Latest Winners

Jan-Feb 2021: Bel Woodhouse

Mar-Apr 2021: Michael Kompanik




Please login to vote.
Tuesday, 01 November 2011

Maho Bay Camps: An Endangered Species? - Page 5

Written by Janice Anderson
  • Print
  • Email
  • AddThis Social Bookmark Button
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Maho PavilionAnd he’s right. While $135 per night was far less than the Westin or Caneel Bay, it was still a costly trip. Accommodations for Pat and I to stay seven nights ran approximately $1000 with tax. Transportation there and back, what with the flights and ferries and taxis, cost around $1500. We ate all but one breakfast and all but two dinners at Maho Bay Camps. They had a limited menu, understandably pricey, but the food was delicious. Together, our food bill totaled nearly $300. The taxi for each trip to town – Cruz Bay – cost $40. We went twice, once for breakfast (at Mojo’s for scrumptious huevos rancheros) and once for dinner (at Woody’s Seafood Saloon, for half-price happy hour and a delicious fish sandwich). We took two day-excursions, one on the Herron Schooner, which included lunch, and one to Salt Pond Bay, which included a delightful, though unplanned, stop for homemade ice cream. Add to that daily yoga on the beach at $15 per person per class, snorkel gear and chair rental: a grand total for two: $3300.
Thursday morning blossomed slowly. I woke before dawn and enjoyed the cool breeze as I walked to and from the bathhouse. Gentle morning sounds came from other cottages: inaudible questions asked, and answered; a spoon tapped on the side of a pan on a Coleman stove; a bathing suit and towel taken off the line. Pat read and I typed quietly on the deck as we sipped our coffee and listened to calm waves. Birds landed on our railing. We could identify the high-pitched tweets of the Bananaquit, but not the long slow vibratory sound from another bird; it sounded like “yes-in-deed!” through a kazoo. The smell of our neighbor’s pancakes wafted over. As the sun rose, we watched it fall like warm butter first on St. Thomas, then on the land opposite our bay. Sailboats and schooners rocked gently in three rows mid-bay. Winds gusts blew periodically. Fresh. Thin. Generous.

The frayed knot feeling in my gut had gradually dissolved and was replaced by a curiosity, a yearning to go deeper and find out more about this gem of a place tucked away in the Caribbean. In fact, later that morning, as I stood barefoot, filling our water jug, I saw the head of maintenance, Tom Sheets, who Scott had suggested I speak with about infrastructure. A large, robust man with a red bandana and long beard in hues of grey and brown, Tom wore a sleeveless Maho Bay T-shirt revealing surprisingly burned and shedding skin on his upper arms. His passion for Maho Bay and the island shows all over his face.
“It’s all about the people,” he said. A resident of St. John since 1989, Tom started out in a tent at Cinnamon Bay. He had worked construction and heavy equipment and, like Scott, his first encounter with Maho Bay Camps was as a volunteer. He was promoted to assistant manager of maintenance within months and still lives on the grounds.

“There was a camper a few years back that knew all about horticulture,” he explained. “She helped us understand which trees to cut and how. Then Woody, he’s one of the volunteers who came back this year, he’s like a monkey; he can climb anything with a chainsaw. These two will continue to have a great effect on giving guests the best views. Otherwise, it’s just a jungle.” 

I asked about a usual day.

“First we pick up garbage and recycling from the collection stations around camp. Then we sort it and drop the glass at the art hut, where they’ll bust it up and separate it into colors for blowing.”

Pat and I had enjoyed a glass blowing demonstration the night before. The artist and his apprentice performed a dance of danger around hot ovens and sizzling pokers. They made Grecian vases and scallop-rimmed bowls – glass wonders they’d later sell in the gift shop.

“Then we follow-up on work orders,” Tom continued. “We fix boards on steps and walkways, repair tents, whatever needs to be done. Then we check the daily water supply.”

“Ah.” I said knowingly, “Is that so you’ll know when to change from rainwater to purchased water? We ran into that the other night, neither of our toilets would flush.”

“No,” he said. “That turned out to be a foot valve problem.” 

We walked to the maintenance closet: a long skinny space between the men and women’s bathrooms with meters and valves at the far end. He explained that St. John desalinates water at plants in Caneel Bay and Cruz Bay. But it’s costly: $450-$500 for 4,200 gallons.

(Page 5 of 7)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

Search Content by Map


All Rights Reserved ©Copyright 2006-2021 inTravel Magazine®
Published by Christina's Arena, Inc.