We have been on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands for just over 3 days. Here is the first half of the week's recap.
Day One - Saturday
We left snow on the ground in Ohio. Flights were great and uneventful. We arrived in St. Thomas in the early afternoon... grabbed a taxi to the Red Hook Ferry dock... grabbed a beer, and jumped on the ferry to St. John.
After getting our rental Jeep, we headed to the Carnival Beach House, which we TOTALLY RECOMMEND! The view is spectacular and the amenities are fabulous.
At dinnertime, completely exhausted, we to headed to a restaurant in Cruz Bay called Cactus on the Blue. The only thing I remember about that dinner was that I asked the sweet West Indian waitress what sort of bird was making this whistling sound near our table... and she responded, "Oh mama... that's no bird... that's a cricket!" Oh mama.
We stopped at the grocery store that night on the way back to the villa. Super expensive, but very well stocked with the usual that you would see in the States.
Matt and I were on St. John fifteen years ago for our honeymoon, and fifteen years changes much. It was almost hard to recognize the quiet, native Cruz Bay from fifteen years ago. The restaurants have multiplied by ten, the taxis, it seems by 100, and the tourists are EVERYWHERE.
Day Two - Sunday
We headed to the beach, of course! On the way, we saw two of the island's donkeys. Sweet donkeys.
We chose Cinnamon Bay to spend as much time as we could... a band of sever weather was heading in from Tropical Storm Tomas. We did get a few hours on the beach and in the water under some sun... until the rain started... and then, we just swam in the rain for a while.
The days here seem so long! Seems like time just stands still when you have practically zero responsibilities (i.e. work, children) to tend to.
It was mid-day when we ended up at the infamous Skinny Leggs in Coral Bay. It is really a shack, with a tin roof in some parts and tarps in others. It was pouring by the time we made it there, so we spent much of the afternoon eating, drinking, and talking to the locals. Their stories are amazing.
It was an early lights out, likely due to the tropical rum concoctions.
Oh, but one thing I almost forgot... on the way to dinner... we saw donkey... goats (LOTS of goats) and pigs & piglets. Wild. Domesticated. Who knows. But certainly not contained.
Day Three - Monday
We woke up planning on going to Waterlemon Cay, which was told to be THE spot for sea turtles. Fabulous snorkeling was our plan, but Mother Nature was not given our itinerary... obviously.
To get to Watermelon Cay, you park on the far side of Leinster Bay, and hike through what seems like the jungle to get to where the beach was SUPPOSED to be... "they" say it was about 0.2 miles, but if you have hiked it, you know "they" lie. Likely it could seem longer with the 156% humidity.
Because of the incredible rain storm we had the night before, when we got to where we were supposed to be, past the termite nests and tequila plants, the beach was gone... and the water was murky. So murky, that we may as well have been swimming in Lake Erie. We sent Wayne out to test the waters to see if he could get a view of anything... nada.
So, we turned around... and hiked all the way back to where we parked. By the time we got to the end of the trail, the water seemed to have cleared... so we hobbled over the rocks in our snorkel gear and hopped in. Pretty decent snorkeling after all. But, dudes... after hiking in the humidity, THEN spending an hour or so snorkeling, we were pooped and just wanted to sit on some sand.
So, we headed back to Cinnamon Bay, hoping for some peace. Peace is not what we found.
Before we headed on to the beach, we bought lunch from a little restaurant on the beach. You have to walk through the campground area to get to the beach at Cinnamon. And, it was flooded. So, we waded through the flooded area to the beach. And there we found some huge waves!
The surf was up so high and the waves were so big (probably 8-10 feet) that we could not find a dry spot anywhere to sit and eat lunch. Our stuff was taken over by water at least two times... some of us ended up with a soggy lunch, and one of us ended up with a wet camera. Outcome still unknown.
We headed home and grilled out. Then headed back to Cruz Bay for some night life. We were just exhausted after the busy day, so night life was definitely not what we had. Just some drinks (Tap House... St. John's own microbrewery) and some food. Then off to bed.
Good place to let you know that the 'no-seeum' bugs here are awful! Three of the four of us are bitten up from head to toe!
Tuesday - Day Four
The water seemed to have calmed by this morning, so we sat for a while on the pebble beach that meets Klein Bay at the base of the property where we are staying. The shell collecting is amazing on this 'beach' and the sound of the pebbles/rocks rolling back into the water post-wave-crash is incredible.
Matt and Wayne headed out to snorkel, hoping to see the spotted sting rays that this bay is famous for. They snorkeled a good distance, out of our sight, and around the the point of the bay... and ended up coming back with good news. They had seen one spotted sting ray - estimates vary, but they think the one they saw was likely 4 feet across - and a few solid grey ones. They also saw squid and some cool fish of all sized in the motel 6 of the sea... rocks along the shore.
The weather had turned in our favor, but clearly there was a system on the horizon. So this time the boys went back out with Colleen in the hopes of seeing more sting ray. They did... but didn't get back in time before the rains came. LOTS of rain. So much so that I was standing, watching patiently for little heads to pop around the corner, contemplating who one would call in the event of an emergency around here. They made it back safe and sound and ended up having a dip in the pool while it rained down on them.
We made a trip back into Cruz Bay in the late afternoon for some shopping and dinner. We ate at what is possibly the only Italian restaurant on the island, only because it was open and the closest to us at the time when we needed to eat. I feel like there are so many great restaurants that we need to explore, yet so little time.
Tomorrow... stay tuned... we plan on good weather at Trunk Bay after a morning breakfast in town... Relaxing and snorkeling the trail is all that is on the agenda.
Paradise. Although, we are exhausted. Are we too old for paradise?