Feb. 20, 2004 – Come June, a group of Beachwood, N.J., Boy Scouts will be hot on the trail of a mystery set on St. John and co-authored by a former part-time St. Thomas resident. In fact, the scouts have been selling copies of the book, "Caribbean Capers," to raise money for their trip.
Six Boy Scouts from Troop 14 and a half dozen chaperones will arrive at Maho Bay Camps on June 23 for a week's stay.
Their leader, Tom Goddard, said he has made numerous visits to St. John, including sailing trips aboard the Glory Be, owned by "Caribbean Capers" author Joan Santomenna. As of this week, the boys had sold 240 copies of the book. They're also doing chores like cutting grass to raise the $700 per person needed for the trip.
Santomenna, who wrote the book with Marco Santomenna, owned Ocean Incentives, a St. Thomas-based charterboat company. She now lives in New Jersey.
Her book is a Hardy Boys-type adventure mystery about youngsters who make their escape over St. John mountains into a Coral Bay church. The Boy Scouts will follow their route with a hike down the Reef Bay Trail to Lameshur Bay and on to Coral Bay.
The boys will have to omit one part of the published adventure, though. Taking literary license, Santomenna put a cave on the Coral Bay side of Ajax Peak. "We've gone over what's invented and what's not," she said.
Goddard said he feels a connection with St. John because he has family roots in Barbados, and he wants to share his enthusiasm with his Boy Scouts.
He thinks adventure is important, and last year he took troop members back-packing in New Mexico. While on St. John, he plans to take them diving and hiking, in addition to tracing the trail of those boys in "Caribbean Capers."
As for evening activities, "My idea is to get them exhausted during the day," he said.
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