Tag Archives: trunk bay

St. John Memories: Erva Boulon’s “My Island Kitchen”

The 1966 copy of VI View, lent to me by Maureen Anderson contained one of the chapters of Erva Boulon’s  book My Island Kitchen, which was published in its complete form in 1969..

St. John, US Virgin Islands Memories: My Island Kitchen My Ilsand Kitchen, Erva Boulon St. John Virgin islands

In her blog, Random Thoughts, Bish Denham, Erva’s grand daughter, who grew up on St. John writes about her grandmother.

“…After World War II Grammy ran Trunk Bay as a guest house. She did it without electricity, cooking three meals a day for her guests. John Dos Passos, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer and his wife were among some of her more well-known guests. She gained the reputation for being a superior hostess and an excellent cook. Using local foods, she learned how to prepare them in ways that would please American taste buds. An article was written about her in the cooking section of the New York Times and she wrote a cook-book call My Island Kitchen. I loved having breakfast at her table because she would toast your bread on a charcoal pot set on a small table next to her chair….”

When Trunk Bay was sold to the Virgin Islands National Park, Erva moved over to Maho Bay with a new husband, Bill Thorp, and built another small guest house called “Lille Maho” next to the present Maho Campground, which she operated through the 1960s.

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Trunk Bay: Again and Again

Trunk Bay Overlook

I try to get over to Trunk Bay in the late afternoons for a nice long swim. It’s especially inviting during these summer months when the water is good and warm, just the way I like it.

Trunk Bay Stamp
Trunk Bay Stamp

The view from the Trunk Bay overlook on the North Shore Road is probably one of the most photographed scenes anywhere.

There’s even an official United States Postal Service stamp featuring that world famous vista.
Trunk Bay is the favorite destination for cruise ship passengers and day-trippers from St. Thomas and tends to be fairly busy, at least by St. John standards,

As the sun sets over St. Thomas, however, the scene changes and the beach is often just about empty.

The late afternoon at Trunk now attracts lovers of all kinds, beach lovers, beauty lovers and young lovers of all ages.

I shot this video of a typical Trunk Bay sunset a few days ago.

I-Tal
I-Tal

The music is by our own St. John culture bearer, I-Tal Anthony from Salt Pond Bay, enjoy!

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St. John Virgin Islands Stories: The Crab

The following story was told to me by a young doctor who used to practice in St. John here in the Virgin Islands:

One fine afternoon a man was taking a swim at Trunk Bay when, all of a sudden, he felt something go inside his ear. He swam to shore, stood on the sandy beach and tried to get it out.

He used all the everyday remedies that people use for this sort of problem. He tapped on the opposite side of his head with his hand. He jumped up and down while tilting his head to one side. He put his finger in his ear. All to no avail.

The feeling that the man had in his ear was causing him a great deal of discomfort. He could hear a kind of buzzing or scratching, and he had the distinct feeling that something was moving about in his inner ear.  He felt dizzy and nauseous. The man decided to seek medical attention and drove himself to the clinic.

The sensation the man was feeling became more and more disturbing, and by the time he was finally able to see the doctor, he was beside himself with nervousness and worry. His agitation had increased to such a degree that the attending physician was inwardly debating whether or not to sedate his nervous patient. He decided not to, and began his examination which quickly revealed the source of the problem; a small crab had taken refuge in the patient’s ear.

Now  those of you that like to swim at our  beautiful beaches must understand  that crabs don’t usually swim in people’s ears. It is, in fact, extremely rare, but this is exactly what happened to this unfortunate individual.

The knowledge of what was causing the problem did not serve to alleviate the man’s anxiety; it actually increased it. He began to plead with the doctor to “Please, please, hurry up and GET THAT CRAB OUT OF MY EAR!!!”

The doctor got to work. Armed with magnifying glasses, a special light and a medical tweezers he fished about in the man’s ear for the little crab. The patient squirmed, and the doctor exhorted him to “SIT?STILL!!” and, after what seemed like an eternity to the patient, the doctor was successful in removing the crustacean intruder.

“I’ve got it!” said the doctor.

“THANK GOD!” exclaimed his grateful patient.

“And here’s the culprit” said the doctor, as he put the captured crab on his hand and brought it into view for the man to see.

At this point something quite unexpected occurred. The crab did not hesitate for one moment. Just as soon as it was released from the grip of the tweezers, it jumped off the doctors hand, scurried up the man’s arm and leapt right back into his ear!

“What happened?”cried the man.

“OH NO!!! IT’S BACK IN MY EAR!!! GET IT OUT, PLEASE!!!”

After another fifteen minutes of crab hunting, and apologizing profusely to an extremely upset man, the doctor was finally able to recapture the crab.

This time he did not give it a second opportunity to escape.

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St. John Virgin Islands: Trunk Bay in the Morning

Trunk Bay, St. John Virgin Islands

As an official baby when it comes to complaining about cold water temperature, at least for swimming, I hereby declare the beaches of St. John to be warm enough to enjoy a little soak now and then.

After returning from America, I bravely drove to Trunk Bay early this morning and took my first of the season one mile daily swim, of which I completed about 2/3 mile. The water was a bit chilly at first, but a whole lot warmer than just a month ago.

