We decided to be adventurous and rent a Jeep for a self-guided island tour. Driving is on the left here and I only had to remind FM a couple times. The roads are hilly, narrow, steep and have hair-pin turns every 100 feet or so. The maximum speed limit on the island is 20 miles per hour with several sections at only 10mph.
Before leaving the hotel property, we decided to take a quick snorkel dip at a beach we hadn’t been to yet: Scott Beach. Children under 13 are not allowed on the beach so we went to the far end of the beach, put our snorkel gear on and got into the water quickly. The reason for the no kids rule is there are a lot of honeymooners at the hotel and they attempt to have a peaceful place for them to enjoy. Since there are 7 beaches here at Caneel, having two as a no children beach is a good attempt on the part of the hotel to please all their guests. It used to be no children under 13 allowed at the hotel at all but that was back in the day (80’s and before). The beach is beautiful but then again I haven’t seen a bad beach yet:
We picked up our rental Jeep at 1:00 pm and headed off to the Annaberg Ruins:
Annaberg Ruins are located at the northeastern end of the North Shore Road and this is where they made rum, sugar and molasses in the 18th and 19th Century. The hill was named after the plantation owner’s daughter, Anna. The windmill of the plantation (see photo above) was the tallest of the 5 windmills on St. John. When we toured the area, it was already hot and humid which made me think of the poor slaves and the beasts of burden (mules, horses and donkeys) who were the backbone of the plantation. How awful it must have been to work in such abhorrent conditions.
Leinster Bay is very close to Annaberg Ruins, so we left our jeep parked there and walked .8 miles down an easy, well-maintained trail. Originally, FM wanted us to swim to the nearby Watermelon Cay but once we got to Leinster Bay, several people told us they saw more fish and sea creatures snorkeling in the bay rather than around the Cay. Plus those pesky jelly fish were out at the Cay. We snorkeled in the bay and what a treat. We saw several sea turtles who were so unaware of us. They just swam around and ate the seagrass on the ocean floor. FG loved the turtles but was not as calm when she got a glimpse of the sting ray who was also just hanging out and digging in the sandy bottom. I was fascinated by it all especially the rays and the turtles. They are so interesting to watch and I was very close to them. I’m very leery of the ray though and can’t help but think of the freak accident that Steve Erwin had with the sting ray. I try to stay on the head side of the sting ray but that’s easier said then done. I didn’t have to worry about FG ~ she was “out of there” as soon as we said “look at the sting ray, it’s swimming below you.”
Looking lovely with our “snorkel” hairstyle and feeling wet & sandy, we headed to the town of Coral Bay for an early dinner…