Tag Archives: friends of the virgin islands national park

Caneel Bay Backtime

Caneel Bay Overview
Caneel Bay Overview 1941 – photo by Jack Delano

After slavery was abolished, the sugar plantation at Caneel Bay declined and reverted to cattle grazing and subsistence farming.

In the 1930s, the West India Company of St. Thomas purchased the approximately 550-acre property. The company, appreciating the natural beauty of the bay, began to operate a modest resort, building three cottages, a small commissary and a narrow wooden dock. After that the company gradually constructed five additional cottages.

In 1935, the Virgin Islands Tourist Company bought the Caneel Bay Estate and the Grand Hotel on St. Thomas and began operation of the motor yacht, Flamingo, which provided service between St. Thomas and St. John. The company ran an advertisement for the resort reading:

Caneel Bay Plantation Resort

Bungalows for rent. Each Bungalow is a self-contained unit, two large rooms and a porch. Equipped withal modern comfort: Bathroom and toilet with running water, electricity installed throughout, radio, fully furnished with comfortable furniture, full supply of linen and towels. Separate kitchen with Frigidaire, oli range and complete equipment of kitchen utensils, silver and china.

Each Bungalow has its own swimming beach. Opportunities for a lovely vacation in unspoiled tropical surroundings with all the comforts of today.

Excellent opportunities for horse-back riding, swimming and fishing.

Operated in conjunction with the Grand Hotel, St. Thomas. Interchange of guests between Hotel and bungalows arranged,

Write: The Virgin Islands Tourist Company or the leading Travel Bureaus for further information and reservation.

In 1946, the property was acquired by the Trigo brothers from Puerto Rico and four more cottages were built bringing the total to twelve.

The Caneel Bay commissary was described in the 1960 book, Some True Tales and Legends about Caneel Bay, by Charlotte Dean Stark:

In the thirties and forties, the housekeeping cottages were for rent, all except #8, which was the manager’s cottage. Everything but food was included – electricity from the Caneel Bay Power Plant, all furnishings, and a St. John maid. Food was bought at the commissary by the maid, or by the lady if she felt like choosing her own groceries. The commissary was described by one visiting cottager as a little country store. Natives from all over the island, as well as the dozen or more cottage guests, bought there, as did the half dozen continental families then living on St. John.

There would sometimes be as many as twenty-five people all trying to buy at once. That was a crowd in those days.

During this time the resort raised cows, chickens and goats to supply meat, milk and eggs. Horses were also available for transportation to Cruz Bay and for use by resort guests.

The Trigo Brothers listed the property, along with its seven beautiful beaches and the profitable cottage colony for $75,000

Until Laurence Rockefeller obtained the estate in 1952, rumors abounded as to the ultimate fate of the parcel, some of which were prophetic.
In Desmond Holdridge’s 1937 account of life on St. John, Escape to the Tropics, he wrote:

Agnes (Agnes Sewer) said that some “Dane men” had bought Caneel Bay, a beautiful abandoned estate a couple of miles farther west, and were going to run it for tourists.

“”Bout sixty thousand people comin’, I expect,” said Agnes, happy thinking of the money, but sad thinking of the strangers and the changes they will make.

I reassured her.

“Not very many are coming, Agnes. Hjalmar Bang is doing it, and he is just going to build a few houses where white folks that enjoy privacy can live. No hotel, no hot dog stands, no nonsense. It won’t change very much.”

St John News and Happenings

Virgin Islands Daily News
Paddle the Park Race

ST. JOHN – The Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park’s Paddle the Park Race will take place from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday at Maho Bay Pavilion. (Note: the race has been postponed to November 9) This paddleboard race will consist of two concurrent courses: the OPEN course from Maho Bay to Whistling Cay and back (about 3 miles); and the ELITE course from Maho, around Whistling Cay, then around Cinnamon and back around Whistling Cay and back to Maho (about 5.5 miles).

Full details can be found on the Friends website.

Phone and online registration are open. Early registration fees (until today) are $60 for adults and $30 for youths under 18. Late registration (Saturday until 2 p.m. at the Friends of the Park Store only) are $80 for adults and $50 for youths. There will be no registration on the day of the event.

Participants may register online, by phone at 779-4940, or at the Friends of the Park store or office in Mongoose Junction, at Connections Cruz Bay or Coral Bay, or at Caribbean Surf Co. in Havensight or Red Hook.

NOAA Grant Helps with Sedimentation Research
By Lynda Lohr — November 2, 2013

Thanks to a $76,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a study by a researcher from the University of San Diego on how sedimentation impacts coral reefs will continue on St. John.

San Diego marine sciences professor Sarah Gray started looking at sedimentation in the waters around St. John in 2007. While that work will continue with this grant, she said it also covers work by Carlos Ramos-Scharron of the University of Texas at Austin, who Gray said studies the runoff that enters each watershed impacting Coral Harbor.

“For the first time there is integration between marine sedimentation and watershed runoff,” she said.

Using Stimulus Funds grants, Gray and her team of students were able to determine that, at some sites in the Coral Harbor waters, sedimentation decreased after the Coral Bay Community Council installed sedimentation ponds, repaired roads and did other work to cut down on the amount of sediment that runs into Coral Harbor from the steep hillsides that surround it. The restoration work was done between 2009 and 2011.

