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Salt Pond & Drunk Bay Trail Map

St. John Virgin Islands Trails:Drunk Bay Trail

Excerpted from St. John Off The Beaten Track 2006 Gerald Singer

The Salt Pond Trail begins at the eastern end of Salt Pond Beach and heads inland (left) towards the salt pond. It is an easy quarter-mile walk with no hills. The trail skirts the western edge of the salt pond and continues on to the rocky windswept beach at Drunk Bay.

St John Trails: Salt Pond
Salt Pond at Salt Pond Bay

Salt Pond
The bottom of the salt pond is made up of a layer of red algae giving the salt pond a reddish-brown color. The distinctive smell of the pond comes from another layer of older red algae, which is found just below an intermediate layer of sand.

Look for the delicate blooms of wild orchids along the trail and watch for donkeys, deer and birds, especially in the early morning.

Because of its location on this arid and windswept part of the island, Salt Pond is the most likely place to find 100% natural St. John sea salt - no fat, no carbs, no cholesterol, no preservatives.

How Does the Salt Get There?
Saltwater enters the pond from the sea by seepage at high tides and by waves breaking over the surface during storms. Salt Pond is one of the only places on St. John that is below sea level. This condition prevents significant amounts of pond water from flowing back out to sea. Constant, intense sunlight and ever-present trade winds encourage an exceptionally high rate of evaporation. When rain is scarce, the water becomes extremely salty. Water can only hold a certain amount of salt in solution and when the salinity of the pond reaches that point, the salt crystallizes.

As the water level continues to drop, and more and more water is evaporated, a layer of salt is left along the edges of the pond. The longer the dry period, the higher the temperature, and the stronger the winds, the more this salt layer will extend towards the center of the pond and the thicker the layer becomes.

You can collect salt during these times by scooping up the salt with your hands, if it is still wet and soft. If the salt layer is dry and hard, use a knife or other sharp tool. (If you've forgotten to bring a container, just walk over to nearby Drunk Bay where there is a great deal of flotsam, and you'll probably find something you can use.)

After the salt is collected, drain off as much water as possible and put it in the sun to dry further. You may be left with fine powdery salt, which you can enjoy on your food immediately or, if the dried crystals are large, you will first need to grind them up or pound them out.

The salt obtained from salt ponds is particularly tasty and healthy, containing all the minerals that are present in the sea, which include all those essential to the human body. So during the next dry spell, take the trail to St. John’s best salt pond for collecting salt and bring some back home.

st john trails: mud bath
Salt Pond Mud Bath

 

 

Salt Pond Mud Baths
The mud at the bottom of the salt pond is said to have beneficial qualities for the skin. The procedure as explained to me is to first apply the mud to the skin, then let it dry in the sun. Next return to the beach where you rub the dried mud into the skin and then jump in the sea to remove the leftover mud.

 

 

 

Drunk Bay
The trail continues to the rocky windswept beach at Drunk Bay. The easterly trades bring ashore an abundance of flotsam, which makes for great beach combing. Do not swim here. Breaking surf, currents and jagged rocks and coral make it too dangerous for swimming.

st john virgin islands trails: drunk bay
Drunk Bay, St. John USVI
st john virgin islands trails: drunk bay
Drunk Bay St. John
st john virgin islands trails: drunk bay
Drunk Bay, St. John

 

 

St. Jhn Trails: Drunk Bay Sculpture
Drunk Bay Sculpture
St. Jhn Trails: Drunk Bay Sculpture
Drunk Bay Sculpture

 

 

Drunk Bay Art
Drunk Bay has inspired the imagination of visitors to create dozens of coral sculptures, most of which can be found by going around the large rocks to your left as you enter the beach.