Update on Snakes!

When I first wrote the section on Safety, I ignored the issue of Snakes because there never was any. That began to change with the shutting down of the Hovensa refinery. These are not venomous snakes but rather slow moving Red tailed Boa constrictors. I have updated the safety section and am posting it here.

Update on snakes:

For the same reasons that almost every plant had to be brought to St. Croix by humans, so did most animal life arrive at the hand of man. Iguanas were brought for food, deer were brought for hunting and meat and mongoose were brought to kill vermin. During the first 5000 years of human occupancy by Amerindians, Africans and Europeans, no one was dumb enough to bring snakes to the island.

Starting in 1990, there was a huge demand for construction labor to build large refinery units and also rebuild the island after Hurricane Hugo. Perhaps 10,000 people moved to the island to work. Most returned while others stayed and got jobs at the enlarged refinery or started their own construction businesses.

Dr. William Coles, chief of wildlife for the Division of Fish and Wildlife at the Department of Planning and Natural Resources on St. Croix reported that he caught the first imported red tail boa in 2008 but that increased to a few a year after 2012. All of them were sighted west of the Carlton area.

Coles believes they were originally brought in as exotic pets by someone who worked for HOVENSA. When the refinery closed in 2012, many workers returned to the mainland and some left their snakes and other pets behind.

The red tail boa feeds on native birds, chickens, rats, mongoose and small dogs. They are able to climb trees, making them a threat to native bird species.

The red tail boa is generally not harmful to humans. It can bite but it is not venomous. It hunts at night and hides out during the day. If it hunts a small animal there will be no evidence as the small animal will simply disappear in the snakes digestive system. While not damaging to humans, the potential disruption to native birds, animals and pets is the reason for the attempted eradication of these non-native snakes. 

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On A St. Croix Rainy Day, What Is There To Do?

A rain squall off Point Udall.

A rain squall off Point Udall.

Starting with basics, there is no such thing as a bad day in Paradise. If it starts to rain think about snorkeling. No worries about lightening or thunder, we only get that a few times a year and no more than one or two days a month. You guessed it, it only occurs in September, October and November. If you think you hear thunder, get out of the water, but don’t worry greatly, getting hit by lightning has never happened so you have a better chance of winning the lottery because somebody eventually wins.

Snorkeling is usually good because the fish are already wet and don’t pay any attention to the rain. As a matter of fact, you will also be wet so won’t even notice if it’s raining. Now personally, I consider it too cold to swim between Thanksgiving and Easter, when water and air temperatures drop to 80-82 Fahrenheit. I do tend to suffer when it gets that cold.

It’s also a good day to head to a beach bar for lunch. At some locations, you can listen to the sound of the rain dropping on a tin roof, with others you are close enough to watch the raindrops splatter on the water. Have a beautiful day and since locals are dependent on rain for water, they all love rainy days and you will be well served.

If you find it difficult to accept the idea of swimming in the rain, take a hike. While St. Croix gets about 43 inches of rain per year, it is not evenly distributed by the month of the year or location. Point Udall, the southeast beaches, Sandy Point, and Judith’s Hill get about half that amount and our rain-forest gets more. (Actually, it’s not quite a rain-forest: it is called a Tropical Moist Forest but it still gets more rain than the rest of the island.

From my house and many other places on the island, you can observe the sky from east to west. Of course you could also look at the radar map on your iPhone if San Juan Radar is actually working. When it’s raining in the east, I head west. If it’s raining in the west, I tend to ignore it as it will soon be blown away so I do whatever I was planning. When it’s raining everywhere, it presents a real and sometimes enjoyable challenge.

On one particular rainy day a couple of years ago, I decided to head east to Point Udall because this is theoretically the driest part of the island. When we got there a squall was starting to roll in but there seemed to be fewer clouds along the south shore than on the northern side of the island. Since Jack’s Bay and Issac’s Bay are in close proximity to Point Udall and looked like they would get rain, we decided to go to Manchineel Bay, also called Ha’penny Bay with a commitment to keep on heading to the other dry area near Sandy Point, if it continued to look like rain wherever we stopped along the way.

Overcast but not Raining

Overcast but not Raining

The sandy beach is over a mile long so it will take twenty mines to walk it completely in each direction. We decided to take the chance because there was nothing much else that anybody wanted to do.

