"St. John Off The Beaten Track" our top selling St. John guidebook
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turtle and remoras

Hawksbill turtle and remoras at Honeymoon Bay

Remoras and Sea Turtles
Some cultures use remoras to catch turtles. A cord or rope is fastened to the remora’s tail, and when a turtle is sighted, the fish is released from the boat; it usually heads directly for the turtle and fastens itself to the turtle’s shell, and then both remora and turtle are hauled in. Smaller turtles can be pulled completely into the boat by this method, while larger ones are hauled within harpooning range. This practice has been reported throughout the Indian Ocean, especially from eastern Africa near Zanzibar and Mozambique, and from northern Australia near Cape York and Torres Strait.

Similar reports come from Japan and from the Americas. Some of the first records of the “fishing fish” in the Western literature come from the accounts of the second voyage of Christopher Columbus. However, Leo Wiener considers the Columbus accounts to be apocryphal: what was taken for accounts of the Americas may have been, in fact, notes Columbus derived from accounts of the East Indies, his desired destination…. read more about remoras

 

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Caneel Bay Resort

Caneel Bay Terrace

Caneel Bay St. John US Virgin IslandsThe Caneel Bay Resort is a cool option if you would like to combine a day at the beach with an upscale lunch or enjoy a cocktail or two in a comfortable setting. Visitors to Caneel Bay are welcome to enjoy the main beach, but are asked to leave the lounge chairs and other hotel facilities for Caneel Bay guests. In addition, visitors will have access to the gift shop, the public restrooms, can hike the Caneel Bay trails and stroll through the restored ruins of plantation times. Visitors can also take advantage of VI Ecotours the new Beach Hut on Honeymoon Bay where they can rent beach chairs, snorkel equipment and standup paddleboards.

Caneel Bay estate ruinsNote: There is a $20.00 parking fee for vehicles entering Caneel Bay, which can be used towards purchases at the Caneel Bay restaurants or at the gift shop.

St. John Live Music Schedule – Sunday 11/11

Aqua Bistro
Lauren Jones
3:30 – 6:30
776-5336

Beach Bar
Treehouse
7:00 – 10:00
777-4220

Concordia
Bo
Sunday Brunch 10:00 am

Cruz Bay Prime
Mark Wallace
7:00 – 10:00
693 -8000

High Tide
Live Music
3:00 – 6:00
714-6169

Miss Lucy’s
Samba Combo
10:00 am – 2:00 pm
693-5254

Ocean Grill
David Laab
6:30 – 9:00
693-3304

Rhumblines
T-Bird
7:00 – 10:00

Shipwreck Landing
Live Music
7:00 – 10:00

Sun Dog Cafe
David Laab
11:00 am- 2:00 pm
244-9713

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I took a look at my book inventory and, lo and behold, it’s time for a reprinting of our most popular book, “St. John Off the Beaten Track.” It’s in pretty good shape now and not a whole lot has changed in the last few years on the beaches and trails, but nonetheless, there’s always room for improvement, so it looks like a rewrite.

My method of forced discipline for these tasks has always been to begin with a web presentation of the various chapters. That gets it written, allows for changes, organizes images and more importantly, makes the process seem less huge. Readers of the blog will get a preview of the new book and can avail themselves of the information. They can even follow me around the island checking out the beautiful trails and beaches one by one.

I’ll be starting from Cruz Bay and going around the north shore, so our first entry will be the Lind Point Trail.

Lind Point Trail

Lind Point Trail

Lind Point Trail

Lind Point Trail

Lind Point Trail

Special Features
As the trail begins just a short walk from the ferry dock in downtown Cruz Bay, this is THE trail to take for day trippers to St. John, who would like to either take a hike on one of the national Park Trails or enjoy one of St. John’s world famous north shore beaches without the necessity of renting a car or hiring a taxi.

Difficulty: Moderate

Distances
From the National Park Service Visitors Center to Honeymoon Bay (1.1 miles)
From the National Park Service Visitors Center to Salomon Bay (0.75 mile)
From the National Park Service Visitors Center to the Lind Point Overlook (0.4 mile)

Hiking Time: About 45 minutes (Cruz Bay to Honeymoon Bay- taking it slow)

Elevation
Sea level at Cruz Bay, Salomon and Honeymoon trail heads and 140 feet at the Lind Point Battery Overlook

Environment
The Lind Point Trail passes through the inland environments of cactus scrub between Cruz Bay and Lind Point and dry forest on the wooded slopes of Caneel Hill east of Lind Point.

