After hearing for so long about Maho Bay, I’m finally visiting the eco-tent camp during what seems to be its last couple of months. Opened in 1976 by Stanley Selengut, it has served since the first nails were hammered into the wooden boardwalks, tents and gathering areas, as an eco-lodge innovation that it is now a classic icon of sustainable travel. We didn’t venture far from camp our first day, instead we decided to get acquainted with the place. The northeastern storm had followed us down from New York, and Jason at activities, advised us that the swell it brought with it would affect conditions at Little Maho Bay more than Big Maho. So we walked past the general store and the coin-operated washing machines and followed the green sign down the goat trail to Big Maho. The blue waters of the bay peaked through the forest cover on our way down the rocky slope where tree roots sometimes offered a perfect stair, or a divergent obstacle. Several paths opened onto the beach and we picked one at random that provided a sandy seat under the overhang of a large sea grape. We sat and gazed out at the wonderfully complex horizon created by the green peaks of the other islets of the archipelago. The air carried a mist that played with the afternoon light and our three-dimensional scene
seemed to shift frequently that first long afternoon on the beach…
The spacious tents are nestled into the hillside of this tropical dry forest on the north shore of St John, USVI. Banana quits, warblers and thrashers make their homes in the acacia trees, yucca and strangler figs, and huge hermit crabs walk in the underbrush of the wooden stairs and walkways. The tents are more screen
than canvass with enough distance between them to allow the forest in. At night the sound of the sea travels up the hillside and provides a cadence for the nighttime singing insects.
It is no wonder that a wealthy buyer would want to occupy this bay, but keeping the conditions and future plans for the site a secret have made the loss felt by so many who have visited here only worse. I’ve been asking what will happen to this place and have heard different things from different people. I’m starting to sort it out. More later….