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On Island Profile: Bob Nose

June 17, 2007 — Bob Nose, known on St. John as skipper of the charter boat Alcoyne, will be 77 on June 21. He has been involved in tourism on the island for more than three decades.
Many residents and visitors remember Nose from the Lobster Hut, his restaurant located across from the creek in Cruz Bay. Those with longer memories recall that when Nose first came to St. John in 1973, he and Jack Bosh operated a dive shop near the ferry dock.
Nose soon sold the shop to Bosh. In the mid-1970s Bosh died in a well-remembered accident on Jacob's Ladder while he was taking tourists to their rental villa. "What a frightful morning," Nose said, his voice catching as he recalled his friend.
He and Bosh had been fellow diving instructors in Ohio. When they were driving in a snowstorm from Columbus to Delaware to teach a class at Ohio Wesleyan University, Bosh asked him if he had seen an ad about a dive shop for sale on St. John. “Where's St. John?” Nose asked. When Bosh told him the Virgin Islands, Nose asked, “where's the Virgin Islands." The two decided to move south, and the rest, as Nose said, is history.
Nose has many stories about his early days on St. John. One involved laying power cables between St. John and St. Thomas. He said he and Bosh needed some telephone poles to build their dive shop near the ferry dock. Thanks to their work on the power cable job, they were able to buy some from the V.I. Water and Power Authority for $10 apiece, but they had to tow them across Pillsbury Sound from St. Thomas.
Before his arrival on St. John, Nose was a commercial fisherman in Put-In-Bay on Lake Erie. After a mercury scare caused fish prices to plummet, Nose was laid off. Then he went on to work in construction in Columbus. Short on funds for recreation, he took swimming lessons at the local YMCA.
The swimming lessons led to a post on the YMCA's aquatic committee. The post helped Nose get his National Association of Underwater Instructors diving certification. Within a short time, he became a certified instructor, receiving the very low number A76 in the NAUI hierarchy.
"When I came to St. John, I met Joe Vogel on St. Thomas. He was A75," Nose said, referring to a diving legend who ran one of that island's earliest diving schools.
After ending his partnership with Bosh, Nose worked at what was then called Caneel Bay Plantation's desalinization plant. He spent his free time diving for lobsters. In those days, "you'd look under a ledge and see hundreds of lobsters," he said. He opened a restaurant to sell the all those lobsters. Leasing some land across from the creek for $1 a day for three years, he dived for lobsters in the morning and worked at the restaurant afternoons and evenings.
Nose sold the business in 1984 to go bicycling in Europe. He visited relatives in Slovenia and, being a devout Catholic, toured many cathedrals, including Lourdes. After his five-month cycling tour through Europe, Nose returned to St. John, bought the charter boat Alcoyne from Dean and Audrey Hedberg and launched his charter business.
One day in 1987, when he sailed to St. Thomas to buy beer for his charters from the Dohms, he met Anna Dohm. "I knew I wanted her as crew," Nose said. The two got married in 1989.
In 1994, Nose walked the Appalachian Trail, the famed hiking trail that runs from Georgia to Maine. A year later, he had a stroke. He continued chartering, but age and lingering effects of the stroke have caused him to change course. Alcoyne is for sale.
While Nose has seen many changes spanning more than three decades on St. John, he said it's still a wonderful place: "It's still Love City."
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