La Jolla to St. Croix: Summer views … here … and elsewhere


By Kelly Stewart

It’s June in La Jolla and sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s summer. The marine layer has been pretty persistent lately and we’ve had a lot of spring-like weather. But I don’t spend summer in La Jolla because each year I travel to St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands to work with hatchling leatherback sea turtles (our soon-to-be state marine reptile).

Last week, on the official first day of summer, I left my favorite town for one of the best places to do turtle fieldwork. That day was shaping up to be one of those fantastical San Diego days — sun just right, temperature just right, slight cool breeze off the ocean, marine layer nowhere in sight (not even lurking offshore), and beautiful blue skies. Oh, how I hate leaving my place on days like that!

For the next eight weeks though, I’ll be enjoying a different view and I’ll be writing my column from St. Croix hoping to share with you a little bit about the island’s natural history.

St. Croix, which is southeast of Puerto Rico and part of the Lesser Antilles, was acquired (along with St. John and St. Thomas, the other two U.S. Virgin Islands) by the United States in 1917 as a result of the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. $25 million later, the islands belonged to the United States.

Primarily a sugar (and rum) producing island throughout its history, it is dotted with stone windmills and has plenty of interesting wildlife. Each week I’ll share some of the highlights.