After our trip today to St Thomas, which thankfully has some more affordable prices on essentials, I can officially report that living in paradise still is not cheap! Even if you ferry over to the busier island to buy groceries, cleaning supplies, and other must-haves, you still have to pay $50 for the round trip car ferry and drive around to multiple places using your expensive fuel to search for the best deal. However, having said that, I can confidently say that it is all worth it to live on St. John. Yesterday, we had the most amazing day, and all-in-all it probably cost us less than $20.
First we visited my new favorite spot, Baked In the Sun, to pick up a quick breakfast- coffee and egg sandwiches. This local joint bakes all their bread fresh each morning, so I can tell myself that that means there are no artificial preservatives or anything that would make me unhappy.
We fed the boys their breakfast and took them on a quick walk. We enjoyed the rest of our breakfast and packed our lunch. More on that later. We loaded our waters and sandwiches into Shaun’s backpack cooler, one of St John Fun’s essentials for travel to our island.
We headed into town and found free parking by the car ferry dock. Since we don’t yet have island jobs, we are trying to pinch every penny we can. We were ready for our adventure.
We set off around 9:00 AM on the Lind Point Trail. It’s a beautiful hike through the forest on a well maintained and moderately strenuous hike. I have never really considered myself a hiker, but I love doing this hike because I know exactly what awaits me after I’ve made the climb up, up, around, and down the trail, and it never ever disappoints.
We stayed at Salomon long enough to soak up the view and appreciate the fact that there was only one other living soul, save the fish, stingrays, hermit crabs, and other sea life, on the beach. For as long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of Salomon Bay. It’s perfection. Those three palm trees growing out of the sand at perfect angles reaching out into the ocean are spectacular. Simple, beautiful, unspoiled, perfection.
Next we continued over to Honeymoon Bay where we were surprised to find that, again, hardly anyone was occupying the beach. Honeymoon is a beautiful spot, and home of the Virgin Island Ecotours. There are several rental options on Honeymoon for the traveler who wants to be a little more adventurous and see even more off-the-beaten-paths spots.
Next we headed toward Caneel Bay, which is closed for the off season in anticipation of the tourists who will flock to the island starting around Thanksgiving. We walked the beautiful public beach, where only one group of four people were considering snorkeling from the dock. We found a tree- a safe spot for our backpacks and clothes- and dipped into the water, which was exactly what we needed after our hike. It felt glorious.
A little while later, we were ready for more action so we put on our snorkel gear and set swim. We swam out and around heading north, hugging the shoreline, until about forty-five minutes later we found ourselves on a perfect little slice of Heaven, Scott Bay. I’ve only seen Scott once, but I will never forget how I felt that day. It’s one of those places that gives you a feeling that you fear you may never experience again. I was lucky enough to find that same euphoric feeling a second time. No one was anywhere in sight. We floated, walked the beach, and really, just took it all in. It was definitely one of those “Oh my gosh, I LIVE HERE moments” that I’m finding I have a couple of times a day.
Once we made it back to our things, we were ready for lunch. I’m sure there are people who probably don’t think it would be worth it to leave cush stateside jobs, move to an island, and have to really think through every expense. But my question is, when is the last time those people have eaten a PB&J sandwich on a secluded beach in paradise? I am here to say that every sacrifice we’ve made to make this happen was one hundred percent worth it. There we were, on that beach, on a regular Wednesday afternoon, no less, living life to the fullest. I was overtaken with joy and a peacefulness that is hard to put into words.
After an hour of so on Caneel, we worked our way back through Honeymoon and to Salomon where we spent another hour or so. I stood about chest deep out in the ocean on a “work call” with my friend Adrienne. As we talked, a huge stingray swam past me. I said another quick “Thank you Lord” for all the blessings in my life. It was a typical work day but I was in the ocean talking about something I’m so passionate about with one of my dear friends, soaking up Vitamin D and appreciating life. Again, I am having trouble finding the words to convey my inner calmness and gratitude.
We made it back into town, back up the hill to home, and found the pups were still enjoying their much needed R&R. We fed them and took them on a walk, during which someone even pulled her car over to tell us we had the most adorable pups EVER. I know I am biased, but I totally agree. These island babies of ours have adjusted to their new lives better than we ever could have imagined.
After this perfectly simple, perfectly serene day, we somehow made it to Joe’s Rum Hut for $3 You Call Its before 6pm.
I don’t think it could’ve been better if we’d have paid $100o for our day. We even caught this spectacular sunset, another promise that God is continuing to bless us during our journey.
Yes, this was the most amazing day indeed.
Ashley Cates, St. John USVI blogger.