Sunday, July 11, 2010

Favorite Five: St. John Vacation

New note: Check out my St. John YouTube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izSlqjqifCE

This is no easy task:  selecting my five favorite photos from my family's St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands) vacation this summer.  My first pick is a gorgeous sunset we enjoyed our first night on the island.  We were dining at the Westin Resort where we stayed.  We were at one of the outdoor restaurants as the sun began to set.  The beautiful sunset would set the tone for a wonderful week of ideal weather and fun in the sun and water.
St. John's reputation for excellent snorkeling did not disappoint.  There are numerous places to snorkel and we visited several during our stay.  We saw squid, turtles and many colorful fish big and small.  The water was clear and the beaches and surrounding rugged lands were beautiful.  Here we set out at remote Leinster Bay which takes some effort to reach because once you park you must hike for about 30 minutes to get there.
I enjoyed learning about St. John's history, how Denmark long owned the island until selling it to the U.S. in 1917.  American Laurance Rockefeller, in the 1950s, bought much of the island with the intention to protect it from development.  He would turn some 50,000 acres over to the U.S. National Park Service.  What a joy to today travel through the Virgin Islands National Park and take in all of its natural beauty and reminders of its sugar cane history.  There are historic sites and ruins throughout the park including the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins.  I've been a big fan of sugar mill ruins since seeing so many on Barbados several years ago.
Curvy mountainous roads and left-side driving are part of the St. John adventure.  But you are rewarded by many spectacular vistas and views.  Photo opportunities abound.  I really like the grayness of this sailboat setting and the little touch of blue on the boat.  This was taken at very eastern point of St. John at Coral Bay.
Iguanas, many huge, are common sites on St. John.  They were everywhere at the Westin Resort, as accepted as the human guests.  They are no threat and make for an unusual part of the exotic island landscape. I was excited to find one in a natural setting on some rocks near the Westin beach.  I like this photo because it really shows the iguana's claws and face, at the expense of not seeing its really long tail-- so I've included a sixth shot as part of my Favorite Five.  It's my blog-- so I guess that's OK to do! 

Great times on the Virgin Islands!  I definitely give St. John and the Westin Resort five stars. Hope to get back there again. Still many things we weren't able to squeeze in during our week. Cheers!

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