If you don't know what it is, don't touch it!
There are a number of plants and creatures both on land and in the sea to be wary of here. Obviously, some things are difficult to avoid but a little common sense can go a long way. (We would joke amongst ourselves when I lived here that many people vacation and leave their brains at home).There are corals in the sea that can burn you (you shouldn't be touching coral anyway!), urchins, jellyfish, and some things called 'sea lice' (yuck!) that cause a terrible skin irritation.
On land there are wasps that can cause a huge amount of soft tissue inflammation if they sting you, scorpions (non lethal, treat like a bee sting, unless you are allergic to bee stings), fire ants and a number of other less noticeable but equally inhospitable hosts.
Plants to avoid. Christmas Tree plant causes a terrible dermatitis. And there is a plant called 'manchineel' that exudes a potent alkaline substance that is powerful enough to blister your skin. Don't touch it and don't take shelter under it in a rainstorm!Related to:
These "folks" drive on the WRONG side of teh roadw
As a "hold over" from when these island belonged to Denmark, the USVI drive on the left side of the road instead of the right. Denmark "saw the light" MANY years ago and "switched" but for some reason the USVI has not, so BE CAREFUL if you rent a car to drive down there, You might forget or almost worse yet you might encounter another driver who forgot!Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Be careful of the Coral
When snorkling it's best to look, but not touch the coral. I accidentally bumped up against a piece with my neck while taking photos underwater. It left a scrape that lasted for a few days, and it felt like an iron burn. Be careful!
Keep a close eye out for Jellyfish too.Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
If you are out for a hike and happen to see a tree with a red stipe of paint on the trunk, beware.
It is the Machnell Tree and you must not touch it. The sap as well as the fruit is poisonous.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Keep left when you are driving and slow down. Goats, Donkeys, Cows and Humans may be around the next switchback.
Roads can get really rough so make sure you have a four wheel drive if you plan on going off of any main roads.
Saw a few pit bulls tied to trees so if you are walking or running be aware.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- National/State Park
Safety tips for enjoying St John
-Use a map to plan your hike.
-Tell someone where you are going and when you will return. Avoid hiking or swimming alone.
Allow for sufficient time to explore, swim and rest.
-Remain on park trails - some trails cross private property, do not trespass into private property.
-Wear cool clothing, comfortable walking shoes. Sandals are not recommended. Sneakers are your best option.
-Protect yourself against the sun and insects.
-Bring water and snacks.
-Do not leave items or garbage on the trails. Make sure you leave with all the items you brought with you.
-Do not remove anything from the park property; this includes but is not limited to shells, rocks, artifacts, flowers, plants and animals.
-Pace yourself to prevent fatigue. Watch footing on wet rocks and trails made rough and slippery at times by heavy rainfall.
-Do not eat unknown fruits, nuts or berries. Some plants and fruits are poisonous and can cause allergic reactions. Do not touch unfamiliar plants. Avoid handling or picking plant life that may harbor stinging insects, cause rashes, scratches or skin punctures. Many plants have thorns beware, look but don't touch. Some ground covering scrubs cause severe itching - it is in your best interest to stay on trails.
-Do not climb on fragile historic structures. Leave artifacts in place.
-Hike early and return early.
-Carry and drink plenty of water. There is no safe drinking water along the trails. You can easily get dehydrated from the heat and from the exercise of hiking.
-Protect your skin and eyes from the sun. Use sunscreen, wear a hat, a shirt and UV protected sunglasses. The sunlight is most damaging between 10am and 2pm. Sun burns and sun poisoning are dangerous and painful.
-Don't leave valuable items exposed in your car or on the beach. Theft is not a big problem, but do not tempt potential thieves by leaving valuables in the open.
-Large, shore breaking waves are dangerous. Do not venture into the open ocean along coastlines. Use caution when entering and leaving the water when the surf is high.
-Do not feed or harass the wildlife.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Diving and Snorkeling
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