This course will be offered through Study Abroad in May, 2022.
For 2022, our class will be traveling to the island of St. John, US Virgin Islands. We will be staying at either the Cinnamon Bay Campground or a campground at Neptune’s Lookout at Historic Estate Susannaberg with views of Hawksnest and Caneel Bays and the island of St. Thomas. We will spend most days snorkeling the amazing fringing reefs that surround St. John, traveling via open air safari taxis. On our last full day on the island, we will circuit the island on a sailboat, stopping to snorkel at some more remote locations.
COVID-19 Related Information
Current COVID-19 regulations on St. John require masking in all public places including restaurants, taxis, ferries, and congested areas, even those outdoors. Everyone needs a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the territory. Every traveler aged five and older will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 Molecular (PCR) or Antigen (Rapid) test administered within five days of commencement of travel. The test results must be uploaded to the USVI Travel Portal and a green QR code of approval must be awarded in order for travel to be approved. Our group will travel via open-air safari taxis with masks on. All of our meals will be consumed outdoors, either at the campground or in the field, though students will have the option to travel into town to eat at local restaurants. Local restaurants currently are restricted to only serving meals outdoors. In short, most of our time will be spent outdoors. Pre-trip, we will meet on campus to go over trip logistics and get students familiarized with fundamental reef ecology and concepts. Classrooms will be socially-distanced, and everyone will wear a mask at all times. Post-trip, we will meet online via Zoom for a trip debrief, and students will take a final exam on Sakai.
- Familiarize yourself with the list of things to bring
- Familiarize yourself with the emergency action plan
- Notify your credit card(s) of your trip plans, so that they know to expect charges from the Virgin Islands. We had at least one student’s card get canceled in the past, because the credit card company thought the charges must be fraudulent.
We’ll explore all of the great snorkeling spots on the island that are accessible by road. We’ll also check out some of the island’s natural and archaeological beauty, including visiting the petroglyphs, and visiting some of the islands historic sugar mill plantation ruins. We’ll generally snorkel during the day and return to the campground around 4 PM. We will meet as a group to talk about what we saw snorkeling each afternoon. Students enjoy leisure time after dinner.
Students will need to purchase their own tickets, but students should plan on either traveling on the same flights as listed below or arriving shortly before the flights listed below, so that the entire group can travel. If this is not possible, please notify the instructors, so that separate travel arrangements can be made to ensure that you arrive safely on St. John.
- You will need a valid passport with an expiration date greater than six months from the end of the trip or a certified copy of your birth certificate. You will not be able to return to the US without one!
- Bring frequent flyer information, if applicable
- You pass through US Customs on your return. PEOPLE UNDER 21 ARE NOT ALLOWED TO BRING LIQUOR BACK INTO THE COUNTRY! If you try it, they will force you to pour your bottles down the drain. For persons over 21, customs allows one bottle of liquor to be brought into the country, free of duty. Our experience tells us it’s best to avoid bringing anything back that may cause extra scrutiny.
We will use open-air safari taxis to travel on St. Thomas and St. John. We will take a ferry ride between St. Thomas to St. John.
At Cinnamon Bay, large canvas tents with mattresses can accommodate up to four people. You can expect to share a tent with at least one other person. If we camp at Neptune’s Lookout, each person will have their own tent. The Cinnamon Bay Campground is set to reopen in December of 2021. At this time, details about the campground are not available. However, based on previous experience, amenities will include: cot or sleeping pad, sheets, towels, pillow, pillow case, pots/pans/dishware, cook stove, lantern, and picnic table. The campground at Neptune’s Lookout is more primitive. We are looking to arrange for a meal plan, because they cannot provide for each tent to have their own cooking facilities. Check out the campground website for more information about the campground, including location, amenities, etc.
Food, shopping, etc.
- NO place on the island takes state-side checks!! Many places take credit cards, but cash is your safest bet
- Several restaurants in town and around the GRC
- Use the buddy system – Someone should always know where you are
- You can get sunburned easily while snorkeling! Reapply sunblock frequently or wear protective clothing when in the water. In addition,sunscreens with the Toxic Three O’s (Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene) are banned in the Virgin Islands. You will need to purchase sunscreen with zinc or titanium oxides as the main ingredients.