Tag Archives: Caneel Bay

Caneel Bay Overseer’s House 1960 and 2012

Caneel Bay St. John USVI

Caneel Bay Overseer’s House 1960 – photo by Jack Boucher
Caneel Bay, St. John US Virgin Islands
Overseer's House 2012

St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Thursday, January 26

Banana Deck – Steel Pan by Lemuel Samuels – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5055
Beach Bar – Get Right Band – 9:00 – 777-4220
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Jante Samuel’s Caribbean Band – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Inner Vision – 8:00-11:00 – 714-6169
Morgan Heritage Sandy Feet – Sundown Beach Lime @ Oppenheimer Beach – 3:00 – 7:00
Morgan’s Mango – Mark Wallace – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Chris Carsel  – 6:30 – 9:00 – 693-3304
Skinny Legs – Lauren – 6:00 – 779-4982

See this week’s live music schedule

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Caneel Bay Then and Now

Caneel Bay, St. John US Virgin Islands
Caneel Bay Mill Round 1960 photo by Jack Boucher

“Significance: An important remnant of an early sugar factory. The mill round, a circular, masonry platform, supported an animal-driven cane crushers, which was used to extract the juice from sugar cane. Animal-driven crushers later replaced by wind and steam-driven types.” Library of Congress

Caneel Bay, St. John USVI
Caneel Bay Equator Restaurant 2012

Today the Equator restaurant sits atop Caneel Bay’s old mill round.

St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Wednesday, January 25

Castaways – Kenny Floyd – 8:00 – 777-3316
Coconut Coast Studios – St. John Flutes – 5:30-7:00 – 776-6944
Driftwood Dave’s – Carly Powell’s Caribbean Band – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Sun Dog Cafe – Wednesday Night Jam – 7:30-10:00 – 244-9713

See this week’s live music schedule

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St. John Docks – Now and Then

Cruz Bay Dock 2012
Cruz Bay Dock 1941
Caneel Bay Dock 2012
Caneel Bay Dock 1941

St John Live Music Schedule

Beach Bar – Don Dilego Band  – 9:00 – 777-4220
Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Guitarist James Milne – 700 -1 0:00 – 777-4015
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
Shipwreck Landing – Mike Miknut  – 6:00 – 9:30

See this week’s live music schedule

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St. John Aerobics: Caneel Hill Trail

Caneel Hill Trail
Mario makes it to the top of Caneel Hill - No problem!

Want a St. John alternative to an indoor aerobic workout on a gym treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical trainer? How about a brisk hike up the Caneel Hill Trail?

The trail begins just a bit up the North Shore Road from Mongoose Junction in Cruz Bay. You obtain an elevation of almost 800 feet in less than a mile making it a rather steep climb. Don’t believe the National Park informational sign at  the trailhead that reads 0.6 miles to Caneel Hill. I believe they’re referring to the distance to the Caneel Hill Spur Trail that intersects the Caneel Hill Trail about a third of the way up.

I was successful in convincing my good friend and now workout partner, Mario, to accompany me on the hike, which he resisted at first, but then thoroughly enjoyed.

Local Virgin Islands National Park Service  contractors and the trail is clear and easily passable. Swales have been constructed to manage erosion and large flat stones have been placed like stairs along the steepest areas.

Near the top of the hill is a wooden bench with a great view to the north, but about 100 yards further up at the summit is a viewing tower with one of the most magnificent vistas on St. John. Here you can cool down taking advantage of the mountaintop breezes before either continuing further on the trail which eventually leads to Caneel Bay, like us, just head back down to Cruz Bay the way we came.

One caveat, be careful of loose stones on the trail which are significantly more of a problem going down than going up.

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St. John Morning: Trunk Bay Swim

Trunk Bay St, John Virgin Islands Rainbow
Rainbow seen from the Trunk Bay Overlook
trunk bay overlook
Trunk Bay 8:00 AM – Nobody on the beach

It was a particularly beautiful morning at Trunk Bay. I arrived early in the morning and swam until about 8:00. No one was on the beach the whole time. I showered and walked back to my car at the parking lot and there were seven taxis there already, but not a soul on the beach and not a fare in sight.

The water was still warm, but the occasional cold currents that came in from around Trunk Cay foretold the end of our Virgin Islands summer.