End of the Beach

End of the Beach

By the time we reached the end of the beach, the clouds had moved on, although an astute observer will notice the effect of a raindrop on my lens in the upper right hand corner.

Climbing the hill.

Climbing the hill.

Despite being damp and slightly slippery all the young people had fun climbing the hill.

Bright Skies for the Hikers.

Bright Skies for the Hikers.

As we start our return we have bright skys at our end the beach but it looks like we are going to get soaked.

The rain is rolling in the other end.

The rain is rolling in the other end.

As we start to return to our cars, the weather looks horribly like we will get drenched, but we have no other choice. Our car is parked at that end of the beach.  The dark spot is the shadow of my hand trying to keep the lens from getting hit by the occasional rain drops.

the weather gets better

The weather gets better

As we walked, the weather cleared up again. In fact, on a two hour walk, we never even got wet from a decent shower.

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My weekend visit with Bansky

The Happy Muffin

The Happy Blueberry Muffin

I am on vacation in Virginia and it is too cold to go outside and be active so I am getting caught up on tasks that most people do painlessly on a daily basis. I have to be severely bored and deeply focused to make any progress on balancing accounts or following up on any paperwork. I am pleased to report that my ability to focus over the past two weeks and complete mundane tasks has been very good with only a few social temptations because I don’t know many people in the area.

Over the weekend, my daughter made her own special Blueberry muffins with applesauce, wholewheat flower, blueberries and honey. After that, her family left to go out for the day to a hockey tournament and I expected to continue reducing my tall pile of neglected paperwork. But that never happened.

My old friend Bansky showed up and we started discussing the graffiti street scene in Bristol 25 years ago. I was curious and asked him in a city full of nothing but walls and bridges, how did he choose the one he wanted to improve.

He said it was simple, – some structures seemed to have a natural topology and lines which begged for additional enhancement by an artist. As an example, he walked over to the muffin tin and observed that one muffin had the natural shape of a face with a strong furled brow, a nose recess and the natural lines for the mouth. He then proceeded to add the highlights on the naturally occurring face. He was correct, there was no other muffin in the tin just begging to be decorated.

When my daughter returned home and found the decorated muffin she queried her daughters as to who the artist was and they both denied it. Then she turned to me. I told her about my afternoon visit with Bansky discussing his original street art, which was humorous but still with a message. These pieces included a government worker removing neolithic cave art as graffiti and soldiers armed to the teeth painting a peace symbol on a wall. Over time, his humor has gotten more subtle and his social messages stronger but I assured her he was still capable of drawing a face on a muffin to demonstrate a concept.

At this point she started tuning me out and accused me of wasting time in an imaginary world where I may sometimes dwell when I am bored to tears. I assured her that everything I had said was the truth and that I had worked hard all day and never wasted a minute. Oh well, those who do not listen will not learn, but I never thought my daughter would stop listening and accuse me of dwelling in imaginary places that include pirates and Indians and background art by Bansky. However, that sounds like a really great place to visit so maybe I should spend more time in that world. Especially when it’s cold and dreary outside. 

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Where did the phrase “batsh*t crazy” come from?

Batshit Crazy Copyright John Boyd 2015

Batshit Crazy Copyright John Boyd 2015

The title question comes from a scholarly page discussing the question of the origins of the phrase “batshit crazy.” The phrase seems to have developed some legitimacy as it is now included in the Oxford English Dictionary. The scholarly citations do back to the 14th century and follow the use of Bat, “Bat’s in The Belfry”, the various meanings and uses of the word Batshit as it evolved to mean crazy and the final development to the phrase Batshit Crazy in the 1980’s.

On my food and diet blog at Coffee Pot Cooking, I follow Dana @ IveGotCake who inspired me to write this post by asking the simple question: “What’s something most people think is old but really isn’t?”  

According to the etymologists, anecdotal evidence suggests that the first use was from the military in the early fifties and might have been a variant of BS. One of the first uses of the word as a substitute for crazy comes from Lt. William Calley of the Mi Lai Massacre. (1971 W. Calley Lieutenant Calley 104: “Most of America’s males were in Korea or World War II or I. They killed, and they aren’t all going batshit.”)

