Green Musings of an Eco Resort

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Guest ride share update

Wow, there's quite a deal posted right now on the ride share board: "Lunch at Miss Lucy's, if you give the two of us a ride we'll buy lunch for two of you." That's a little more than I imagined the "share" or "donation" would be, maybe the price of gas has gone up quite a bit this week! Hmm, come to think of it maybe I'm interested in giving these folks a ride in trade for lunch at Miss Lucy's this weekend.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Send us some rain!

This time of year brings us to the "shoulder season of dryness" on the island of St. John. For the beginning of April and most of June we tend to see numerous rain showers during the day and night, the type of showers that last all of 5 or 10 minutes, just enough to cool you down during a hot spring day.

It seems especially strange this year to be hearing locals and visitors alike commenting on how dry it is right now on the island; this fall was one of the wettest we've had on record, with massive flooding all over the island. I can't remember how many days in a row we went without seeing the sun, but it was pretty bad.

While our vegetation and cisterns desperately need some heavy rainfall, one after effect of a good rainstorm none of us are looking forward to? the mosquitoes!

Pictured above is blue sky and full sun shinning down on the hillside heading down the Maho driveway, near the Francis Bay walking trail. Pictured below is the vegetation on the side of the driveway heading up towards Maho Bay.......Just a tiny bit of green within a sea of dry brown.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Guest suggestions

The latest idea from our guest suggestion box that has been put into action: Guest ride share. We still have our beloved Mr. Frett making his runs to and from town every hour, but what about guests looking to visit specific restaurants, beaches, or later nights in town?

"You should have a guest ride share board where guests with a jeep can look for another couple to join them for dinner or just the ride into town, or where guests without a jeep and looking to visit specific restaurants, hiking trails or beaches could post." Great idea whoever this was!

I would imagine this would be best or most used by vacationing couples looking to save a few bucks on our now $4.06/gallon gas on island. Having someone else contribute cash for the ride into town you're making anyway certainly can't hurt. We've posted the new sign near registration and we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

searching for the green flash

Since getting to this island almost 6 years ago I've been in search of what's called the "green flash" at sunset here on St. John. While perhaps not seen quite as often here on St. John as other parts of the world, it apparently has been see here at Maho. The idea told by those that have seen the flash here (and from a quick Wikipedia search) is that seconds after or during sunset you'll see a ray or flash of green as the sun cool is that?! Well, apparently the odds of being able to see one are near impossible here on St. John, but that doesn't stop me from trying each night as the sun sets.

Last week I had the pleasure of being able to sail with Capt. Fred & First Mate Renee of the Pepper here at Maho. Pepper is an Island Sloop, just 23 feet long, but with plenty of room for the 6 of us to catch the evening breezes and enjoy a beautiful sunset sail. Watching the sun set over St. Thomas on the Pepper was quite enjoyable, but unfortunately I'm still in search of the green flash.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Guest suggestions

From time to time we'll get some interesting suggestions from guests in our guest surveys and comment boxes. Occasionally we'll see the same suggestions 2 or 3 times in one batch of 30 or so surveys.

The question that kept coming up last week revolved around recycling plastic bottles, perhaps our all-time most popular question/request/suggestion depending on the wording. This week: "please start recycling newspaper and plastic bottles. I saw an employee just pitching these from the recycling bins into regular trash cans."

As crazy as it may sound to most of those reading this, St. John and the USVI as a whole does not recycle anything. There's no separating trash either at home or at the dump, everything goes in the trash. To each and every vacationer on this island our lack of recycling just doesn't make any sense. For the past 20+ years recycling has just been something you do now, how could there still be places that don't recycle, right? Coming from anywhere in the U.S., a place where the vast majority of waste is recycled and very little is actually "trash" to a place like St. John where everything is thrown into trash cans can be a little drastic for most vacationers.

To be fair there was a community effort a couple years ago (and is still in operation) to start recycling aluminum soda cans. The bins, the collection, the signs, everything is all done by volunteers. So yes, on a volunteer basis we do now recycle something on this island!

Maho Bay Camps as an eco-resort has always had a hard time dealing with waste and trying to reduce the amount of trash we generate when recycling on the island doesn't exist. We've done a considerable amount since our inception, perhaps the holy grail of which would be the crushing and melting of glass collected here on camp that is turned into art & practical wares, then sold here at Maho and online.

So the plastic bottles and newspapers being pitched into the trash can by our employees? If anyone has a suggestion on what to do with the hundreds of plastic bottles we still collect weekly please let us know!

So far?

1) we don't sell 20oz plastic soda bottles (only cans). Last year we sold 9,360 20oz soda bottles!
2) our bottled water selection is down to 2 different sizes, one of which is made entirely from plants
3) the only newspapers we carry at Maho are a weekly paper and a monthly paper/magazine

One idea we've had so far for the plastic bottles would be to carry one or two home in your suitcase when departing and recycle them once home. We could have a bin available next to registration and upon checking-out guests could squeeze one or two into their suitcases. Not quite the solution to our island recycling problem but a start?

