February 16 to 24, 2018

Status OPEN
Cost $2,084.00 (per person, double occupancy, single occupancy not available)
Travel Dates February 16 to 24, 2018
Description St. John is the smallest island in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and over 2/3 of it is a protected national park, making it the least developed island in the Caribbean. Many pristine beaches connect to the 5,600 acres of underwater national park, making it a perfect destination for Eco tourists who dream of swimming in warm turquoise water, walking beaches galore, exploring coral reefs and sandy bays in this perpetual summer paradise. Most days are sunny with a light tropical breeze though “liquid sunshine” can visit at any time.

Famous for its many undeveloped, stunning beaches and ocean breezes, the island attracts and tantalizes snorkelling enthusiasts from the far reaches of the globe while quenching their thirst for underwater exploration amongst the dramatic coral reefs. On any given day will find us swimming on a different beach, exploring sugar mills and plantation ruins with additional options for hiking on trails to some of the best snorkeling sites the island has to offer. Our longest planned hike is 6 1/2 miles on a trail once named the L’Esperance Road, taking us past two sets of ruins as we make our way towards the Reef Bay Sugar Mill and the petroglyphs at the island’s one and onlyspring. For eight days the VIERS (Virgin Islands Environmental Research Station) will provide us with a home base while we experience one adventure after another.  VIERS is a non-for-profit environmental education facility, part of the University of the Virgin Islands and operated by Clean Islands International. Established in 1966. VIERS provides environmental education and research opportunities for students (K through college), teachers, scientists, artists, bird watchers, snorkelers, divers, hikers, kayakers and anyone else interested in the terrestrial, coastal and marine environments of small tropical islands. Check out the details at Virgin Islands Environmental Resource Station, www.VIERS.org.

Located within the Virgin Islands National Park, the VIERS compound and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is positioned on the undeveloped south shore of the island.  Our destination will end on a dirt road about 17 miles and a 45-minute drive from Cruz Bay. Established at the base of 1,277-foot Bordeaux Mountain (the highest peak on the island), the campus is only a 5-10 minute walk from Great Lameshur Bay.

Sleeping cabins are wood with large screened windows and steel roofs containing the dozen buildings found on the flat level campus. Accommodating up to 68 guests at any given time, the two room cabins house between one to eight beds. VIERS will do its best in housing two people to a room, but cannot be guaranteed. Guests will find linens and towels in the sleeping rooms, each equipped with electric ceiling fans and LED lighting generated by solar energy. Solar heated showers and toilets are conveniently located in a central building for our use. Cell service is unreliable with AT&T providing the best chances for service. Internet service is available for a fee.

VIERS’staff prepares and serve meals in the kitchen/dining hall with careful attention in accomodating most special dietary requirements.  Guests are free to design their own trail lunches with staples set out with the breakfast meal. While alcholic beverages are permitted on site, they are not included in the cost and guests need to bring their own. Light housekeeping chores and dishwashing are part of the responsibilty of all participants.

Guests visiting VIERS are free to participate in activities on its site near bays and trails, so it’s fine to choose other options or do as little as you like.

June and Herb Fait, former ADK Trip Leaders, hosted many successful trips over the years at the VIERS campus. June and Herb are excited to pass this trip on to me to continue to host participants at this wonderful location and in these exciting activities.

Below you will find a daily description for activities. Please note this is a tentative schedule, evening programs and staff tour venues

Included ALL on-island ground transportation within ST. John; all gratuities, guiding services, interpretive programs by VIERS staff; 8 nights lodging; ALL meals, (8 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 8 Dinners); linens and towels, Sadie Sea full day boat tour.

Breakfast is served at 7:00 each morning and will consist of juices, coffee, tea, fresh apples, oranges and canned peaches, yogurt, cereal oatmeal. In addition, a different hot entrée will be available. On excursion days, we will prepare our daily lunch at the breakfast table to take with us. On days we will be on campus for lunch, it is served at 12:00. Our evening meal will vary and special diets will be accommodated within the staff’s ability with advanced notice.

