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Vacation Wrap-Up

Our last two days on St. John were spent at the resort ~ we felt no need to wander the island anymore. Favorite Girl could have spent the whole day at the beach just outside of our room but we took her on a mini-boonie stomp ~ it was only a half mile hike but, if you ask FG, she’ll tell you it felt like a grueling 5 mile climb. She was not pleased with having to hike around looking at lizards and crabs when she could have been floating in the water looking at fish.

We kept to our goal of two new beaches a day and, on Saturday we visited two more beaches at Caneel, Paradise Beach:

and Turtle Bay:

After the hike, FG and FM went for a little sail around Caneel Bay:

There were a lot of seasoned sailors who were anxious to help FM with his sailing ~ he got a lot of comments of what he should and shouldn’t be doing 😉 No doubt there are a lot of over-achievers who stay at the hotel and it was nice they wanted to share their expetise. Of course, FM didn’t listen to them, he doesn’t like to be told how to do things. Not by me or anyone else. Personally, I thought he did well for not having sailed a boat since his Boy Scout days. I preferred not to go out on the sunfish ~ it’s too crowded in the bay and I always think the ferry boat is going to run me over.

We enjoyed a sunset dinner at The Equator Restaurant which is located in the old Sugar Mill:

It’s a beautiful setting and the food was fabulous ~ in fact, it was the best dinner we had during our stay. 

On Sunday, we walked to Little Caneel Bay and Honeymoon Bay. We reached our goal of two beaches a day and saw all seven of the beaches at Caneel. We spent most of the day snorkeling right outside of our room. Made it easy to rinse off, read a little and then head back to the water. I was so relaxed I didn’t even want to go up to the hotel for lunch so FM was nice enough to bring me a bite to eat.

Our flight out of St. Thomas was at 8 am which meant we had to catch a 5:30 am water taxi. At least it was too early in the morning for me to feel too sad about leaving, I was relieved we actually made the boat on time! But, really, I was sad ~ so many fond memories are wrapped up in that place.

Here’s FG on the boat leaving the island:

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Cinnamon Bay should be called Sugar Bay because the sand is so white and soft. Like Trunk Bay, Cinnamon is located within the National Park. The beach has a small rental shop for items such as snorkel gear, boogie boards, etc. It’s a long winding beach with more waves than the other beaches on the island so it’s more popular with the “surfers” ~ a little more eye candy at this beach 😉

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We decided to be adventurous and rent a Jeep for a self-guided island tour. Driving is on the left here and I only had to remind FM a couple times. The roads are hilly, narrow, steep and have hair-pin turns every 100 feet or so. The maximum speed limit on the island is 20 miles per hour with several sections at only 10mph.

Before leaving the hotel property, we decided to take a quick snorkel dip at a beach we hadn’t been to yet: Scott Beach. Children under 13 are not allowed on the beach so we went to the far end of the beach, put our snorkel gear on and got into the water quickly. The reason for the no kids rule is there are a lot of honeymooners at the hotel and they attempt to have a peaceful place for them to enjoy. Since there are 7 beaches here at Caneel, having two as a no children beach is a good attempt on the part of the hotel to please all their guests. It used to be no children under 13 allowed at the hotel at all but that was back in the day (80’s and before). The beach is beautiful but then again I haven’t seen a bad beach yet:

We picked up our rental Jeep at 1:00 pm and headed off to the Annaberg Ruins:

Annaberg Ruins are located at the northeastern end of the North Shore Road and this is where they made rum, sugar and molasses in the 18th and 19th Century. The hill was named after the plantation owner’s daughter, Anna. The windmill of the plantation (see photo above) was the tallest of the 5 windmills on St. John. When we toured the area, it was already hot and humid which made me think of the poor slaves and the beasts of burden (mules, horses and donkeys) who were the backbone of the plantation. How awful it must have been to work in such abhorrent conditions.