Since then, there hasn’t been a large amount of rain, a fact that keeps visitors happy but doesn’t help the project…


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Caneel Bay Resort Offers Package for Beach-to-Beach Swimmers

Friends of the National Park Beach to Beach Power Swim
Beach to Beach Power Swim 2008

The Caneel Bay Resort is offering a Dive into Relaxation Package for swimmers and spectators attending the ninth annual St. John Beach-to-Beach Power Swim. The event, sponsored by the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park, will take place on Sunday, May 27,2012. There will be three options for swimmers: Maho Bay to Cinnamon Bay, one mile, Maho Bay to Trunk Bay, two and a quarter miles and Maho Bay to Hawksnest Bay, three and a half miles.

The Caneel Bay Resort Dive into Relaxation Package will include: 30% off room rates, breakfast for two per day, a complimentary Sunset Cocktail Cruise for two and a special welcome gift.

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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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St. John Culture: Tyre Palm Broom Making

St. Thomas culture
Virgin Islands Cultureman: Mr. Justin Todman
St. John Culture: Tyre Palm Brooms
Tyre Palm Brooms

Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park sponsored a tyre palm broom making exhibition with Virgin Islands culture man, Mr. Justin Todman from St. Thomas. After the demonstration, children were invited to ask questions:

“Mr. Justin,” asked one child, “what inspires you to make brooms?”

“It puts food on the table and it’s my art,” answered Mr. Justin.

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Trunk Bay Afternoon

It’s swim practice time so I can (theoretically) compete in the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park “Beach to Beach Power Swim.”

With this aspiration in mind, I drove out to Trunk Bay yesterday afternoon for a the first practice swim.

For those interested, late afternoon and early morning are the best times to enjoy Trunk Bay. There’s no fee involved because the National Park people are either not there yet or have gone home already and you’ll find the beach relatively empty, devoid of the taxi van loads of cruise ship people, the way a beautiful Virgin Islands beach should be, according to me.

The only downside is the lack of facilities, which are only available during the day, the only one I miss being the showers or at least the running water to get the sand off your feet. In order to mitigate this relatively minor inconvenience, I bring a bottle of water with me to serve this purpose, the shower stalls, although without running water, providing privacy in which to change into dry clothes.

Anyway, it’s just before sunset and I’m completing my second lap my swim from one end of the beach to another.

They say “one picture is worth a thousand words,” but finding myself without a camera or the talent needed to draw, I’ll have to use the proverbial one thousand words this time.

I’m at the west end of the beach near the rocks and as a pick my head up to take a breath I see what looks like two deer walking along the beach.

I stop swimming and look out at the scene. What appeared to be two deer walking along the beach was, in fact, two deer walking along the beach.

The late afternoon sunlight brought a softness to the vivid colors of the sea, the sandy beach and the palms on the shoreline. At the other end of the beach, a wedding was in progress, beautiful people gathered together watching the bride in her flowing white dress and the groom also dressed in white running down the beach, barefoot, hand in hand.

I stay still for a minute or two taking in the scene before continuing my late afternoon swim.

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St. John Virgin Islands Trails: New Cinnamon Bay Trail Overlook

St. John Trails: Cinnamon Bay Trail Overlook
View from new overlook on the Cinnamon Bay Trail
New Cinnamon Bay Overlook
view to the east

There’s something new to view for hikers on the Cinnamon Bay Trail.

Jeff Chabot group leader and volunteers working with the Appalachian Mountain Club in a cooperative venture with the Virgin Islands National Park and Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park have cleared an overlook along the trail, with views extending from Jost Van Dyke to St. Thomas and the northwestern cays.

Some years ago there was an overlook higher up on the trail near the top, which has long since overgrown.

The trail crew did an excellent job creating this new overlook. The view is spectacular!

Other overlooks that have now been cleared are the Lind Point Battery Overlook,  at the bench almost to the top of Caneel Hill on the Caneel Hill Trail, one on the Bordeaux Mountain Trail and another on the Lameshur Bay Trail.

We’ll be posting photos of these overlooks shortly…

Soon come… one on the Reef Bay Trail, the Francis Bay Salt Pond and two on the Johnny Horn Trail….

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Virgin Islands Ecotours & Caneel Bay – Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park Membership Offer


Virgin Islands Ecotours

– Guests enjoying off-property Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure inspire donations and receive complimentary one-year membership from local environmental group –

St. John, U.S.V.I. (January 2010) – Give and get back – that’s what Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort is offering guests who embark upon the Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure with Virgin Islands Ecotours , one of the resort’s most popular off-property activities.

Through this new partnership, for each guest who signs-up for a multi-sport adventure with Caneel Bay partner Virgin Islands Ecotours, a donation is made to the local environmental group Friends of Virgin Islands National Park . In turn, guests receive a complimentary one-year membership to Friends – a $30 value with benefits to keep them engaged on continuing efforts to preserve the beauty that the resort calls home.

The value-oriented offer reflects Caneel Bay and Virgin Islands Ecotours common goal of building eco-tourism on St. John. Virgin Islands Ecotours, which offers kayak, hiking and snorkeling tours of Caneel Bay and the Mangrove Lagoon on St. Thomas, is a strong supporter the non-profit Friends of Virgin Islands National Park organization and its dedication to protecting and preserving the natural resources of the park.

Led by expert guides, the Kayak, Hike & Snorkel Adventure available at Caneel Bay explores crystal-blue waters teeming with reef life and sea turtles, beaches shaded by sea grape trees and coconut palms, and picturesque tropical forests.

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