St. Thomas, USVI

Volume 6, Issue 1; 2003-02

The perfect vacation.

“Ahhh.”

Sunday, 02 Feb 2003

Checked in.

Relaxed on the beach. Arrived. Warm. Sunny. A free rum punch at the airport. Ahhh.

Splashed around and did some snorkling.

Spectacular sunset. Emphasis on spectacular.

“Uncountably finite”

Monday

Today we started by trying to find Limetree Beach. Failing that, we went to Morningstar Beach. It was hot and windy, the only shade provided by humid beach umbrellas. As this was a far cry from the delightful palm-tree covered beach back at our own Secret Harbour, we gave up in short order.

Next we took a winding route toward Megan's Bay. Along the way, we stopped to view it from Drake's Seat. Although not known for good snorkling, there were several large patches of coral visible inthe magical, turquoise water of the bay.

Further up the mountain, we had yummy Banana Daiquiris at Mountain Top before heading back down the steep winding road to Megan's Bay. (These roads test your transmission on the way up, your breaks on the way down, and your nerves in both directions!)

It was cloudy by the time we reached Megan's Bay. In fact, we had driven through a brief shower on the way. But it was still lovely to bask in the warmth on comfortable deck chairs by the water.

Heading out into the water to examine the coral wildlife presented an amazing surprise: there isn't any coral at Megan's Bay.

Those dark formations so clearly visible from Drake's Seat and Mountain Top were schools of fish! My “back of an envelope” calculation puts the schools (there were several distinct schools throughout the bay) at well over a quarter million tiny little fish each. And about a dozen pelican feasting. And at least one big fish, probably a Tarpin, as well. I think I'm content to have only ever seen that one out of the water, as he lept chasing minnows, as opposed to a more direct goggles-to-gaping maw view!

Grocery shopping, rain, and another dip at Secret Harbour.

“Infinite loop”

Tuesday

Sun. Clouds. Crystaline tourquoise water. Snorkle. Incandescent fish. Rum punch. Lounge. Shake well. Repeat until done.

To break up the insufferable monotony of the day, we slipped down to Havensight Mall for a little shopping. Cheese and gourmet treats. Pastries at “Cream and Crumb”. A tanzanite and opal ring at Cardow. Just a little diversion from the sand and sun.

Speaking of sand and sun. Repeat again. You aren't done yet.

“St. John”

Wednesday

This morning we took the car ferry to St. John. Here's a tip: buy a round-trip ticket: return ticket holder's get priority service and there were a few tense moments at the end of the day where I mentally calculated what we'd do if we missed the last ferry.

On St. John, we visited four bays: Hawksnest, perhaps the most picturesque quarter-mile of beach I've ever seen, Francis which carried with it the possibility of seeing a sea turtle, but in retrospect not much else, Cinnamon which was large and delightful even if we couldn't find any good snorkling, and Trunk Bay where the underwater snorkling trail is located.

Island conditions conspired against good snorkling, the surf was up and the water was quite murky. Still, the sights were delightful at Hawksnest and Trunk Bay. And I reveled in the opportunity to indulge in a little body surfing at Cinnamon Bay.

“I think I can, I think I can…”

Thursday

This morning we went to the Reneisance Bay Resort where I endeavored to learn windsurfing. An hour later I think I was starting to get the hang of it. I was also starting to get tired and all my progress was negative. Another five or six hours of progress and I might give a respectable performace. Like riding a bike, or even more like learning to skateboard, it can't be taught, it can only be learned.

After shopping in Charlotte Amalie, we came back to Secret Harbour for more snorkling and relaxing. I got a chance to get close to a gorgeous pair of Iguana up by the bar.

On the subject of iguana; there were all sorts of neat creatures around on land too.

I need a career that I can accomplish from here. My current career would do fine, in fact. I wonder if I can convince my employer?

Chris, Dan, Dave, Ian, Paul, Roy, Stuart, Tim, Tim, this Rum Punch is for you. Sorry I can't be there. Uhm, well, as sorry as I can be if this is the alternative. I'm sure you understand.

“A paddling we will go...”

Friday

Well, I'll go, anyway. Deb had a massage instead. The dive guide who rented me the kayak described the conditions as “a bit tippy” beyond the protected waters of the bay and he was right. I didn't tip, but I wasn't able to stray much beyond the bay.

On my first brief foray out beyond the calm waters, I decided a full scale exploration of the coast was beyond my kayaking skill. The guide explained later that it was probably beyond the capabilities of the kayak itself, but I think he was being generous to a guest.

Later we relaxed and lounged in the sun at Secret Harbour. I saw a small school of large Parrot Fish. We got a lot of rays. A large iguana wandered across the beach, happy to nibble orange slices from a guest.

Tonight we return to Craig and Sally's.

"Sunshine and shade"

Saturday

A day at the beach. A perfect day at the beach. We didn't go anywhere. We didn't do anything. Perfect.

“Omen?”

Sunday

A last lovely morning on the beach. A last langerous snorkle over coral crevices and brightly colored fish.

And a heck of a schlep through customs and security. If you're going to buy gifts, souveniers, and 12 liters of liquor (and at these prices, who isn't going to buy all that they'll let you take home?), leave more room in your suitcases on the way down, that's my advice.

An aircraft with working brakes is nice too. We have do the on again, off again, airplane shuffle. Instead of leaving at 5:30, we're not leaving until 9:15.

Maybe it's a message: don't go home, stay here.

Consessions: closed. Gift shop: closed. Vending machines: none. Star chef Mario Batali starved with us in the airport waiting for the next plane. Then he decided to stay behind. Space in business class? Yes? Coupons to upgrade? Yes, I'll buy a couple of coupons to finish the upgrade. This is much more comfortable.

I'll spare you the story of the Domino's pizza. I didn't have enough cash on me anyway. No, American Airlines wasn't buying. On the whole, AA gets pretty low marks for handling this delay. Sorry fellas: I suggest you devise some sort of contingency plan so that you can offer more than a cup of soda and a packet of cookies to folks waiting four or more hours for a meal.

But at least the snow held off at JFK so we are going home. Whether we want to or not.

Comments

I am looking for a restaurant that is nice for lunch that over looks megans bay. We will be in St. John for a few weeks and wanted to check out megans bay.

—Posted by Tina on 12 Oct 2005 @ 05:46 UTC #

I'm going to be vacationing at Point Pleasant on St Thomas soon. I was wondering if there is a spot to fish on shore?

—Posted by Hilary Jones on 22 Oct 2006 @ 03:10 UTC #

Certainly enjoyed your travelog Norman. Really made me jealous as I sit here in cold wet Dallas. Thanks for sharing, and could you suggest a web site where I can find out more about the V.I.s Gil

—Posted by Gil on 01 Feb 2007 @ 06:03 UTC #

Thoroughly enjoyed this page. Fantastic photos. We leave for the islands this Sunday. Viewing your travel log makes me feel as though I am already there. Thanks!

—Posted by Susan Barlow on 14 Mar 2008 @ 12:13 UTC #