The good news is that when I went out to take a picture for this post today at 2:30pm (6 hours after we collected trash & recycling) it took looking at 3 separate recycling bins on camp before finding a plastic bottle in one of them! I'm hoping it means not having so many plastic options in the store has paid off, instead of the other option: we're really good at just throwing them straight into the trash now.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Winsconsin is thinking of Maho

Great article written by a guest in the Wisconsin State Journal . Love the comparison of tents at night to illuminated pumpkins. Enjoy the read!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daily Escape

Its Thursday, which means that your week is almost over. Having a tough one? Needing something to get you through until your weekend? This video is kind of old, but the pictures are the same and can help you escape for just a few minutes back to the National Park here on St. John.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

beach to beach to beach to beach

The 8th Annual Beach to Beach Power Swim is already on the horizon and the talk amongst Maho staff. For those unfamiliar with the event: Starting at Big Maho swimmers have the option of competing in the short course, intermediate, long course or relay. If you're up for the entire Big Maho to Hawksnest long course then its a 3 1/2 mile power swim............or snorkel if you're the leisurely type! Definitely be sure to check out the course details, swim options, and map, as it can be a bit confusing for 1st timers.

Those still in the planning phase or considering a trip down here have some good news from Maho Bay Camps - We're offering our local rate ($40/night) to all participants in the race on the nights of Saturday May 28th and Sunday May 29th. Spending the night here at Maho is perhaps the easiest and closest you can get to the course on Sunday morning, just a 5 minute walk down the goat trail path to Big Maho. Talk about convenience!

Give us a call at Reservations to book 800 392 9004 or email us with any questions

Monday, March 14, 2011

Documentary Caribbean Premiere - Maho Bay Resort

New Documentary Film Connects

Leopold to Current Conservation Work

Green Fire film to have Caribbean premiere at Maho Bay Resort on St. John

CRUZ BAY, ST. JOHN— On Friday March 25 at 8:00 pm, the Aldo Leopold Foundation will host the Caribbean premiere of Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, a new documentary film about legendary conservationist Aldo Leopold, best known as the author of the book A Sand County Almanac. The screening is free and open to the public and will be hosted at the Pavilion Restaurant at Maho Bay Camps, an Eco-resort with a 30 year history of preserving St. John’s lush natural environment.

Green Fire is the first feature length (72 min.), high definition documentary film ever made about famed conservationist Aldo Leopold. Emmy-Award winning narrator Peter Coyote lends his talent as the voice of Aldo Leopold, and the film’s on-screen guide is Curt Meine, Leopold’s biographer. The film explores Aldo Leopold’s life in the early part of the twentieth century and the many ways his land ethic idea continues to be applied all over the world today.

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time is a production of the Aldo Leopold Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Center for Humans and Nature. The film shares highlights from Leopold’s life and extraordinary career, explaining how he shaped conservation in the twentieth century and still inspires people today. Although probably best known as the author of the conservation classic A Sand County Almanac, Leopold is also renowned for his work as an educator, philosopher, forester, ecologist, and wilderness advocate.

Aldo Leopold’s work directly influenced the formation of many conservation organizations, including the U.S. National Park Service. The U.S. Virgin Islands National Park site is co-sponsoring the public screening at Maho Bay, and will also share the film with their management team earlier that day.

More than a dozen major premiere events are being held in during the six months of 2011, including screenings in San Francisco, Denver, New York, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian. The Aldo Leopold Foundation has also begun nationwide distribution of the film for small public screenings arranged by community organizers. The film will air on public television in 2012.

“Aldo Leopold’s legacy lives on today in the work of people and organizations across the nation and around the world,” said Aldo Leopold Foundation Executive Director Buddy Huffaker. “What is exciting about Green Fire is that it is more than just a documentary about Aldo Leopold; it also explores the influence his ideas have had in shaping the conservation movement as we know it today by highlighting some really inspiring people and organizations doing great work to connect people and the natural world in ways that even Leopold might not have imagined.”

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time illustrates Leopold’s continuing influence by exploring current projects that connect people and land at the local level. Viewers will meet urban children in Chicago learning about local foods and ecological restoration. They’ll learn about ranchers in Arizona and New Mexico who maintain healthy landscapes by working on their own properties and with their neighbors, in cooperative community conservation efforts. They’ll meet wildlife biologists who are bringing back threatened and endangered species, from cranes to Mexican wolves, to the landscapes where they once thrived. The Green Fire film portrays how Leopold’s vision of a community that cares about both people and land—his call for a land ethic—ties all of these modern conservation stories together and offers inspiration and insight for the future.

