Good morning! I hope everyone’s weekend was exactly what it needed to be for you to feel alive and well on this Monday morning! I have been fully enjoying the consistent rain showers that break up these early days of September (thanks Earl!) My plants are happy and thriving and all the green on this island is jumping up and down with excitement to not be so thirsty anymore! As promised, Part two of my St. John “traffic” report is here, this time with a little more information actually related to our roads! And featured today will be some furry free-roaming friends meandering throughout Coral Bay.
We ended our adventure on Friday at Maho Bay…so we will pick up there! After I slowly drove over the dramatic speed bumps along the stretch of road that parallels the water, I turned to continue my trip towards the destination: Coral Bay. Don’t forget, there’s that moment right after Maho where the road tests whether or not we are paying attention! “Keep Left” and keep on keeping on.
Linear road trips are hardly ever the most fun. Especially since anything linear on an island full of curvy roads hardly exists. So I got curvy with it! I drove a little out of my way to be able to stop in at three places I don’t usually get to on my normal commute to Coral Bay; Francis Bay, Leinster Bay and the Annaberg Plantation ruins.
Each one of these stops are rich in history of St. John’s sugar plantation past. The ruins at Francis Bay show the resilience of George Francis, who was born enslaved. But once slavery was abolished on St. John in 1848, he began working his way to become one of the most sizeable landowners and entrepreneurs on the island.
The almost empty parking lot and calm waters remind me to make Francis more a part of my life here on this island. This location also marks the place where I was able to snap a photo of our first furry friend.
Right down the road, I pulled into Leinster Bay and parked right in front of the sign to grab a quick photo. I had to be a little careful since there is clear evidence the road is washing away a bit here!
At first the sky was pretty overcast, so the colors of the water felt a little subdued and gray. BUT when that beautiful sun popped her little head out from the clouds, those aqua blues came shining through!!! This is honestly one of my favorite places in St. John, the colors are so bright and vibrant here, and there are hardly ever any crowds or traffic of any kind!
A quick walk from this view brings you up the hill to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation ruins. These ruins are one of the most well-preserved on St. John and its really cool to see the building material used for these structures that have withstood storm after storm.
The views of the British Virgin Islands from up here are amazing! One time I even saw a nurse shark swimming in the shallows below this lookout point.
Okay, I got really caught up at Annaberg, exploring all the little nooks and crannies of the remaining structures and dodging a busy hive of bees! I had to tell the little child in myself that “I’ll be back,” and continued on to my next stop. Once I backtracked a bit to continue on up the hill to the junction of North Shore and Centerline, I saw some furry friends greeting me right away!
There’s a lot I want to say about taking care of our furry friends that hang out along the roadside, but I’ll get to that later! As I continued on Centerline I started to wind my way down into Coral Bay, but not without first pulling over at the Coral Bay overlook to take in the magic of the east side of St. John.
The best thing about this overlook, other then the obvious green hue rippling onto this side of the island to balance out the SUPER green west side, were the puddles! I tapped back into that inner child again and jumped in a few. I mean, what else are boots made for?
Alright, so here is where things get serious on the road! I mean, driving into Coral Bay is always a bit of a serious endeavor with all the switchbacks and narrow turns…but there’s something else right now! We have a little road repair happening after the overlook. There’s a one lane passage with a traffic light (the only one on island currently, I believe?) so that the road can be rebuilt.
You see, part of living somewhere like St. John is that we get to see pretty first hand how things do not always last forever. Potholes become bigger potholes. And sometimes roads just really need extra support to keep things flowing smoothly. So, be mindful of this as you venture into Coral Bay! I have no idea how long projects like this take, but I would assume it wont be a SHORT about of time!
Coral Bay is only a few turns away after the road work! I knew from past experiences that our furry friends might be around any bend of the road, so I slowed down a bit to drive extra carefully. After turning at the “Welcome to Coral Bay” sign to head towards Salt Pond, I saw my first herd of Coral Bay sheep friends.
Now because I didn’t grow up on a farm, AND I live in Cruz Bay and don’t see these guys all too often (these are the excuses I make for myself), I didn’t realize the difference between the sheep and goats that roam freely in Coral Bay (I can’t be the only one). It wasn’t until I was talking to some local friends who pointed out a few distinctions for me, and gave me a little information on these cute little animals (or not so little once you see the goat pictures).
These are the simple tips I learned from talking with some Coral Bay locals:
1) Sheep have no horns and tails that point downwards
2) Goats usually have horns and their tails point upwards.
These two animals also usually don’t co-mingle since they like to stay with their own herds. Now after I saw the goats, I felt pretty silly for not already knowing that distinction, but ya know…we can only know what we know until we know, ya know?
Something has stuck with me from my conversation in Coral Bay about these free-roaming animals. Since I learned that these animals mostly have a home and an owner, I asked if the animals have to be guided home at the end of each day. I learned that these animals are free, like we all should be and they know what they need, like we all do.
That they follow their instinct and know when it’s time to be home and time to be exploring. Right before our eyes we have this example of life balance and the lived reality of listening to instinct or intuition and only taking what we need. Now when I see these animals, I remember that this island has a lot of wisdom for us, in everything, even in the sheep!
Last, but certainly not least, I drove a little further, right past Concordia, looking for a place to turn around when I stumbled into more donkeys. These cuties were gorgeous and lively…and also SUPER friendly. Which at first, really warmed my heart…and then had me pretty concerned.
Luckily it doesn’t happen too much on St. John, but it does happen where these animals become so conditioned to approach vehicles for food, and they get hit by a car. While all this roadside attention is most likely pure-natured at heart, it is training our furry friends to stay near roads, which aren’t always safe for them. Here’s an article Hillary wrote about how to appreciate our furry friends from a distance that is more safe for them long term!
Well, there you have it! Cruz Bay to Coral Bay and just a glimpse of the beauty in between. As a resident of St. John I often find myself forgetting how amazing even something as simple as my commute from Cruz Bay to Love City Fresh is. There is so much beauty on this island, whether it be the colors of the water, the richness of the plant life, the love among the community or the cute little furry friends. Thanks for joining me on my little cute road trip!