Tag Archives: St. John Beach Guide

St. John Beaches: Lameshur Bay

St. John USVI Beaches: Lameshur Bay Ruin
Ruin at Lameshur Bay

Why Lameshur Bay

lameshur timeline
Lameshur Bay Timeline

Like Salt Pond, Lameshur is an excellent alternative to north shore beaches, especially on days when winter swells may make swimming and snorkeling on the north uncomfortable.

Lameshur is further away and harder to drive to than Salt Pond, involving a difficult and steep section of road, but unlike Salt Pond, the beach is conveniently located right next to the parking area.

Lameshur is also a perfect place to take a refreshing dip in the sea after exploring the nearby ruins or taking a hike on the Lameshur Bay or Bordeaux Mountain Trails.

Getting There
At the end of route 107 traveling south continue one mile on the dirt road. This road becomes very steep and rutted. A four-wheel drive vehicle and off-road driving experience may be necessary. As a matter of fact, most rental car agencies have declared this section of road “off limits.”

You can park anywhere along the road in the vicinity of the beach.

Facilities include picnic tables, barbecues and chemical toilets

St. John News

Campbell Honored, Excited To Compete in Sochi
Whitman Pioneer

How does someone go from being born on a couch in Chocolate Hole, a sleepy bay on the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to competing in the slalom and giant slalom events in the 2014 Sochi Olympics? Just ask Jasmine Campbell, a Whitman student who is taking a break between her junior and senior years in order to pursue her dream of skiing on the world’s greatest stage.

Campbell lived in the Caribbean until she was 10, when her family changed climates from the warm Virgin Islands, which have an average temperature higher than 80 degrees in the winter, to Sun Valley, Idaho, where the winter months are devoted to skiing. She quickly adopted the local passion, latching on to a sport that advertises speed and thrills as just part of a day’s work. Campbell raced in high school until a back injury forced her to stop. Campbell wouldn’t strap her boots on again until she arrived at Whitman, and it took a little coercion.


St. John Weather

Showers likely and possibly a thunderstorm before noon, then scattered showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. East wind 18 to 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch, except higher amounts possible in thunderstorms.

Sun Rise: 6:50 AM AST
Sunset: 6:16 PM AST

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St. John US Virgin Islands: Reflections on a Spring Morning

Spring is here. My mango tree is in flower as is the lime tree. The mampoo is dropping it’s sticky seeds that find there way all over my shoes, my socks, my pants and all over the house.

The tourist season is winding down, but my unofficial take on last season is that it was stronger economically that the year before.

I say this through anecdotal conversations with business people on the island and increased sales of my St. John related books, St. John Off The Beaten Track, St. John Beach Guide and Tales of St. John and the Caribbean, which I’m feel is a good indicator.

The gauge of St. John economic strength that I favor most are my book sales to the Westin timeshare people. It seems that every time they sell a timeshare, they give away a package of stuff as a present to the buyer, one item of which is a St. John Beach Guide, and sales to the Westin are way up. When I go there to deliver books the desks are full of salespeople and potential buyers. You can feel the excitement in the air. When I ask anyone how it’s going, they smile and say, “good.”

Let’s face it. St. John is a special place. There’s nothing quite like it in the Caribbean, so we ought to be doing well. Let’s hope I’m right.

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St. John Beach Guide: Still Banned?

I’m new to the blog writing game, so I just discovered one of its benefits. It focuses you on a subject. Specifically in this case it focused me on the St. John Beach Guide and the relationship with the National Park, which has been stormy, starting with that ridiculous banning of the first edition.

The thing is that I wrote in the blog that subsequent editions of the St. John Beach Guide have been approved by the Park Officials and that the book was for sale at the St. John National Park Visitors Center. Well, I have to take that back.

Edition Three
St. John Beach Guide -Third and Latest Edition

The St. John Beach Guide was updated and reprinted in early 2006. At that time I submitted the book for approval to be sold by the National Park. In January it will be three years since I made that first request and the book has still not been approved.

Unlike the first edition, there was no official reason given for the lack of approval. All I’ve been told is that the approval process has not been completed and that it takes time.

But come on – three years! In my experience with other books sold at the park, including St. John Off the Beaten Track and Tales of St. John and the Caribbean, the approval process was completed in about one month.

The newest St. John Beach Guide is a combination coffee table book and guide book, which will certainly by helpful for visitors to the island as well as providing a great keepsake of their visit and one of the only ways of conveying to friends and family the beauty of the St. John experience. I promise that there’s nothing controversial printed anywhere in the book, not even any half naked ladies or good-natured donkeys.

We now have six titles, St. John Beach Guide, St. John Off the Beaten Track, Tales of St. John and the Caribbean, St. Thomas, Vieques and the translation of the Pedro Juan Soto Novel USMAIL. Sales are brisk and we have many outlets so a whole lot of attention has not been given to the approval of the  St. John Beach Guide‘s by the park.

I can’t say I know what’s happening, only that writing about the first St. John Beach Guide jogged my memory about the situation of the newest edition and I intend to follow it up to see if I get some kind of definitive answer, which I’ll share with the blog readers.

So come on National Park. Please approve the St. John Beach Guide.

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The (Controversial) St. John Beach Guide Part Two: Donkeys

Banned Beach Guide
As discussed in our previous post, the first edition of The St. John Beach Guide was banned by the National Park on St. John. The reason for the banning was that someone in power at the St. John National Park found fault with two illustrations in the book.

