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
Just to the west of the popular Hawksnest Beach, lies a much smaller and far less visited stretch of soft coral sand known as Little Hawksnest.
I revisited this little beach yesterday and realized that it has been some time since I had been there. The tide was high and the surf was up (our St. John winter season is just about upon us) and there wasn’t much beach to speak of with waves washing up almost to the vegetation line.
It isn’t always this way and on more normal days one can find a quiet little beach just to the west of the public beach.
To get to Little Hawksnest, you’ll need to walk to the far western end of the public beach, take the trail through the woods that parallels the shore until you get to the rocky coastline separating the two beaches. A relativity easy scramble will bring you to the beach.
Thinking back (all the way to 1972) I remember attending the wedding of Charlie Deyalsingh (Trinidad Charlie) and Cathy Hartford on this very beach, where among other festivities we had a pig roast.
Remember I said relatively easy scramble, but thinking about it, setting up a pig roast on that beach must have been fairly challenging. I guess we all were a lot tougher in those days.
More St. John Food Shopping News
Yesterday morning Jacob and I went to go but some half and half for mom’s coffee at the nearby St. John Gourmet market. They were out so we went to Starfish bypassing Pine Peace because of parking congestion.
Before we left the St. John Gourmet, however, we bought a few Fuji apples and some white seedless grapes because they looked good.
Arriving at Starfish, I noticed the very same apples and some not quite the same grapes.
The Fuji apples available at Starfish were just about identical to the ones I had just purchased at the St. John Gourmet. (They even tasted the same when I sampled them later back home.)
There was one difference, though. The price.
The apples I had just bought at St. John Gourmet sold for $1.45 per pound. Here at Starfish they were $2.79 per pound, almost twice as costly.
Then I started wondering what the difference in price for the grapes would be.
Checking the fruit bins, I quickly came across the white seedless grapes.
The grapes, however, were not quite identical to the ones at St. John Gourmet. The St. John Gourmet grapes were considerably larger and quite fresher looking.
Neither was the price. The grapes at the St. John Gourmet sold for $2.95 per pound. The Starfish Market price was an incredible, considering the mediocre quality, $5.19 per pound. Again the Starfish price was just about double that of the St. John Gourmet.
Moreover, if I had waited until today and gone to Dolphin instead of the St. John Gourmet, which as comparable selection and equal prices, I could have bought my apples and grapes with a 20% discount.
The system used by the the government to determine relative prices relies on a basket of foods that are generally essential items, like flour, sugar, eggs, milk, bread. Here the prices are fairly equal. I will now try my own unscientific system, which I will call the Yuppie system, with price comparisons on items such as fresh fruits and vegetable, organic milk and eggs, gourmet coffees, etc – stay tuned for more.
All about St John in the beautiful US Virgin Islands (USVI) American Paradise