Sunset is easily my favorite time of day on island, and we are super lucky to have some incredible ones in the Virgin Islands. I know many of you, like me, would hate to miss a good sunset when you’re on island, so here is a handy primer for you.
As of today, October 5th, sunset is at 6:04 p.m. We will lose a minute nearly every day until the end of the month when it sets at 5:47 p.m.
Did you know that the sun never sets earlier than 5:41 p.m. on St. John? That will happen between November 15th and December 3rd. We will gain a minute or so of light every day beginning on December 4th.
(Random fact: We do not observe daylight savings on St. John, so when most of you fall back an hour on November 6th, time in the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will stay the same. That means we will be one hour ahead of EST until daylight savings on March 12, 2023.)
On the flip side, the latest that the sun sets on St. John is 6:59 p.m. That will happen between June 28th and July 14th in 2023.
There are a lot of great spots to watch the sun set on St. John. I love to watch it set from the Westin around Christmastime when it’s setting just beyond the resort. Gifft Hill, as seen in the image at the top of this post, is also a great spot to watch it. In the summer months, the Windmill Bar takes the cake for sunset watching. Check out this time lapse video I took from the Windmill Bar last July:
Beautiful, isn’t it?
Here are a few other pictures I have taken over the past couple of years. None of these pics have been edited or altered for color. It’s that pretty!
Want to see when the sun will set when you’re visiting St. John? Click this link to view the current sunset times.
Hello everyone, and happy Tuesday! Let’s talk about the British Virgin Islands, shall we?
I am super excited to tell you all that there is a brand new way to get over to the BVI! Cruz Bay Watersports, which is based out of the Westin on St. John and out of the Ritz Carlton on St. Thomas, is now offering weekly trips to Jost van Dyke. Cruz Bay Watersports is the only St. John-based company that allows you to purchase a spot on a multi-passenger boat, as opposed to chartering an entire vessel to the BVI.
Cruz Bay Watersports is now offering Jost van Dyke trips every Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., departing from the Westin dock. Guests will sail aboard a luxury 65-foot catamaran for a day of sun and a lot of fun. Guests will first visit Great Harbor, Jost van Dyke where the crew will clear you through Customs. You will then spend the day enjoying picturesque White Bay, home to the Soggy Dollar Bar, One Love, Gertrudes, Hendo’s Hideout and some of the most beautiful water you’ve ever seen!
The cost of this trip is $199 for adults and $149 for children ages 12 and under. There is an additional $75 fee for Customs. You must have a valid passport to book this trip. The trip includes a continental breakfast, open bar, snorkel gear, towels, flotation devices, and fresh water showers onboard. Lunch is not included.
And because Cruz Bay Watersports appreciates everyone who calls St. John home, they are offering a 40%-off local discount through November 1st. You must be a full-time USVI resident to receive the discounted rate.(The 40% comes off of the base price, not the Customs fee.) All you have to do is email Cruz Bay Watersports after booking, and they will apply the discount.
Happy Monday everyone! That weekend sure flew by! Ok, so when I started chatting about this new blog with friends on island, one mentioned how some of my readers may be new to St. John, so it’s important from time to time to chat about the basics. Well today we’re going to do just that! We’re going to start at the beginning – how to get to St. John. Now for my seasoned visitors, don’t leave just yet! You never know when you’ll get some new information. 🙂
Traveling Here & Heading Home
In order to get to St. John, you must fly into St. Thomas. The airport code over there is STT. All of the major airlines fly into St. Thomas, including Delta, American, JetBlue, Spirit and United. We also have two smaller airlines – Cape Air and Silver Airways (formerly Seaborne) that have daily flights via San Juan.
St. John (and neighboring St. Thomas and St. Croix) are part of the United States Virgin Islands. Because we are a United States territory, you do not need a passport to visit. When you leave, however, you will have to pass through US Customs & Border Protection. This is because the US Virgin Islands fall outside of the “Customs territory of the United States.”
When you’re heading home, you always want to give yourself some extra time at the airport as it’s a multi-step process to leave. If you are checking a bag, you have to stop at the airline counter. They do not take your bag there, however. You’ll keep your bag and head to Customs. (For those of you with a carry on, you head straight to Customs.) Depending on the time of the year, the Customs line can be quite long.
The Customs agent will ask you some questions like where are you heading and where did you stay. They will ask if you have any souvenirs, fruits, vegetables, tobacco, alcohol. etc. It’s a lot faster if you have a passport or passport card with you, although a driver’s license works too.
From there, you will drop your bag just before security if you have one. Then head through security. There is a pre-check lane, but it’s not always open. During certain times, there will be one line, and pre-check passengers will be handed a card indicating they’re pre-check.
Once You Get Here
There will be plenty of taxis available to take you to one of the three ferries to St. John. They are located just outside of the baggage area. The taxi drivers squeeze as many passengers inside as legally allowed, so the ride can be quite cramped at times. If you prefer not to be squished, you can hire a private driver onsite. That costs $90 for up to four people if traveling to Red Hook. You call also call my good friend Yogi, who is my number one driver on St. Thomas. His cell is 340-626-5695. Feel free to say Jenn on St. John sent you. He will love that. 🙂
There are three ferries that connect St. Thomas with St. John – Red Hook, Crown Bay and Charlotte Amalie. I will post their current (as of Oct. 3, 2022) schedules below.