However, the first presentation of the full phrase appears in a 1983 cartoon by P. S. Mueller (the voice of Onion News Radio) captioned: “Full blown batshit crazy and still holding down a productive job.” To the purist’s in the field of etymology, this is not a citation in literature so the honors appear to go to John Shirley who wrote “Heatseeker” in 1989 (“a strikingly legitimate fear of going batshit crazy”. While the etymologists do a good job of tracing the development of the word usage, they do nothing to really explain the meaning of the word.

My epiphany is a shared moment with Tyler. I was showing her mother and aunt a Great House on the Northwest corner of St. Croix and of course I couldn’t resist stirring up the bats by shouting at them very shrilly and having them fly in their random patterns. I also was pointing out the mess then made by pooping on walls, floors and even the ceiling as the flew around the darker room without exiting to go to the sunlight and hence what I thought to be the origin of the phrase “batshit crazy”.

Tyler found one column which was originally blue with a topcoat of pink paint that was sprayed in every direction with an overlay of Bat Guano. That was also the name for the Colonel (“Bat” Guano) in the Dr. Strangelove movie. She took her picture and I got mine so technically she was slightly ahead of me in the visualization of the concept I was explaining and if I make a million from my image, I will share some with her for the inspiration. BTW, this was an innocent afternoon and her mom took the picture of us on the shoreline.

Is it Tyler and me or Tyler and I?

Is it Tyler and me or Tyler and I?

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The Diggers come looking for the Ark of St. Croix

Stone Maltese Cross.Sandstone Maltese Cross.

While in Virginia on vacation, I got to see a program staring Ringmaster Tim Saylor and King George Wyant, also known as Ringy and KG, of the Anaconda Treasure Company. This very dynamic duo came to St. Croix in search of treasures of the Caribbean.

They intended to search for pirate treasure and the treasures of the Knights of Malta. They had to be familiar with the work of JP Noel as they specifically mentioned searching for the Ark of the Covenant. In his book, “The Ark of St. Croix,” Noel traced the Ark from Jerusalem and the Crusades to the Knights of Malta on St. Croix. The episode was called TREASURES OF THE CARIBBEAN and is a Diggers programs shown on the National Geographic Channel. The program was a one hour showcase of the history and beauty of St. Croix. Residents of St. Croix should be able to get it from their cable TV company for a small fee. I loved it for many reasons and found it well worth watching and worth recommending.

First off, these two men could truly qualify as irrationally exuberant. Anyone who has treasure hunted knows how tough it can be to work for hours and find nothing. The last time I saw this level of passionate exuberance was when my granddaughter Pippa and her friends Ellie and Mattie dug in the area of the slave pens of Pieter Huntum and found silver Dutch Florins from 1767. Of course the dates are a horrible mismatch. Huntum was here with the Knights of Malta in 1670, and the three coins the girls found were dated 1767, about one hundred years later then might be expected from the location. (For a seeded hunt, this was the best I could do and the girls were easily conned by the counterfeit coins.)

Of course, there is nothing that can extinguish the fire of enthusiasm for finding the Ark of the Covenant faster than a local historian explaining to Ringy and KG that “there is no physical evidence that the Knights of Malta were ever on St. Croix.” My only response might be the reminder that “there are none so blind as those who do not care to see.”

Well, all their initial enthusiasm did not go to waste as the Diggers explored several Danish sites developed in the late eighteenth century and found artifacts dating from that era up to about 1905. Their program was an enthusiastic presentation of the beauty and Danish history of the island and it should be shown to every student on St. Croix.

1671 French Map of St. Croix

1671 French Map of St. Croix

Of course, I categorically reject the concept that there is no physical evidence that the Knights of Malta were ever on St. Croix. To start with there are two old maps (Blondel 1667 and Lapointe 1671) which show the location of the plantations and the names of the owners. One place was identified by JP Noel as headquarters for the Knights of Malta and was originally named Moncœur by them.

Pink Keystone dated 1657 with Maltese Cross

Pink Keystone dated 1657 with Maltese Cross

JP Noel was excited by the stonework at the location which is now called Estate Pearl. He located a decorative keystone over one doorway which has a date of 1657 associated with it. This date is slightly after Governor De Poincy, Bailiff Grand Cross of the Knights of Malta, acquired the island for his personal possession. This technically made him a Baron and I believe Baron Bluff would be an interesting place to explore for a multitude of reasons.

