"St. John Beach Guide" a guide to St. John's world class National Park beaches
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St. John Events

Reef Fest
Saturday, April 20th will be a fee-free day at Trunk Bay from 12 to 5 pm with various exhibits and interactive activities all centered around reef preservation and conservation.  There will be a free shuttle service from the Friends Store in Cruz Bay.  Call 779-4940 for more details

St. John & Virgin Islands News

Free Admission Next Week at National Parks
By Lynda Lohr — April 19, 2013

April 22 to 26 is National Parks Week and to celebrate, admission to V.I. National Park’s Trunk Bay on St. John and Christiansted National Historic Site on St. Croix are free for the entire five days…. read more

St. John Celebrates Earth Day
By Lynda Lohr — April 19, 2013

Adelaide Jones, a 9-year-old Gifft Hill School student taking in the sights at Friday’s Earth Day celebration, summed it up when she noted that it’s important to protect the earth because it’s where we live.

“It’s our only one,” she said.

Jones and about 500 other students from across St. John were at the V.I. National Park ballfield for the annual event sponsored by the Friends of the Park group…. Read more

St. John Weather

Overcast with thunderstorms and rain showers, then rain showers in the afternoon
High of 84 degrees F
Breezy: Winds from the ENE at 20 to 25 mph
Chance of rain 20%
Sunset: 6:37 PM AST
Water temperature (Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas): 87.1 degrees F

St. John Live Music Schedule

Beach Bar
Jared and Brie from the ISH
9:00
777-4220

Castaways
Van Gordon Martin
777-3316

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

Miss Lucy’s
David Reed
6:00 – 9:00
693-5254

Morgan’s Mango
Luba
6:00 – 9:30
693-8141

Ocean Grill
Rascio on Steel Pan
6:00 – 9:30
693-3304

Rhumblines
Lauren
7:00 – 10:00

Skinny Legs
Hot Club of Coral Bay
6:00
779 4982

See weekly schedule

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Caneel Hill Viewing Tower

Caneel Hill Viewing Tower

Before 1985 there was a wooden viewing tower atop Caneel Hill, built by National Park contracted workers. That year the powerful Hurricane Hugo destroyed the tower leaving it pretty much a pile of debris, a state in which it remained for some 21 years.

In 2006, a St. John resident, Frank Cummings, who operates SNUBA, decided to do something about it. With some persistence, he was able to obtain both permission and partial funding from the National Park to construct a new tower atop the 719-foot high hilltop. Work began in May of 2006 with the help of private volunteers and additional funding provided by Steve Black. The debris was removed and carried down the hill and the new construction materials were carried up.

Volunteers carried up the 80-pound bags of cement, containers of water, tools and afsteners. Teachers from the Baptist school brought up a generator, and Boy Scouts from Illinois helped bring up the recycled lumber substitute along with volunteers from the Friends of the Park.

The tower can be reached via the Caneel Hill Trail

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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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NPS Playground, Cruz Bay St. John USVI

NPS Playground, Cruz Bay St. John USVI

Jacob and Argena sharing a bike

Jacob and Argena sharing a bike

It was a busy Sunday at the National Park Service playground at the Cruz Bay Creek. Kids were coming and going all day. Kids brought bicycles, tricycles and scooters and played on the playground equipment.

Jacob shared his bike with his schoolmate Argena

Even the iguanas got into the act. I’m not sure what it is that they’re doing, but I’ll assume that it’s not x-rated and that the green one is riding on his mother’s back. But I would love to hear from some zoologist or iguana expert to get their take on the playground activity.

Iguanas at the NPS Playground

Iguanas at the NPS Playground

Hanging On

Hanging On

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The Seattle Times, The Canadian Press, The Nashua Telegraph and other Associated Press fed newspapers featured the Virgin Islands in their weekend travel sections in an article by Roger Petterson:

“Don’t just sit there. Pick a destination and plan a vacation, maybe to someplace a little exotic, where national parks come with tropical beaches, and boats rather than big RVs are a common mode of transportation…”

In the section about St. John, they chose our website, SeeStJohn.com as the go to website for St. John information:

“…he smallest of the three major islands is St. John – http://seestjohn.com/ – where the snorkeling guide takes you to spots such as Hawksnest Bay, a convenient and popular beach where a reef waits for you just a few yards off the shore, or Cinnamon Bay, a popular windsurfing beach where snorkelers can explore an old airplane wreck. Some of the same spots are covered in their beach guide. And don’t miss their photo and video galleries.

And as the “snorkeling guide,” they refer to, judging from their mention of the light airplane wreck,  it’s got to be the St. John Beach Guide.

Thank you Roger Petterson!!!

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