“Aldo Leopold is one of our nation’s most beloved nature writers,” says environmental historian Susan Flader. “His A Sand County Almanac, published in 1949, has become a catalyst for our evolving ecological awareness and a classic in American literature.” Leopold is regarded by many as one of the most influential conservation thinkers of the twentieth century, and the film highlights the ways his legacy continues to encourage us to see the natural world “as a community to which we belong.”

The Aldo Leopold Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Baraboo, Wisconsin. The foundation’s mission is to inspire an ethical relationship between people and land through the legacy of Aldo Leopold. Leopold regarded a land ethic as a product of social evolution. “Nothing so important as an ethic is ever ‘written,’” he explained. “It evolves ‘in the minds of a thinking community.’” Learn more about the Aldo Leopold Foundation and the Green Fire movie at


DATE & TIME: Friday, March 25, 2011, 8:00pm

VENUE: Maho Bay Camps, Pavilion Restaurant

TICKETS: Free. No reservations required. For more information:

CONTACT: Jennifer Kobylecky, 608-434-7994 or .

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

This has been the season for clearing common area views for our guests. We've been very fortunate in that we've had guests of various arbor and landscape professions share their knowledge with our maintenance crew. We are doing our best to give you the best views of that beautiful blue-green ocean through such a variety of trees, cactus and shrubs you've come to know and love.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Double rainbow.....what does it mean?!

Sometimes the most unusual things happen, in the most common of places, and right in front of your eyes.

Last week we were getting quite a few rain showers early in the morning, lasting about 10-15 minutes or so, which in itself is a little unusual for this time of year. What was really unusual was one of the lowest profile rainbows any of us have seen, sitting right in front of Whistling Cay off of Little Maho beach (not to mention a double rainbow!):

Sarah, pictured below, is giving a dive training class in the foreground:

Fred & Renee of the Pepper sailboat (pictured) here at Maho had this to say: Red sky in the morning sailors take warning.......Renee said that goes for first mates too since it started pouring once she went back to the Pepper to set up lunch that day!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Today Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda

Wow, talk about getting the tv exposure over the past couple of weeks. This week the Today Show had a Spring break escape feature that included Maho Bay Camps & a few pictures. Not quite as much as previously on News Channel 5 in Boston, but still good!

The entire clip is just over 3 minutes, our mention is right at the first minute:

Friday, March 4, 2011

Update from the Dirt

And by dirt, we mean Maho Bay Clay Works!

Studio News for March and April:
This has been an active and fun filled winter at Maho Bay Clay Works. From our workshops with Garold Amsberry and Ara Cardew, our fabulous 2011 Winter Season Potter and Teacher, Stephanie and our brief visit from our friend and potter has flown by too fast. There are a few cool opportunities coming up before we scatter in different directions, so please check out the following announcements. Thanks to all of you who have joined in by taking a workshop or coming to open studio, or participated in the wood firing we had on January 22. The next wood firing is scheduled for April 9, just before many of you head back to your homes in the States. I hope you will plan some of your pieces for a wood/salt glaze firing. Its a rare opportunity and the results can be really striking. Its also a good experience to volunteer for a firing duty'll learn a lot and gain a stronger sense of appreciation for this age-old craft.
Thanks again for your participation, All the very best to you! Gail

Maho Bay Clay Works Spring classes

Special Workshops Start this Week!

Sconce Making with Catherine Perry 3 Sundays March 6, 13, 20 1:00-3:00 PM $200.00 Learn to make beautiful , personalized

ceramic lighting fixtures ! Includes Clay and firing for one sconce. 3 additional open studio sessions included. one opening available!

Watercolor Landscape Painting One Day Beach Workshop Wednesday March 9, 10:00AM- 4:00PM , Full Day $90.00 Half Day $50.00

10AM-1:00PM Gail Van de Bogurt watercolor instructor at both Caneel Bay and Maho Bay, Guides you through the steps of landscape painting at Francis Bay Beach. bring your beach chair , bathing suit and sandwich. all painting supplies provided.
4 Week March & April Classes:

Potter’s Wheel Techniques 4 Tuesdays 6:30 PM-9:00PM Stephanie Seguin

Mar. 15, 22, 29 April 5 $175 This class is for those who have taken the beginners class or need a refresher course. designed for improving skills on the wheel, trimming, pulling handles, glazing. (Includes 4 open studios, clay & firing of pieces made in class)

April 6, 13,20,27 $175 Gail will demonstrate tall forms, things with lids, thrown and altered forms, surface decoration,designing sets, “finding your style” (Includes 4 open studios, clay & firing of pieces made in class)

Local Open Studio Schedule: Saturdays and Wednesdays at 9am-12noon & 1pm-4pm, Mon. and Thurs. 6pm-9pm, For more information or to sign up for classes please call us 776-6226 ext. 226 or email

Maho Bay Clay Works Winter 2011

Weekly Class Schedule and Information


Mondays, 6 pm - 9 pm OR Wednesdays, 9 am - 12 noon There is NO INSTRUCTOR $40 per person includes 5 lb. stoneware , glazing and firing. Work with the island clay studio potters. Ages: 15 and up you may attend another open studio just to trim or add handles etc. (we will ship your fired work to you for a reasonable fee) if you are here all winter, ask for our complete open studio schedule.

