverages from our bar! For the rest of the year we have alternating acts each week:

Feb 21: Cool Sessions
Feb 28: Lauren & Bo
Mar 7: Cool Sessions
Mar 14: Lauren & Bo
Mar 21: Cool Sessions
Mar 28: Lauren & Bo

Lauren & Bo "take about 50% of the requests you can throw at them," which is pretty impressive. Often we'll do an open mic along side them for the 2nd half of the show, with guests and staff welcome to get up and sing.

Cool Sessions is "versatile in their musical selections, being comfortable with Calypso, Soca, Zouck, Reggae, Cadence & Pop Ballads. Cool Session's music is varied with a strong Afro American and Latin-Caribbean flavor."

Come join us for dinner & dancing any of these Monday nights, we'd love to see you! Dinner starts at 5:30 - 7:30pm, music starts about 7:45/8pm - 10pm.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

year of the dolphin

Schooner Heron has sailed many offshore miles in the company of dolphins. It's quite a different experience to see and play with them closer inland. This year around Maho & St. John in general it seems like we've been seeing more than usual.

It is an amazing experience to be is such close contact with these intelligent and playful creatures. And now here on St John we have been experiencing that same joy and as well as be able to share it with our guests. On several of our snorkel sails this year, Heron has been joined by our friends the dolphins. They love to play in the bow wake, and once Heron gets cruising, there is plenty of fun to be had. Here is a photo of one pair ( a mom & baby) who escorted us into Leinster Bay. It is one of the reasons to get out on the water and join them in their environment.

Hope to see you on the Heron to share the experience!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Relay for Life

We’re about a week into February now, and all is well at Maho. Sweethearts are making dinner reservations in Cruz Bay, the staff is watching news of stateside snowstorms, runners are training for 8 Tuff Miles and jasmine blooms lace the air with Spring, which promises to be on its way soon.

In addition to all the wonderful little bits of February, it is the official month of kicking cancer’s butt, and Maho is excited to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. On Saturday the 19th, a dedicated crew of the Maho staff will jog, run and maybe even crabwalk around the ball park in Cruz Bay, all to raise awareness and funds to fight cancer. Cancer never sleeps, and neither will we. We will be there through the night, with at least one member walking the track at all times and the rest of us cheering them on.

We’ve done well so far, but we would love your help! If you would like to donate to the American Cancer Society and help Team Maho, please let us know. If sending a check please make payable to "American Cancer Society" sent to Adrian Davis, Maho Bay Camps, P.O. Box 310, St. John VI 00831

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Batik Continued

Last month we had an interesting post about batiking here at Maho, and what we do with all those old linens from our resort (and hopefully other resorts soon). Last week I noticed our art department was now selling the batik cloth by the yard, which I was very interested in for creating a unique "hideaway" for some shelving at home. Apparently we have plenty of other visitors thinking the same, and even creating what they've seen and learned here at Maho at home. Below are pictures sent to us by one such visitor:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Clayworks Workshop this week

Third generation British potter Ara Cardew is coming back for another pottery workshop this year at Maho Bay Clayworks from February 7 through 12.
This workshop is open to beginning, intermediate or experienced potters by the day as well as the full five days. Cardew’s teaching schedule will be 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily. Everyone should bring their own lunch and breaks will be taken as needed. Additionally the studio will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to participants.
The workshop for one day only will be $75, which includes five pounds of clay per day and firing fees for that. Two or more days will be $65 per day.
The cost for full five days is $325, but only $300 for those with an active studio card. The five day workshop includes 25 pounds of clay and firing fees. It is recommended that those with little or no experience start February 7.

Anyone who has always wanted to try a clay class, here are two offerings that you don’t want to miss!

Potter’s Wheel Basics: Four Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m., with instructor Stephanie Seguin of Whitefish Pottery, Whitefish Montana. February 15, 22, March 1 and 8; cost is $175, which includes four open studios, clay and firing of pieces made in class.

Functional Clay Handbuilding: Cool Pottery techniques without the potter’s wheel! Four Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4 p.m., with instructor Stephanie Seguin. February 16, 23, March 2 and 9; cost is $175, which includes four open studios, clay and firing of pieces made in class.

For more information or to sign up, call Maho Bay Camp Activities at 776-6226 ext. 212. Or call Gail Van de Bogurt at her Maho Bay Clayworks studio at 776-6226 ext. 226 for additional details.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

while underwater with the Pepper!

Kay and Larry are frequent guests at Maho Bay and have come down for years. They always take 2 or 3 trips each vacation sailing with us on the Pepper....Larry actually made our wedding rings!

Here's Larry snorkeling with the old ball and chain......wife not pictured!

He was retrieving a mooring ball that had floated to Anna's Point while on a Pepper snorkel trip.

The other is of Kay snorkeling in Francis Bay as she has an incredible encounter with a dolphin....don't they look like they are really checking each other out!


Fred and Renee

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Swimmers, Yogis, and Danes Oh My!

This January we’ve had 4 groups stay at Maho Bay. We were happy to welcome back the Total Immersion swimming group, and Spector yoga.

The Spector yoga group tends to spend a lot of time in F-Pavilion taking advantage of the great view. We do our best to keep the noise down when we’re working in the area, but we’re sure they hear the housekeeping truck coming from a mile away.

We had two new groups come this year as well. One was a group of school age children. They were extremely well-behaved, and showed flawless execution of the buddy system.

We also had a lively group from Denmark here for the past two weeks. They came under the guise of a learning group, but we believe they were secretly planning a strategy to reclaim St. John for Denmark. Luckily they only managed a takeover of A-Bath, housekeeping, and the taxi stand. They’re spending 2 weeks at our sister resort Concordia, so the final outcome has yet to be seen.

All in all, the biggest impact of groups on housekeeping is setting up a large number of tents before they arrive and the mountain of laundry after they leave.