Things to Do in St. John: Best Beaches, Restaurants & Places to Stay

The last time I came to St. John, one of the islands that makes up the United States Virgin Islands, was eight years ago. I was there to leave my father’s ashes behind. It was his favorite place, and, in memory, at least, it was mine, too. He visited before my birth, and then many times after. He loved the solitude, he told me, the permission to sit on the beach with nothing but a book, a mask, and a set of fins. He loved to snorkel, a whole world unfolding beneath the turquoise water, always a surprise, even when you had seen it before. For many years, we went to the island as a family, my father — my ever-adventurous water companion — chasing turtles and rays and whatever great adventure the water promised next.  Sometimes, it’s hard to feel the same way about a place that looms large in memory. But St. John, I recently discovered when I recently returned, doesn’t suffer that indignity. In 1956, Laurance Rockefeller placed 60 percent of the island in trust with the National Park Service. Since that time, the majority of the island has remained pristine, with no buildings sullying the coastline. On any number of beaches, you can look up and see not a single thing be...

Dungeness crab sport fishing season opens Saturday in the Bay Area

It’s time for an annual ritual for many in the Bay Area: the start of the Dungeness crab season. The recreational season officially opens Nov. 2, which means super-enthusiastic sport fishers will head out on boats or lower their crab pots from piers in the early hours of the weekend. This year, the Dungeness crab recreational fishing season is scheduled to last until June 30 for the coastal area as far north as Point Arena in Mendocino County (the counties farther north will stay open until July 30). On Friday, the California Department of Public Health issued a safety warning to crabbers not to eat the shellfish’s viscera, or guts, because of elevated levels of domoic acid found in their organs. The department also recommended rinsing crabs after cleaning them, and throwing out any water used to cook crabs. The commercial crab season is currently scheduled to open Nov. 15. That’s when Bay Area markets and restaurants will start expecting the crustaceans. But for now, anglers have a daily limit of 10 Dungeness crabs, each which measure at least 5¾ inches across the shell. Licenses are required for most crab fishing, whether it’s from a party boat or a kayak, though they’re not n...