Sunday, June 14, 2009

St John, USVI Vacation

Just got back from a week of hiking and snorkeling at the island of St John (USVI). An absolutely beautiful place. The island is about 75% National Park and no big cruise ships dock there. Gives the place a good vibe.

Was there with my wife, her parents, her sister and her sister's husband. Here are some photos of the villa we rented:

Kristen and I at the pool. It overlooked Reef Bay, on the south side of the island.

Villa from the driveway. Three buildings, two had two bedrooms each and the third, the living room and kitchen.

The pool, covered area and kitchen/living room building. Solar panel for hot water heater. Drains from the roof go to a filtration system. The rain water is then stored under the house for all household use. I drank it the whole week without issue.

Living area.

Pool during one of the frequent rains. I loved it. Warm and brief, as you would expect from a tropical island.

Snacks while chilling in the pool! Rum and OJ was my default drink for the trip. The rum is ridiculously cheap down there.

And, the view from the master bedroom.

One of the hikes we did from the villa:

5.20 miles with about 1,000 ft elevation gain. That's walking down to the beach, along Reef Bay for a while, up to the sugar mill, up to the petroglyphs, over to the Great House then back to the villa. GPS on Garmin Connect. Here are some photos:

Reef Bay. South side of the island and quite rocky.

Crab dude on the side of the trail. These guys were every where.

Detail from the sugar mill ruins.

Bats inside the sugar mill. Was startled when I hear something, looked up and saw them all chilling above me.

Petroglyphs are at the bottom right. Click here for a closeup.

Climbed up to the top of the waterfall. This is looking back down.

Jungle path.

Bit of a hike up to the Great House ruins but the view was rewarding.

Here is another hike I did.

6.25 miles, over 1,300 feet elevation gain. Solo hike from the villa, across the island to Cinnamon bay. GPS data at Garmin Connect. Here are some photos from this hike.

Most of the path was an old Jeep trail that was pretty well overgrown.

Some water that crossed the trail.

A grave at one of the ruins that the trail passed.

Inside more ruins.

This spider was a lot larger then the photo suggests. I'm sure of it!

Cinnamon Bay.

Also did two other hikes and went snorkeling three times. Best snorkeling was around Waterlemon Cay. Saw four sea turtles, a huge and very full grown barracuda and a ton of other colorful stuff. Maho Bay was also pretty good, saw two stingrays. Cinnamon bay was very nice but didn't see anything there except colorful fish.

Me with Waterlemon Cay in the background.

A small barracuda as seen from the shore on Waterlemon Bay.

And a bunch of other misc photos:

Donkeys at Waterlemon.

A local beer. It was very good!

Maho Bay.

My badass Chrome messenger bag + snorkeling gear.

More ruins.

Taxi in the rain.

Cruz Bay.

Coral Bay.

And, goodnight.

More photos here