Tag Archives: francis bay

St. John Trails: Francis Bay Trail

St. John Trails: Francis Bay TrailMayan Sun Circle on the Francis Bay Trail
Volunteers working for the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park have extended the handicap access boardwalk that runs along the Francis Bay Pond, parallel to the beach, all the way from the road to the point on the trail by the big tamarind tree where the trail turns and leads up the hill to another viewing area and the remains of an old residence. At the end of the boardwalk, shaded by the old tamarind trees, there is now a really cool Mayan Sun Circle apparently made out of leftover lumber from the project.

Earthquake Felt on St. John
A relatively weak earthquake felt at 6:54 am with a 3.4 magnitude was close enough to St. John (the epicenter was only 23 miles away from the island) that you could feel the shake, which lasted just a few moments.

St. John Weather
The sky is still dusty due to the presence of dust from the Sahara Desert in Africa and volcanic ash from Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles
High Temperature: 85 degrees
Water temperature: 82 degrees
Sunset: 6:32 pm

St. John Live Music Schedule Wednesday March 28

Aqua Bistro – Rascio on Steel Pan – 5:30 – 8:30 – 776-5336
Castaways – Kenny Floyd – 8:00 – 777-3316
Coconut Coast Studios – St. John Flutes – 776-6944
Cruz Bay Prime – Samba Combo – 7:00 – 10:00 – 693 -8000
Driftwood Dave’s – Paradise People – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Chris Carsel – 6:00 – 9:00 – 714-6169
Sun Dog Cafe – Wednesday Night Jam – 7:30-10:00 – 244-9713

See Weekly Schedule

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A Pleasant St. John Weekend

A Day at Sea in the trusty and beloved Caribe 15DL – Photo by Michelle Collins

It was a busy weekend on St. John. The beaches were crowded (by St. John standards anyway). There was plenty of activity with swimmers, snorkelers, kayakers, paddle boarders and sunbathers enjoying the clear, sunny and breezy weather. The popular manta ray was also at the beach making its way between Francis and Maho to the delight of all.

On Sunday, two mini Cruise ships, the Seabourn Sojourn and the Sea Dream I, lay at anchor outside of Cruz Bay along with a mega yacht so big that could have easily been confused as a third cruise ship.

The winds were gusting from the east southeast, and along with a strong tide, the offshore seas were quite rough with steep closely spaced waves. This was experienced first hand making the passage across Pillsbury Sound on the way to St. Thomas to “get a little culture in my life. Navigating the sound was accomplished thanks to my trusty Caribe 15DL and a Yamaha 60. The culture came thanks to Pistarkle Theatre’s Sunday matinee performance of “Red”, which I thoroughly enjoyed and can recommend to others. (Two more performances are scheduled for March 9th and 10th at 8:00 pm.)

Another weekend in Paradise…

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Another Day at Maho Bay

Manta Ray, Maho Bay St. John US Virgin islands (USVI)
Manta Ray at Maho Bay

Another beautiful Day at Maho Bay. The water seems to be warming up a bit and as usual there was plenty to see both from the shore and from the water. The manta rays are the newest tourists to find Maho (and Maho Campground and Little Maho and Francis Bays) to be an excellent venue for a day at the beach and have been hanging around for the last few months to the delight of all.

Manta Ray

manta ray seen from paddle board

manta from paddle board

Green Turtle and Remora

Karen Jarvis was at Maho Bay also yesterday showing off her new racing paddle board. It’s a rocket!

Karen rents boards and gives lessons.

A beautiful way to see the bay!

St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Saturday, March 3

Castaways – Dance Party – 11:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – Guitarist James Milne – 7:00 – 10:00 – 777-4015
Miss Lucy’s – David Reed – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5354
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 the weekly St. John live music schedule

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The Maho Bay Mantas

Manta rays delight beach-goers at Francis and Maho Bays

francis bay mantaray
Manta Ray at Francis Bay

Presidents Day weekend and the beaches of St. John are the place to be; sunbathers, swimmers, snorkelers, paddle boarders, picnickers and little kids playing. On Francis, Little Maho and Maho Bays, people are talking about the big manta. There are two of them, some say three and there big and beautiful and docile. (Manta rays have a short tail and no stinging spine.)

Manta Ray St. John Virgin IslandsThe mantas swim gracefully right under snorkelers and paddle boards, looking as if they were flying through the water with enormous wings. They even put on a show for those watching from the shore, occasionally breaching the surface and flipping over like playful children.