Not Included Airfare; round trip transfer from St. Thomas airport (STT) to Cruz Bay, St. John; Beach towels, Snorkel gear (rental of snorkel, mask, fins and carrying bag is $5 per day or you may bring your own); $4 entrance fee for Truck Bay; Alcoholic beverages; Trip Insurance.
Payment Policy A Deposit of $ _500.00_ is due with the application forms to register for the trip.

Must have at least __15   registered and paid in full by October 1, 2017 for the trip to go.

The Balance of $1,584.00 is due no later than October 1, 2017.

What to Bring For day hikes, choose clothing that is light, comfortable and covers shoulders and arms from the sun. A daypack that is large enough to hold extra clothes:sun hat, glasses, sunscreen, bug spray (for mosquitos and beach sand fleas), lunch, snacks (bring your own energy bars if you want them), water (at least 2 liters), light fleece, rain gear and a waterproof pack cover. Wear comfortable hiking boots or shoes that are adjusted to your feet to avoid blisters and sore joints. Bathing suit, beach towel or a microfiber quick dry towel (towels provided in the cabin cannot leave the cabin area), sandals and water shoes. Snorkeling equipment (option to rent).
Trip Insurance It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list, if any, you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip.



Daily Itinerary

Day 1: Friday, February 16, 2018

Arrive at St. John, USVI. Travel from airport on St. Thomas to Cruz Bay, St. John at your own expense. Plan on meeting at the ferry dock at 6:30 pm in Cruz Bay for transport to VIERS. (Can add an earlier taxi, if actual arrival times are early enough). Dinner at VIERS with an
introduction and orientation meeting followed by room assignments.

Day 2: Saturday, February 17, 2018

Lameshur Bay & Yawzi Point Day: 4 miles – 2 hours.

Following breakfast, our group will participate in an orientation review and escorted walk around VIERS by staff. This will include a guided walk around Lameshur Bay at Yawzi Point, a perfect place to take a refreshing dip in the sea after exploring the nearby ruins. After a satisfying lunch, the VIERS
staff presents the Waterside Lab orientation and guided seashore walk. On our way forsnorkellingat Great Lameshur Bay we will pick up our rented snorkel gear so we can participate in a VIERS staff guided snorkelling tour while identifying marine life amongst the coral reef. Dinner at VIERS.

Evening program will include the history of Lameshur Bay, VIERS and the Virgin Islands National Park.

Day 3: Sunday, February 18, 2018

Annaberg, Leinster & Waterlemon Cay: 1 mile – 30 minutes.

Breakfast at VIERS. We begin our day by meeting the taxi at 9:00 am with our packed lunch for transfer to the #1 snorkeling spot on St. John, Leinster Bay and Waterlemon Cay. With a gentle hike and stunning cay, a mix of seagrasses and coral, sand and cobblestone, this destination delivers enough adventure for all ages, experience levels and abilities. The water is clear, corals are abundant, fish and sea life abound. Waterlemon Cay is one of the best snorkeling destinationsrevealing schools of fish, rays, turtles, star fish, conch and beautiful hard and soft coral reef formations.

Walk on the beach and see the Annaberg Sugar Mill Ruins. The Annaberg Sugar Mill has the distinction of being the largest, tallest windmill in the Virgin Islands.The windmill was used by the Danish colonists in the production of sugar, molasses and rum. Its wind driven sails provided a power source to press the sugar rich juice from the cut cane stalk.

About 3:00 pm we will take a taxi to see Cinnamon Bay (main National Park area) & take showers. Taxi to Cruz Bay to visit VI NP Visitors Center and some shopping (1-1 1⁄2 hours). Taxi return to VIERS at 5:45pm. 
Dinner at VIERS.

Evening program: Coral Reefs to Island Peaks slide lecture, by Dr. Barry Devine.