I noticed a squall heading east through the channel from Tortola and waited at the Trunk Bay Overlook hoping for a rainbow and I was rewarded for my patience. I did the same at the Caneel Bay Overlook, but a rainbow didn’t form there. The sun went behind some large clouds so I called it a day, but am pleased with the photos that I did get.

trunk Bay Morning Rainbow
Rainbow Seen from Trunk Bay Overlook

Squall seen from Caneel bay
Squall Seen from Caneel Bay Overlook


pelican and squall

St. John News
St. John’s Roller Moving up in Laser Radial Sailing
By AARON GRAY (Daily News Staff)
Published: October 20, 2011

U.S. Virgin Islands sailor Mimi Roller (Hugo and Josephine Roller’s daughter) is starting to make a run in the Women’s Laser Radial Division, taking a third-place finish in the second of two races Wednesday at the Pan American Games sailing competition in Puerta Vallarta… Read more

Blue Flags Raised Over Four Virgin Islands Beaches
By SEAN McCOY (Daily News Staff)
Published: October 20, 2011

ST. THOMAS – A blue flag denoting green eco-symbolism soon will fly over four Virgin Islands beaches.

The Virgin Islands have been awarded four Blue Flag designations by the Blue Flag International Jury.

The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized voluntary eco-symbol that means a beach or marina meets stringent water-quality, safety, educational and management standards. The symbol has been awarded to more than 3650 beaches in 44 countries worldwide.

The first four Blue Flag beaches in the Virgin Islands are at beaches highly impacted by human use – Lindbergh Bay and Great Bay on St. Thomas; Pelican Cove on St. Croix; and Trunk Bay on St. John.

The beaches were chosen because they are popular but still remain beautiful with work and education… Read more


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St. John Stories: The Ghost and the Coconut Palm

“The Ghost from Jost,” came by yesterday. He was beat up as usual, this time from a run in with a coconut palm. Apparently he took a job cleaning coconut palms at Caneel Bay and it didn’t work out all that well.

The ghost is a true culture man and normally an excellent climber, in his day that is. I used to see him sleeping or sometimes writing up in the crown of some coconut palm as if he was lounging in some fluffy stuffed sofa. But that was some years ago and he hasn’t been climbing for some time.

Anyway, Ghost takes on a job cleaning trees for Caneel Bay Resort. This means cutting down dead fronds and removing coconuts that might fall on some tourist potentially causing injury to the tourist and probably a law suit for Caneel.

The first palm to be pruned is not one of the newer Samoan dwarf varieties but an old traditional palm tree, tall and wide at the top near the crown. There’s a ladder leaning against the tree that goes up about a quarter of the tree’s height.

Besides the obvious impediments for a good safe climb, like not having climbed in seven years and being 58 years old, the Ghost makes another bad move, he eats a the big breakfast offered to him finishing five minutes before the climb.

Ghost writes:
“Begin my climb by removing my sneakers and started up the ladder to where my climb began. Around my waist was a rope that held a small chain saw. My intention is to pull the saw up so that I could use it to cut what needed to be cut.

In any case, after leaving the end of the ladder behind me, my climbing method was walking using hands and toes only. Almost to the head of the tree I notice that the rings are getting smoother causing me to change the method of my climb. I now had to lean my entire body against the tree with both legs clamping the trunk and extend my arms grabbing the tree. This method is called leg lapping. which I now had to do until I got to the top.

However, just before I made it to the top, the trunk started to get fatter, causing me to exert all the energy I could. Finally I reach the top, I grab a branch with the intention of pulling my body up into the crown.

Suddenly I felt my muscles tightening up from my neck, arms and legs. What I started to feel, I had felt before and from experience I decide quickly to vacate. Making sure that the rope around my waist holding the chain saw would not interfere, I began my slide down the tree when both my arms and legs started to lose strength. Feeling my strength leaving I made the slide the quickest I ever slid down a coconut palm and was relieved the moment my feet touched the ladder, which I carefully climbed down. But about 10 feet before the grass, all physical strength left my body and I fell off the ladder.

I have never felt anything like what I felt while lying on my back looking up at the the top of the tree that I had just slid down. For about five minutes, I couldn’t even raise my hands and my legs wouldn’t respond either. I was finally able to crawl to the trunk of the tree, remove the rope and put on my sneakers. Then I went to the boss to let him know that I am not going to finish the job

I had been away so I never saw Ghost’s original injuries, but his rapid slide down the tree had taken off enough layers of skin that those areas of his body that contacted the tree, legs, arms and chest, normally a dark brown were raw and pink. The Ghost had been treating the wounds with aloes and amazingly there was no sign of infection and it looked to be healing nicely.

Curtney Chinnery, aka The Ghost from Jost is a writer and poet and contributor to the collection of St. John stories, “Tales of St. John and the Caribbean.”