French Grunts - Maho Bay

Manta Ray from Paddle Board


St. John Live Music Schedule for tonight, Tuesday, February 21

Castaways – Karaoke Night – 9:00 – 777-3316
Driftwood Dave’s – James Cobb & Michael Beason – 700 -10:00 – 777-4015
High Tide – Erin Hart – 4:00 – 7:00 – 714-6169
Miss Lucy’s – David Reed – 6:00 – 9:00 – 693-5354
Morgan’s Mango – Greg Kinslow – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-8141
Ocean Grill – Rascio on Steel Pan – 6:00 – 9:30 – 693-3304
Shipwreck Landing – Chris Carsel – 6:00 – 9:30

See the weekly St. John live music schedule

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St. John Fauna: Francis Bay Pond

St. John Birds: duck

Francis Bay Trail, St. John USVI

The Francis Bay Trail accesses two excellent viewing stations where you can relax and comfortably observe the life on and around a typical St. John salt pond.

The handicap accessible boardwalk, which leads around the western side of the pond, takes you to a short pier extending out onto the pond. The pier ends in a fenced deck from which these photos were taken.

The best time to observe the activity on the salt pond is during the early morning or late afternoon. As these are the times that often brings out the resident bug population, arriving armed with some insect repellent might make good sense, just in case.

Another excellent view of the salt pond can be found from the benches located on the upper part of the trail.

St, John Birds: Black-Necked Stilt
Black-Necked Stilt

St. John Virgin islands Birds: Duck and Black-necked stilt
Black-Necked Stilt & Duck


Ready to Fly

White Ibis

St. John Fauna: Deer
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St. John Trails Update

sunrise over chocolate hole
Sunday Morning Sunrise

Chocolate Hole, St. John US Virgin Islands (USVI)
Notwithstanding the Flash Flood Warning and the high probability of rain, my weather forecast system of looking out at the sky served me well and yesterday’s hike was rain free.

Last night however, it rained like crazy with thunder and lightning and high winds. So far this morning so good, but it sure looks like rain. Unless it looks better later on today, I’ll probably cancel my planned visit to Jost Van Dyke.

Being that I’m in the process of another book reprint for St. John Off The Beaten Track, I’ve been revisiting the island’s trails to check for changes since the last printing. I’ve also been concerned about trail conditions after the winds of Hurricane Earl and the flooding from Hurricane Otto. Following are reports from last week’s St. John trail hikes.

Francis Bay Trail
The Francis Bay Trail remains in good condition with the exception that part of the new boardwalk constructed for handicap access is now under water. This is undoubtedly due to the unusual amount of rain we’ve experienced lately and will correct itself in the coming months.

Maria Hope Road
The Maria Hope Trail is still in good condition even though there been no improvements or maintenance done on the trail by National Park contractors. The one good overlook has filled in with vegetation and although still providing views they’re not quite as outstanding as before.

Guinea Grass on the Tektite Trail
Guinea Grass (photo by Yelena Rogers)

Tektite Trail
Like the Maria Hope Road, the Tektite Trail remains in good condition despite lack of maintenance. The sections of trail passing trough fields of guinea grass are beginning to become overgrown and may be difficult to follow in the future if the trail does not continue to be well used by hikers.

L'Esperance Estate

L’Esperance Road
The L’Esperance Trail is also in good condition as are the L’Esperance and Seiban ruins cleared by volunteers last year. These estates, however are beginning to show signs of being reclaimed by bush if a campaign of maintenance by either contractors or volunteers is not initiated.

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St. John Virgin Islands: The Roseway

The Roseway  sailing west out of Francis Bay under full sail 4/19/2009
The Roseway sailing west out of Francis Bay under full sail 4/19/2009

This beautiful schooner, the Roseway out of St. Croix, USVI, was sure to capture the attention of anyone out at sea or on the beach along St. John’s north shore as she passed by under full sail Sunday morning, 4/19/2009, heading west out of Francis Bay.

The schooner, Roseway, belongs to the World Ocean School, “an internationally focused nonprofit, nonsectarian organization dedicated to providing challenging educational programs aboard the schooner Roseway.”

The Roseway is a registered U.S. National Historic Landmark operating in Boston and St. Croix, USVI.

History of the Schooner, Roseway
In the fall of 1920 a Halifax, Nova Scotia, newspaper challenged the fisherman of Gloucester, Massachusetts, to a race between the Halifax fishing schooners and the Gloucester fleet…. read more

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