I described the Keystone as decorative because it is not part of an arch and serves no useful purpose except perhaps as a clue. The Keystone is further decorated with a Maltese Cross and is made from pink stone. One other interesting point is that Moncœur is not a French family name as with other plantations, but translates into “my heart” as in those pictures of Jesus with an exposed radiating heart or the name for the headquarters of a holy order.

Perhaps it is also just an interesting coincidence that the French phrase for keystone is clé de voûte which could also be translated word for word into Key to the Vault. Possibly, it is a second coincidence that the pink stone comes from one of only three areas that the Knights of Malta had the knowledge and expertise to make a tunnel to hide something of value on St. Croix. As might be expected, the pink stone was probably mined in the vicinity of Baron Bluff.

Last time I checked, a map is physical evidence and a clue to the location of the French Estates on St. Croix and a pink Keystone with a Maltese Cross should also be considered to be physical evidence of the presence of the Knights of Malta and perhaps a clue to the location of treasure.

The Knights of Malta were a religious order known for their stone masonry as were the Knights Templar. Both orders had been involved in the early crusades. When the Knights Templar were destroyed by the French King Phillip and their assets in France seized by him. The Pope transferred the remaining assets and personnel outside France to the Knights of Malta strengthening their stone working knowledge and helping them become the ultimate military power in the Mediterranean, perhaps even stronger than France according to Muslim observers.

The navy and their stone forts of Malta were never defeated by force and their ultimate demise came from a lost will to fight and a peaceful surrender to the forces of Napoleon in 1798. Napoleon was offended by the mostly French Knights, because they were running the last slave market in Europe, so he destroyed the order and no Kingdom of Europe came to their defense.

Once you become fascinated by differences in stonework, you can see a huge difference between the cut stone of Mediterranean construction held in place by the perfection of the cut and the random stonework of the Danish held in place by a very strong mortar. One problem in clearly deciding between the two is that the Danish used all available stones even those that had been precisely cut by the French so you can see plenty of occurrences where a very poorly constructed wall built with any available stone has one perfectly cut stone or arch that simply looks out of place.

No one in their right mind would go to the trouble of cutting a perfect building block and then putting it in a wall made of random natural rocks held together by mortar. Of course, if a person found cut stones in a French ruin, they would repurpose them for another project. Local historians dispute that the Danish were sloppy stone masons so it is nice to find additional evidence like a Maltese cross, or two, adjacent to intricate stone work proving definitively that it was constructed by the Knights of Malta.

Moncœur is located on the southern part of St. Croix, just North of a harbor called the Grande Forde. This harbor was on the opposite side of th island and from the time of Columbus, ships would sail along the North Coast of St. Croix to get to Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The Knights of Malta could have used this secure harbor on the south shore to bring tools, blasting powder and scaffolding to the mountain of pink bedrock for a tunnel.

Bridge with Keystone in Arch and Maltese Cross above

Bridge with Keystone in Arch and Maltese Cross above

The most direct approach to the mountain was to go north and cross over a low point in the ridge to the west of the hill and then approach the hill traveling towards the east. Along this route is a bridge with an arch made of precision cut stone held in place by a keystone so there is minimal mortar in this load bearing arch. Right above the keystone is a Maltese Cross built into the stone work. The stone of the Maltese Cross is sandstone probably mined along the west coast of St. Croix.

Poorly repaired Bridge

Poorly repaired Bridge

The eastward facing portion of the bridge is in much worse shape and the right side has been repaired, probably by Danish masons. The Danish work does not use or reuse cut stones but relies on yellow ballast bricks and motor to build a flatter arch and the fill above the arch also contains numerous ballast bricks.

Example of a Danish portal

Example of a Danish portal

In the era of the Danish building with stone, their solutions were more functional then elegant. The picture above shows a portal which uses a wooden beam above the opening to support the stone. This is more characteristic of Danish work.

Underside of wooden Bridge

Underside of wooden Bridge

Another unique characteristic of the bridge is that this is actually a very sturdy wooden bridge built with ships timbers designed to take a heavy load. As far as I know this is the last wooden bridge on St. Croix still in use and has a very different construction technique from the Danish bridges.

