Yummygal’s Fun Fact Friday

Bats! Only Native Mammal of St. John USVI

Here it is another Fun Fact Friday my friends! Hope you have enjoyed this beautiful fall week! Also, I’m looking forward to another rocking weekend. (Hope yours is even more rocking than mine.)

Those of you that are in South Jersey…you MUST check out the Burlington County Wine Festival this Weekend. They are featuring over 13 NJ wineries for all of your “grape juice” needs this Saturday and Sunday. The grounds contain over 640 gorgeous acres to spread out and to have a little fun!

I’ll be there as well. Definitely say,”Hi.” Fyi, I don’t bite. Would love to see you.

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Beautiful Waterlemon Cay, St. John

Well for this Fun Fact, I’m taking you to the gorgeous US Virgin Islands. Imagine wind in your hair, a rum drink concoction in your hand and when it gets dark…….BATS! Hahahahaha!! Yup, you will notice them or hear an, “Eek Eek Eek” here or there.

I mention this because most folks see donkeys, goats, deer, turtles, mongoose, lizards, geckos, tree frogs, bananaquits, pearly-eyed thrashers, mantas, dolphins, and an occasional whale. However, the only land mammal native to the Virgin Islands is the bat. There are a few native bats. However, the Fishing Bat is on the endangered list. All other mammals were brought over by the early settlers and have adjusted to the natural environment.

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A kayak on Haulover Bay

So when you are out and about at night enjoying your lovely island…make sure if you hear the, “Eek Eek Eek” that you say, “Good Evening” to them. It is proper island etiquette to the locals…

And after all….they are the native folk!

Have a great weekend everyone. -The Yummygal

Crabby’s Coral Bay ~ St. John USVI

Crabby’s Watersports

Coral Bay, St. John USVI

If you want to snorkel around St. John and are looking for some equipment to rent…..

Crabby’s is the place to get your gear from. There is no need to look anywhere else.

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out front of Crabby’s in Coral Bay, St. John

For just $25 bucks for the week. You can rent yourself some snorkeling gear so you are able to snorkel to your heart’s content on all of the gorgeous beaches around the fabulous island. Including, Waterlemon Cay, which is my favorite. Hey, if you aren’t the adventurous type. Why not snorkel in your villa’s pool? Haha!

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One of the fabulous St. John beaches

Crabby’s also rents kayaks and other water-sporting gear. Did you forget to bring your underwater camera? Well… You can purchase one here! You will definitely want to take pictures of your snorkelicious journey with all the amazing water wildlife around you on your island adventure.

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Crabby sign

Also, you can book a charter boat to tour around the island, a sunset cruise, or go island hopping to the British Virgin Islands and see German men in their speedos. Yuck (I did see them in Jost Van Dyke though).

It was hot! Not!

Crabby’s has a lot of unique offerings. Definitely check it out of you are staying in St. John.

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Love Coral Bay’s sense of humor. It is all over the place!

As the sign says above, “Have a Crabby Day.”

There’s really nothing crabby about these folks. They are actually pretty nice. However, I appreciate the Coral Bay humor.

As you can see… They “maybe” will be open at these times, haha.

Hawksnest Is One Of The Best

Hawksnest Beach

St. John
US. Virgin Islands

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beautiful pathway to the beach

There is a Hawksnest Beach and Little “Skittles” Hawksnest Beach in St. John. Both beaches are just separated by rocks and the water.

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Posing away in my granny swimsuit on the left. “Jane” my friend on the right

 

At Hawksnest, there are great little BBQ grills (bring the charcoal) and bathroom facilities in case you need to go tinkle winkle to your heart’s content.

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Come on in. The water is warm

It’s the first beach to hit after Cruz Bay on the North Shore Road of Route 20. It isn’t one to miss as most head straight to Trunk Bay, but this is a great little gem of turquoise splendor.

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Hawksnest is the best, baby!

There are no lifeguards here on duty so use caution and parking is limited.

There is GREAT snorkeling here, amongst the rocks between both beaches. Also, if you venture out just a bit you’ll encounter small reefs of great fish.

I saw a parrot fish and a Manta Ray at Hawksnest. Truly splendid.

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Yup, she’s a keeper

It can also get a bit crowded, but it is a lot of fun.

I saw plenty of folks with coolers of beer…. ahhhh. Delightful.

FYI, did you know it is legal to drink at 19 years old in the Virgin Islands?
Also, open containers are permitted while driving your car, hahaha. Crazy.

