Why Salomon? Although Salomon is every bit as beautiful as any of St. John’s incomparable north shore beaches, this unconventional access, keeps the number of visitors down and insures a more intimate beach experience. Additionally, if you’ve come by ferry from St. Thomas for the day or are staying in Cruz Bay, you won’t need to rent a car or hire a taxi to get to the beach.
Parking For those who arrive at the trailhead by car, finding a place to park near the trail can be difficult, to say the least.
Now the Virgin Islands National Park offers a solution, of sorts. Hikers bound for the Lind Point Trail can go to the National Park Visitors Center located just across the street from the trailhead and obtain a parking permit that allows them to park in spaces reserved for the park employees. You’ll need to show the attendant at the center your drivers license, which they will hold until you get back. They will then issue you a sign for you to place on your windshield.
Be aware that empty employee’s parking spaces are limited and are often unavailable, and that parking anywhere else on the street will put you in danger of being ticketed by enforcement rangers.
If you opt for permitted parking, make sure that you return before the Visitors Center closes to get your license back. (The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Park back wheels to the curb, windshield facing out towards the street and enjoy your hike.
From the trailhead, it will be a little less than one mile to the beach at Salomon Bay. When you get to the fork in the trail, you can go either way.
The lower trail is slightly shorter and less hilly. On the other hand, the upper trail is often better maintained and more scenic, passing by the beautiful Lind Point Overlook.
From either the upper or lower trails, take the spur trail to Salomon Bay, which will be on your left and leads downhill.
Combining a Drive and a Walk For a shorter walk (a little over a half mile, but with a descent of 250 feet and the consequential ascent later on) to Salomon Beach, you can use the Caneel Hill Spur Trail.
Ttake Route 20 (the North Shore Road) past Mongoose Junction and up the hill. Turn left at the top of the hill where there is a blue Virgin Islands National Park sign.
Parking Immediately on the right hand side, is a parking area for approximately four vehicles. Park here if you drove.
The Caneel Hill Spur Trail intersects Route 20 and is clearly marked with a sign. Take this trail north and downhill to the Lind Point Trail and turn left. Then take the first spur trail to the right, which goes down the hill to Salomon Beach.
Salomon Bay was named after the brothers Jannis and Isack Salomon, The Salomon brothers, were Dutchmen from a prestigious family, who came to the Danish West Indies from Statia in the early 18th century. They dedicated the Salomon Bay property to the production of cotton.
Old Reputation At one time Salomon had the reputation of being a clothing optional beach. In 1997, a federal court decision allowed the Park, a federal entity, to enforce Virgin Islands territorial laws prohibiting public nudity. With continued enforcement, nudity was discouraged and today only old time residents remember the days when Salomon was “clothing optional.”
Snorkeling Some of the finest snorkeling on the north shore can be found on the reef between Salomon and Honeymoon Bays. This easily accessible, shallow water snorkel can be thoroughly enjoyed by snorkelers of all experience levels.
Salomon and Honeymoon Bays can be reached via the Lind Point Trail or from the Caneel Bay Resort.
Visitors arriving from the Caneel Bay Resort will be subject to a $20.00 parking fee that will be waived for those spending money at the resort’s facilities.
Snorkeling equipment, as well as single and double kayaks, standup paddleboards and beach chairs can be rented at the Honeymoon Beach Hut. Cold drinks ice cream and snacks are also available for purchase. Other facilities available at Honeymoon Bay include rest rooms and lockers.
Most of the reef lies in calm shallow water with some sections even rising above the surface at times of extreme low tides, thus snorkelers should make an extra effort to avoid situations where the water is too shallow for them.
The coral reef here is in relatively good condition and the reef community is colorful and diverse. Snorkelers will encounter intricate coral formations and lots of fish with different varieties arriving at different times of the day.
Snorkeling in the center of the bays can also be a worthwhile experience. Stay in areas protected by swim buoys to minimize danger from dinghy traffic in the area. Here, the environment is sand and coral rubble. You will have to look more carefully to find interesting activity, but there really is a great deal of life here. The hills and holes on the sea floor are formed by eels, worms, shrimp, clams and crabs that make their homes on this underwater beach.
Snorkeling just off the beach is also a good way for beginners to get practice before attempting to snorkel over the reef where there is a possibility of danger to both the snorkeler and to the reef from accidental contact.
The reef on the east end of Honeymoon around the point between Honeymoon and Caneel Bays is also a good snorkeling area. It’s closer to the beach and smaller than the more extensive reef on the other side of the bay. There are always a lot of fish here as well as some excellent examples of colorful elkhorn coral. (excerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track)
St. John and Virgin Islands News
New ferries are one inspection away from starting service By ALDETH LEWIN (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 8, 2014
ST. THOMAS – The two new passenger ferries still are awaiting a final Coast Guard inspection before they begin to take passengers to and from Red Hook and St. John.
The vessels, named Red Hook I and Cruz Bay I, were delivered to the territory in November and were supposed to be in operation by the end of 2013.