Day 4: Monday, February 19, 2018

Sadie Sea Boat Tour Day: 6 hours.

Breakfast at VIERS.Pack trail lunch for boat tour (no need to buy lunch from Sadie Sea).Pick up at 9:00 at VIERS dock by Sadie Sea for full day (6 hours) boat tour, including stops at various coral and mangrove locations for swimming and snorkeling. Known as one of St. John’s most recognizable charter boats for a Caribbean experience, Sade Sea Charter; lets see why it is called the “Jewel of the Caribbean.”Cold beverages provided. Return to VIERS dock about 3 pm.

Remainder of day will be open for swimming, kayaking, relaxing. Dinner at VIERS.

Day 5: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Salt Pond Snorkel and Ram Head Hike Day: 2 miles – 1 to 2 hours – 200 feet ascent.

Breakfast at VIERS.
Pack trail lunch
before taking taxi to the head of Salt Pond Bay Trail arriving around 9:00 – 9:30 am. Guests can choose to stay on the beech or participate in the optional steep rugged Ram Head Trail hike, offering spectacular views over looking the bay. Spend the rest of the morning snorkeling Salt Pond Bay and Blue Cobblestone Beach. This rocky yet peaceful beach was named for the salt pond located near the beach. The amazingly clear waters here are good for snorkeling, and there are a few fascinating tidal pools alongthe shore. All along the sands of Salt Pond Bay beach, there are gorgeous seashells and pieces of coral strewn across the shores.We will return to VIERS via taxi at 2:00 pm with the option to stop and explore the Concordia complex with a walk back to our home base. Remainder of day will be open for swimming, kayaking, snorkeling, and relaxing. Dinner at VIERS.

Day 6: Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reef Bay: 6.5 miles – 3 to 4 hours – 500 feet ascent – 1300 feet descent.

Breakfast at VIERS. Today we will take our packed lunch and taxi to the head of the L’Esperance Trail. This beautiful hike will find us meandering through historic ruins, offering study of petro-glyphs while visiting the Reef Bay Sugar Mill ruins. We walk through time as we descend upon this moderate trail and learn about the flora, fauna and history of St. John. We will encounter several signs describing some of the trees and structures indigenous to the area. From the Taino Indian petroglyphs to the Danish plantation ruins, you can touch and experience part of the island’s past which makes our Caribbean history come alive. Hike back to VIERS. Remainder of day will be open for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and relaxing. Dinner at VIERS.

Evening Program: Folk Medicine Plant Talk and drumming, singing and dancing by Ital Anthony.

Day 7: Thursday, February 22, 2018

Hansen Bay Snorkel & Coral Bay/East End Day.

Breakfast at VIERS.
Pack trail lunch [if not buying lunch at Skinny Legs].
 Our taxi will take us to the East End of the island where we can snorkel in Hansen Bay or Haulover Bay.
Hansen Bay is a great place to spot turtles, rays and some larger Jacks and Pompano that come in to feed on bait fish. For the experienced and physically fit – snorkel west around the point and you’ll come to Limetree Cove. It’s a nice little sandy beach that’s only accessible from the water. Optional lunch or snacks at Skinny Legs Restaurant (at own cost).
There will be time for a bit of shopping.
Taxi return to VIERS.
Remainder of day open for swimming, snorkeling, relaxing.
Dinner at VIERS.

Evening program: Video and talk on Project Tektite and guided tour of Tektite Under- water Habitat Museum, by VIERS staff.

Day 8: Friday, February 23, 2018

Bordeaux Mt. /Trunk Bay – 4 miles – 2 to 2 ½ hours – 1300 feet ascent – 1300 feet descent.

Breakfast at VIERS.Hike up Bordeaux Mountain and return. Lunch at VIERS.
Taxi to Trunk Bay. Trunk Bay is the Mecca of beaches. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another Caribbean beach with sand quite so pearly or water so aquamarine. Be sure to try your hand at the Underwater Trail — a snorkeling path of coral and fish with underwater plaques along the way. Trunk Bay’s water is calm enough that even young snorkelers can enjoy the experience (4$ entrance fee). Dinner at VIERS.

