St. John
January 2009
Cruz Bay, the only real town on St. John. In the distance on the right is St. Thomas. There is no airport on St. John, so one flies to St. Thomas and takes a ferry to Cruz Bay.
The busy little harbor at Cruz Bay, ferry dock in the back.
If you're rich, you stay in one these multi-million-dollar villas above Peter Bay.
If you're me, on the other hand, you stay at the Maho Bay Camps. There are over 100 of these screen-and-tent-sided cottages built on platforms, nestled into the jungle above Little Maho Bay.
Left to right, Francis Bay, Little Maho Bay, and Big Maho Bay. The Maho Bay Camps are on the point between Little and Big Maho Bays, between the last two sailboats to the right of center.
The bedroom.
The living room.
The kitchen. No running water, mind you.
Morning on Little Maho Bay, 187 steps down the hill from my tent cottage. As my stay progressed, someone kept moving the beach further away.
Morning on Little Maho Bay.
Activity on Little Maho Bay.
On Little Maho Bay.
Brown Pelican taking off.
Skimming the surface.
Gaining altitude.
View from the open-air restaurant at the Maho Bay Camps.
View from the restaurant.
A turpentine tree.
The ruins of the Annaberg Sugar Mill. The tower is a windmill, used to power the machinery that crushed the cane. Danish settlers and the African slaves they brought with them grew and processed sugar cane from the early 19th Century until about World War I.
The remains of a sugar cane plantation.
There are dozens of species of anole lizards, and they're everywhere.
Graves of some mid-19th Century Danish sugar planters.
Leinster Bay, on the north shore.
Leinster Bay.
Leinster Bay. The water color shifts as your perspective changes.
Leinster Bay.
Waterlemon Bay. The hills in the distance are on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands.
Brown Pelican.
A termite mound in a mangrove swamp.
Waterlemon Bay and Waterlemon Cay.
Waterlemon Cay.
Cinammon Bay, on the north shore. Most of the island is a National Park, including almost all of the north shore, and about two-thirds of the south shore.
Cinammon Bay.
Trunk Bay, on the north shore, a popular spot.
Hawksnest Bay, on the north shore.
A watchtower on Peace Hill.
View east, along the north shore, from Peace Hill.
Kiddel Point on Saltpond Bay, on the south shore. The south shore of the island is much drier, so the vegetation is more sparse, and includes a lot of cactus.
Saltpond Bay.
Kiddel Point on Saltpond Bay.
Turks Head Cactus on Ram Head.
A cobble beach near Saltpond Bay.
The cobbles are a mix of rock and coral.
More cobbles.
Turks Head Cactus.
Turks Head Cactus.
Saltpond Bay.
Looking west along the south shore.
Ram Head, the southernmost point on the island. Even in deeper water, the blue is unlike anything you see outside of the islands.
A multi-turbaned Turks Head Cactus.
The view north from Ram Head, towards the Sabbat Channel.
A rocky shore along the Sabbat Channel.
Flora.
A pair of snorkelers on Saltpond Bay.
Brown Pelican.
I took a side trail to Drunk Bay. The trail guides say little or nothing about it. It was quite a surprise to find the bones of countless shipwrecked sailors all along the rocky beach.
A shipwrecked sailor.
A shipwrecked sailor.
A shipwrecked sailor who's overdue for some shore-leave debauchery.
A shipwrecked sailor.
A shipwrecked sailor.
A shipwrecked sailor.
Drunk Bay.
The pirate captain. (Best bumper sticker I saw, by the way: on a particularly beat-up Jeep, "Dog is my co-pirate.")
A shipwreck.
A soldier crab on the Reef Bay Trail.
On a side trail from the Reef Bay Trail, a rare sight on the island - a trickling waterfall and reflecting pool.
Just above the waterline in the reflecting pool, petroglyphs made by the Taino people in pre-Columbian times.
Dragonfly.
Dragonfly.
Millipede, about 4" long.
The ruins of the Reef Bay Sugar Mill. The round platform in front was used for horse-powered sugar cane crushing machinery. The vertical wheel is part of a later steam-powered replacement for the horses.
Vats for boiling sugar cane.
The application of steam power to the process of crushing sugar cane.
The use of coral as a building material at the Reef Bay Sugar Mill.
Coral building block.
Coral building blocks.
Part of the steam-powered sugar cane crushing machinery.
Reef Bay, on the south shore, is accessible only by boat or by a three-mile walk from the centerline ridge of the island. As a result, it's usually deserted.
A Golden Orb Spider.
Flora.
View of Coral Bay, on the south shore, from Bordeaux Mountain.
If you don't rent a vehicle, you're dependent upon these "taxis," colorful open-sided affairs.
My fine Jeep. The sticker at the top of the windshield says, "St. John Car Rental - No Problem Mon!" True, as long as you're willing to overlook the "check engine" light, the bald tires, and the oil pressure gauge occasionally plummeting to zero. It always got me where I wanted to go, however.
Luxury resort condos in Cruz Bay with a nice view of the cemetery.
I want to be buried on a quiet hillside with a view of the "Every Ting" gift shop.
Cruz Bay.
High maintenance.
I should hope so. Only nice docks should be allowed.
The Bananaquit who came to tea.
A Pearly-eyed Thrasher visiting my deck.
If you want to build a house on the island, you need a permit. Then....
... you get someone to dig you a driveway!
Flora and fauna.
Flora.
Flora and fauna.
Gift shop on Bordeaux Mountain.
Flora.
Flora.
Brown Pelican.