Saturday, January 9, 2010


St Johns in the USVI is mostly a National Park and the park boundaries extend to the water too. So that meant that I was quite restricted as to where I could drop the hook for the night. But there are free moorings for short term use and it was pleasing to ghost up to one and pick it up under sail. [ OK I did have the engine running JUST IN CASE but it was not required. ]

However I found a legal spot on the south coast at Coral Bay for the night later on and went exploring. I soon realised that this was a pretty tony sort of neighborhood with expensive houses and pools with jacuzzis everywhere. Why I asked myself when you have a the sea a few steps away.

But a few more yards and I was following a trail into the bush. My camera at the ready I padded along quietly hoping to spot a mongoose.

The mongoose was brought here from India to control the rat population. Unfortunately the rats in the Virgin Islands are nocturnal and live in trees during the day. They were therefore able to eat as much sugar as they wanted by night, while the mongoose were sleeping and were safe, during the day, from the mongoose, which cannot climb trees.

The mongoose did have a great impact on other species, though. Mongooses sought out chickens, ground nesting birds and their eggs as well as turtle, lizard and iguana eggs. The rats meanwhile were free to eat the planter's sugar and the eggs of tree nesting birds.

The mongoose became a nuisance for farmers and an environmental problem. This was officially recognized at least as early as 1936. In that year there was only one sign posted in all of St. John. It was nailed to the palm tree nearest the town dock in Cruz Bay. It was signed by the Government Secretary and embossed with the government seal. It announced a bounty, dead or alive, for mongooses. Fifteen cents for a male and twenty five cents for a female.

There is an old Virgin Island saying: Mongoose say: "If I had a cent, I would leave this island" Chicken say: "If I had a cent, I would lend it to you."

A local said that they were trapping for mongoose and they were everywhere.

However I saw nothing not even a lizard and was glad to come down to this bay for a swim.

Note to self charge camera batteries more often!

Back on board and as night falls it is beautifully peaceful in the anchorage, no traffic , no kareoke bar and best of all no cruise ships with their bingo announcements and endless muzack.

Back on land one of the regular chores is wash the car, I have no car but the dinghy bottom is foul and tomorrow I guess I need to find a suitable spot and set to work.

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