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U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, CARIBBEAN

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the group of islands located in the Leeward Caribbean chain  consisting of the main islands of Saint CroixSaint John and Saint Thomas, along with many other surrounding minor islands. The inhabitants of the USVIs are of Afro-Caribbean descent. Formerly the Danish West Indies, the islands were sold to the United States by Denmark.
  ST. JOHNS ST. THOMAS


ST. JOHNS, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, CARIBBEAN

St. John is located about 4 miles east of Saint Thomas and 4 miles SW of Tortola. Because there are no airports on St. John and the only access to the island is by boat, the beaches are serene. No big resorts or tourist areas. Approximately 60 percent of the island is protected as Virgin Islands National Park.


Hawkesbill Turtle cruising the Anchorage

The anchorages are in marine parks, which means that paying a small charge for a mooring ball is mandatory. But it also means that sea life was plentiful and turtle visits were frequent.

With more than 20 miles of hiking trails, we did a lot of walking. Hikes over the ridges afforded great views of the channel and anchorages below.

Pictured right is the remains of a
Sugar Mill >>>

The National Park includes over 12,000 acres with submerged lands and water adjacent to St. John.  It was a wonderful peaceful change from charter-crowded anchorages of the BVIs.

We anchored in several anchorages including Hawkesnest Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Maho Bay and Leister Bay.

Annaberg Historic Trail

From Leister Bay, we walked along the self-guided Annaberg trail through forests of giant termite nests and plantations to the restored ruins of the Sugar Mill. The Danes maintained these plantations and sugar mill until 1718. Above Gord examines ancient crypts.

The Gongolo millipede can secrete an iodine-like substance that causes temporary blindness. The same fluid was used as a remedy for cuts and toothaches.  

"Beware! It will pee in yoh eye and blind yoh!" said a St. Johnian.


The Anole, a relative of the iguana, can change its color to suit the surroundings. Females have a pale dorsal stripe and are smaller. Male Anoles have a spiky crest on their head and exhibit a characteristic puffing up of their throat to attract the ladies.
We needed to take care of custom procedures and the only point of entry is Cruz Bay. We decided to hike over the ridge to Coral Bay and take a bus across the island from there. It was a long rugged hike but some good scenes of the anchorage were revealed.
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz is the hub of the island, where tourists are brought in by the boatload. It still retains much charm and a feeling of tradition.

<<< Colorful kayaks

The local School
Bus >>>

Another hike took us to more hilltop views of adjacent beaches and stony ruins at Fort Berg. A famous tree in St. John is the Bay Rum Tree, also known as the Cinnamon tree. It was cultivated for its leaves, that were used to make  man's cologne and aftershave until the 1950's. St. Johns is said to have the best Bay Rum tree leaves in the world.

Next >>> St. Thomas

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