All of my photos of the hill at Baron Bluff that wold support my position that this is a unique location to look for treasure are on another computer so I will hold that discussion for another day.

While the local historian took the Diggers to exclusively Danish areas and they found various artifacts, they found nothing from the French era because they were searching in the wrong locations. Such is life, some days in the Caribbean Islands people insist on slipping you a six (6) when you were expecting a nine (9)!

I ran  into a very similar issue of being deterred from using a road that had been on public maps from the Danish era and the road is still on the Topological Map of St. Croix. I wanted to explore some ruins that were approximately where Governor Du Bois’ mansion might be.  Unfortunately, their is a house built in the middle of the road and a less than friendly reception when you approach it.


							
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Thanks to Island Visitors; Hiking is Heating Up!

Life on the Edge

Life on the Edge

Discovering Native Cotton

Discovering Native Cotton

I started hiking as a business in 2012 and like most new ventures it was very slow. I spent far in excess of what I made on advertising and all the other items a new business has to deal with. By the start of 2013, I pretty much stopped promoting hiking and took the whole year off to write two books, one on the Caribs and the other on Pirates.  I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing my two focused histories about the Amerindian and pirate activity on St. Croix.

Discovering a Termite Nest

Discovering a Termite Nest

It was actually a pretty good idea to take the year off as I made more money  from book sales in the final quarter of the year than I did from hiking. I still took people hiking in 2012 whenever they contacted me but didn’t really do much to promote it as a business. So as we start 2014, I am totally amazed that I have two to three scheduled groups per week and I’m having a ball.

Older Group at Nature Conservency

Older Group at Nature Conservency

There are far more women than men that like to walk and I am utterly amazed at the stamina of the gray haired  trail warriors. I took one group of six aged 75 to 89 on what I considered a fairly strenuous walk and everyone had a great time. Seems they have been coming to St. Croix for 39 years and really wanted to hike the East End. Unfortunately for our tourism products, idiots including Hotel employees,  Taxi drivers and even a west end hiking guide kept on hinting it was too dangerous due to trail conditions and potential crime.

The Hill Between Jacks and Issacs Bay

The Hill Between Jacks and Issacs Bay

We went to the East End in three cars as I am not legally able to drive tourists so they needed to rent cars. We left one car by Point Udall which was open with nothing valuable and at the more populated end of the trail, we left the other  two cars. At the end of the hike, most of the group watched the sea and Buck Island from Point Udall while the drivers retrieved the other cars. It was a great day and all the long term visitors wished they had done it years ago so they could have hiked the Nature Conservancy Property on a regular basis. Their were actually two groups. The second group was Condo owners on St. Croix who had also heard that it was a very beautiful but unsafe place to walk.

We in the tourism industry of St. Croix are collectively idiots. We tell tourists don’t do this, that, or other things; it’s unsafe. Why don’t we just tell everybody to stay home or go to someplace really unsafe like Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St. Kitts etc. When I visit other islands with higher crime rates, everybody tells me where to go and what to do. They don’t try to scare me off with crime stories. In all my hiking on St. Croix over the past three years, I have never had a negative encounter with people or any crimes committed against anybody walking with me.  I am not saying it can’t happen, I just worry more about people having the proper hydration, not getting overly tired and avoiding tripping hazards.

All my new customers tell me there are stories about my hikes all over the internet and that’s why they contacted me. So I would like to thank everyone who had a good time walking with me and took the time to post it on Trip Adviser and other places on the Web. Maybe, our local Tourism workers will learrn to be excited about their homeland from our visitors.

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St. Croix Should Treasure Their Pirate History!

HAPPY PIRATE

HAPPY PIRATE

I have to admit that I was more than a little amused by the rum barrel debates over the placement of decorated rum barrels in the Historic District. However, I was also a little disappointed at the lack of historical knowledge of pirates and their  presence on St. Croix. In essence, the Historical Commission or as some say, the Hysterical Commission, was opposed to embracing a pirate presence on the island. This is in direct conflict with historic reality.