I actually fell in love with Hawksnest on my trip and can’t wait to return. I’ve always just driven past this location, but I am quite pleased I got to see it. It will be a definite return in the future.

Hawksnest bay is definitely a great snorkel spot. Just be careful of the tide. It tends to pull you out here.

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I’m calling your name!

 

Francis Bay is where I want to spend the day :)

Francis Bay

St. John USVI

I enjoy Francis Bay, in St. John because it is a little farther out of the way and off the main “beach road” of the National Park. Which means.. Ding! Ding! Ding! Less of a crowd.

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See no people….hear no people my friends

The best parking is at the beginning of the Francis Bay Trail entrance. It’s a short hike down to the beach and a definite to see. The trail is pretty shaded so it’s not too hot.

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Ruins at Francis Bay

Continue walking the trail, you’ll soon end up seeing these ruins to your right. Only look, don’t touch. They aren’t that stable to hold your skinny butt. It is awesome to see a bit of history amongst your short hike to Francis Bay.

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More ruins along the Francis Bay Trail with use of the native stone bluebitch. Yes, it is the true name of the stone my friends.

As you stroll down further to your left, you will notice an old salt pond that they used back in the day as a ways to dry the precious mineral. Salt was a huge commodity since it was used to preserve meat before refrigeration… Kind of crazy how far we’ve come along in such a short time, eh?

You are getting close my friends…

Eventually, you will come out along this clearing with a few picnic tables to sit at for your pleasure.

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My manly Mangroves.

These picnic tables are about the only facilities here. Make sure you pack accordingly. Snorkeling to the right is probably the best spot here. Near the rocks.

Francis Bay is a bit rockier than the others. However, it’s EXTREMELY calm and sheltered well on each side. Making this an AWESOME snorkel location. It’s a pretty long beach which makes it ideal because you can almost always find a great spot to sit at.

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Francis Bay

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A friend I met at Francis Bay

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My sailboat out there in the distance

This is a great kid friendly beach. A lot of fun and pure St. John tranquility at it’s best.

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My Francis Bay Artwork. It is worth a Million Dollars, fyi.

This is “Jane” and I putting our trademark on Francis Bay. I used rocks from the bay for this masterpiece.

It seems like a common artistic occurrence here. Leave your “mark” when you are here!

Definitely put it on your list for something off the beaten path for your exploration of the beloved island.

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A man swimming or twiddling his thumbs, not sure.

This is probably one of the lesser crowded beaches of all of St. John’s north shore, but just as beautiful.

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True Splendor

If you really take a look at my photos and other blogs I have posted. You can really see how unique each beach is in St. John. Every single beach you see, the more and more you will fall in love with the island. It’s pretty much how it goes.

There will also be many other beaches featured on my site in the next few weeks.

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See you again soon my little buddy!

St. John has my heart forever.

She will capture yours with love at first sight. I can bet you on that!

Sahara Dust Storms and the impact on the Caribbean

Sahara Dust Storms and the impact on the Caribbean

 

Have you ever noticed upon your travels to the Caribbean that it looks a bit “hazy” on certain days? Most people think it’s just the humidity. However, the haze is actually from dust that has come from the Sahara desert.

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The haze in Coral Bay Valley, St. John

Tons of this dust moves westward on a yearly basis into the Atlantic and Caribbean in response to summer storms and the warmer air.

The dust can travel as high as 15,000 feet above the desert and then it is pushed towards the Atlantic. With the westward winds.

They can actually keep track of these “storms” via satellite. It’s pretty neat seeing the images.

It’s impact on the Caribbean and Atlantic isn’t only haze, but the dust contains pathogens which are invading into the water and killing off coral reefs.

Coral reefs are the home of millions of aquatic life. Not sure if you’ve ever snorkeled and have seen that the coral reefs may look somewhat “bleached.” You can actually see this at the underwater snorkel trail at Trunk Bay.

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Picture of Trunk Cay where the underwater snorkel trail resides

The bleaching is from environmental stress. Due to the pathogens in the Saharan dust and other environmental factors like pollution.

There are pluses and minuses to the dust. In terms of the Amazon, it provides essential nutrients to the tree canopy in the rainforest.

This dust hits the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean pretty badly. To where they are actually sweeping tons of this sediment off of their boats or using vacuums to suck it up on certain days.

So when it’s a pretty hazy day in the Caribbean you know it’s a cause of the African desert coming in for a visit. It will still be beautiful my friends and does not linger very long.

