Someone once told me there are two seasons in the Caribbean: “Hurricane Season” and “Waiting for Hurricane Season”. On October 25th, we celebrated “Hurricane Thanksgiving”, a day where, here in the Virgin Islands, we give thanks for being spared the destruction of a major storm. Depending on who you talk to, you may have heard different takes on the “seasons” we experience here in the tropics. Hurricane season, tourist season, rainy season, dry season, turtle nesting season, mango season, even mosquito season and gongolo season (it’s another name for millipede - not to be mistaken for a centipede).
I am often asked if I miss the changing of the seasons most people experience on the US mainland. Having lived here for over 25 years, it’s hard to really even remember what it is like to experience those transitions. I do remember the bittersweet days of late summer as a child when I knew the new school year was fast approaching and my leisurely, lazy days would soon be full of schedules and routines. I do miss the beauty of the autumn leaves changing and all things apple, like apply butter and spiced apple cider (pumpkin spice was not, and still is not, my thing). Living in New England for most of my childhood, I remember the very, VERY cold winters (I wasn’t a fan) and how exciting it was to see the first flowers of spring pop up, sometimes through the melting snow. Island seasons may be different, but they are still very significant and distinct!
Hurricane season, especially in the aftermath of the 2017 storm season here in the Virgin Islands, is a stressful time for many of us who live in paradise year-round. The height of this is September, and this year we were kept very much on our toes. The end of September and transition into October seemed to bring a sigh of relief to the island itself, as we all seemed to unwind just a bit with another year spared from a bad storm.
Sea turtle nesting season is one that is always on my radar, as one of our jewelry collections pays tribute to the endangered sea turtles that make their nests on our island’s beaches. Sea turtle season also brings the closure of one of the island’s most popular and most beautiful beaches, Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge, as it is a significant nesting beach for leatherback turtles. Some people even refer to “Sandy Point Season” as this is a beach that is not open year-round.
In the summer, we are delighted with an abundance of mangoes, in all the many varieties. Did you know there is more that one type of mango? There are many more! In fact, there is a yearly event at the St. George Village Botanical Gardens where we celebrate this wonderful tropical fruit. FantaSea Jewelry is a yearly vendor at this festive community event held every August.
Mango Melee is held each August at the St. George Villiage Botanical Gardens.
The beginning of November often brings “snow-bird” sightings, as I live in an area where lots of folks who split their time between homes up north and homes on the island, live. This influx of seasonal residents always brings a new and different energy to St. Croix. The winter tourists are soon to follow, and the island sort of “wakes up” from its offseason slumber. The winds of change, along with the “Christmas Winds” or Tradewinds, have most certainly blown in.
Living in the Caribbean is anything but predictable, and our seasons reflect that. Some years our Tradewinds roll back in around December, this year they seem to have arrived early and are most certainly welcome! Sea turtles make their nests year-round, though they are most concentrated during the standard nesting season. Every day, and every season is a new experience and adventure in paradise, and also a lesson in going with the flow. That’s what island life is all about, after all!
What's your favorite island season?
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