fbpx

Harvesting Salt Here on St. John

harvesting salt
Harvesting salt at a salt pond – May 11, 2022

Hi all, this is Jenn with Explore STJ Island Tours. I did something super cool yesterday, and Hillary has graciously allowed me to share it with all of you!

Ok, now let’s set the scene… I was having lunch at the Beach Bar Monday afternoon when Robin, one of the owners of The Terrace restaurant, came over to chat. He was holding a bag filled with small Tupperware containers. “Have you been down to Salt Pond to get some salt,” he asked me. “WHAT??!!!” I responded with excitement!

You see, it’s not often that any of our salt ponds here on St. John produce salt. The last time that this particular salt pond produced a large amount of salt was back in 2015. (Click here to read the story I wrote about this back then.) So when this happens, those of us living here on island tend to get very excited. 🙂

Now when I refer to a salt pond, I do not mean Salt Pond bay, which is the beautiful, blue bay beyond Coral Bay and Miss Lucy’s. I am referring to an actual salt pond, which is typically a brown or almost a coppery color. The salt pond that is currently producing salt is located right next to Salt Pond bay. Confusing, I know. 🙂

Harvesting Salt Here on St. John 1
Salt Pond bay is located on the southeastern part of St. John.
Harvesting Salt Here on St. John 2
The salt pond currently producing salt is located beside Salt Pond bay/beach.

Now you may be wondering what makes a salt pond. You may also be wondering what makes it produce salt every then and again. Admittedly, I am not a salt expert, so I am going to defer to Mr. Gerald Singer, author of St. John Off the Beaten Path:

Because of its location on this arid and windswept part of the island, Salt Pond is the most likely place to find 100% natural St. John sea salt – no fat, no carbs, no cholesterol, no preservatives.

How Does the Salt Get There?
Saltwater enters the pond from the sea by seepage at high tides and by waves breaking over the surface during storms. Salt Pond is one of the only places on St. John that is below sea level. This condition prevents significant amounts of pond water from flowing back out to sea. Constant, intense sunlight and ever-present trade winds encourage an exceptionally high rate of evaporation. When rain is scarce, the water becomes extremely salty. Water can only hold a certain amount of salt in solution and when the salinity of the pond reaches that point, the salt crystallizes.

As the water level continues to drop, and more and more water is evaporated, a layer of salt is left along the edges of the pond. The longer the dry period, the higher the temperature, and the stronger the winds, the more this salt layer will extend towards the center of the pond and the thicker the layer becomes.

You can collect salt during these times by scooping up the salt with your hands, if it is still wet and soft. If the salt layer is dry and hard, use a knife or other sharp tool. (If you’ve forgotten to bring a container, just walk over to nearby Drunk Bay where there is a great deal of flotsam, and you’ll probably find something you can use.)

After the salt is collected, drain off as much water as possible and put it in the sun to dry further. You may be left with fine powdery salt, which you can enjoy on your food immediately or, if the dried crystals are large, you will first need to grind them up or pound them out.

The salt obtained from salt ponds is particularly tasty and healthy, containing all the minerals that are present in the sea, which include all those essential to the human body. So during the next dry spell, take the trail to St. John’s best salt pond for collecting salt and bring some back home.

Pretty amazing stuff, isn’t it??!!

Here are a couple of pics I took Wednesday morning…

Harvesting Salt Here on St. John 3
Salt crystalizing on a dead branch
Harvesting Salt Here on St. John 4
I rinsed the salt I harvested the best I could, and then I placed it onto a baking sheet and am drying it in the sun.

I reached out to the Virgin Islands National Park just to be certain that harvesting salt is allowed. It is, as long as it’s for personal use only, the superintendent said. 🙂

Afternoon article addition: The salt is on the edge of the pond. You do not need to walk into the salt pond to harvest it.  

So if you are lucky enough to be on island, be sure to stop by salt pond to harvest some sea salt. It probably won’t be there long, so it’s best to go sooner than later.

Not on island but planning to visit soon? Please consider booking an island tour with me! See the island and learn lots of cool stuff along the way! Please visit www.ExploreSTJ.com for more information. You can also email me at [email protected] or follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorestj or over on Instagram at @explorestj. Please book early. The island continues to be busy, and things book up fast. 🙂

Happy harvesting!

Escape to Love City: And the winner is…..

Escape to Love City: And the winner is..... 5

Good Morning, Good Morning!

I just wanted to extend a GIANT thank you to all who participated in the Island Green Living Earth Month Fundraiser!  In the true spirit of Love City, together, we raised $120,000 in support of green initiatives on island!  I literally get goose bumps every time I think about how much GOOD all of those funds raised are going to do for St. John.  So…THANK YOU to each and every one of you who supported this amazing fundraising initiative 🙂

Read moreEscape to Love City: And the winner is…..