(note subsequent editions of the St. John Beach Guide have not suffered the same fate, and the latest one can be found for sale at the National Park Visitors Center in Cruz Bay.)

St. John Beach Guide – First Edition

Edition Two
St. John Beach Guide – Second Edition

Edition Three
St. John Beach Guide -Third and Latest Edition
Promotion of Nudity
Promotion of Nudity

Promoting Nudity

The first one was the drawing of a young lady sunbathing on the beach. She had apparently taken off the top of her bikini and as she raises (back turned) from her beach blanket, she sees a pelican flying off with the top half of her swimsuit.

Possibly, because nudity at Salomon had been an recent issue, someone took a hard line and found the whimsical illustration to be “promoting nudity.”


Donkey with a Positive Image

The Offending Donkeys
The other offending illustration is of two donkeys in a field and to understand how this benign picture could be problematic we will need to provide some background information.

At the time of the writing of the St. John Beach Guide first edition (1994), the National Park was taking an aggressive stand about the many donkeys that were roaming about St. John. The park ‘s position was that Donkeys were a non-native species and their proliferation in the wild would be destructive to the environment and dangerous to humans.

Others  took the position that donkeys have been around for a long time, that they are cute and had formed part of the cultural landscape of St. John, pointing to how often tourists take their pictures and express such fondness for the creatures.

When there was talk about the “evil park” reducing the numbers of donkeys by shooting them, “donkey lovers” expressed an emphatic opposing view.

A war of letters to the editors and coconut telegraph messages over the donkey issue began to be commonplace.

Bad Donkeys
As an example of “Donkey Bad Press, the folowing was posted on the bulletin board at the Cinnamon Bay Campground:

“Many visitors call them cute. Others refer to them as a curiosity. By the end of their stay some visitors have vowed never to return because of them. As charming as they may seem and as approachable as they are, the donkeys, which roam Cinnamon Bay Campground, are a nuisance and a safety hazard. At certain times of the year donkeys become very aggressive and will kick and bite without warning. Other problems include forcing their way into tents, eating campers food, travelers checks and even air line tickets, rummaging through trash cans causing sanitary problems and unsightly messes and damaging campground property….”

The St. John Beach Guide Takes the Heat
So into the mix out comes The St. John Beach Guide and instead of an image of snarling donkey holding up tourists on the side of the road demanding food, money and airline tickets, we have those innocuous looking animals minding their own business without revealing a clue as to the evil that possibly lurks deep in their hearts.

Was Gerald Singer making a statement about Donkeys?

For the record, I honestly never thought about the implications of the illustrations, believing them to have no political implications whatsoever.

Newspaper Article written about The St. John Beach Guide controversy

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The (Controversial) St. John Beach Guide Part One: Nudity

The Original St. John Beach Guide
The Original St. John Beach Guide

First Edition St. John Beach Guide
The first edition of The St. John Beach Guide written by (the self proclaimed) “the world’s foremost authority on St. John’s beaches,” me, Gerald Singer and illustrated by my good friend and well known St. John artist, Les Anderson was published in 1994.

The St. John Beach Guide was a cute, informal little book that gave directions and descriptions and commented upon “all the beaches on St. John.” I believe I counted 52 of them.

Action Notes
The book even had what I called “action notes,” which were suggestions for beach workouts and athletic challenges. For example, the “Action Note” for Klein Bay was, “Swim along the shoreline from Klein Bay to the sandy beach at Ditleff Bay. The world’s record is 13:30. (Actually set by Jen Cambell who set all kinds of personal records and who beat me in a race up the Reef Bay Trail, and I did say “up,” and, did I mention that she was carrying her young son in a backpack, and that I was determined not to let her beat me. Well, as my friend, Foxy, says, “Such is Life.”)

The one thing I never suspected, though, was that The St. John Beach Guide would be controversial. But it turned out to be, so much so that it was banned by the Virgin Islands National Park.

How did this happen?

Beach Guide Banned by National Park
There were two issues, and neither one of them had to do with the text, the controversy centered around two of Les Anderson’s illustrations. Now those of you who know Les are probably thinking, “sexy ladies sans clothing.” Close, but no cigar.

First, some background. For many years, the beach at Salomon Bay was informally proclaimed a “nude beach,” and that it became. Because, I imagine, of its relative inaccessibility and the fact that there are plenty of other beach choices that those offended by nudity might choose and possibly because there were no federal statutes prohibiting nudity, the clothing optional status of Salomon Beach was tolerated.

Enforcement of Territorial Anti-Nudity Laws
Enforcement of Territorial Anti-Nudity Laws

But beginning around the time of the writing of The St. John Beach Guide, the Virgin Islands National Park started to step up their enforcement of Virgin Islands territorial laws prohibiting nudity.

Promoting Nudity?
Promoting Nudity?

In writing a guide to the beaches of St. John, I needed to decide how I was going to treat the issue of nudity. Before going on, I consulted with Chief Ranger, Harry Daniel, who was in charge of law enforcement for the National Park. He told me that he would prefer that I didn’t mention nudity at all. And I didn’t. I did, however, mention that “the world record running from Salomon Beach to the parking lot is one minute and 42 seconds.”

Unfortunately, the Les Anderson illustration that appeared following the Salomon Bay chapter was viewed by park officials as “promoting nudity.”

The result was the banning of The St. John Beach Guide in the National Park. (Note: The misunderstandings have been straightened out and both subsequent editions of The St. John Beach Guide are available and for sale at the Virgin Islands National Park Visitors Center.

Stay tuned to learn what was the second controversial illustration…

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