Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ivan's Stress Free Bar, White Bay, Jost Van Dyke, British Virgin Islands

Kenny Chesney has a new song on his new album Life on a Rock called When I See This Bar and many speculate that one of the bars referred to in the lyrics is one of his favorites, Ivan's Stress Free Bar.   And why not, he filmed No Shoes, No Shirt at this bar and has become friends with Ivan. although in this video it appears to be Bomba's Shack on Tortola?  Which bar do you think he is talking about?

Although Ivan is not around much any more due to him having Parkinson's Disease, Ivan's family is continuing on his tradition!

We took a day trip over from St Thomas on our boat with some friends last weekend to get our fix of Jost Van Dyke. On Sundays, the Soggy Dollar Bar becomes more like a spring break party anymore, with an influx of the younger crowd from St Thomas and St John, and along with that comes competing boat stereos with a mix of the day charters coming in all fighting for a spot on the beach. Not that I am that old, but having to constantly fend other boats off of your boat does not make for such a relaxing afternoon. Although we have walked over to Ivan's before, we thought we would spend the day there instead.

After we cleared customs we were able to pull right in, right in front of Ivan's and we were the only boat on the beach!  There was a mix of several people, mostly couples enjoying the beach that were camping in tents or in Ivan's cabins.  Yes, Ivan's is also a campground!

We had some beers and eventually made it up to the bar for some drinks and a lunch of cheeseburgers.

We had the bar to ourselves! After eating, we decided it was time for a walk to go visit Mic over at Soggy Dollar Bar for a Painkiller.  You can walk from one side of White Bay over to the other.  There is an old road that now has steps that goes up and over the rocks, but I would wear some sort of foot wear when you go over!  There are some really great views on top of the path!

Now for an Original Pain Killer at Soggy and a quick hello to Mic!

Time to walk back to Ivan's

In the picture above is Ivan's and you can see our boat was the only one there at the beach!

It's that time of day
That we all knew would come
To pay for all the rum
And pull up anchor cause we're done
It's that time of day
I see a cotton candy sky
So many colors in my eyes
Proof again God's alive

This ain't a goodbye
It's a "till I see you again"
What a wonderful time
We've all shared my friends
Another day at sea
Has come and gone away
So adios to Jost
Adios to Jost
Adios to Jost
It's that time of day

Sometimes living here can be a real bitch at times, and many days you feel like that you sacrificed a lot to live in paradise, but a day at Jost and being able to go over there any day certainly makes up for it! 

If you are ever down here and want a lower budget place to stay, and to escape it all then here is info for Ivan's, just click!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Virgin Islands Beer Club

We had a great time at the Virgin Islands Beer Club's microbrew beer fest last Saturday night at Moo Moo's !

They had lots of great beers there and I even got to take home two six packs of my favorite Boulder Beers!

For more information on the Virgin Islands Beer Club just click.

Their next event will be a food and beer pairing at Bella Blu on July 16th.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Should You Buy a Vacation Home in the Virgin Islands?

My intention of this blog is not be advertising my real estate brokerage on here, but rather give readers what it is like to live here in St Thomas and the Virgin Islands. I though I would take a look at how owning a vacation home here may work for some!

Does it make sense to own a condo here in St Thomas?  Well, after doing some math, it may make sense!

I have a one bedroom, one bath, 780 Sq Ft condo for sale near Sapphire Beach. It is currently listed for $139,900.

Now let's say you purchase this condo for list price.

Now you rent this condo out on as a vacation rental for $125/per night and you only have it occupied 50% of the time. Of course you will want to spend some time using the condo and of course your friends and family will want to use it too?

Your annual income of $22,875 minus expenses of $11,539 (HOA dues, power, water, repairs, etc) would be 8.1% of your investment or $11,336.

Now let's look at a conservative appreciation over the course of ownership for 5 years at 3% appreciation a year, you would have an annualized rate of return of 11.1 %, not bad considering what are your other choices are for investing your money these days?  Not mention, living in paradise part of the year?  Oh and don't forget how much you can save too by having a kitchen and making some of your own meals?

Many people opt for a timeshare route, which after a purchase price of about $35,000 for a week, maintenance fees of $1500 a year and after five years, what would your timeshare be worth?