At first, a problem with insurance policies delayed the start of operations, but now the only thing holding up the boats is the final coast guard inspection, Public Works Commissioner Darryl Smalls said….
…The ferries are 85-foot aluminum catamarans, each of which can carry about 250 passengers and are loaded with state-of-the-art features. The current ferries in operation belong to Varlack Ventures and Transportation Services, the companies franchised to run the St. Thomas to St. John ferry route.
However, the two new boats will belong to the V.I. government and be operated by the franchisees. At the end of January, Smalls said he expected the new vessels would be operational for the public by the end of February.
On Friday, Smalls told The Daily News the last piece to be put in place is the final Coast Guard inspection and certification of the franchised operators.
Coast Guard spokesman Ricardo Castrodad said Friday that the inspections done in Louisiana, where they were built, were for sea-worthiness.
“These two ferries have already been inspected and received documents of inspection good for five years,” Castrodad said.
However, when the boats came to the U.S. Virgin Islands, they passed out of one port zone and into another. That requires another set of inspections, these more specifically geared to the operator.
“They will go over some drills on the proficiency of handling the vessel,” Castrodad said.
The drills will include an “abandon ship” exercise, a “man overboard” rescue and other safety and security drills, according to Castrodad.
The only obstacle is scheduling a time for the inspections with the Coast Guard and the two ferry operators…. read entire article
Vice President Joe Biden and wife visit St. Croix By JOY BLACKBURN (Daily News Staff)
Published: March 8, 2014
ST. CROIX – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, again are visiting St. Croix.
Information from the White House Office of the Vice President indicates that the Bidens are visiting the territory Friday through Sunday, with no public events scheduled.
It is their second visit to the St. Croix in just more than two months. The Bidens last visited the island for a holiday vacation from Dec. 27 through Jan. 1.
They have quietly visited the territory around holiday time more than once in recent years, initially on Water Island and, more recently, on St. Croix.
Suspect Arrested in Women’s Murder By Source staff — March 8, 2014
A 24-year-old woman from St. Thomas was found dead at about 10:15 p.m. Friday in a car in Tutu Valley, according to the V.I. Police Department, and one man was later arrested and charged in the crime.
Adisa Bertrand, a 34-year-old resident of Chocolate Hole, St. John, was charged with first-degree murder and other charges…. read more
Like Salt Pond, Lameshur is an excellent alternative to north shore beaches, especially on days when winter swells may make swimming and snorkeling on the north uncomfortable.
Lameshur is further away and harder to drive to than Salt Pond, involving a difficult and steep section of road, but unlike Salt Pond, the beach is conveniently located right next to the parking area.
Lameshur is also a perfect place to take a refreshing dip in the sea after exploring the nearby ruins or taking a hike on the Lameshur Bay or Bordeaux Mountain Trails.
Getting There At the end of route 107 traveling south continue one mile on the dirt road. This road becomes very steep and rutted. A four-wheel drive vehicle and off-road driving experience may be necessary. As a matter of fact, most rental car agencies have declared this section of road “off limits.”
You can park anywhere along the road in the vicinity of the beach.
Facilities include picnic tables, barbecues and chemical toilets
Campbell Honored, Excited To Compete in Sochi Whitman Pioneer
How does someone go from being born on a couch in Chocolate Hole, a sleepy bay on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to competing in the slalom and giant slalom events in the 2014 Sochi Olympics? Just ask Jasmine Campbell, a Whitman student who is taking a break between her junior and senior years in order to pursue her dream of skiing on the world’s greatest stage.
Campbell lived in the Caribbean until she was 10, when her family changed climates from the warm Virgin Islands, which have an average temperature higher than 80 degrees in the winter, to Sun Valley, Idaho, where the winter months are devoted to skiing. She quickly adopted the local passion, latching on to a sport that advertises speed and thrills as just part of a day’s work. Campbell raced in high school until a back injury forced her to stop. Campbell wouldn’t strap her boots on again until she arrived at Whitman, and it took a little coercion…. read more
Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before noon, then scattered showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. East wind 18 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.
Hansen Bay is located 3.7 miles east of the Moravian Church on Route 10. Vie’s Snack Shop is open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Snacks include conch fritters, garlic chicken, johnny cakes, island style beef patty and home made pineapple and coconut tarts. Sodas, beer and other cold drinks are also available.
Vie’s is truly one of the few really local places left on St. John, not only in its cuisine, but in its friendly, fun, old-time Virgin Islands ambiance. A large boxwood tree emits a delightful aroma when the tree flowers late in the year. Ask Vie about other local flora such as tamarind and calabash trees.
And there’s always the animals, birds enjoying the bird feeder, chickens scurrying about, goats and perhaps you’ll see a cat or two at the Bush Cat Snack Shack.
The beautiful sand beach across the road from Vie’s is privately owned by Vie’s family, the Sewers, and a small admission fee is charged to enter the beach by land. A bit further east is Vie’s Campground.
About a quarter mile east of Vie’s Snack Shop is a small private beach also owned by Vie’s family, which is presently available for use by the public free of charge.
