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Sailing and Snorkeling

May 20, 2013

Virgin Islands – Friday, May 10

With all my donations for the Virgin Islands done, today was a sailing and snorkeling play day – a treat from my sister as thanks for giving her a place to stay for a week! We didn’t have to be at the marina on the east side of the island til 9:45, so Christy and I got up early and drove down to the Magens Bay Beach so we could get some walking in – we knew we’d be too busy snorkeling to do any walking on the beaches we’d be near today. So we walked 4 miles back and forth – barefoot along the pretty beach. There was a cute little rowboat we saw last time down here called No Mo Trouble, and I wanted a picture of it that time, but the glare of the sun was so strong, it was hard to see what I was trying to take a picture of and all I got was sand. So I tried to take a picture this morning, and once again, my camera didn’t work. Chris and I decided I’m just not supposed to get a picture of that boat – because it’s taking all potential future troubles of my trip and storing them in the spirit of the boat, and I can’t get a picture of that! Logical early morning reasoning! It was quiet in the early morning, although we weren’t the only ones down there. Some families with babies were down there – avoiding the heat of the day.

Then we drove over to Red Hook again, and to my surprise, my camera started working again. We ran across a Kitten Kabana in the parking lot, and Chris fed those cats too – yes, she had cans of cat food in the car! Our sailboat was called New Horizons, and Chris guessed it was about a 50 footer. There were 20-25 people on it for today, and although the boat used a motor to get out of the harbor, she hoisted her sails when we were on the open ocean, and we sailed for about an hour over to a cove off St. John Island. The day couldn’t have been prettier – a lovely way to end our stay in the Virgin Islands. Chris and I were up near the bow enjoying the breeze and the sails, and they brought everyone juice and muffins and started passing out snorkeling gear.

Our first stop was at Honeymoon Beach (and there was a couple on their honeymoon on board), and most of us got in the water quickly – we had an hour to swim around there. We hadn’t been in the water more than 5 minutes when Chris already spotted a nurse shark (the captain said they were around and that they were harmless) and a barracuda. We followed the nurse shark for a bit – it was swimming near the bottom, and then looked at the barracuda who was hanging out near the boat. I didn’t have my underwater camera this time because of the probable little leak problem (but I took it out in the next bay). Then we headed for the rocks by the shore and spent time swimming along all of those – admiring tons of colorful fish and lots of different kinds of coral.

The time went fast and we made our way back to the boat where they had a big lunch set up – big meatballs in tomato sauce covered with tons of cheese, pasta salad, green bean salad, sliced fruit and veggies and brownies. The sun was really really hot on the water, and people either stayed under the awning or kept covered up with towels and all. When lunch was over, one sail was raised (the other couldn’t be because of the awning) and we sailed over to another beach area. As we were getting close to where they were going to anchor, we began to see lots of stingrays flapping their way along the bottom. The water is so clear we could see down a long ways. As we anchored, a big puffer fish appeared, and there was another barracuda hovering around. They actually anchored a little too close to another yacht, so we lost some snorkeling time as they re-anchored. But we got in the water as fast as we could, and I took my camera with me this time, and headed over to the rocks to see the fish. I didn’t see any sting rays once I was actually in the water, but I got good close-up looks at the puffer fish and some other weird looking fish and the barracuda, who had fierce-looking teeth! It seemed like we had no sooner gotten in the water than they were calling us in – the time just goes so fast! There’s a whole new world to see under the water!

Christy and I loved our day out on the boat – it’s so peaceful to be out in the wind and waves, and it was a special part of my journey to have her around for a whole week – we don’t usually get a lot of time together. Someone took a picture of us up by the bow at the end of the day, and that was the last the camera worked – it needs some repairs. Luckily I had ordered a new camera to arrive at Toni’s apartment by the time I’m back there.

Once we were back in the harbor, we drove back to the Magens Bay Beach to walk 4 more miles – I leave bright and early in the morning, and this was our last chance to finish up the walking. And we did! We actually bumped into a couple people we had been sitting near on the sailing trip, and they couldn’t believe we had walked 4 miles both before the trip, and then again afterwards! But we finished the 56 miles!

Since it was Friday night, we had made reservations at the Hook, Line and Sinker restaurant for our farewell dinner, which was my Mom’s treat – a day full of treats for me 🙂 We made our way over there, and were seated once again by the big windows that opened up to the marina. But they had to be closed soon because a ferocious thunderstorm came through, with lots of lightening and a torrential downpour. No one was able to go anywhere for a while. But we enjoyed a wonderful meal along with the storm – glad we weren’t out in it, and glad it hadn’t stormed like that during the day. When we were done eating, it began to let up, and we wondered about all the boats in the marina that now had a lot of water in them, and sure enough, we saw one guy arrive and start to bail out his boat.

Then it was time to head back and start packing up. Christy now has the record for most miles walked with me (all 56 – yay!) and we did all 7 donations – the Animal Care Center on St. John, the Women’s Coalition on St. Croix, the Bethlehem House and the Soup Kitchen that are part of the Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, the St. Thomas Reformed Church, and the American Legion. I’ve been spoiled having Taryn and Jared around for a week in Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, and having that overlap with Christy’s time here – a good chunk of family time!

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