Continuing the motorsailing trend east into the wind, we arrived at our last stop in the US Virgin Islands, St John. This island is about 75% national park and the anchorages are calm, quiet, and beautiful. Shortly after dropping anchor, we noticed some residents move in.
A large school of small fish took refuge in the shade under the boat (most didn’t make it in the picture). Then we noticed a large form also hanging around.
Dave jumped in the water and saw it was a barracuda. It was pretty good sized and proved to be hungry when we tossed our food scraps overboard. The small fish were fast and picked off a small portion as well.
We wanted to go snorkeling, but I was a little intimidated jumping off the boat as this guy hovered right below me. I mean, look at that face! And those teeth! But he proved docile and simply moved to the other hull when he realized I didn’t have any food to offer.
St John’s has several maintained hiking trails and we needed exercise, so we strapped our feet inside our hiking boots. Wearing closed toe shoes felt very constricting. It’s a funny boat life thing: Dave goes barefoot most of the time and I live in my flip-flops. Dave wanted to go see the petroglyphs since he has never seen any before, so we dinghied ashore and followed the trail up… and up… and up. Right away we spotted a huge termite nest. It was not surprising, since we’d seen them on nearly every island we visited. But as a homeowner, I can’t help but feel disturbed by the sight.
The trail was practically decorated with termite nests, like huge hideous Christmas tree balls. If only they were shiny and pretty to look at instead of creepy. I did my best to ignore them, but I admit they were impressive in their massive size, if nothing else.
The trail was hot and it didn’t take long to be soaked in our own sweat. I hate sweating. It’s the only thing I tend to be prissy about. I know, we headed the wrong direction for me to avoid sweating, right? As I tried to convince myself I was dropping water weight, taking one step at a time, Dave noticed a bird right beside the trail. It seemed to be checking us out. I took a few pictures and we continued walking. The bird didn’t fly away as we drew near and it was definitely checking us out and following us.
As we topped a rise and rounded a bend, we looked back to see the breath-taking view of the anchorage from the hillside. Livin’ Life is the second from the right in the picture. It looks far, but the hike was only beginning. Oy!
St John is a funny island with desert scrub and cactus that are representative of an arid climate. However, air plants (bromeliads), which usually thrive in a humid climate, are everywhere. Seeing an air plant on a cactus seems an oxymoron.
I was very surprised to see deer roaming the island. These deer did not take off running at the sight of us, just kept a 10-20 foot distance between us. They have long snouts that curve downward, unlike any deer I have ever seen and longer tails than my Woodside deer.
As we continued on the path, I continued to melt. Dave was glistening pretty good himself. So naturally when he decided to take a selfie at the summit, I had to cuddle in close (pictured top of page). The couple that sweats together sticks together, right? (See what I did there?) We noticed we were still being followed and decided this reached stalker level now. This bird was really taken with us! The feeling was mutual. What a beauty!
I found another friend, a good-sized hermit crab. Its claws were huge compared to the rest of the size of him and I was a little nervous holding it. But it didn’t try to hurt me, only clamped on with its sharp legs and didn’t let go when I tried to put it down. Look at those eyes peeking out. Cute, but we don’t need another pet.
As I squatted down to rest a bit on the second climb uphill, I nearly sat on a millipede. I don’t think they bite. I think only centipedes bite. But I don’t really want to risk it while out in the middle of nowhere. Look at all those legs, though. Seems like coordinating them all would take a major effort. Do millipedes ever get tripped up? Legs tangled? See what goofy thoughts go through your head when you are melting?
Well, we’re lost. We took a wrong turn somewhere. There were trail signs at first, but somewhere along the way they disappeared and we have no idea where we are. We looked on the map, but either couldn’t determine where we are or are wrong about where we think we are. We are looking at some amazing ruins of what we think is a plantation home, but there are no signs and it is not on the map.
It’s kind of creepy, not the ruins so much but that they don’t exist according to map or trail markers. Dave decided it must be a ghost plantation that no one else can see … and once we leave we will never see it again. See? Melting thoughts. We must be somewhere way off from where we think we are. There are definitely not any petroglyphs around. At least I think we can find the way back to the boat.