Leinster Bay is very close to Annaberg Ruins, so we left our jeep parked there and walked .8 miles down an easy, well-maintained trail. Originally, FM wanted us to swim to the nearby Watermelon Cay but once we got to Leinster Bay, several people told us they saw more fish and sea creatures snorkeling in the bay rather than around the Cay. Plus those pesky jelly fish were out at the Cay. We snorkeled in the bay and what a treat. We saw several sea turtles who were so unaware of us. They just swam around and ate the seagrass on the ocean floor. FG loved the turtles but was not as calm when she got a glimpse of the sting ray who was also just hanging out and digging in the sandy bottom. I was fascinated by it all especially the rays and the turtles. They are so interesting to watch and I was very close to them. I’m very leery of the ray though and can’t help but think of the freak accident that Steve Erwin had with the sting ray. I try to stay on the head side of the sting ray but that’s easier said then done. I didn’t have to worry about FG ~ she was “out of there” as soon as we said “look at the sting ray, it’s swimming below you.”

Looking lovely with our “snorkel” hairstyle and feeling wet & sandy, we headed to the town of Coral Bay for an early dinner…

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Besides the fabulous fishes in the sea, we’ve seen some great wildlife just outside our room. This handsome fellow was wandering around the other day…

An employee told us he has a much bigger brother living outside the cottages just up the hill. We’ll have to check for him tomorrow.

The donkeys always bring a smile when we see them. I can’t help but think of Donk-kay from Shrek:

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St. John has so many beautiful beaches so we needed to go to at least two a day just to get our fill. We took a break from St. John beaches to visit Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Virgin Gorda is much more dry than St. John ~ complete with cactus plants. We walked around the property which took all of 10 minutes then headed to the beach. The fish were very friendly, almost playful.

A couple photos of the ABOSOLUTELY GORGEOUS Little Dix beach!

We caught the return ferry to Caneel at the Little Dix Bay dock but we were late departing. A honeymoon couple (so we’ll forgive them if they were a little distracted) got on the wrong boat and were on their way to Beef Island. We had to wait until they returned to Little Dix and could get on our boat. Travelers Hint #256: Always ask “Is this the boat (plane, bus) to “where ever” you’re heading?”

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Yesterday, we took the weekly ferry from Caneel Bay to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. This is a day trip which leaves at 8am and returns at about 4pm The boat trip was about an hour and a half &, along the way, we were able to see Tortola, Norman Island, Peter Island, Salt Island, Cooper Island, and Beef Island. The Caribbean is littered with these wonderful drops of land.

As a teenager, we lived in Puerto Rico and the resorts where my dad worked had two sister properties: Caneel Bay and Little Dix Bay. I was fortunate enough to spent time on both St. John and Virgin Gorda visiting friends of my parents. I would babysit for their children and during my off-duty time, I went to the beach, played tennis and enjoyed the area. As you can see, my love of islands comes from my parents.

This trip was planned so I could show FM and FG this beautiful part of the world. For me, it’s a little strange because most things are the same and feels so familiar but, then again, after so many years, a lot of changes have occurred. 

Virgin Gorda is still as beautiful as ever but has a lot of new construction and additions. The boat landed at the dock, we went through immigration which is where I got another passport stamp, then we headed about 1.2 miles by taxi to The Baths. At the Baths, there are several big boulders leaning against one another and water flows in-between creating a very interesting hike and swim area. 

There’s also a beautiful bay at The Baths to swim and snorkel in ~ unfortunately, there were a ton of other “daytrippers” attempting to enjoy paradise. And the jelly fish decided to make it an adventure in pain for all of us. Fortunately, we all saw several jelly fish floating but we all managed not to get stung.

After spending the morning at The Baths, we headed over to Little Dix Bay to enjoy yet another gorgeous beach. More to follow tomorrow…

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We continued our tradition of visiting Tarague Beach on Sunday afternoon. It’s so nice to be able to hop in the car and be at a beautiful beach within 10 minutes. This time we decided to explore the Tarague Trail and ended up hiking 3 miles along the water.

We found these guys along the way:

 

One crab was in desperate need of a new shell ~ I’m always fascinated as to how they find their new homes.

We could not have asked for a more beautiful view along the route:

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