Earlier (around 6:00 AM) for just about five minutes, the sky exploded in a bright orange. In the far south, towards St. Croix, a small patch of blue could be seen and looking to the west, there was a rainbow.
Shortly afterward, the dark squall clouds gathered together. Lightning lit up the sky and thunder shook the house.
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
All about St John in the beautiful US Virgin Islands (USVI) American Paradise