If you are interested in vacation real estate here in St Thomas, please contact me.  I can also send you the spreadsheet I have on condo investments here.

Sapphire Hill Village, Dominca 165
Listed by America's Caribbean Realty
*All investment scenarios are strictly hypothetical, contact a professional financial planner for any real estate investment.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Summer - Virgin Islands Beer Club Micro Brew Beer Festival - Sat. June 22nd!

I will have to admit, one of the things that I miss from stateside is a plethora of micro brews to chose from, either when you are eating out or when you are at the grocery store, kind of like my Taco Bell habit?  Being I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and lived in Boulder for 12 years, microbrews are like the fine wine of the beer world, with Colorado being the Napa of Beer!

I heard about this festival last weekend at King of the Wing and nothing will be stopping me from going tomorrow night, especially to taste one of my old friends and some delish BBQ from Chris!

Here are the details and if you need directions to Compass Point Marina, contact me!  I would also bring some lawn chairs too!

I guess today is the first day of Summer?  Only thing I have noticed is it is light out until 7 PM and the sun is in my eyes at 5 AM?  Oh yes the temperature does change about 4 degrees, so here is the same old weather forecast:  Isolated showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 88. Northeast wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.   It really never changes! 

Happy Friday and have a great weekend! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

King of the Wing 2013

Last weekend was the King of the Wing and what a great time we had!

This year it was at Magens Bay, which has plenty of parking and a great venue!

The start time was noon, but we thought we would get there early to get a good spot and avoid the crowds. We arrived at 11:30 and had a great parking spot, got our cooler over to a picnic table. The cooler had all the things you need to pair with chicken wings, bloody marys, beer and Dt. Coke and Rum.

We easily got our tickets, 25 tickets for $20. There were 36 entrants this year. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to eat 25 chicken wings!

Here we are about half way through our 25 tickets and I am not sure if I was going to be able to use them all!

The key to this cook off is to get there early and eat all the wings you can as many of the popular ones tend to run out at the end, not to mention most of the people all come at the end! I did manage to eat all 25 including two from Shannon. Our friend Adam also eat some of Shannon's, bringing his total to 30!

We were entertained with the folks that have the jet packs!

My favorites were the Spicy Asian with Wasabi, although I forgot who made those and the Rugby Club's deep fried cashew wings!

The winners were:

Restaurant Division: Fatty's

Non-Restaurant: Budget Rent A Car

I was the winner of a jelly fish sting!

It was another great event and can't wait for next years!

Up next:  The Virgin Islands Beer Club is having a Micro Brewery Beer Festival this Saturday evening, June 22 at Moo Moo's BBQ at the Compass Point Marina!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Did Someone Pee in My Cheerios This Monrning? An Earthquake, Followed By News About American Airlines?

Update 6-18-13: I guess the Billionaire's endorsement wasn't enough after all?  From the Humane Society:

Pet With Wings Update: 

A message from the Shelter Manager Rhea Vasconcellos

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Humane Society of St. Thomas, 

The "Pet With Wings" program, developed by the HSSTT, is still active and will continue to be an integral part of our operations. However, what HAS changed, is that after approximately 2 years working together, our travel partner American Airlines will no longer waive the transportation fee, that has enabled us to transfer over 150 animals off-island to mainland no-kill shelters. American Airlines is now charging the shelter $125 (under the seat) and $175 (under the plane). This will place a great hardship on maintaining our progress, but we are determined to work very hard to sustain this greatly needed program.

We have been very appreciative of the past support from American Airlines. Upon learning of the risk to the program's continuance, HSSTT sent a package of support from the community to American Airlines Corporate, including a cover letter appealing for their consideration. We have not received an official response in writing. However, through their local representatives, American Airlines has verbally confirmed that at this time AA Corporate is unable to waive any transport fees for the HSSTT, and future requests will be decided on a case by case basis.

As many of you know and can relate to, living on a island limits our available transportation options. We cannot travel cross country by vehicle or access affordable airline charter lifts. In order to get as many of our unwanted animals to no-kill shelters, in jurisdictions with mandatory spay/neuter legislation, where they are adopted within days, due to pet shortages… we are dependent on the airlines. We know, and can substantiate, that the "Pet With Wings" program saves lives. We are still optimistic that American Airlines will reconsider their decision, or at the very least will give our non-profit organization a substantial discount on these transportation fees.

