Off the Beaten Path: Exploring Drunk Bay

Off the Beaten Path: Exploring Drunk Bay 1

Good morning and Happy CARNIVAL!

As a resident of this beautiful island, I love spending my days off beach hopping along the North Shore, but every now and then, I really enjoy stepping off the beaten path and doing a little exploring. A couple of weeks ago, on a picturesque, sunny day, a few friends and I drove out to the southeast part of St. John. 

We parked at Salt Pond and walked down the short trail to the beach. I love this area of St. John, because it has a different climate and altogether feel that distinguishes it from the rest of the island. Whereas the north side and closer to Cruz Bay tend to be lush and green, walking the trail to Salt Pond beach reminds me of the deserts found in Utah and Arizona. Cactus and frangipani line the path and the soil is reddish brown, very different from the powdery white beaches of Trunk Bay. 

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St. John Receives a Hefty October Rainfall

St. John Receives a Hefty October Rainfall 2

Earlier this year, there was a lot of concern voiced over the lack of greenery on the hillsides of St. John as the territory hedged through a drought.  We go through a significant dry period each spring and summer leading into hurricane season.

You may remember the severity of the drought in 2015.  We thought the rain would NEVER come!

Well, this year was very similar and was categorized as “severe” by the US Drought Monitor Map.  And, over the past few weeks, it has come to a dramatic end with a huge surge of rainfall on St. John.

So, while the many areas in the country are experiencing intense droughts and wildfires, the Virgin Islands are experiencing record breaking rainfalls which has led to flooding in some areas.  The average annual precipitation in the USVI according to Weather Atlas is 38 inches with the majority of that accumulation occurring between September and November.

The University of Nebraska reports these totals as collected by weather stations at different locations on St. Croix, St. Thomas and St. John.  The Cruz Bay station’s average total for October 1-13 of this year was recorded at 2.55 inches.  An additional 3 inches between October 14-21 makes that a total of about six inches for this month.  So, to say that things are back to being green right now would be an understatement.  The hillsides are absolutely popping with color and we are experiencing beautifully clear skies under which to enjoy them.

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Trunk Resumes Fee Collection; Cinnamon Continues Construction

Trunk Resumes Fee Collection; Cinnamon Continues Construction 3

We’ve got some updates about two of your favorite St. John beaches!

Several months ago, the National Park Service (NPS) suspended most of their operations over health and safety concerns for their employees, volunteers, and visitors due to COVID-19.  The suspension of services resulted in the temporary closure of hiking trails, bathroom and shower facilities, and the National Park Visitor Center on St. John.  One nice perk that came from the closure was the suspension of the collection of admission fees at Trunk Bay.  Our island residents took full advantage of the fee waiver and had the beach nearly all to ourselves all summer!

Trunk Resumes Fee Collection; Cinnamon Continues Construction 4
A nearly empty Trunk Bay was a rare gift for St. John residents this summer!

This week, with guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local public health authorities, and the US Virgin Islands Governor’s Executive Order easing some of the virus restrictions, the NPS is transitioning their re-opening on St. John in a phased approach.

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Lind Point Trail: A Great Family Hike

Lind Point Trail: A Great Family Hike 5

If you want to explore St. John’s gorgeous National Parks by taking a hike and you’ve got young kids, you’re probably looking for a trail that fits two Lind Point Trail: A Great Family Hike 6criteria: it’s short and easy and will be worth the trek. The Lind Point Trail delivers on these two fronts.

We parked just off North Shore Road in one of the gravel parking lots and started our hike by the large brown wooden “Virgin Islands National Park” sign. It probably took us twenty minutes or less to get from our car down to the beach—and that’s with a little one walking at a near-glacial pace.

The hike itself, which offers expansive views of Cruz Bay and the islands and cays of Pillsbury Sound, was easy enough that my four-year-old managed without ever sitting down in protest or demanding a piggy-back ride. It was rocky in many places but is well-traveled and never too steep. There are a few different paths you can take to get down to the beach, but we took the shortest and easiest route by following the signs that pointed to the beaches (even with its relative ease and the beautiful beach ending, I would still recommend sneakers over sandals).

The trail leads to Salomon Beach and Honeymoon Beach. We Lind Point Trail: A Great Family Hike 7hung out at Salomon since that’s where the trail spit us out and because it looked like Honeymoon was the busier spot. Don’t get me wrong, it was not crowded, and we had plenty of beautiful white-sand beach to ourselves. Tons of folks were snorkeling and taking pictures, and my kids had a great time spotting different fish, sea urchins, and coral. The water was warm from the sun, but the breeze kept us nice and cool.

After a couple of hours I had to beg and plead for my kids to get out of the water so we could go home. They absolutely loved this spot—so much so that they’ve even asked to do this hike again. I would definitely recommend this hike to families with young kids.