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A picture of more haze

Island Blues Coral Bay, St. John

 

 

Island Blues Restaurant & Bar Coral Bay, St. John USVI

Island Blues sits directly on the water at Coral Bay. This is a great little spot. Kat, the bartender ROCKS she’s what makes this place truly special.

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Island Blues at sunset on Coral Bay, ahhhhh.

A young workaholic. She works 6 days a week. Her quirky bubbly personality sets you at ease and she helps to get the fun out of ya. She also is well-versed on the drinks and concoctions she can make. A very energetic, full of life lady, LOVE HER.

We ventured here twice on our trip. One night for drinks. The other for dinner and sat by the bay.

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Dining al fresco on Coral Bay what can be better? Leave all your worries behind.

 

 

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“Jane” and I enjoying an after dinner drink at Island Blues. Yes, I am pale and chunky. I had my son and was around 6 months after birth, okay?

Dinner was pretty good. I ordered a Philly Cheesesteak, since I am always curious how people make it around the country. I’ve actually gone to a place where they actually served a steak with cheese on it.

They did a decent job (born and raised in the Philly area). They made it with a tropical twist.

If you don’t want to eat here. It’s well worth the trip for an after dinner cocktail and to meet Kat. She’s totally cool in my book.

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Kat with her turtle making cigarette tray out of aluminum foil)

 

I don’t smoke, but I definitely admire her artistic abilities.

A great spot to unwind and enjoy your vacation.

Cheers!

The Mangroves essential to the Virgin Islands

The Mangroves of
St. John and the Caribbean

 

They are the mighty mighty mangroves, my friends!

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Mangroves at Brown Bay

I talk about these bad boys a lot. These guys are really special. Now, not sure if you ever noticed the stinky donkey dip in Coral Bay, St. John. It isn’t because of the trash bins my friends. The smell that smells like a rotten egg are actually from these Mangroves.

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Mangroves at Maho Bay

Now, these guys are extremely essential to our planet. They clean up the pollution that runs off and that often goes into these beautiful waters. Without these the water would be extremely polluted.

And they are disappearing. Fast.

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Mangroves at Leinster Bay

The awful odor is from the bacteria that these folks have living on them and is part of the process of sucking up the pollution.

These are awesome plants. They adapt to salinity, coastal flooding, and are extremely diverse, yet very fragile.

So when you smell something funky, you know they are actually doing their job. With more and more folks frequenting the Caribbean these guys are becoming more and more essential to the general landscape.

They also provide shelter and food for various wildlife.

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Francis Bay mangroves

They are also an aid to prevent beach erosion. It’s deep seeded roots help in keeping the sand from washing away out to the ocean.

Respect these beauties my friend. They are truly something special.

St. John VI Hidden Reef Kayak Ecotour

St. John VI Hidden Reef Kayak Ecotour~ A Tour You’ll Adore

 

Ahhhhhhh and on the 3rd day was the Virgin Island Ecotour.

Located on the east end of St. John near the sign that says, “End of National Park”.

“Jane” and I were psyched to do this…pumped and ready to go….

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The road getting to the east end. This overlooks Brown Bay

We set out with Justin, our tour guide. The coolest most hippest guide ever, from Kansas.

Us girls set out on a double kayak. I was upfront. “Jane” in the back the steering queen.

We ventured over to Haulover Bay for this adventure. GREAT SNORKELING here.

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Haulover Bay

A nice amount of reefs allowed for awesome fish and sea turtles and took great shots with my underwater camera.

“Jane” got to touch a white sea urchin…Nope not me, I don’t have the balls to go near an urchin.

We explored the inlays of the bay. It was very fun and exciting. Plus, got to ride some waves and learn about St. John from Justin.

Towards the end of our adventure I became sea sick, sun burnt, and exhausted. (I was red like a lobster)

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Kayak on the bay

 

I literally kissed the land when we were done.

It was a great way to see St. John with a wonderful guide. (He also pointed out the “Death Apple Tree” I was standing under).

I went back to the villa and crashed out until evening and I never nap! Hahaha

This is an awesome inexpensive way to learn about the island and get a great workout.

Great way to learn about St. John and otherwise see sights you normally wouldn’t see. By kayaking to other portions of the bay and snorkeling out much farther than you normally would from the shore. Justin is a great tour guide and has true passion for his beloved St. John.

And if you already didn’t know, St. John is my beloved island as well.

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Road to the east end of the island for the kayak tour