Day 9: Saturday, February 24, 2018

Departure Day

Breakfast at VIERS. Pack trail lunch for travel and help with clean up of cabin. 
Taxi to Cruz Bay [Our taxi from VIERS must be at least 4 1/2 hours before flight time]. Travel from Cruz Bay to St. Thomas or other points on your own.

The difficulty rating of this trip is easy to moderate. While prior snorkelling experience is not necessary,persons considering participation in this trip should be in good physical condition and comfortable in the water. Flotation aids will be available. Although some trails may be steep, rough and/or slippery, hiking will be easy to moderate. One may always opt out of a hike, or any other activity, and just hang out and relax.

Notes TIME DIFFERENCE: St. John is 1 hour ahead of ET or GMT +1.

GETTING TO:  Please make flight arrangements to St. Thomas (STT). After claiming your luggage, take one of the many available taxis to the ferry dock.  It is recommended that you take a taxi to the Red Hook Ferry (cost: approximately $25). The Red Hook Ferry from St. Thomas to Cruz Bay, St. John cost: approximately $10. The Red Hook ferry has departures every hour on the hour from early morning to midnight. There is a ferry terminal in Red Hook with benches and a small bar. Reservations are not required for either ferry. Check the Ferry Schedule for more details, ticket prices, and schedules.

PASSPORT:U.S. citizens traveling from the United States or its territories do not need a passport to travel to St. Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands. It may be a wise idea to carry one anyway, however, for a number of reasons. Passports are necessary for all travelers arriving in St. Thomas from outside the United States. A valid passport must have at least 6 months validity remaining from the date of your return.

VISA’S: Not required.

IMMUNIZATIONS: Not required.

WEATHER: The average maximum daytime temperature in St John in February is a warm 28°C (82°F) with moderate heat & humidity. There are usually 8 hours of bright sunshine each day, which represents 71% of the 12 hours of daylight. The average sea temperature in and around St John in February is 26°C(79°F).  Since this is a tropical climate, there is always a chance of rain.

WI-FI AND CELL SERVICE: Cell service at the site is spotty AT&T and Internet service is available for a fee.

CURRENCY: American dollar.

ATM’s: There are two in Cruz Bay and on in Coral bay (20 minute drive from VIERS). It is suggested guests should plan to have 200$ cash on hand for incidentals.

ELECTRICITY: The electric current in St. John is 120 V,the same as the United States.

FLIGHT RESERVATIONS: Do not make your flight arrangements until Trip Leader advises this trip has the minimum participants for the trip to proceed.

ITINERARY CHANGES: Planned activities are subject to change due to weather, or other unforeseen circumstances, at the sole discretion of the Leader. Also, accommodations may be changed by the tour operator if necessary.

TRIP PRICES/ARRANGEMENTS: Subject to change due to circumstances beyond ADK’s and Trip Leader’s control.

Registration Procedure Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact Trip Leader if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact Trip Leader by email and theregistration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form will be sent. Complete these forms and send them to Trip Leader by U.S, Postal Service with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the Credit Card Authorization) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.
Cancellation Policy
  • If registrant cancels prior to October 1st, 2017 all payments received by ADK minus $100.00 will be refunded.
  • On or after October 1st, 2017, a refund will only be made if the vacancy can be filled from a waiting list maintained by the leader, if any, and then all but $100.00 will be refunded.
  • Note that there is a $100 registration fee included in the trip deposit which is not refundable if you have to cancel for any reason whatsoever.
  • If the leader decides that this trip is not for you, or the trip is canceled by ADK, all payments received by ADK will be refunded.
Trip Leader Peter J. Valastro, Jr.
259 Bentley Road
Hudson Falls, NY 12839