Real Estate Spotlight: The Path to Your Dream Home Ends at Monte Bay Villa

Real Estate Spotlight: The Path to Your Dream Home Ends at Monte Bay Villa 6

Good Morning, Good Morning! I feel like last week we were focused on the BVI and the Kentucky Derby and, while the stories relate to St. John, the focus has been cast to other localities.  So, today, let me bring you back HOME to Love City to take a close up look at this stunning seven bedroom, seven and one half bath waterfront property which includes a five bedroom pool villa paired with a two bedroom stone cottage set on the turquoise waters of Rendezvous Bay.  Monte Bay Villa just hit the market last week and, if you are on the hunt for your dream home, you should act quickly…Because I don’t imagine it will stay there for long!

Read moreReal Estate Spotlight: The Path to Your Dream Home Ends at Monte Bay Villa

This Weekend in Coral Bay: The 26th Annual Commodore’s Cup

This Weekend in Coral Bay: The 26th Annual Commodore's Cup 7

Good Morning Good Morning!  And Happy Fri-YAY!  It’s looking to be an amazing Mothers’ Day weekend here on St. John with a few fun happenings around island…The Bluegrass State isn’t the only place with a race!  And, if you’re lucky enough to be on St. John tomorrow, set your eyes on the horizon line in Coral Bay to watch for the beautiful vessels and their crews participating in the 26th Annual Commodore’s Cup Regatta!

Read moreThis Weekend in Coral Bay: The 26th Annual Commodore’s Cup

BVI Update: Why USVI Charter Companies Are Keeping it Local

BVI Update: Why USVI Charter Companies Are Keeping it Local 8

Ahhhh, the BVI.  To our business owning friends on our too close to home shores:  WE MISS YOU!  We miss swimming into Soggy with our wet Washingtons for a Painkiller, parading down the sandy shoreline for lunch at One Love, sliding into Sydney’s for freshly caught lobster, luxurious afternoons spent at Oil Nut and Scrubb Island, cornhole and honey rum shots at B-Line, welcome drinks at Corsairs and Foxy’s….We MISS you all so much!

Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of the control of the small businesses owned and operated in the USVI, most charter companies won’t be bringing guests into our sister islands any time soon.  And, below, in the apologetically lengthy article outlining the daunting process presented to foreign charter vessels, all of you will understand exactly why USVI charter boats are not immediately flocking to the shores of our favorite stops in the BVI upon their “re-opening” to tourism…

Read moreBVI Update: Why USVI Charter Companies Are Keeping it Local

BVI Premier and Port Authority Director Arrested in Miami in DEA Sting Operation

BVI Premier and Port Authority Director Arrested in Miami in DEA Sting Operation 9

I have been preparing for many weeks an article that outlines the requirements for foreign charter vessels to operate in the British Virgin Islands and was set to go to print with that this morning.  Until, this weekend a bit more timely BVI headline started “blowing up the internet.”  Although the content of the two stories are somewhat unrelated, I felt the need to first share with you the news of the arrest of BVI Premier Andrew Fahie.  He was apprehended in Miami on Friday.  The charges?  Drug smuggling and money laundering.  The BVI Port Authority “boss” and her son were also arrested in this US Drug Enforcement Agency sting operation.

Read moreBVI Premier and Port Authority Director Arrested in Miami in DEA Sting Operation

Last Chance to Enter to Win an Escape to Love City for Two!!!

Last Chance to Enter to Win an Escape to Love City for Two!!! 11

Good Morning, Good Morning!  Over the past few weeks we have been taking a look at the amazing sustainability efforts of Island Green Living and the INCREDIBLE prize package the non-profit organization has put together for their annual fundraiser.  If you haven’t already bought your raffle tickets, read on for one final highlight of what you will experience AS THE WINNER of this Escape to Love City….

Read moreLast Chance to Enter to Win an Escape to Love City for Two!!!

Grunwald Apartment Fire Update- Silver Linings Found in Love City

Grunwald Apartment Fire Update- Silver Linings Found in Love City 12

A few weeks ago I wrote to you all with an ask for support for some of our community members.  Sixteen Love City residents lost everything they owned in an apartment fire in the Grunwald area, just outside of Cruz Bay.  The blaze took not only their homes, a precious commodity anywhere but perhaps more difficult to resolve here on St. John, but also pets, cash tips, precious and irreplaceable mementos and their essential belongings.  I wanted to take a moment today to share with all of you some updates in regards to the kindness and generosity that came together to support these hard working folks in the month that followed this tragic event.  And to extend a giant thank you to anyone of you who donated or sent well wishes…

Read moreGrunwald Apartment Fire Update- Silver Linings Found in Love City

Take a Blue Water Break- Live From St. John and Lovango Cay!

Take a Blue Water Break- Live From St. John and Lovango Cay! 13

Good morning, good morning!  In my internet wanderings this morning, I stumbled upon a few new to me St. John webcams showing live feed from some of our favorite spots.  And, knowing that many of you up north are a bit chilly right now, I wanted to share them in order to give you all a nice little mid week break filled with warm Caribbean breezes 🙂

Read moreTake a Blue Water Break- Live From St. John and Lovango Cay!