The Route
The Lind Point Trail runs between the parking area behind the National Park Visitors Center and the beaches at Salomon and Honeymoon Bays passing by the Lind Point Battery Overlook from where the hiker can enjoy unobstructed views of downtown Cruz Bay, the main harbor, the Battery, the Creek and many of the islands and cays of Pillsbury Sound.

Cruz Bay to Lind Point
From the Cruz Bay trail head to Lind Point the trail passes through an area once known as Estate Lindholm, which in colonial days was dedicated to the cultivation of cotton.

The trail crosses the road to the old seaplane ramp

The trail crosses the road to the old seaplane ramp

Night Blooming Cerius

Night Blooming Cerius

After crossing a dirt road, the trail rises gradually in elevation and follows the eastern shoreline of Cruz Bay. Here the track is lined by tangles of night blooming cerius, a cactus-like plant that once a year produces a magnificent white flower that opens at night and closes before sunrise the next morning. The flower is followed by the production of a delicious red fruit that tastes something like a kiwi.

About a quarter mile from the trailhead, the path splits into upper and lower branches. The upper trail will be to your right while the lower trail continues straight ahead. Both trails access the Salomon and Honeymoon Bays, but only the upper trail passes by the Lind Point Battery Overlook.

Intersection of upper and lower trails

Intersection of upper and lower trails

Lower Trail
The lower trail is slightly shorter and less hilly, than the upper trail and would be the preferred route for those who are not interested in the Lind Point Battery Overlook and are using the trail solely as a means of getting to the Salomon or Honeymoon beaches.

Upper Trail
The upper trail gains elevation through a series of switchbacks and then continues north toward Lind Point, the headland that defines the northern extremity of Cruz Bay and the northwestern corner of the island.

Lind Point
When you get to Lind Point, a loop trail on your left leads to the Lind Point Battery Overlook.

Lind Point Battery Overlook

Lind Point Battery Overlook

Lind Point Battery Overlook
During the era of the Napoleonic wars, England, along with most of Europe, had united against Napoleon and his revolutionary government in France. Fearing for the security of her West Indian colonies, Britain turned her attention to the Danish West Indian islands of St. Thomas and St. John. If the French took control of these islands, they would undoubtedly use the strategic harbors of Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas and Coral Bay on St. John to set up bases from which Tortola and the rest of the British West Indian colonies could be attacked.

It was a likely scenario. Denmark never had a strong military presence in the Caribbean and St. Thomas and St. John could easily have fallen prey to the French. The British decided to make the first move. They sent a fleet of warships to St. Thomas, whereupon the Danes surrendered before a single shot was fired. British troops occupied the Danish West Indies on two separate occasions, once in 1801, for almost a year, and then again in 1807, this time remaining until 1815. In order to secure Cruz Bay harbor, the British built a battery (fortification) on Lind Point. The “English Fort” as it was called by the inhabitants of St. John at the time, was no more than a semicircular terrace supported by a stone retaining wall upon which cannons were placed to defend the harbor. The cannons are no longer there, but the retaining wall remains. In place of the weaponry, there is now a wooden bench where you can sit and enjoy a view of busy Cruz Bay Harbor backdropped by unspoiled tropical scenery.

From Lind Point to Salomon and Honeymoon Bays
From Lind Point, the trail turns right, or east, and follows the northwestern coastline though a dry forest environment. Many of the rock formations along the hillsides are covered by epiphytes (air plants), such as bromeliads and anthuriums. Other rocks bear intricate designs created by lichen growing on the surface of the stones.

Salomon Bay Spur Trail

Salomon Bay Spur Trail

Salomon Bay Spur

The Salomon Bay Spur Trail intersects both the upper and lower Lind Point trails about a quarter mile from Lind Point. For those going to Salomon Bay, take this trail down to the western end of Salomon Beach. The trail runs alongside the beach to eastern end of Salomon Bay and then leads up to meet the lower Lind Point Trail.

On to Honeymoon Bay
For those not going to Salomon Bay, both the lower and upper Lind Point Trails continue on towards Honeymoon Bay near a large tamarind tree. Cross over the dirt road to get to the beach. This road heads east towards the Caneel Bay Resort.

(East of the Salomon Bay Spur Trail, the Upper Lind Point Trail intersects the Caneel Hill Spur Trail just before its intersection with the lower trail.)

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Brought to you by Gerald Singer, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)