Green Musings of an Eco Resort

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2 less anoles here at Maho

One of the most popular comments at our registration desk upon check-out at the end of a stay is "I wish we could stay longer, but unfortunately we need to check-out this morning."

Apparently the opposite is true if you're an Anole: The other day I was leaving Maho when I noticed two of them sitting on the hood and windshield of my truck as I left Maho. As soon as I reached the bottom of the Maho driveway and main road they both jumped-ship! Jeez, I had no idea the lizards had it so bad at Maho!

Interestingly enough, anoles tend to be fairly territorial. Once they find a home and "roaming grounds" they tend to stay in that area for life. If you find one in your tent then most likely they're wondering why you're entering their territory. Throughout the day you'll probably notice them "sunning" themselves on ledges, taking naps in the shady parts of the tent, doing "push-ups," and peeping out the screens looking for others trying to intrude on their territory.

I'd like to think I caught these two on an off day, when they had roamed too far out of their territory, and not that they desperately wanted to leave Maho.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter sand castles

Part of our Easter celebrations yesterday included an Easter egg hunt as well as a sand castle building contest at Little Maho Beach. There were some very impressive castles and sculptures, as seen below.

The winners?

Best traditional: Penelope's Castle. Check out the tiny little snowmen made of sand inside the castle!

"How the heck did they do that" award: Fluffy the magic dragon

Best use of space (as well as human sacrifice, the boys threw themselves in front of a wave just to save the castle!): Aqua City

Pictured below is Crispin, proudly displaying one of the many turkeys prepared for our Easter Sunday dinner at the Pavilion Restaurant last night.

Easter eggs

What do you do when there are 50 or more kids at Maho over Easter? Color eggs! Color eggs we did, about 200 of them. Lets just say that this Easter Sunday at Little Maho there will be a lot of egg salad sandwiches being eaten.

Friday, April 22, 2011

New Rights for Airline Travelers

Unless you are sailing to your next Maho vacation, this applies to you. The Department of Transportation has rolled out some new rights for passengers/obligations for airlines. I read numerous articles on the matter and Chris McGinnis did the best job of explaining the 7 changes that will effect us the most. My favorite aspect is the 24 hold period for tickets. Countless times I've needed that 24 hours to be able to make the pieces fit and being able to hold those tickets is a huge deal.

Here is his article and a link to his article in the San Francisco Gate .

Yesterday, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a broad range of new or enhanced airline consumer protections that will go into effect in September.

As is often the case with governmental regulations, new US rules are lengthy (213 pages!) and full of loopholes. Here are seven important details that matter most to frequent travelers:

1) TARMAC DELAYS. Current rules that impose heavy fines on US airlines for tarmac delays will be extended to cover international flights and non-US carriers operating in the United States. For domestic US flights, the tarmac delay limit is three hours. For international flights, the limit will be four hours. Carriers will be required to provide trapped passengers with status updates at least every 30 minutes, plus food and water every two hours.

2) NOTIFICATION OF IRREGULARITIES. All airlines must offer passengers a flight status update service (i.e., email or text) to which they can subscribe. They must also notify passengers within 30 minutes of becoming aware of a situation that will delay, divert or cancel a flight.

3) 24-HOUR GRACE PERIOD. Airlines will have to hold all reservations for at least 24 hours at the quoted fare, without payment. If a payment is made at the time of reservation, it must be refunded if a passenger cancels the purchase within 24 hours. (Many airlines already do this; the new rules force all of them to do so, uniformly.)

4) FEE REFUNDS FOR LOST (NOT DELAYED) BAGS. Airlines are now required to refund checked baggage fees (which generally run from $20 to $35 each way) in addition to compensating passengers when bags are lost or destroyed. However, new rules do not force airlines to refund fees if bags are simply delayed and eventually delivered to owners.

5) FEE DISCLOSURE. Airlines must clearly disclose all potential fees via prominent links on their homepages. The DOT says these fees and charges include checked, carry-on, oversized or overweight bags, meals, on-board entertainment, Internet access, pillows, blankets, premium coach seating, phone reservations, early boarding, ticket changes or cancellations, unaccompanied minors and pets.

6) FULL-PRICE DISPLAYS. When airlines quote, display or advertise fares, they must always include all government taxes and fees, which in some cases can make up as much as half of the total price of a ticket. (This should make comparing apples to apples much easier when fare shopping.)