We are also hoping that the many signatures and comments (1,300+) garnered through the online petition (, created by Mr. Griffin McFarlane, which sought to encourage American Airlines to maintain it's historical relationship with the "Pets With Wings" program, will help us to achieve the desired successful outcome for all interested parties. We are aware that many of you have pledged to discontinue using the services of American Airlines, pending their final decision, which would indeed be unfortunate from a corporate standpoint. But, we sincerely hope that your passion and desire to do what is right by the "Pet With Wings" program, overflows into your continued advocacy for the Humane Society of St. Thomas, and it's dedicated mission for the advancement of the "humane treatment, welfare of animals, and the control of animal overpopulation, through membership involvement".

We are absolutely grateful for the tide of sponsorship offers, which are steadily growing, from many friends and supporters. We owe a great debt of thanks to those individuals who have sponsored recent transportation fees, enabling us to transfer 3 dogs, during the last week. One of our volunteers, Cindy Bourn, successfully started her own campaign to raise funds to send her foster pup to Boston.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the "Pet With Wings" program can do so by calling the shelter at (340) 775-0599, if they would like to pay by credit card. To send a check, please mail to the Humane Society of St. Thomas, 2F Donoe, PO Box 8150, St. Thomas, VI 00801. Even if you are unable to sponsor the entire amount for a transfer, any amount will be appreciated.


Send your thoughts to American Airlines at

Update 6-17-13: Cheerios weren't so bad after all, but it took a local Billionaire to change the minds of American Airlines?

Watching the morning news this morning in bed, I heard the all too familiar sound of a truck crashing down a hill, that sound is an earthquake!  We had a 4.4 this morning off of Anegada.  I really didn't feel the house shake, more of like a vibration?  We do seem to have a few tremblers here as we lie on the Caribbean Plate.

Issued By: USGS
Affected Jurisdictions: Virgin Islands

Headline: USGS Earthquake Alert: M 4.4, Anegada, British Virgin Islands

Image Monday, June 17, 2013 11:33:54 UTC
Monday, June 17, 2013 07:33:54 AM at epicenter

Depth: 28.00 km (17.40 mi)

Earthquake Distances: (Calculated within VI-Alert)

48.05 Miles from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands
75.61 Miles from St. Croix, US Virgin Islands
39.18 Miles from St. John, US Virgin Islands
50.47 Miles from Water Island, US Virgin Islands

Even worse of the earthquake, I was reading the local news with my coffee to see that American Airlines has cancelled their Pets With Wings program that helped fly homeless shelter pets to the mainland (I wrote an earlier post about this program).

My suggestion would be to voice your opinion on their facebook page and send them an email.

I know that I have recently moved my allegiance away from AA to Delta, and maybe Delta can pick up the slack? I know they have recently increased their service from once a day from Atlanta to two a day and this Winter will do once a day from JFK.

Email American Airlines:

AA facebook:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Adopting Another Stateside Shelter Dog!

(guest blog by Shannon)

After our dog Bristol died this past February (RIP 2/7/13), we adopted our new one-yr old Lab "Chukar" from a rescue group in North Carolina. Ken already posted about that experience. At the time we chose Chukar, he was at the rescue ranch with his yellow Lab brother (Rex), they had been brought in together from a shelter where they were dropped off as strays.
We had sentimental reasons for choosing the black brother (Duke), mostly because he reminded us of our previous dog Chuck (RIP 10/14/11), which is why we re-named him Chukar.  We kept tabs on the yellow brother and were happy when he went to a home a couple weeks later, and stayed in touch via Facebook with his adoptive family who re-named him Ike.  We were always a bit sad about separating the brothers.

Chukar was a handful.  Crazy like a crazy cat, pouncing and playing and jumping on the counters and generally using our house (and us) as a jungle gym.  We love the little guy though, what he lacked in manners, he more than made up for in personality, enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.  Our older dog Bo Peep loved him too, having another dog to cuddle with, but sometimes didn't like being his jungle gym accessory and so wouldn't play back with him and he has energy to burn.

