Aug 162013

I’ll apologize in advance… This isn’t a very serious post, and its contents are an exercise in frivolity.  Feel free to stop reading now if you’re looking for serious reading material.  If, however, you’re in the TGIF spirit, read on…

It’s that time of year, and I’ve got the Virgin Islands on the brain.  To pass the time until I set foot on my favorite Caribbean Island of St. John, I’m sitting here thinking of its many virtues.

Palm Trees √

Pirate Tales √

Petroglyphs √

Picturesque White Beaches √

Painkillers √

Speaking of Painkillers, The Soggy Dollar Bar on St. John’s neighboring island of Jost Van Dyke is the home of this famed tropical concoction.  It’s located on White Bay, one of the prettiest bays in the Caribbean.  See for yourself.

Enjoying the scenery on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

Enjoying the scenery on White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

S White Bay 2

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

White Bay, Jost Van Dyke

S White Bay

M White Bay 2

In the TGIF spirit, what is your favorite tropical libation?

May 032012

As we were cruising the north side of Tortola a few months ago,

heading towards Virgin Gorda,

we came upon a group of pelicans feeding at the surface.

Photo by Matt Spangler

But the pelicans weren’t the only ones feeding.  As we neared the feeding grounds, we were able to view the full extent of the frenzy.  Several large sharks (5-7 feet / 1.5 – 2.1 meters) were circling just below the surface (sorry about the lack of polarization in this photo).

Photo by Matt Spangler

Almost immediately, a few in our party grabbed their masks and fins to investigate.  “Oh no you don’t”, a friendly but stern voice warned from the cockpit, “you’re not getting in that water during a feeding frenzy!”  “We don’t even know the species.”  The captain was right.  The water was not exactly clear at the time, making species ID difficult. After much debate, there was no real consensus.  Personally, I think they were lemons (and no, we didn’t go in, although a small part of my shark-obsessed brain felt compelled to push common sense aside in favor of a cheap thrill).

Anyone care to help me out with this one?  What type of shark were we watching here?  I think they were too small to be tigers.  And what were they eating?  Baitball?  Ray or shark carcas?

Apr 262012

It seems like more and more webcams are popping up each day.  Sure, you can bookmark all of them, but then you end up with a long, cumbersome lineup of bookmarks that make it difficult to find anything.  So, we’ve come up with a solution for the webcam lovers of the world.  Now you can bookmark only one page, and it’s here at Reeftraveler.

Bucuti Beach Webcam, Aruba

We’ve compiled a list of the most amazing tropical webcams from around the world.  From Fiji, to the Caribbean, to Costa Rica to Kenya – our favorites are here on one page.

Webcam View of Peter Bay, St. John from

And here’s a little tip for webcam newbies, if you click on the link and all you see is black, it is dark in that area of the world.  Check back in a few hours.

Bora Bora Lagoon Webcam

Do you know of any tropical webcams to add to our page?  If so, Email us at or leave a comment on this post.

Jan 212012

We did two all-day boat charters with Stormy Petrel  on a recent family reunion trip to St. Thomas.  Stormy Petrel accommodates up to 12 guests, so we hired her for a private charter.

Stormy Petrel is a 42′ power cruiser, and she’s perfect for island hopping.

On our first charter, we visited Norman Island and its famous snorkeling sites, The Caves and The Indians. Both sites were spectacular, but The Indians was the standout.

The Indians – Normam Island, BVI

We had a boat full of experienced divers who have dived all over the globe, and we were all impressed by the coral and sea life at The Indians.

Stingray at The Caves on Norman Island – Photo by Dave Schnoll

Afterwards we hit Sandy Spit, Sidney’s Peace & Love for lunch and White Bay for an afternoon of Painkillers. Everyone on the boat had a spectacular day.

Soggy Dollar Bar – Jost Van Dyke, BVI

White Bay – Jost Van Dyke, BVI

On our second charter, we visited The Baths on Virgin Gorda, Cooper Island for lunch, The Wreck of the Rhone and The Indians.

Not surprisingly, we had another awesome day on the water. Captain Galen and his first mate Rachael expertly led us through The Baths, with Galen telling pirate stories along the way. They were amazing guides, and their stories really enhanced the experience.

The Baths – Virgin Gorda, BVI

The Baths

Stormy Petrel is a very well maintained boat. She is spacious, provides adequate shade and is very comfortable. We were very fortunate to luck into a captain like Galen. He is not only an experienced (and professional, yet laid back) captain, but he will put you at ease with his jokes and stories, and you will learn a lot about the islands from his impromptu history lessons.

You can go here to reserve Stormy Petrel for your next trip to St. Thomas or St. John.