7) BUMPING. Compensation for involuntarily bumped passengers will double to a maximum of $650 if the replacement flight results in a delay of less than two hours or $1,300 if the delay is more than two hours. This applies to both purchased and frequent flyer award tickets. (Note: US passengers are not entitled to any compensation for flight delays - these rules only apply if a passenger is involuntarily bumped.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

calm winds and calm waters

Today was one of those handful of days we have each year where the water surface of the ocean in our front yard looks just like glass. Typically we have a steady breeze and/or a swell to keep the water surface inconsistent, but on days with 1-3 knot winds and zero swell (like yesterday, today, and tomorrow) our water is as calm as can be.

What do you do when we have no wind, no swell, and perfectly calm waters?

1) Try paddleboarding (we have the boards and paddles here at Maho now)
2) Go snorkeling. The goal with snorkeling is to float and observe, which is much easier in calm water.
3)Go kayaking. Calm waters make for much less paddling!
4)Go powerboating or deep sea fishing. There may not be a breeze standing still, but moving across flat calm seas at 35 knots will get you a nice cool breeze!

1)Go surfing or windsurfing.
2)Go sailing, or at least expect to sail very fast!
3)Go hiking, unless you bring plenty of water - no breeze makes for quite a sweat!

The picture below was taken just after sunrise this morning, but when you wake up on vacation and see what appears to be slicks of oil on the water surface (like below) you know you're in for a calm day on the water.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easter Sunday dinner menu

For those staying down here now or those living on island in search for a family style dinner this Easter Sunday we have your answer!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

water spouts

The talk at dinner the other night was all about water spouts; today there was one visible from most of the North Shore of St. John, as well as our Pavilion Restaurant and by the Pepper sailboat (who took these pictures). The likelihood of seeing one yourself while down here? Perhaps about as likely as seeing dolphins while at the beach........certainly possible but not commonplace.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

It will only take a second..... help the Animal Care Center of St. John make a little extra money. The Animal Rescue Site is running a contest and will be awarding money to various shelters around the US and Internationally based on voting. The ACC on St. John is the only "animal" resource on St. John. There is no government sponsored animal control department. The shelter runs on donations and volunteer work. They work tirelessly making sure stray and abused animals are taken care of temporarily while also working to find them a home, sometimes being adopted by visitors and taken back to the states. On Saturday May 21st will be the annual Wagapalooza fundraiser for the St. John ACC, more details to come in the future on that one. As for now, here are the instructions for voting.
Click Here for voting site
Change Country to Virgin Islands of the U.S.
Click Search (No need to type in a state or shelter name)
You will get two options, Animal Care Center of St. John, Inc. is who we are voting for! We are currently in 7th place for the International Division. We are hoping our Maho faithful will help boost our standings a bit!
Here is a picture of Elvis with that adorable face wondering why you haven't voted yet (he can be adopted from our ACC!).

For more reinforcement, here is Charlie also asking you to vote everyday.

Click Here to see other adoptable St. John dogs.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Work Exchange Program

Just a couple more days left to apply for our Work Exchange Program this summer & fall!

Each year we accept applications from December 15th through April 15th for positions starting May 1st through October. For those unfamiliar, our exchange program allows a person to work (30 hours per week) in exchange for lodging and a 40% discount at our Maho General Store and Restaurant. What a deal!

We do require a minimum stay of one month, or as we're forced to enjoy Maho and St. John for at least one month! Often times we hire full-time staff from those in our exchange program, so if working here full-time was of interest then this is your ticket!

Be aware that you would be working at times in high heat (summer temperatures range from 90 to 95 degrees) and high humidity. All our tent cottages are connected by staircases starting at sea level and going up the hill side several hundred feet. The no-see-um's (a variation on the sand flea) can be a major annoyance to those who have a reaction to their bites. This program is not recommended for anyone with health conditions, which may be exacerbated by strenuous work in a hot climate.

If you've never been to Maho, if you're looking for a plane ticket to buy with all that tax refund money, or if it's been a long time since you've visited us here at Maho then send us an application really soon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

More trash & more treasure!