Speaking of this swim, a visit to Trunk Bay early in the morning or late in the afternoon before the tour busses have arrived with or after they’ve left is a such a delight that I would rank it right up there with the top pleasures of life. To “be here now” on this magnificent coral sand beach, with its crystal-clear water, tropical vegetation and incredible views – it’s hard to believe it’s not a dream.

So speaking to the Virgin Islanders who so often get caught up in everyday life and to those visitors who would make the effort, I say, check this one out, you’ll be glad you did!

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St. John USVI: Trunk Bay Sunset Fire Dance Revisited

Yesterday afternoon the fire dancers Brenda Sylvia, Chris Bailey and Corey White, returned to Trunk Bay for another video shoot. This time we were more prepared. I stood back and videoed on a wide angle using a tripod. I had the benefit of Bill Steltzer’s expertise and help in faring a whole lot better than the big zero I ended up with on Monday. Meanwhile Bill hand held the camera and shot close ups.

Brenda Sylvia, Chris Bailey & Corey White
Brenda Sylvia, Chris Bailey & Corey White

The seas were calm and the afternoon light at trunk bay, as usual, was beautiful. The performers wore their black and white traditional costumes as opposed to the island look they had on Monday.

Next week, the plan is to get together with Bill and edit the videos from the two cameras.

The following links will take you to the my unedited videos. I present them here for those interested.

Monday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (1) Chris & Corey
Monday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (2) (Chris)

Wednesday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (1)
Wednesday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (2)
Wednesday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (3)
Wednesday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (4)
Wednesday Trunk Bay Fire Dance Video (5)

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St. John Virgin Islands: Fire Dancers

St. John now has resident fire dancers, Brenda Sylvia, the Silver Raven from “Flights of Fire” and Chris Bailey and Corey White, from “C-Squared”

Brenda is from Washington DC and Chris and Corey are from upstate New York.

To get in touch with them call Brenda at 626 1542 or Chris at 626 1520. E-mail is barefootbailey42@yahoo.com

On Monday I went to Trunk Bay to shoot a video of their performance. Luck was with me, expert videographer, Bill Steltzer, showed up and he took the videos. It was lucky for true, because the ones I shot didn’t come out.

Brenda Sylvia
Brenda Sylvia

Chris
Chris

Corey
Corey

Bill Shooting Video of Chris and Corey
Bill Shooting Video of Chris and Corey

Chris

fire
Brenda

Fire
Fire Dance

Fire
Fire Circle
See Videos of Chris fire dancing at Trunk Bay.
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St. John Life: A Beautiful Weekend for Photos on St. John USVI

The weather on St. John and in the Virgin Islands is normally very agreeable. The tropical heat is mitigated by the cooling tradewinds and rainy days are rare. But for those of living here, there are actually nuances of “beautiful” and last weekend was that, exceptionally beautiful with white puffy clouds in a clear blue sky and little to no dust from the desserts of Africa or volcanic ash from the island of Montserrat lying to our east across the Anegada Passage to whiten the horizon and obscure the crispness of the view.

The Caneel Hill Spur Trail
The Caneel Hill Spur Trail
Bench on the Caneel Hill Trail
Bench on the Caneel Hill Trail

It was a good day for photography and I decided to take some photos from a few popular overlooks on the North Shore. The first location I wanted to try was the viewing tower at the summit of Caneel Hill some 900 feet above the blue Caribbean below.

I began my hike on the Caneel Hill Spur Trail at the top of the hill leading out of Cruz Bay, just past the Asolare Restaurant and across the North Shore Road from the National Park housing complex. Heading up and south that trail connects to the Caneel Hill Trail, which leads to the summit of Caneel Hill and onward to Margaret Hill and ending at Caneel Bay. By beginning here instead of at Cruz Bay where the Caneel Hill Trail begins, I saved myself a bit of climbing and gained more time for more photos. As you near the summit there’s a rustic wooden bench from where I took my first photos:

View
view from the bench near the summit of Caneel Hill
View
view from the bench near the summit of Caneel Hill

From the bench, it’s only a short distance more to the summit of Caneel Hill, where volunteers constructed a wonderful viewing tower after the first one was destroyed by Hurricane Marilyn in 1995.

From the tower there’s sweeping views of the north shore with all the islands and cays from St. Thomas to the British Virgin Islands.

On the south you can see into Cruz Bay and get a view of the southern coastline. On a good day, one a bit better than Saturday’s beautiful day, you can see the island of St. Croix in the south some forty miles away.

The following photos were taken from the tower:

view of St. Thomas from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View of St. Thomas from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View from Tower on Caneel Hill
View of Lovango Cay from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View from the tower on the Caneel Hill Trail
View of Jost Van Dyke from the tower atop Caneel Hill
View from the tower on the Caneel Hill Trail
View of Cruz Bay from the tower atop Caneel Hill

Finishing up my photography atop the tower, I headed back down the trail. On the way down I saw a turpentine tree with the sun shining through a piece of its peeling bark. I shot that photo and continued on down the trail.

The next stop was the Caneel Bay Overlook on the North Shore Road and then on to the most popular overlook – the Trunk Bay Overlook

Turpentine Tree on Caneel Hill Trail
Turpentine Tree on Caneel Hill Trail
Caneel Bay Overlook
Caneel Bay Overlook
Trunk Bay Overlook
Trunk Bay Overlook
View of Johnson's Reef From the Trunk Bay Overlook
View of Johnson's Reef From the Trunk Bay Overlook
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