May this Easter bring you immense joy, peace, and happiness especially as we remember that our Saviour died for us and He has risen. God Bless You!
Have a wonderful Weekend and enjoy our gift of $10 off, for the entire Easter Weekend from Friday, April 18, 2014 to Monday, April 21, 2014. To redeem, go to our booking page and enter the Promo Code Easter2014. Although this code expires on April 21, 2014, keep in mind that you can book your reservation for any date.
Trade Winds: The Virgin Islands Weather Engine
The Trade Winds are the weather phenomena that occurs in the subtropical and tropical latitudes. They form a band around the Earth from latitudes 30 N to 30 S. They roughly travel from the north-east to the south-west in the northern hemisphere, and south-east to north-west in the southern hemisphere. It was these winds that allowed the Europeans colonizers to swiftly travel back and forth to the Americas. The Trade Winds help give the Virgin Islands, and the rest of the Caribbean, their wonderful mild climate which has help create our tourism industry.
Here is a crash course on the science of the Trade Winds. The Equator is the closest part of the Earth to the sun. Therefore the atmosphere is hottest at the equator. The air at the equator is heated and expands. This expansion makes the atmosphere less dense around the equator. Now the colder, denser air from either side of the equator rushes into this constantly forming low pressure zone. The chain reaction of the air flowing toward the equator in this way causes the Trade Winds. This is extremely simplified; a detailed explanation could take a while.
The Trade Winds do lots of things for the Virgin Islands' weather. They can literally blow the 'bad' weather right out, or into our skies. The Trade Winds carry air from northern Africa over thousands of miles of open ocean, right over the Virgin Islands and beyond. The winds move quickly, around 12 miles per hour. This means that when 'bad' weather forms, is is usually not long lived. This is good for our visitors, who come to see the bright blue sky, feel the wonderful breezes, and bask in the warm weather. Sometimes, they are not always a blessing. The phenomena that creates the Trade Winds also creates hurricanes! The Trade Winds can also blow rain clouds right past us when we need them most! They also can bring with them the Sahara Dust, which can create a haze that sticks around for weeks!
However, for those of us living in the Virgin Islands, we know that nine times out of ten the Trade Winds are an amazing thing. The stunning clouds, fresh air, Caribbean breezes, and our tourism are greatly tied to the Trade Winds. So this short article is in honor of this wonderful weather pattern. Thank you Trade Winds!
Always take a moment of you day to remember to deeply breath in that fresh Virgin Island air!
Leave Paradise In Its Place, A VINE Initiative
Millions of people visit the Virgin Islands each year. Lots come for the stunning views, the awesome weather, the laid back life style, but the foremost reasons usually are the pristine white sand beaches and the crystal clear waters. Most don't realize that every person who passes through the Virgin Island leaves an impact on the local ecosystem.
The Virgin Islands Network of Environmental Educators (VINE) has launched a campaign named 'Leave Paradise in its Place' to address this ongoing threat to our Virgin Islands Ecosystems. It has been written into law, under the Indigenous Species Act, that it is illegal to leave the territory with shells, coral, or any other marine life in their possession, or to mail them off island. Pieces of coral and shells that are found on our beaches will eventually break down into the tiny grains of white sand that are held in such high esteem. Strive to remove nothing from the beaches but trash.
Did you know that the whelk shells found on the rocky points of our islands are the sole housing for Hermit Crabs? There is a severe shortage of adequate whelk shells for our Hermit Crabs, due to many reasons. We can all do our part to minimize damages to the whelk shells. If we harvest whelks for food, we can boil the whelks out of their shell, instead of breaking the shells. Breaking them destroys any chance of the shell being used again.
Our beaches play a critical role in the marine ecosystems of the Virgin Islands. Turtles, Starfish, Sand Dollars, Coral, Whelks, fish, and birds are all dependent upon the fragile balance that nature has established over millions of years. Humans can destroy this balance in a matter of minutes. It is up to us to become conscious of this, and do everything we can to allow nature to continue as it was before us. Leave Paradise in its Place!
Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints!
