Green Musings of an Eco Resort

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Struggle to Save Maho Bay - the World’s First Eco-Resort

I guess it'd be hard to post ALL the publicity we get in general on this blog, but when it comes to the end of our lease and the end of Maho Bay Camps it's almost impossible to put everything we find up here. But to quote Oscar Wilde..........."the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about!"

Mark Johanson is an editor at IBTimes Travel, though most of us here at Maho know him better as a recent staff member, so we just HAD to post his thoughts: The Struggle to Save Maho Bay - the World’s First Eco-Resort

Friday, June 24, 2011

Read This Post and then the Article

I was stumbling around the New York Times online this morning just to see what Travel news there was for the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands. I was hoping there would start to be an increase in awareness and coverage of our islands since we have added over 100,000 airline seats coming next season through Jet Blue and an increase in American Airlines flights through Miami (all of this adds up to potentially lower fares!). There was nothing new for me to check out, but, I did see right there on the St. John page of the Times Travel section quite possibly the best article ever written about Maho. Of course I've read it before, numerous times actually. If I could have it turned into a pillow case, I would sleep on it (Christmas gift anyone?). As I skim the text again, it really makes me want to take off the nametag, turn off the walky talky i'm attached to, burn the collared shirt, and check-in to a tent for the week. This is an especially odd feeling because I do happen to live on a tent. But, as wonderful as my life is, vacationing at Maho Bay is not something that can be replicated just by being on property each and every day.

A few Septembers ago a young guy with thick framed glasses, a v-neck tshirt, and a british accent asked me if he could interview me for his blog. I obliged, but honestly not with anywhere near the same furvor that I would have had he asked to interview me for the front page of Sunday's travel section for the NYT......lesson learned, humility grasped. Benji and I chatted for quite a while, probably longer than needed but it was mid afternoon and the temperature difference between the office and the outside where more work beckoned was probably 20 degrees factoring in humidity. He had tons of questions and wore out that pen on the small pad he was carrying. Needless to say, my attitude about blog interviews has drastically changed for all of eternity.

Looking back on the article, I realize that even in 2009 a topic of interview discussion was the impending ending date of the lease. It didn't feel the same in 2009 though. There was time for our Neo (Matrix), Jake Sully (Avatar), Frodo (LOTR), or the kid with the Knuckle Puck from Mighty Ducks 2 to come in and make everything better. But alas, that article still gives me chills. Whether you have just returned from Maho or are planning next years vacation or have stumbeled upon our Green Musings by accident, take a moment to read or re-read the article. I promise it will bring you right back here at your desk, in your cubicle, or on the train via your iphone.

Note: When sending someone a thank you gift to the UK, make sure you send money for the customs duties they are going to have to pay to recieve it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lionfish update #2

This past winter season Maho Bay Camps had a resident lionfish killer living among us, as every other day or so we'd hear tales about the latest kill just off Little Maho, Big Maho or Francis. Lately all has been quiet in terms of kill counts around here, which is either really good or really bad, Good: there are no lionfish around the area or Bad: nobody is out in the area making the kills.

Those not familiar with our fight against this invasive species can find plenty of great information on the CORE Foundation website and their Facebook Page. As bad as it is to find these fish, and as little hope as I & others have for complete eradication in the area, I have been enjoying the updates with pictures of each "search & destroy" mission.

It also appears that the VI Government is starting to step forward with some ideas as well with a bill "authorizing the V.I. Agriculture Department to distribute, manage and operate legislative appropriations for lionfish management."

As a reminder for those on a first visit to Maho, if you do see one in the water while snorkeling please do something about it! At the very least tell others and/or someone here at Maho, most likely one of our staff would love to go get it. But you can also go back out and drop a marker on it and call the National Park or CORE, better yet carry a marker with you while snorkeling (available at our Activities desk as well as Watersports). While absolutely beautiful to see one underwater while snorkeling, they're worth much more to our ecosystem dead than alive!

The photo pictured above is from a catch at Reef Bay last month, this one was one of 3 that we found that day. All 3 were hanging out under the same overhanging shelf of coral, in perhaps 12 feet of water. Unfortunately we were only able to kill 2 of the 3, the one pictured above being the biggest.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Little Maho Dolphins

Apparently we should have trademarked our "year of the dolphin" tagline, because they seem to be everywhere this year.........2/6/11, 2/13/11

Captain Fred and Renee sent us these pictures today with the following: "We were getting ready for our sunset sail on Friday when we spotted what we thought was one..then two..then finally three dolphins in Maho Bay at our mooring. Woody was headed over to Francis Bay..we called him over and they were right between him and Pepper."

Those looking for more can search sailpepper on Facebook for video as well.