Grootpan Bay, like its neighbor Kiddel Bay, is a cobble beach that offers seclusion and calm water on winter days when the ground sea makes north shore beaches uncomfortable. Beachcombers can search through bright white pieces of coral, which can be used as soap dishes and paperweights.
Getting There Take route 107 south 4.2 miles from the Moravian Church in Coral Bay. Turn left on to the dirt road. Go 0.3 miles and turn right where the road forks. When the road forks again, a little past the first fork, turn right and go 0.2 miles to Grootpan Bay.
Salt Pond The salt pond behind the beach at Grootpan Bay is the largest on the island and salt can be harvested when weather conditions are right.
Snorkeling An exciting snorkel option is to snorkel from Kiddel Bay to Grootpan Bay. Starting from Kiddel Bay, snorkel around the point, proceeding west along the rocky coastline to Grootpan Bay. Bring waterproof footwear with you and you can enjoy a nice walk back to Kiddel.
U.S. Virgin Islands brings the heat to South Florida Jan 28, 2014
The U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Tourism concluded a five-day mission in Miami and Fort Lauderdale yesterday to boost travel to the Territory.
Led by Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty and Deputy Commissioner Chantal Figueroa, consumers, media and travel trade were engaged in the USVI’s unscripted travel experiences.
On Sunday, Jan. 26, the USVI was featured at the American Airlines Arena, immersing a capacity crowd of more than 20,000 spectators with the sights and sounds of the Territory as the Miami Heat took on St. Croix’s own Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs for a 2013 NBA Finals rematch. A highlight of the day was the halftime performance by USVI dancers who filled the arena with the color and energy of Carnival, paired with destination ambassadors personally inviting spectators to visit at on-site USVI branded kiosks… read more
St. John Weather
Isolated showers before 8am. Sunny, with a high near 77. East wind 18 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 10%.
A magnified view of the tropical beach sand from the Caribbean island of St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands). The grains include porous fragments of brightly-colored corals, minute foraminiferan shells, fragments of sea shells and shiny, star-shaped sponge spicules…. waynesword.palomar.edu
Where does our sand come from?
The sand found on St. John’s beaches comes, almost entirely, from the coral reef community. This is the main reason why our sand is so much finer and softer then the sand found on most continental beaches, which comes from terrestrial sources, such as the weathering of rocks.
Most of the sand on St. John’s beaches is produced by the force of waves and currents acting on the coral reef as coral, calcareous algae, (algae with a hard exoskeleton) the shells of various sea creatures and sea urchin spines (which make up those little black grains of sand) are gradually broken down into sand sized grains.
In addition, reef grazing fish, such as parrotfish, produce a significant amount of the sand found on our beaches. Parrotfish exist on a diet of algae, which they scrape off the surface of coral rock with their fused teeth that look like a parrot’s beak. They then grind this coral and algae mixture to a fine powder. The algae covering the coral are absorbed as food. The remainder of their meal passes through their digestive tracts and is excreted in the form of sand…. read more
St. John Weather
Partly cloudy with rain showers
High of 82 degrees F
Breezy: Winds from the ESE at 15 to 20 mph
Chance of rain 20%
Water temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas): 87.1 degrees F
Sunset: 6:34 PM AST
St. John Live Music Schedule
3:30 – 6:30
Sunday Brunch 10:00 am
Cruz Bay Prime
7:00 – 10:00
Lemuel Callwood Steel Pan
4:00 – 6:00
Van Gordon Martin
776 – 6800
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
6:30 – 9:00
7:00 – 10:00
7:00 – 10:00
Sun Dog Cafe
11:00 am- 2:00 pm
The old pilings seen in the above image used to support a dock in the days when Denis Bay was home to the Deep Sea Fishing Club.
The club was available to the general public with hotel services and conveniences for $22.00 per week with all meals included. It was described by Desmond Holdbridge in his book Escape to the Tropics, written in 1937 as “a quaint institution, now non-existent, where no fishing was ever done.”
The Deep Sea Fishing Club was owned by a group of St. Thomas businessmen who purchased the approximately 100-acre parcel sold for $1,250 in 1937.
The Maho Bay improvement project is nearly complete, with newly constructed concrete pathways, an open air-pavilion, picnic tables, barbecues and an outhouse. In addition, the old existing pavilion has been improved with a new roof, a wooden deck and a new paint job.
A “Special Use Permit” will be required for use of the existing pavilion, but a permit will not be required for the new open air pavilion, available on a first come, first serve basis..
The project, which will not include running water or electricity, was contracted by an off-island company at a cost of $429,000.
Parking improvements have also been made. On the west end of the beach several head-on parking spaces have been added and on the east end the construction of a fairly sizable parking lot is underway. Posts have been installed on the north side of the road to prevent parking on the ecologically fragile shoreline.
A beach option often missed by visitors to St. John, is beautiful Caneel Bay Beach. There’s a parking fee that can be used towards food and beverage purchases and you should register at the desk if you want to explore the trails, but all well worth it.