Almost ever scholar of St. Croix makes note of the pirate  presence on the island. Alfredo Figuerdo notes in a paper that French pirates were attempting to operate from the island as early 1522 only 30 years after the discovery and naming of Santa Cruz by Columbus. Florence Lewisohn notes in her book that these French Filibusters continued to use the island as a base for careening and maintaining their boats until the island was formally settled by Holland and England in 1625.

William Boyer, in his book, points out that the Pirate presence never ended under the Knights of Malta. So many people died from hunger and disease that the survivors stole the supply ship and left for a life of piracy off the Spanish Main. The island continued to be engaged in smuggling, piracy and privateering as a French Crown Colony and Boyer points out that the inability of the French Crown to control piracy and smuggling influenced the decision to abandon the island and move everybody to Haiti. 

Fortunately for pirates and unfortunately for the European Powers this move made St. Croix the most attractive port of call in the Lesser Antilles for pirates. Hundreds of English settlers and farmers came to the island to live free and avoid trade restrictions  and taxes while enjoying religious freedom. They traded freely with pirates, privateers and smugglers exchanging provisions for trade goods and tools. The island remained a popular location for repairing and maintaining pirate ships.

St. Croix as a Pirate Base is noted by scholars from China to America and it is on most Top Ten Pirate lists where it ranks about number four. It is simply the most important pirate island aside for those along the Spanish Main in the Greater Antilles. This importance was not missed on contemporary writers. A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the most notorious Pyrates was published in 1724, just at the end of the Golden age of Piracy and St. Croix is mentioned several times. Our image of pirates is mostly from this book as it has never been out of print from the year it was published.

The author had to be very careful with the contents and still used a pseudonym. In that era, books unfavorable to the crown could be viewed as seditious and the authors hung.  Naturally, all pirates are depicted as villains who engaged in rape, murder, pillage and plundering. These despicable people were eliminated by a just King. Still, their was a great amount of sympathy shown in the book for the poor people driven to a life of piracy in order to survive despite the high risk of being hung. This book also presents the surviving copies of various pirate codes.

The Pirate Code proves that all pirates were not depraved. About half of the  surviving codes address the issue of women in a favorable manner. One warns that any man found seducing a woman and carrying her to sea disguised as a man, shall suffer death. This was a fairly common prohibition among pirates. Another prohibits rape with a strong prohibition; “If at any time you meet with a prudent Woman, the Man that offers to meddle with her, without her Consent, shall suffer…Death.”

The importance of the Pirate Code, also called the Articles of Agreement, is because it is the first contractual Bill of Rights for commoners and seamen. Until the American Constitution and Bill of Rights there was no other guarantees of rights for ordinary people without land, title or wealth and that took a hundred years to evolve. It can be easily argued that pirates had more rights than Americans at the end of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.

All pirates were entitled to vote on all issues including the choice of leadership and the targets to be approached. Pirates also believed in the equality of all men regardless or race, religion or national origin.

History shows that the really disgusting pirates occupied the Greater Antilles along the Spanish Main and these men were vilified by all nations. The St. Croix Pirate History is blessed by the two most successful pirates from the Golden Era. Black Sam Bellamy, the Prince of Pirates, was a romantic man who needed to amass a fortune so he could marry the daughter of a rich Boston Merchant that would not let his daughter marry a poor man. As assessed by Forbes Magazine, the Prince of Pirates, managed to amass a fortune of $200 million while operating from Christiansted Harbor as his very secure home port.

Black Sam had a very mixed crew with a sixteen year old Native America pilot, people of all European nations and a third were Free Africans. He and his crew died off Cape Cod in a nor’easter while returning to Boston as  wealthy men seeking the Kings Pardon so Sam could marry the woman of his dreams. He was committed to democracy and refused to harm anyone during his year of piracy unless absolutely necessary. The Captains of the ships he captured named him the Prince of Pirates and his pirates called themselves Robin Hood’s Merry Men.

Bellamy’s partner was well educated and born to a wealthy French Family. This is significant as there were no slaves in France during the Golden Age of Piracy and Aristocrats did not run plantations on the French Islands.  Olivier Levasseur developed his skills as a privateer during the War for Spanish Succession. I don’t know how he failed to make the Forbes List of Wealthiest Pirates. As Sam’s partner, he was entitled to half of the St. Croix wealth for himself and his pirate crew. After Sam’s death, he moved to the Indian Ocean and amassed another fortune of equal size before being captured by the French and hung.   Levasseur was in the habit of burring treasure where he worked so part of his treasure could still be on St. Croix.

