----- St John, US Virgin Islands ---------------
I had visited the US Virgin Islands back in 2001 in my first trip outside the USA. I had only visited St Thomas, but this time I wanted to go to the paradisiacal St John which is mostly a protected national park. The island is a small paradise. It is not your typical Caribbean island. There are very few locals here. The ones on the island mostly live on St Thomas and take the ferry over from Red Hook a 20 min ride.
When we first arrived in St Thomas we visited a Turkish store where I met this very friendly girl who was very curious about Turkey which I had brought up due to the fact that the store looked just like one you would see in Turkey selling lamps. She was inquisitive and very friendly being a mix of Palestinian and French which is an odd combination to find in the Caribbean islands. However I did get a lamp for half the price which was nice!
We then headed to St John taking the ferry from Red Hook. When we got to Cruz Bay on St John we took and open air truck to Trunk Bay. This was the most important place in the USVI that I wanted to visit. Along the road in transit I could see the gorgeous Trunk Bay below in its myriad of blues and greens looking so inviting. When we made it there, we were impressed with this beach. I have been to a lot of beaches, but this is my favorite! This place is amazing! The water is so blue and clear just like presented in travel magazines, the sand is soft and white, the hills are lush, green and absent of human construction, and the water was warm and pleasant. This beach had a combination of everything. I went snorkeling and hiking along the beach after a nap in the shade. As I walked down to the far end of Trunk Bay I stumbled upon a tree with a huge DANGER sign posted on the tree. It was the deadly Machineel tree. The tree had several warnings on it including to not touch it, don't eat the fruit and do not stand under it when raining. This tree is so toxic that it causes severe burns to the flesh, and if consumed is outright deadly! I read up later on the Machineel tree and was shocked by its toxic properties. I even learned how the Carib Indians used to tip their darts in its sap. I only wish I had brought my camera there to take some pictures.
At the end of our day we headed back to port and did a little walking around before boarding our ship. It was a spectacular departure with a beautiful sunset amid the huge cumulonimbus clouds with beautiful pastel colors. If you ever visit St Thomas, it is a nice place, but in my opinion, St John is the better visit if your stay is short like ours was.