One thing is for sure; the steep hillsides of the Virgin Islands do not lend themselves easily to soil conservation. With every rain we lose more top soil. This problem has been made worse with the construction of paved roads. The asphalt and concrete does not allow rain to soak into the ground the way it normally would, and dumps the runoff in places that it should not go. Artificial gullies are created from the runoff, carrying off many tons of soil and polluting our bays. Naturally the water stays in the guts, which have already lost all there topsoil, so erosion is much less. (If more information on how over development creates unnecessary erosion is wanted; let us know in the comments and we can do a blog specifically addressing that.)
With that being said, we need to conserve our precious Virgin Island top soil every chance we get. Terraces are one of the best ways. There is no shortage of stone, and no shortage of hillsides. The flat ground created by terraces benefits the islands in two ways. The first is that whatever water flows into the terrace will sit on top of the soil and have more time to soak into the ground. This is very helpful and on a larger scale, it has the potential to raise the water table down hill from the terraces. Adequate water is a huge obstacle to the vegetation in the Virgin Islands. The second reason this flat area is beneficial, is because the runoff carries the top soil with it, and when the water is trapped in the terrace, it deposits all the sediments and nutrients that it has carried down hill thus far.
The beauty of the Virgin Islands lies in our gorgeous forests, our pristine beaches, and the ruggedness of our mountain ranges. All of these things will benefit if we do everything in our power to keep the soil where it belongs. So, if you find erosion around your house take the time and build some terraces! If you are planning on building a house (Villa Owners listen up!) in the Virgin Islands; incorporate terraces into the landscaping! Even better build them downhill from you planned excavation site before you start digging! Silt fences are written into code; and help in the short term but are made of plastic and tear quite easily. I have seen endless silt fences that have been destroyed but never repaired; and after construction is done they are left in the bush to become trash.
Take pride in the beauty of the Virgin Islands. They are our home. Take care of them so our children's children can bask in their beauty. If you need further incentive to build terraces: it is a great way to be outside and get some exercise while partaking in a rewarding project!
Last but definitely not least have some fun!
Planting Trees Will Help All Virgin Islanders!
Not many people think of the Virgin Islands as needing more trees. It seems that everywhere you look, there is bush encroaching on developed land. Along the edges of our cleared land grows some of the worst kinds. Catch and Keep (that nasty vine with the hooked thorns that are her namesake), Acacia (pronounced 'Ka-Sha' in the local dialect) trees, and endless numbers of vines hardly scratch the surface of the 'weeds' that impose themselves on us.
The truth is, Mother Nature doesn't want to see bare ground. If the dirt has sun shining on it, seeds will find their way, and sometimes this is just plain troublesome.
Maybe there is something to be learned here. If we constantly find ourselves fighting an uphill battle against the bush, let us try going her way. The more trees we take away, the more erosion will take away our top soil. Then it becomes even harder to plant. However if we start planting now, this trend can be alleviated. There is an old saying: 'When is the best time to plant a tree? Yesterday. When is the next best time? Now.' And this will hold true forever. Only a tree planted years ago provides fruit or proper shade.
Tomorrow there will be ore to come on planting in our dry climate and erosion for those who need help!
In the mainland United States April is the beginning of spring. This is the season of rebirth, growth, and spring cleaning! Lot of people have to endure months of cold, bitter weather, and way too much time indoors during the winter months. Spring is a chance to break this cycle.
In this light, we in the Virgin Islands should strive to take a moment and appreciate the beauty that surrounds us all year round! We don't have to deal with such extremes.
Let's all encourage each other to go outside and soak up the magnificence!
Lets all do something nice for the islands this month. Whether it is picking up a piece of trash in along the road, organizing a beach clean up, or putting some more trees in the ground, these things have the potential of creating a better existence for all life.
Love City Car Ferries is a big advocate of paying things forward. This is the principle of doing good things to another when something nice is done to you. Instead of paying it 'back' to the original person, you give that positive energy to someone new. They in turn also pay it forward to another. This does not just apply to humans! If we do nice things for Mother Nature, she will definitely pay it forward!
Take this moment to do something nice for the Virgin Islands! Lets clean up our beautiful islands, and make it a better place for everyone!