With Christiansted being home to the two wealthiest and perhaps gentlemanly pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy, St. Croix should be in the forefront of Pirate Festivals, not a copycat pretender. But that’s not all.

In “Treasure Island: The Untold Story,” author John Amrhein, Jr. makes a direct connection between the story of John Lloyd and Owen Lloyd and the Treasure Island story. John Lloyd, who was peg-legged survived the event of the story and retired in North Carolina. Owen Lloyd survived the piracy, and lived as a free man until he was shot in a Christiansted Bar.

Treasure Island Day is emerging as a festival in the Outerbanks of North Carolina on November 13, which is Robert Louis Stevenson’s birthday. Robert Louis Stevenson Day is already celebrated in Edinburgh, Scotland. Christiansted is already connected to the two best pirates of the Caribbean so it would seem fitting to create a Pirate Festival in St. Croix stressing their positive attributes.

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Caribbean Night at the Palms

I am finding a whole new dimension to Caribbean Night at the Palms (at least for me). I started doing a weekly book signing at Caribbean Night in the Craft area and am having a ball. The women have been selling low cost gifts to locals, snow birds and tourists alike for years and collectively they are among the sweetest, happiest people on the island.

Collectible Art

Collectible Art

Hand Made Local Jewelry

Hand Made Local Jewelry

Soaps and Oils

Soaps and Oils

More Inexpensive and Lovely Jewelry

More Inexpensive and Lovely Jewelry

Our Littlest Helper

Our Littlest Helper

I started book signing in the Craft area about two weeks ago and it is a pleasure. I am not making a fortune and neither are the women. We are all having a good time selling low cost gifts for locals and visitors alike. Aside from my books, there is art, jewelry, home made soaps and more.

Over the years, I have posted many pictures of my family enjoying Caribbean Night at the Palms and I have always had a good time eating, being entertained by Tony Ramano, the Moko Jumbies, Kiki and the Flaming Gypsies and watching everybody do limbo and line dances. So this event ensures I go out and socialize once a week, not just with family. I am not sure how long I will keep it up, but definitely through Christmas and probably until summer. (except when I am visiting family in the states)

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This Avis News Story Says it All!

For those of you who missed the story in the St. Croix Avis, I was  delighted with the positive vibes. So here is a copy of the story.

Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix

Lost Pirate Treasures of St. Croix

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Lost Pirate Treasure of St. Croix – Book Description

Captain John "James" Martel

Captain John “James” Martel

My research and book tracks all known pirate activity on the island of St. Croix. Many pirates brought treasure to the island as did smugglers and merchants. It is well documented that Captain James Martel was killed on the island and half of his fortune lost to time so he certainly rates a Chapter.

The Treasure of Treasure Island

The Treasure of Treasure Island

Owen Lloyd took the treasure of Nuestra Señora de Guadelupe. Part of Lloyd’s treasure was buried on the island and this stash became his bank until he was murdered in Christiansted. His story has been retold for centuries as part of Robert Luis Stevenson’s book, Treasure Island. Only a small amount of this treasure remains on St. Croix so his chapter is small.

The Fort at Tortuga

The Fort at Tortuga

By far the biggest fortune that probably remains hidden on St. Croix is the vast amount of wealth amassed by Jean La Vasseur while Governor of Tortuga. During his reign, 1640 to 1652, he took a minimum of ten percent of all of the prizes captured by the Buccaneers of Tortuga referred to as the Brethren of the Coast. He also collected taxes on all imports to the island.

1671 French Map of St. Croix

1671 French Map of St. Croix

However, he cheated his partner in this criminal empire, Governor Phillippe de Lonvillers dePoincy of St. Croix, by keeping everything for himself. De Poincy retaliated by conquering Tortuga and claiming the Fortune of La Vasseur as his own. After de Poincy’s military conquest of Tortuga, this treasure is also lost to time.

The research for this book brings that fortune to St. Croix where it is probably still well hidden. This a very long and important chapter in the Lost Pirate Treasure’s of St. Croix: Your Search for Billions Starts Here!

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