We recently left the USVI to make our way back to the mainland of the U.S., but before we left we had a few adventures on the magnificent island of St. John. We did not exhaust all the possibilities, because of COVID shutdowns, but we did get a nice little sampling of hiking, snorkeling, and sunsets at anchor. Come take a photographic journey of St. John with us!
Hiking to the Petroglyphs
When we left the British Virgin Islands, our intent was to stop in St. Thomas and provision, then move on to Puerto Rico and stay in a marina while we had some boat work done. (Yes, the best definition of cruising is, by far, “fixing your boat in exotic locations.”) The pandemic shut that plan down, but luckily for us, the USVI’s crisis response was the most generous (and from our perspective, reasonable) throughout the Caribbean. While other islands were issuing curfews and lockdowns, the USVI was still allowing boats to come in for shelter, making it possible for us to shelter in place, yet move the boat when needed and go ashore for necessary items.
We realized after a few days in St. Thomas that PR was no longer an option, so we decided to adopt a new mindset: “Let’s pretend we’re on vacation!” I suggested to Andy. “Let’s sail around to different anchorages in St. John and do what little we’re allowed to do right now, instead of focusing on what we CAN’T do.” He agreed, so we set out for Lameshur Bay on the southern coast of St. John.
Lameshur Bay is beautiful and remote. The downside was no cell signal or internet, but the upside was great snorkeling and access to hiking trails, including the Petroglyph Trail.
It’s a strenuous hike – about 4.5 miles round-trip, at least half of it up steep inclines. I would bring twice as much water, if I did it again. But the sights were incredible! Take a look:
The lengthy uphill hike was worthwhile. Once we reached the end of the trail, we met two other hikers. One was a trail guide for the Boy Scouts, who gave us some local knowledge of the site. He pointed out that the rocks we were looking up at would be a waterfall in the rainy season.
The other thing our fellow hiker showed us was that some of the petroglyphs can be seen not only on the rocks, but also in the reflection of the water in the small pool. I tried to capture this, with only partial success. Spooky, huh?
We also encountered a little wildlife.
The whole hike took us about two hours. And when we got back to Gratitude, we found we had a new neighbor in the mooring field:
Snorkeling Lameshur Bay
Lameshur Bay was one of those idyllic locations where it’s possible to jump off the back of the boat into clear water and swim over to the coral/rock bed for some snorkeling. Here’s a few of the critters I saw when we did:
The ray was a nice surprise – I saw him far below me on my swim back to the boat, skimming the surface of the sea bed. Wasn’t sure the camera would zoom enough to get a decent photo, but I got a few!
Andy used his down time practicing his paddle-boarding. He’s gotten quite good!
And he made a new paddle-boarding friend…
After a few days in this beautiful bay, we decided to move around to the western shore of St. John, to be closer to town (groceries) and perhaps pick up a cell signal. We made some new friends in Caneel Bay and spent a day on the water with them. I’ll leave you with a couple of final shots showing how we spent our evenings there.
It was hard to leave right after meeting cool new people, but that’s cruising life for you! I’m hopeful we’ll meet all these beautiful folks again soon.