Kayaking the mangroves

The East End of the island is undeveloped and, in places, as wild as it’s ever been.  That’s one reason why the Friends of the Virgin Islands National Park asked Barry Devine, a professor at the University of the Virgin Islands, and a St. John resident, lead a band of kayakers from Otter Creek around the point, and into Princess Bay … despite some choppy water. 

Before setting off, Devine described the terrain and vegetation of the East End, pointing out how various plants, trees and shrubs grow at different altitudes.  A map of the island’s development, as of 2000, showed construction projects and residences, prompting Devine to talk about its impact on land, soil runoff, and coral colonies in the Bays.

It was a full-day’s activity, broken up by a lunch of sandwiches provided by the Deli Grotto and a swim in Princess Bay.  One of the highlights was the discovery of lots of conch near water’s edge, a surprise to Devine.  He said their appearance is a good thing, indicating the health of the bay is improving. 

We also saw lots of fish while snorkeling, but didn’t have to go more than six inches into the water to see a starfish.  You just have to click the video screen below to see it, too.

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