Category Archives: Life on St. John USVI

St John Virgin Islands stories, events, happenings, photos -everyday life in Love City, St. John USVI

Water Catchment Spur Trail

Caneel Bay Water Catchment
Caneel Bay Water Catchment

Starting across the road (Route 20) from the entrance to the Caneel Bay Resort, you can access the Water Catchment Spur Trail and hike back to your starting point. The entire loop involves less than one mile of hiking.

The Caneel Hill Trail is well maintained and relatively easy going, although you will be hiking uphill until you reach the trailhead for the Water Catchment Spur.

At the beginning of your walk you will pass by an old stone wall alongside the trail, which I believe marked an old cart road back in plantation days.

Follow the trail uphill until you arrive at the intersection of the Caneel Hill and Water Catchment Spur trails.Take the Water Catchment Spur Trail, which goes off to your left and downhill until you reach the Caneel Bay water catchment.From the catchment you can follow the dirt road down to the North Shore Road (Route 20) and walk back to the Caneel Bay Resort entrance.

 

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Baobob Tree at Estate Seiban

Baobob Tree Estate Seiban St. John US Virgin Islands
Baobob Tree at Estate Seiban
Ghost From Jost and St. John's baobob tree
Ghost From Jost relaxes under the baobob tree

Throughout most of Africa the baobob tree tree is believed to possess spiritual and magical qualities. The first baobob trees were brought to the Caribbean by slaves carrying seeds of the sacred tree. Although there are several specimens on St. Thomas and St. Croix is thought to have more baobob trees than any island in the Caribbean, on St. John there is only one tree.

If you would like to see our one and only baobob, you can access it by taking the L’Esperance or Great Seiban Trails.

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Trunk Bay Sting-Free Morning Swim

Trunk Bay, St. John USVII swam a mile and a half at Trunk Bay  yesterday morning with zero problems associated with the nasty, stingy sea lice, that ruined my swim a week or so ago and made me afraid to continue those morning or late afternoon swims that I love so much. Good riddance!

Back today for another delicious swim at one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. (The other beautiful beaches, by the way, are also on St. John)

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A Settlement on St. John That Failed

The Virgin Islands featured only secondarily in the colonial power struggle that came in the West Indies as the Spanish hold was challenged seriously by the English, Dutch, and French at the opening of the 17th century. They were less attractive and less hospitable for settlement than the larger islands, especially ‘there were areas more suitable for agriculture when colonization became a principal objective. As more desirable islands and lands ‘were occupied they did, however, become the subject of claim and counterclaim. Perhaps the evaluation given by Louis de Poincy in his account penned prior to 1666 suggests a little of this:

The Virgins, greater and less, comprehend several islands marked in the Map by that name. There are in all twelve or thirteen of them. They reach eastward from St. John de Porto-Rico, at the altitude of 18 degrees, North of the Line. Between these Islands there are very good anchoring places for several Fleets. The Spanish visit them often, in order to Fishing, which is there plentiful. There are also in them an infinite number of rare both land and seafowl. They afford so little good ground, that after trial made thereof in several places, it was concluded, that they deserved not Inhabitants.

The island of St. John seemingly by one account entered the recorded history picture in this period, in 1647. M. de Poincy, then at nearby St. Christopher, where the French were established, felt a need to remove a number of eminent people at St. Christopher who favored the Governor General rather than De Poincy. Not daring to send them to France and not believing it wise to drive them out as he had done with some of the less influential, he made arrangements to sent them to the Virgin Islands under the pretext of founding a new colony. He selected 60 of the most difficult, some in prominent positions in the settlement. It was not intended that they survive.

The apparent plan ‘”was to drop them on an unoccupied, deserted island. Soon after they had sailed (almost as they were departing) in September 1647, the property of the emigrants was confiscated.

Fortunately Capt. Jean Pinart of the group had cruised the islands and knew of one recently taken by the English where various edibles, including quantities of sweet potatoes, could be found. According to Nellis H. Crouse, “Father du Tertre does not tell us which island it was, but from the hints he gives it was probably St. John.”

