Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Best Honeymoon I Never Had: Part II

[First things first: 6 lbs. of the horrible 12 were gone today after just one day back on carb deplete. Yay! I still feel jiggly though...]

Woke up with the sun on Monday...no curtains in the bedroom to obscure the amazing view (although they did give us screens to block out some of the sun so we could sleep in). We had originally been scheduled to take a day-long sail on Breath (a large sailboat out of Coral Bay) on Monday morning. We were supposed to call them on Sunday when we got in (which we did), but never heard back. We set our alarm for early Monday just in case but since we hadn't heard back, we rolled over and went back to sleep until probably at least...10! :-) Ahhhh, vacation...

Got up and made a good (on program) breakfast -- feta frittata, toast and coffee. Yummy. The house was so beautiful we were in no hurry to leave for our day's activities, but we headed out late morning to explore the first of many snorkel areas on the island -- the closest one to our house: Salt Pond Bay.

I had heard mixed things about this as a snorkel spot -- some said it was amazing (including the caretaker of our house), some said it was murky and not good. Well, we drove to the parking area (we could have walked, it was probably less than 1/2 mile), parked, grabbed all our beach stuff (chairs and towels came with the house along with sarongs and snorkel gear -- we have our own snorkel gear though) and hiked down about 1/4 mile to the beach. Our first beach in St. John!!!! Wow, it was really beautiful!!!!

We set up our place on the beach (very few people there) and headed into the water. It was kind of choppy and murky and there wasn't too much to see although we did see a stingray (yikes, while they are beautiful, I am so scared of them...of course, that was the first thing we saw!!!!). After not too much time (1/2 hour maybe) we decided there was nothing much to see there so decided to try another place. Packed up our stuff, hiked back up the hill and were packing our car when a lady came by to ask how the snorkeling was there. It was her last day and she had been everywhere else on the island. We told her we were disappointed in Salt Pond, but she gave us a great recommendation for Hawksnest where we went later in the week.

On the way from Salt Pond to the North Shore beaches, we stopped for lunch at what was to become our absolute favorite go-to bar on the island, Island Blues. It's rustic and totally open to the air with a great view of Coral Bay...it's right ON Coral Bay actually. We had the BEST lime in da coconuts there (spent the next day surveying the other places on the island and this was verified...by far!). I had a spicy chicken wrap and cole slaw...not too bad on the diet and it was delish!

Then we were ready to snorkel more! Off to Maho Bay!! This beach is RIGHT on the North Shore Road. You park your Jeep and walk less than 10 feet to where you park your stuff in the sand. It's a beautiful, calm bay. We headed in. Swam around for quite a while and didn't see much: another stingray and a barracuda were about it. Disappointing. Oh well...there are plenty of beaches on St. John so...off to the next!!

Next (and last for this day) was Trunk Bay. This is the one that is SO beautiful and the photo on my camera. It was about 4 pm at this point and they "close" at 4:30 (that means the lifeguards go home, pretty much). This is the only beach where they charged for entry but they ended up letting us in free because it was so late in the day. Niiiiice. :-)

Trunk has a little island just off the shore and an underwater trail to follow for snorkeling so we were hopeful that we would see more there...and we did!! We learned from this that snorkeling around land mass (island, shore, etc.) is much better for seeing a lot of fish than striking out into the center of a big bay (which we had done at the other two places). Compared with the others, we saw a TON here...lots of all kinds of colorful fish...and, as I recall, my first parrot fish (the really colorful ones). It was really really fun, but I was getting tired and had to go in from the snorkel before DB was ready...the water was getting choppy and that bugs me, particularly at the end of the day. So I went in and DB snorkeled more. It was just a beautiful end to our first snorkel day.

After this we headed home and decided to grill some steaks and make some asparagus for dinner rather than going out (yes, this is still on our plan...at this point, we were still being really good). The food was yummy and we just hung around the house having our now-traditional coconut and pineapple rum on the rocks, listening to music and waiting for news from PD1...they started inducing her labor that night! :-)

Another early night to bed that night...SO nice to be on vacation with no real plans!

Tuesday we woke up the same as the day before...with the sun, then back to sleep. We slept very late that day because it was cloudy and we were lazy. ;-) Left the house close to noon (without having had any food...I was getting cranky!) and headed to Skinny Legs (a famous burger joint in Coral Bay) for brunch. Got there about noon and I ordered their speciality which is a bleu cheese burger with grilled onions and mushrooms and a side salad. Didn't eat the bun (yay me). We had a crazy waitress (she was super-efficient and had no interest at all in being nice...I kinda think she thought she was being gimmicky and funny, but she was just kinda rude). We had a couple of lime in da coconuts (LCs in future), then I went to do some shopping while DB went to the internet connection place to do some work (there's a whole little enclave down at Skinny's...restaurant, shops, etc.). I found some fun souvenirs and even checked my own e-mail while there.