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Photo of the Day: Sandy Cay Rainbow

Sandy Cay, British Virgin Islands

Laurance S. Rockefeller purchased Sandy Cay in the 1950s, around the same time as his purchases of vast tracts of land on St. John. On St. John, Rockefeller turned this land, with the exception of the coastal area and beaches from Salomon to Hawksnest Bays, over to the National Park. The land that he kept was developed and eventually became the exclusive Caneel Bay Plantation, managed by Rock resorts. (The word “Plantation” was later changed to “Resort” probably because of its inherent political incorrectness.)

Meanwhile Rockefeller managed Sandy Cay creating his own little botanical garden. For many years the man on the ground there, doing much of the actual work, clean up, trimming and planting was Jost Van Dyke’s own “Nippy,” who to this day maintains a small business selling his wares to captains, crews and passengers of visiting yachts from his little dinghy “the traveling salesman.”

On May 1, 2008 Sandy Cay was transferred from the Rockefeller’s estate to the government of the British Virgin Islands and the island is now managed by the BVI National Parks Trust.

Rats were eliminated from the island in 2002 and in 2010 moorings were placed off the beach on the west side of the islands.

My modeling debut - Sandy Cay circa 1996

The above photo is an outtake from a photo shoot on Sandy Cay around 1996, when I filled in for the “old” male model, who didn’t make it down for the shoot.

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Images from Caneel Bay’s Hawksnest & Turtle Point Trails

Images from Caneel Bay Resort, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)

Turtle Point Trail
View from the wooden bench on the Turtle Point Trail

Caneel Bay resort guests and visitors to the property who check in at the hotel’s front desk can enjoy a relatively easy hike on Caneel Bay’s two walking trails, the Hawksnest Trail and the Turtle Point Trail, which actually has been renamed by the hotel as Mary’s Trail, in honor of Laurence Rockefeller’s wife, Mary.

The Hawksnest Trail take you through a typical St. John dry forest environment leading to Caneel Hawksnest Beach, where a well placed hammock awaits you. On the other end of the beach you can pick up the Turtle Point (or Mary’s) Trail with a scenic walk above the rocky coast of Hawksnest Point leading to the beach at Turtle Bay.

Hawksnest Bay and Turtle Point Trails
Deer on Hawksnest Bay Trail, Caneel bay, St. John USVI Caneel Hill Pinguin Flower


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St. John Beaches: Caneel Bay

Caneel Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands
Caneel Bay
Caneel Bay Overlook, Caneel Bay St. John US Virgin Islands, USVI

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.

There’s a very scenic and fairly easy trail (The Turtle Point also known as Mary’s Trail) on the property that could be an enjoyable change of scene from the beach.

The Caneel Bay Beach Terrace is a great place to sit and enjoy lunch right at seaside. There’s a new menu and the food is good.

Caneel Bay RuinsAnother cool thing to do while you’re at Caneel Bay is to explore the sugar factory ruins which are some of the best preserved on St. John.

Dinner at the Canel Bay ruins
Dinner served within the old sugar factory

You can even arrange to have dinner served to you within the ruins, a really unique experience.

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St. John Trails: Peter Durloo house

St. John Trails: Durloo House

If you look on the east side of the steep hill going down to Hawksnest Bay you should see an old stone stairway. This was once the entrance to a house that at one time belonged to Laurance Rockefeller. The house eventually became the property of the Virgin Islands National Park and was demolished. Nothing remains.

Today if you climb the staircase you’ll notice a trail leading through the bromiliads that takes you to the ruins of a stone structure that is said to have once belonged to Peter Duurloo, born on the island of Statia in 1675 and died on St. John 1746. I have also seen his name spelled Durloo and Durloe. The three islands, Henley Cay, Ramgoat Cay and Rata Cay are collectively known as the Durloe Cays and were undoubtedly named after him

Peter Durloo was one of the original planters who took possession of parcels of land on St. John when the Danes laid claim to the island in 1716. Durloo took up what is now some prime real estate, Cinnamon Bay and Caneel Bay, which he named for the bay rum trees (Caneel in Dutch) that were so plentiful there.

Charlotte Dean Stark, who wrote Some True Tales and Legends about Caneel Bay Trunk Bay and a Hundred and One Other Places on St. John, had this to say about Mr. Durloo:

“He was a colored man from one of the more southerly islands, probably Satia, where the Dutch were struggling to keep their foothold. It seems likely that most of the Dutch planters in St. Thomas were the colored sons of Hollanders who had been brought up by their fathers to learn the business, whatever it might be. Not many women went out with the original explorers who seized islands in the chain to the south of us.”

The site has been cleared by Jeff Chabot and his volunteers, but is unlikely to stay that way. So if you’re interested in a little history and don’t mind the uphill walk from the Hawksnest parking lot, you may want to pay a visit while the visiting is good.

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