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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 had our rental car reserved until Friday at 1:15 pm and took full advantage of it ~ returning it ONE MINUTE before it was to turn into a pumpkin & cost us an extra day. Breakfast Buffet was included in our room rate and we ate like kings every morning. My favorite being the green tea with infused pineapple and the freshly sliced mango. After a good morning nourishing, we headed to Trunk Bay which is located within the National Park. It’s the only beach on St. John you have to pay to enter but it’s only $4.00 per person and well worth it. The park service maintains the beach area and there are showers, changing areas, information desk and lifeguards.

I hate to even use the word gorgeous because all the beaches on St. John fit that description but Trunk Bay is a stand-out among them:

 

View of Trunk Bay from roadside:

We arrived by 8:30 am and, other than one other family, we had the beach to ourselves. We enjoyed about an hour on the beach and then went snorkeling along the underwater snorkel trail  which has plaques, generally located 5 to 15 feet beneath you, that give you interesting facts about the coral and fish you may see while snorkeling. There were plenty of fish to see and the swim was an easy one ~ it’s geared toward beginners and I didn’t bother with the fins. FM and FG did the trail first while I watched our stuff on the beach and then we switched. I went out with FG while FM stayed ashore. The snorkel trail takes about 15-20 minutes.

Whenever I snorkel, I get mesmerized by the fish and feel like I’m in a whole other world. I was more than a little shocked when I completed the trail, popped my head up, looked toward the beach and saw this:

 

and this:

and this:

Hoards of people had invaded Trunk Bay! FM said he was peacefully enjoying the tranquility when he heard an announcement over a bull horn calling out to a group of cruise ship people to head to the beach. FM heard them coming first and then he saw them pouring onto the beach.  Turns out, everyday, the day trippers from the cruise trips docked in St. Thomas, arrive around 10 -10:30 and then leave around 3-3:30. Needless to say, if you find yourself on St. John and want to enjoy Trunk Bay ~ go EARLY or LATE but not during the middle of the day. At first, we thought it might be entertaining to “observe” the cruise people but then the family who plopped themselves next to us started creeping me out. The husband (I’m guessing to be about 35 years old) kept calling his wife “Mommy.” She was in the water and he’d yell “Mommy, look at my mask ~ don’t I look good?”

It was definitely time to pull up the beach towel and head to another beautiful beach: Cinnamon Bay

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Skinny Legs in Coral Bay

My friend, Sandie, who lives on the island, suggested we eat at Skinny Legs while we’re here. My older brother used to call me skinny legs when I was little so how could I not give it a try?! Even though we were looking like a trio of salty dogs from our snorkeling adventure, we wandered into Skinny Legs for dinner. No one gave us a second glance as to the way we were dressed or how we looked. Definitely my kind of joint:

Coral Bay is on the other side of the island, about a 45 minute drive from Cruz Bay. It has a beautiful harbor and there’s no doubt as to why the sailors would want to stop in:

 

 

 It’s very quaint and less affected by the cruise boat tourist trade and caters more to the sailing crowd. Very different atmosphere. We didn’t spend a lot of time there but it would be a place we’d go again on the next visit. Yes, we’re already thinking about the next visit.

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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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