Category Archives: Beaches

Tents in Transition

I made my pilgrimage over to Big Maho Bay this week to take a closer look at the apparent dismantling of the Maho Bay tents.  The closer view made it possible to see that the furnishings still remain, but that the white “Stanley cloth” has been removed as well as the roofs. And, while it was mid-week, no one was working on those tents that day to further dismantle them. Everything about the new owner and the intent for the future of the land has been so secretive that I almost expect them to do any dismantling at night under the cover of darkness!

Snorkeler at Big Maho Bay beach, and in the background, the former Maho Bay Camp tents which appear to be in the process of being dismantled.
Snorkeler at Big Maho Bay beach, and in the background, the former Maho Bay Camp tents which appear to be in the process of being dismantled.

My hope is that the new owner is able to donate some of the materials for reuse by others on St. John. One place to donate building supplies is the newly established ReSource Depot here on St. John.  The wood floors inside many of the tents have some fantastic lumber than can be reused.

Looks like the former Maho Bay Camp tents are gradually being dismantled.
Looks like the former Maho Bay Camp tents are gradually being dismantled.

This was a beautiful day here on St. John with no Sahara dust clouding the skies, no hurricane in the forecast and no mosquitoes since we have not had the heavy rains that were here in June.  Big Maho was crowded with visitors as it is in the winter and from what I overheard, it may have been due to a wedding planned for the next day. I sat and read for a while and going in for a swim when the heat was too much. It is summertime on island which means the Maho tree on the beach is blooming, the sea grape is putting out its “grapes”, the laughing gulls are here and the sun sets a bit later (and along the north shore instead of the west end of Cruz Bay!)  Having such easy access to one of my favorite beaches on the island made staying at Maho Bay Camp perfect. I arrived late last summer when there are not as many visitors on island and altered working hours. For the month of September, before the rains arrived, I was able to walk down the Goat Trail after work and sit on the beach or go for a swim after work. I am so thankful for that time.

Big Maho Bay gets it's name from the Maho tree that lines the beach and blooms in the summer months.
Big Maho Bay gets it’s name from the Maho tree that lines the beach and blooms in the summer months.
Big Maho Bay beach and the USVI National Park Pavilion on a picture-perfect day in August.
Big Maho Bay beach and the USVI National Park Pavilion on a picture-perfect day in August.
Sea Grape plant on Big Maho Bay beach.
Sea Grape plant on Big Maho Bay beach.
A picturesque day in early August with a view from the east side of Big Maho Bay beach where it connects with the Goat Trail that went up to the former Maho Bay Camp.
A picturesque day in early August with a view from the east side of Big Maho Bay beach where it connects with the Goat Trail that went up to the former Maho Bay Camp.

 

 

Blue Water View of St. John

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A Smooth Sea never made a Skillful Sailor.

My first visit to Maho Bay Camp in 1995 was also my first visit to St. John. My family and I arrived a few months after Hurricane Marilyn had struck the island. We spent weeks before our arrival checking in to see if we should still come. Maho Bay Camp was repairing its property and the rest of the island had suffered a devastating blow as well. In the end, it turned out to be an incredible time for a first visit. All the beaches on St. John were open and pristine! Everywhere I looked I saw nothing but white sand, turquoise water and lush green vegetation covering the hillsides. Arriving at yet another picturesque beach, I noticed the lack of people and wondered, “Where is everyone?”  I do recall saying many times, “This place is like an undiscovered Paradise!!”, “I love it here!”  How lucky we were to have Maho Bay Camp open so quickly after the hurricane, because on my next visit to the island I realized it had been deserted because none of the other resorts on island were able to open up due to the need for expensive repairs, getting supplies and on a contractors schedule. Nowadays, the summertime is busier than my first visit in Christmas 1995.

Maho Bay Camp was open for business and everything on the property was lush, green, tropical and newly repaired!  That week we drove all over the island, taking photos, snorkeling and sunbathing. The views of the turquoise blue water like this view (above) at Honeymoon Bay are what bring me back to this island. Every time I look at that crystal blue I feel refreshed.

Although, not to pop your island fantasy bubble, it doesn’t mean everything on that visit was perfect. Besides a near cancellation due to a hurricane, I was unable to avoid my first and most severe migraine headache, which put me in bed for 48 hours. Which made any battles with mosquitoes or cold showers seem insignificant.  This has been a continuing theme to my visits to St. John and on my most recent stay I “mashed up” my big toe. Despite these inconveniences, the beauty of the island and the people who live here captured my heart.