After six weeks or so, we got a call from the rescue group (Joy at Ruf Creek Ranch!) that the yellow brother had been returned by the family that adopted him.  They had a hard time keeping him in their partially-fenced yard, he chased squirrels, darted out their door and didn't get along with their older dog.  Hmmm.  Did we know anyone that might want him?....  Immediately, we knew the answer... Chukar wants him. We needed to re-unite the brothers.  The decision was easy, we were on board.  The logistics....?  Not so easy.

It is never easy getting a large dog on or off the island, especially in the summer months.

This came up during the first weekend of May.  We were facing some challenges with the weather, as we had to transport him by plane to the islands.  Delta Airlines shuts down all pet travel in the baggage compartment on May 15th. American Airlines allows pets, but only if the temperature at all airports along the way is forecasted to be less than 85 degrees.  St Thomas? Miami?  85 degrees was getting to be pretty normal.  We were limited to early morning or late evening flights. American won't fly the large size kennels on the smaller plane they use out of Raleigh-Durham, and we looked at every logistical solution and concluded that we had to get him from North Carolina to Miami, and then fly out of Miami on the night flight.

After the dust settled, here is how it worked, my "Memorial Day Road Trip with Blake" (we re-named him Blake, sounds like Ike, but liked it better).  Ken stayed home with the other dogs, I needed a trip off the rock, to drive on the right side of the road, go to big box stores, and eat Taco Bell!

- Friday night, I flew from St. Thomas to Charlotte, NC on American (was supposed to be Charleston, SC on US Airways, but US Air cancelled or delayed all my flights and I had to rebook at the airport, etc, was typical nightmare flying experience). Spent the night at airport La Quinta in Charlotte. got three hours of sleep, grabbed my complimentary banana and headed back to the airport for another cancelled flight.

- So the rescue group and I connected and changed all plans.  I rented a car in Charlotte, NC, went to PetSmart to get some basic supplies.

- The rescue group found a volunteer pilot from Paws and Pilots ( to fly the dog from Raleigh to Charlotte on a little Cessna.  At the last minute, they were re-routed to Monroe, NC, another 45 min drive.

- I met Blake for the first time, he was so sweet! Confused, anxious, but incredibly focused on me and so affectionate.  I knew this would all be worth it.

- We drove six hours to Jacksonville, FL, I exchanged the rental car for a mini-van, bought an airline approved travel crate, spent the night at the pet-friendly Red Roof Inn by airport rental lots

- I drove down the coast of Florida with many fun stops at dog parks and dog beaches, bonding with Blake! Took scenic routes, spent 6 hrs on the road. Spent Sunday night at pet friendly La Quinta in West Palm Beach.

 - Monday morning, we leisurely made our way down to Miami, about 2.5 hrs plus a stop at another beach, with a final potty stop at a dog park right near the airport

- Returned the mini-van rental at the Marriott airport hotel Hertz counter, awesome! Thank you Ken for that part, would have been nearly impossible logistically any other way as one person to drop the car off at airport rental lot

- Met up with Francisco, a tour mini-van operator who Ken found online, that agreed to meet me at the Marriott and drive me and Blake and the crate to the check in counter.   It went so smoothly that we were early.  Check in went smoothly too and we had an extra 40 minutes to chill out on a bench in the A/C with a chew toy and get Blake calmed down for the flight.

- Boarded the flight, got confirmation from the pilot that Blake was on board!  We were an hour delayed taking off due to mechanical issues, but it was cloudy and drizzly and 81 degrees, so he was okay waiting down in the cargo hold for our departure.

- Landed in St. Thomas, they unloaded him promptly (which doesn't always happen!), he was scared to death coming around the baggage carousel.  He and Ken met for the first time, and home we went!

We reunited the brothers that night, it was late and dark and raining outside, Blake was amped up from his crazy trip, Chukar was surprised, and it didn't go great.  They had a little sparring match, but then settled in together for the night. We know that with some patience, they will be best of friends again.

Blake has been a great addition to the pack. Our senior Bo Peep loves him, such entertainment to watch now.  Our pack of three Labs is our family.  And brothers will be brothers with the bickering, but Chukar loves him too!  They play chase, share bones, and are both learning more manners.

What an adventure for me and Blake!  We are so happy we went through the effort to go get him.  He's in his forever home now.  It is not easy to bring large dogs to the US Virgin Islands, but we have done it now (four times), and it gets less stressful every time.

Blake's an island dog now, enjoying his Life on a Rock!