If you look closely in the distance you can see a couple Maho tents, but those with a careful eye looking even closer (click to enlarge) will notice a car on the beach at Big Maho Beach - something you never would have seen just a few years ago. Please Please Please don't park on the beach! Vehicles parking on the beach drip oil, gas, coolant and a host of other fluids onto our beaches and then into our beautiful waters eventually damaging our ecosystem, as well as damaging the root systems of the surrounding vegetation vital in helping run-off and erosion.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blue.......Jet Blue

Jet Blue announced this week that it will be offering flights nonstop starting Dec 15th from Boston to St. Thomas 5 days a week!! On the way back there is a stopover in San Juan, but thats ok.

I ran a quick test search to check out pricing:

1 traveler roundtrip: Boston, MA (BOS) to Saint Thomas, VI (STT)

Edit Search
  • Departing Flight #807
    12/17 9:35AM
    12/17 2:30PM
  • Returning Flight #808
    12/26 3:20PM
    12/26 7:29PM
Those travel times are great, not at the airport too early and getting here with plenty of daylight. Even with the stop in San Juan you leave STT at 3:20 and are home by 7:30. This is great news. Here is a USA Today article on the matter. These 88,000 new seats should really help to drive down high prices we saw last winter even if the Jet Blue flight is not the cheapest for you since competition in the airline market is a great thing. Hope to see more bahstun folks this year.

Monday, June 13, 2011

More local publicity for our Art Center has posted a great video today about our recycled glass program here at Maho. Mariel & Greg, our resident glassblowers, get quite a bit of facetime as they create a palm tree mug and tree frog. Towards the second half of the video is our newest form of recycling: mixing glass with concrete to create table tops.

Those in the area this week should definitely stop by and watch one of our demonstrations, now on Monday or Friday nights. Of course if you're interested in taking a class like Jeff & Russ are doing in the video you'll have to call us ahead of time or stop by first thing upon your arrival.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

While on vacation for the week there's a very good chance you'll stumble upon historic ruins, usually on purpose but sometimes by chance. There are quite a few different sugar plantations, rum distilleries, great houses, windmills, and customs houses scattered about St. John.

A handful of ruins on St. John are now frequently visited by our rapidly increasing deer population, and not by chance if they have plenty of green grass available. While visiting the ruins at Cinnamon recently these two deer gave me a look as if to say "please come back later, we're eating right now."

If you hear a rumbling in the bush behind your tent early in the morning or in the early evening hours there's a good chance you're hearing or about to see a deer.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

America Hill trail

When guests ask which hiking trail we'd recommend if starting out from Maho a favorite of mine would have to be America Hill. It's an "easy" walk from Maho to Cinnamon Bay, where one of the start points for getting to America Hill begins (the other would be on Centerline Road). Before or after the America Hill hike you can explore the ruins just off the road at Cinnamon, which have recently been transformed with a series of concrete and raised boardwalks (like ours!).

Be prepared for the start of the trail, it's a straight shot uphill for what seems like forever. Once the first part has been climbed its relatively easy navigating the switchbacks all the way to the top. Total hiking time going up from the Cinnamon ruins: 25 minutes or so

The views from the America Hill Estate House are incredible, and perhaps the only spot on St. John where one can view Peter Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Big & Little Maho, Francis Bay, and Waterlemon Bay - all at the same time. The Estate House itself is absolutely huge and beautiful, one which you'll spend plenty of time wondering how they ever carried so much brick, coral and concrete up the trail you just climbed!

Since you'll be so high above Maho & Francis Bay you can clearly see the white roofs of a few Maho tents. Bring a pair of binoculars and if the water is clear you can also see plenty of snorkelers between Big Maho and Little Maho. And if you're eyes are really good and the weather is clear you can see all the way to the West End of Tortola.

Caution: wear bug spray and listen for Jack Spaniards - towards the top you'll hear plenty of them buzzing around.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

guest video

A few days ago we were sent a link to a great video about Maho by a recent guest:

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maho's Closing

(This is just more detailed information than the newsletter that went out)

Maho Bay Camps started in 1976 with a 36 year lease and the day we have all dreaded has come. Our lease will expire July 31st, 2012 as we have not been granted the extension we were all so anxious for. We had also hoped that The Trust for Public Lands and our landowners would be able to come to an agreement, but those talks have faltered and no further negotiations are taking place. Should the property not be sold by April 30th, 2012, our lease will automatically renew for 1 year, however, we will not know until that date if operations can resume. If our lease were to automatically renew, we will have to “play it by ear” and continue limited operations of Maho Bay Camps and Harmony Studios and will begin taking reservations for the 2012-2013 season at that time.

Because we have not yet been granted an extension, we will not be able to guarantee a place for our guests to come and our staff will need to make future plans for themselves. As such, we are planning to close our doors effective June 1, 2012 and will cease taking 1 yr advance reservations after May 31st, 2011.

Maho Bay Camps has been a special place for so many of us. Many of you used Maho Bay Camps for times of celebrations, whether it be honeymoons, birthdays, reunions, or anniversaries. For others Maho was your retreat and your place of rejuvenation, and for all it was a place to get in shape! While this news is sad, this year will be a year of memories and continued celebration of the place that has been so special to both me and our loyal guests. We look forward to a great season with those who have made this place possible and the unique gem that it is.