Rachel, a crafty 11 year old was searching for a way to recycle the six-pack rings left in the store. The power of the internet, led us to Pak-it Products website(,as the manufacturer of these plastic contraptions they have offered society several creative alternatives for their use. We started out small re-creating their snow flake, and created a palm tree and a jellyfish because they seemed more appropriate for the island (as seen near our registration desk). Our biggest project was the creation of the hammock using 100 six-pack rings in the process, this project took several days and a trip to the hardware store for metal rings and clothes line. We worked the clothes line through the six-pack rings to secure each loop and Bryan from maintenance cut boards for the spacers and drilled holes for the clothes line to fit through. Overall team effort to show, you don't have to throw it in the trash.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Guest suggestions update #2

Our original post about not recycling newspaper or plastic bottles seemed to draw a good amount of attention online, through emails, and talk around camp. I realized today that there is a way in which we recycle newspapers here at Maho: for use in glassblowing! In fact, it appears as though we import newspapers from at least one other source on island to meet our demand in glassblowing.

If you've ever watched a demonstration here you've probably seen our glassblowers use many different tools to reshape the glass while it's hot. One of the "tools" they use is folded-up newspapers, which they soak in water. Since forming the hot glass with your hand is impossible, wet and folded newspaper is the next best thing!

Pictured above is a demonstration in progress, below is a piece of folded newspaper (the business section) that has been put to use.

Monday, April 4, 2011

saving cans

The other day a staff member mentioned that we desperately needed to get to St. Thomas with our recycled cans, as the pile of our collected cans from camp was growing out of control. There is a place on St. Thomas that will recycle cans if you bring them yourself, so each trip we make to St. Thomas we try to load-up with cans. I decided to take a stroll over to our "aluminum can storage area," which is basically nothing more than a 12ft by 12ft covered shed. Much to my surprise we had cans overflowing the shed and stacked all along the outside!

I took a different look at the huge pile than most; since there is very little on this island that can be recycled, I liked how our recycling storage area was being used to the max! It reminded me of the saying "give him an inch and he'll take a yard." - as in, give us one thing to recycle on this island and we'll put our best effort into giving you as much as possible.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The USVI Postal Service

Holding packages at the front desk is something Maho Bay has always been happy to do for our guests, and as time goes on it seems that more and more people are boxing up and shipping certain necessities rather than purchasing them after their arrival on St. John. Here are some helpful tips to ensure that your packages not only reach Maho Bay by the time you do, but also reach you intact.

While we understand that food costs, and other items, are much less in the continental United States, please remember that there are grocery stores on St. John that have everything you need. We even have the Maho Bay General Store which has a generous supply of produce, dairy, dry goods, as well as toiletries and other necessities.

· Ship Priority: No matter what the post office tells you, even priority boxes can take up to three weeks to get to St. John. Parcel post takes a minimum of 3 weeks, but more commonly takes 4-6 weeks.

· No liquids: Please keep in mind that while the US Postal Service does their best, occasionally your boxes, during the long journey it takes to get here, can get a little beaten up in the process. Having any liquids in your package means there is a greater chance that upon arrival you may discover your box is leaking and a little stinky!!

· Non-Perishables Only: Don’t forget, it will take 2-4 weeks for you box to arrive, so please don’t pack anything that may go bad in that period of time.

· Be wary of shipping glass:If you ship any glass jars, please be sure to wrap them in plastic so if by chance they break, it will not ruin the remaining items in your package.

· Keep it light: Please keep in mind we ask that you not ship boxes that weigh more than twenty-five pounds and/or do not exceed 3ft x 3ft x 3ft dimensions. The easiest way to ship anything is to use Priority Flat Rate boxes that can be found at any US Post Office.

Name, "guest staying...dates"

Maho Bay Camps

P.O. Box 310

St. John, VI 00831

**If you have any packages that exceed the weight/size limit you have the option of shipping to Connections Office in Cruz Bay. They will hold packages until you are able to receive them. You can reach Connections at (340) 776-6922.

If you have any questions regarding packaging or mailing services on St. John please feel free to call Registration Desk at (340) 776-6226 or email at

Pictured is a recent package to arrive at Maho, clearing having seen the worst of the Postal system upon its trip down here. This package had been taped during shipment by the USPS, but still managed to leak the contents out of a busted corner. Upon moving the package for the picture it also sounded like this guest sent themselves a bunch of crushed glass as well :)