As DB was finished, we went back into one of the shops to look at something and it started to pour down rain. We decided to stay in this (air-conditioned) shop called the Jolly Dog and chat with the lady working there. She was super-nice and we ended up talking about how DB and I met and convincing her to sign-up on match.com too! ;-) (I know she did this because we ran into her at Island Blues the next day and she told us...in fact, we ran into her a lot the rest of the week...small island!) I bought some lovely Larimar (Caribbean precious stone that is blue like the ocean) for me there...

After the deluge, it was still cloudy and rainy so somehow we just ended up (no decision really made) going to a few bars on our way home and sampling the LCs...testing to see who had the best (Island Blues won hands-down)...and stopped at another shop for some cute T-shirts for me and DB and some souvenirs for the grandkids (pirate souvenirs are very big with them...the pirate bandaids were all gone within a short time after opening, for example!).

This was the day we thought baby Dash was being born (and was also College Friend's birthday) so we were celebrating...a lot! ;-) Got home fairly early, kept drinking that old coconut rum, and then decided to go out to dinner (too lazy to cook).

We ended up at a great authentic (with goats roaming around in the eating area...and it smelled like it!) restaurant close to our house called Miss Lucy's. It was outside right on the bay and the food was really yummy (the best we had had so far)...I had shrimp stuffed with crab with squash and sweet potato stuffing (which I didn't really eat...don't like it, why eat the carbs?). DB had paella. We had more drinks (I had some wine...now starting to go off plan).

We were home before 8 and DB was passed out soon after that! I stayed up until about 10 reading and looking at maps...dreaming of the next snorkel day!

And, no, Dash did not arrive on that day...we got an e-mail early the next morning that he was born after 1 am on the 22nd. LONG labor for PD1...


Vickie said...

Loved all the vacation talk/details. And the pics. How warm was the water? All snorkeling that I have done was in the Bahamas - so water was in the 80's and it is crystal clear and smooth with lots of fish. I remember TONS of star fish and sand dollars and conk shells.

Interesting that half came right off - do you suppose that means about half was salt/plane? I almost said that yesterday - that I would have guessed about 1/2 was water retention.

Because I had absolutely NO idea - I looked up the stats for coconut milk (canned) and for 1/2 cup it is 150 calories, 14 g fat, 15 mg sodium, 2g carbs, 2g protein. I wondered if they just used it straight or if they added some form of sugar to it. I don't know if it varies by brand - that is just the first one that I saw.

Helen said...

Yeah, we looked up coconut milk last night and were HORRIFIED. I'm hoping they put coconut RUM in the drinks instead...but they looked awfully milky... ;-)

I'm down another almost 2 pounds today. It is clear that a lot of the "gain" was temporary...as long as I got back to the program QUICKLY.

Water is VERY warm...mid-80s. It's hot down there (80s and 90s) so it feels refreshing, not cold. It is also crystal clear (mostly...although it was choppy some places so a little murky some places).

Bahamas is pretty close to VIs...same fishies probably. :-)

Vickie said...

what did DB's weight do please???

Vickie said...

I haven't been on email yet - but middle child was loving the pics!!!

Laura said...

Oooh, wondering if you made it to Waterlemon Key?! that's where the best snorkeling by far was. Of course, I only snorkeled twice (I know, I know, but I'm not much of a swimmer & the BVI snorkel at the stormy, choppy Indians--where I had to JUMP off the sailboat--kind of did me in) but the gang said they loved Waterlemon a lot & that's the first snorkel I did. Lots of sting rays. They come close to shore. I saw one sea turtle in the middle of the bay at Waterlemon. But you are right--everything is around the islands in the bays or on the edge of the islands.

I loved the rainbow parrot fish! They were my faves.

Your Island Blues bar sounds lovely. The 1st mate on Breath the day we sailed worked at Skinny's too. I think he worked in the kitchen, said he made like 300 burgers a day! We didn't do anything on your side of the island except for Breath & Shipwreck Landing. For a small island, it's hard to do it all in one week. We didn't even come close (which was fine by me. I'm a let's do a lot of nothing kind of gal myself). But it sounds like Coral Bay side has a lot to offer.

Knew the weight would come off quickly. You'll have the rest off within a week, tops.

I was surprised at how warm the water was. It was amazing.

Looking forward to the next installment. You've done a super nice job of journaling your trip.

Helen said...

DB's weight gain from vacation is officially totally GONE as of this morning. He gained about 6 pounds and this morning weighed exactly what he did before we left. Trying. Hard. Not. To. Be. Jealous. Of. Men's. Metabolisms! ;-) I'll be down to pre-vacation weight soon...and beyond. :-)

No, Laura, we didn't do Waterlemon. You had mentioned the current and so had some others and that just scared me too much to enjoy it (even though I'm a fairly strong swimmer). We did go to Annenberg on our last day and THOUGHT about Waterlemon, but ended up at (our favorite) Cinnamon (which I think you didn't like!) instead. :-) I loved the parrot fish too. :-) More soon...

Vickie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
helen said...

Yikes, Vic...that is horrible!!! Please let me know what happens...this is the reason I don't think of retiring in a remote location (like STJ) because it's so damn hard to get help/to someone who needs help. Sending healing thoughts to all of you!