Clay Whistles Thursdays 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm Minimum 4 students - Maximum 8 students $45 per person meet at clay studio Ages: 8 and up Make Dolphins, Conch Shells etc. that are also Whistles! (we will ship fired work to you at a reasonable rate)

Kids and Family Potters Wheel

Wednesdays 6:30pm - 8:30pm (Also Fridays by request) Minimum 4 students - Maximum 10 student $45 per person Ages: 10 and up meet at clay studio. fun in the mud! bring your camera and wear sneakers! (we will ship fired work to you at a reasonable rate)

Ceramic Pendants and Wind Chimes February 15 thru March 29 Tuesdays, 2 pm - 4 pm Minimum 4 students - Maximum 8 students $45 per person Ages: 10 and up meet at clay studio use local plants and sea life impressions. (we will ship your fired work to you at a reasonable rate)

Watercolor Landscape Painting

Fridays 10:00 am-1:00 pm Minimum 3 students - Maximum 6 students$48 per person meet at dining pavilion beginners and experienced painters welcome. Professional quality materials.Paint your view of the Virgin Islands. Take home your art to frame and new skills to keep on painting!

Watercolor Painting Kits available for rent at clay studio $15 per day, Ages: 15 and up .

Class Schedules may change, Advance registration by telephone recommended

Because pottery takes time for drying and firing, expect to take advantqge of our convenient shipping service. Average rate per person is $25. Depending on destination.

Call Maho Bay Camps: Activities 340-776-6226 ext 212. Pre-Registration is required.

Most classes have a minimum of 4 students, if you are here all winter, ask for our complete schedule: Maho Bay Clay Works 776-6226 ext. 226 email ­

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lionfish update

Each week here at Maho Karl Pytlik from the CORE Foundation has been doing presentations about an growing and concerning issue for us in the Virgin Islands: Lionfish. If you're not familiar with the problem we're facing I'd highly recommend watching his two-part series here, or coming to one of his presentations at Maho (next presentation on Thursday March 10th).

Below is a message from Karl:

Just wanted to check and give a few updates from CORE on St John.

We have had a busy week as far as St John goes; 11 captures

1-Yawzi Point

3-Salt Pond Bay

2-Little Maho

1-Francis bay

1-Big Maho

1-Chocolate Hole

1-Waterlemon Cay


Total caught in February 18. There have been other sightings last week that were not marked and still need to be searched.

We also had 4 presentations;

2/20 aboard charter catamaran Kekoa CORE partnered with EAST (Environmental Association St Thomas) to give public awareness while folks enjoyed a whale watch EAST had set-up as one of their yearly fundraisers. I took time to speak wi

th all the guests on the boat about the lionfish and CORE as well as show them some caught specimens preserved in jars. We did get to see whales, a humpback stayed with the boat for almost an hour!

2/23/11, Maho Bay Camps. Had a great turnout for Public awareness slide presentation.

2/26/11. Estate Concordia. Public Awareness slide presentation

2/27/11, Whale Watch with EAST. This time Jaimie Irving, one of our volunteers as well as general manager of VIERS camp on St John went to

give a talk to the guests.

Upcoming presentations:

3/6/11- Whale Watch Kekoa

3/10/11- Maho Bay Camps

CORE will begin diver training again for the month of March. I will send out an email as soon as we have the dates booked. I will makes sure to have some take place earlier in the day for those who have evening shifts and have not been able to


We still have T-Shirts and Tank Tops if anyone would like to purchase one and support our cause.

Thank you again to everyone and their hard work!

Karl Pytlik

St John Coordinator

The CORE Foundation


Top photo from Haulover Bay on 2/27, bottom photo from Salt Pond on 2/21

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

8 Tuff continued

We finally got our hands on some photos at the finish line in Coral Bay. We all were trying to get the coveted 1st place Maho staff finish, and as it turns out it came right down to the wire. Turning the corner into the ball field in Coral Bay it was down to Tyler & Ben, with Tyler having the slight lead. Ben attempted a pass and Tyler would have none of it, digging deep to come up with just enough energy to finish in the lead. Tyler held the glory of a 1st place Maho staff finish.......until he realized that Steve, a mere 3 times his age, had finished the race 6 minutes before him!

Pictured below is Tyler in the orange shorts and Ben in the black shirt: