With some of the clearest turquoise blue water and soft white sand beaches, the bays and beaches around St. John are irresistible! The mountains surrounding the bays, often with cays in the distance, calm the bays and draw people into the cool and tranquil water. Along the beach the laughing gulls chat back and forth, laughing at their own private jokes. Turn around and you have a view of sea-grape trees and coconut palms. The temperature and clarity of the water around St. John seduces those who enter to stay as long as possible and take in the 360 degree view. I read in Islands Magazine that “neuroscience studies show that when we watch the color blue and calm seascapes, we produce the same stress-relieving alpha brain waves as seen in meditating monks”. I am not sure if I reach that state when I stare at the water here but I do notice that my mind stays in the present moment. Even more so when I am in the water itself. It is almost hard to envision your work life stress when on a float in the turquoise blue water of Maho Bay. It is a evanescent reprieve from our racing, always worrying minds.
In early January of this year, on a rainy and overcast morning, I went out in Big Maho Bay for standup paddle-boarding. The water was winter-cool (if you live here you would understand how we become wimps when the water temperature dips below warm) and the rain did not feel any warmer. The sun was trying to clear out the clouds but no blue sky was appearing, yet the water still had it’s incredible blue color. It looked like I was paddling on top of blue-green jello, clear but not transparent. Although I don’t have a paddle board of my own, if I did I think my favorite time to be out on the water at Big Maho would be in an early morning rain.
360 degree view of Maho Bay, St. John. (This (above) was the first video I shot in the water last fall, I used my iPhone in a case in which it was loose. Not thrilled with it, and not comfortable using my Lifeproof case since it had some flaws. So I soon decided to move onto an underwater camera and that turned out to be a great decision!)
Although I am historically not a morning person, I consistently ended up working the early morning hours at Maho Bay Camp. In one job at camp I was up and at work every morning by 6am. This year was a bit better with a 6:30am arrival being the earliest. And this view that I saw on my way in to work everyday made it so worthwhile. The sunrise reflecting off the clouds would be enough, yet we got the added treat of a rainbow and sometimes the full moon was still in the sky. Best commute I’ll ever have!
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!
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.
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.
In memory of the much loved eco-resort Maho Bay Camp on St. John, US Virgin Islands.