You can rent a vehicle in St. Thomas and take it over to St. John via the car barges if you prefer. Click here to view those schedules.(Selfishly, I prefer that you rent on St. John to free up space on the barge for people who need it for work, doctor’s appointments, etc.)
And after all of that, you’ll be on St. John! We might not be the easiest place to visit, but we’re the best! And once you’ve arrived, be sure to explore the island with me! Explore STJ offers full and half day island tours. Check out beautiful beaches, centuries-old historical sites, grab a cocktail or two along the way, and have fun! It’s never too early to secure your spot! Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the website at www.ExploreSTJ.com.
Hello everyone, and happy Friday! Yesterday we brought you along to one of our favorite hiking spots – the Murphy Great House, which is located near the Annaberg plantation. (Click here to read all about it in case you missed it.) Well today, I’d like to share a two minute video that I took for you. Take a walk through the site with me to get a better glimpse of this property and its incredible views.
Anyone who knows me knows that I love a good walk in the woods, and we are beyond lucky to have more than 20 hiking trails throughout the island. One of my absolute favorite hikes is up to the Murphy Great House. But before I get into the actual hiking aspect of today’s post, I’d like to tell you a bit about this part of the island and its history.
The Murphy Great House, which is located at the Annaberg plantation, is named for James Murphy, an Irish shipowner, St. Thomas merchant and slave trader. Mr. Murphy bought Waterlemon Bay back in 1796, and renamed it Leinster Bay soon thereafter, according to the St. John Historical Society. Within a year of owning the parcel, Murphy acquired Annaberg and Mary Point estates and then added a portion of the former deWintsberg estate, known as Betty’s Hope. He then started to build what was considered at the time to be a state-of-the-art sugar factory at Annaberg.
(The Annaberg site still remains and is maintained by the Virgin Islands National Park. You can view the former windmill, horse mill, boiling house, remnants of the enslaved laborers’ village, cook house (built later on), and a beautiful garden, which is lovingly maintained by my dear friend Charles.)
Mr. Murphy continued to acquire land, and in 1803 added the Munsburry plantation to his landholdings. Four years later, he purchased the nearby Brown Bay estate. By that time, he had amassed 1,245 acres of land. And off that, 494 acres were planted in sugar cane. According to the St. John Historical Society, this was the largest amount of sugar land ever controlled by one person in the history of St. John.
Murphy House, the destination of this hike, is the former homesite of Mr. Murphy. It is located high on a hill, above the Annaberg plantation site, and overlooks Leinster Bay and the Sir Francis Drake Channel. The site has spectacular views of the British View Islands and beyond. The views, in my opinion, are some of the best on island. Mr. Murphy controlled this land until his death in 1808. The land was then appraised separately. Some was sold off to his creditors, while some was split among his heirs.
The hike to the Murphy Great House takes about 30 minutes or so in each direction. The time varies based on your pace, of course, and how often you choose to stop and take pictures along the way. I recommend sneakers for this hike, although it is doable in flip flops or sandals. I usually carry a bottle of water with me, although there are typically nice easterly breezes that cool you along the way.
To take this hike, you’ll want to park in the small lot below the Annaberg plantation. Then walk toward the water where you will see a sign for the Leinster Bay Trail. Follow the rocky path along the shoreline and through the mangroves. After about 15 to 20 minutes, you will arrive at the beach at Waterlemon Bay.
Walk across the sandy beach until you see an opening into the woods. Take a right into the woods, and, almost immediately, you see a sign for the Johnny Horn trail. You’ll want to walk toward the left and up a slight hill.
After less than five minutes, you will see a small path on your left that leads you to the former guardhouse site. This structure was purposefully located in a strategic spot, so the overseer was able to keep an eye on the the Fungi Passage, between Whistling Cay and Mary Point, and the Narrows, which separates Great Thatch and St. John.
From the guardhouse, continue your walk uphill. After a roughly five minute climb, you will come to an intersection. Take a left to visit Murphy Great House. (The trail continuing straight leads to the Brown Bay trail and ultimately out to Coral Bay.
Once you arrive, be careful of the loose stone at the bottom of the stairs. From atop the site, you will see Annaberg in the distance off to your left, Tortola to your right, Waterlemon Cay below, Great Thatch to the far right, and glimpses of St. Thomas and Jost Van Dyke, among other islands, in the distance. There is a picnic table up there as well, so perhaps pack a lunch or a snack or two, and soak in the beauty St. John has to offer. Check out some more pics I took for you…
Pretty incredible, isn’t it?
Please check back tomorrow to see a video I took from my hike. It’s a bit long, so I decided to save it for its own post. In the meantime, I hope you all have a wonderful day. And if you’d like to see more of the island or perhaps learn a thing or two about St. John’s amazing history while having an amazing day during your vacation, please be sure to check out Explore STJ island tours at www.ExploreSTJ.com