On landing, hammocks were stretched and there was rest despite the attack by hungry mosquitoes. The next morning some went out to reconnoiter but only to find a row of corpses on the sand, the remains of a band of English that had come to settle. This suggested that the same fate might be theirs as truly might. Puerto Rico was not Ear away and the Spanish did not intend to allow undesirables, or foreign exiles, to settle in the neighborhood. They knew of De Poincy’s policy. Soon five armed vessels were sent to eliminate the embryonic settlement. Attack followed and on the first try the French, sailors and colonists, drove the Spaniards to the harbor’s edge. But in the second charge the French broke and fled to the mountains where they remained until the Spanish departed for Puerto Rico.

For three, or four, months the refugees eked out a poor existence on what little the island afforded. The Spaniards had seized their supplies and had wrecked Pinart’ s ship. Conditions grew worse and five of the heartier resolved to brave the sea in a 14-foot handmade raft fashioned from logs with help of a single axe that someone found. The logs, bound with vines and moved by a sail made from a couple of shirts held together with thorns, did not make a very seaworthy craft. The hope was to reach a settled island and look for assistance. It is doubtful, after a meal of sorts, who ”were the most deplorable: those who remained, or the five who “set sail.”

Toward evening the raft reached a little island near Virgin Gorda. Here the first sight was that of a grave of a former inhabitant of St. Christopher who had been driven out some time before. There was a dinner of crabs boiled in a kettle and the next day it was to sea again. The next stop was “the fertile island of St. Thomas where they remained five days refreshing themselves with the generous supply of bananas, oranges, and figs that grew here in great abundance. From St. Thomas they proceeded to the southern shore of Puerto Rico.

Despite herds of wild cattle, which they saw inland a little way, they remained fearful of the Spaniards and tarried only long enough to rest, repair their raft, and put to sea again. Three days later they came to a small island, where wild fowl nested in quantity. They also found a few huts and, hopeful that the inhabitants would return, settled down. Here they waited three months hoping for someone who could assist them. Unexpected aid came from the sea eventually.

They finally hailed a vessel, which was passing close enough to see their frantic signals. It was a Spanish fishing boat and its captain, when he saw the wretched castaways, had compassion and gave them clothing, bread and wine. He did more. Two weeks later, with his fishing done, he returned and picked them up, lashing their raft to his bowsprit as a trophy for the governor in Puerto Rico.

En route to San Juan the pilot, with his glass, spotted another raft and detoured to investigate. “On reaching it the Frenchmen saw with amazement a raft similar to their own to which clung six men, all that remained of the castaways they had left months before on St. John….” The Captain answered these pleas, too, with food and clothing and all were carried into San Juan.

The story had a pleasant ending. The hardships they endured and their miraculous rescue made them objects of charitable interest.

There was work for all who knew a trade. “When at last they had accumulated sufficient funds to leave the island, they took passage on a ship (all but one who had married and settled down) and sailed back to France.”

From: Virgin Islands National Park, St. John Island, the quiet place, by Charles E. Hatch, Jr.

Referencing:
The History of the Caribby-Island: In Two Books: The First Containing the Natural: the Second, the Moral History of Those Islands, Rendered into English by John Davies (London, 1666) and French Pioneers in the West Indies, 1624-1664 (New York, 1940)

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St. John Film Society Presents: Twenty Feet From Stardom

St. John Film Society

Please join us for a screening of the 2014 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary…

Today, Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Pickles in Paradise, Coral Bay, 6:30pm

“INFECTIOUS AND IRRESISTIBLE. Their voices were powerful enough to tear you apart and put you back together again, and their stories will do the same.”
-Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Millions know their voices, but no one knows their names. In his compelling new film TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, award-winning director Morgan Neville shines a spotlight on the untold true story of the backup singers behind some of the greatest musical legends of the 21st century. Triumphant and heartbreaking in equal measure, the film is both a tribute to the unsung voices who brought shape and style to popular music and a reflection on the conflicts, sacrifices and rewards of a career spent harmonizing with others.

These gifted artists span a range of styles, genres and eras of popular music, but each has a uniquely fascinating and personal story to share of life spent in the shadows of superstardom.   Along with rare archival footage and a peerless soundtrack, TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM boasts intimate interviews with Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger and Sting to name just a few. However, these world-famous figures take a backseat to the diverse array of backup singers whose lives and stories take center stage in the film.

Half of all proceeds raised to benefit the Love City Pan Dragons. Please come early, space may be limited!!

Thanks in advance!

St. John News

The poor kids that got poisoned by Terminix at Sirenusa are still in critical condition and remain in comas six weeks after the incident. Their parents have regained consciousness and are undergoing therapy…. Read article from People

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