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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day four: Yeah, I think I could live here

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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day four: Yeah, I think I could live here

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(@ccasebolt)
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I was up again before 6:30 and out on the balcony, coffee in hand, again this morning. I really enjoy my morning quiet time, and do the same thing at home when I get the chance. What makes a vacation for me is having my time accompanied by a gorgeous view, and not having to follow it with a trip to work. Ahhhhh....

One difference between my mornings on the balcony at Concordia and this one on the villa balcony is the type of sounds I listened to. At Concordia I heard the surf from Drunk bay along with a variety of different bird sounds - VERY peaceful. At the Westin villa I heard a few birds, though not as many as at Concordia, along with the sound of an occasional car driving along the South Shore road. In addition to the sounds, you cannot beat Concordia's view. The Westin villa's view & sounds were not bad at all, just a bit different, and still very nice.

Hubby was still sleeping, so I decided to attend 9:30 mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel church in Cruz Bay. I arrived in town a few minutes early in case parking was an issue (it wasn't), so I was about 15 minutes early for mass (somehow that never happens at home). The church building is referred to as the "new church", as construction was completed late last year. It is a small, but very pretty church located where the old church once stood (adjacent to Raintree Court). One of my first observations upon entering was the a lovely mural on the wall behind the altar which is made to appear as though you're gazing through archways from a balcony overlooking the water. Very nice! My next observation was that many of the congregation were quite formally dressed - much more so than I usually see at home; I would compare it to Easter Sunday dress. I hadn't brought anything quite that formal with me (I wore capris and a blouse), but there were others in the same boat as I was, so I didn't feel out of place either. Another observation - 9:30 mass is videotaped and televised. Wouldn't you know I had chosen to sit on the center aisle where I would be within at close range of the camera (which was already taping by the time I noticed - too late to change seats without being caught on tape!).

As Mass began, Fr. Crespo announced that this was the patronal feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel and that they had a special celebration planned; we should get comfortable because we wouldn't be going anywhere for awhile. They began with the Rosary (okay, I admit, it had been awhile for me), then hymns (the choir, complete with steel drums, bongos, and a tambourine, is small but excellent!), and finally Mass at about 10:00. Music is very much a part of Sunday celebration in this parish. The choir, and well as many of the parishoners, are very spiritual - they sang their hearts out, clapped, and moved to the music - I found it to be very inspirational and joined in as best I could considering I didn't know all the hymns. After Mass (~11:30) a reception luncheon, to which we all were invited, was planned. The parishoners appear to be a very close-knit group - I think Sunday at church is an all day affair for many. It was heart-warming to see. I left OLMC church very glad that I had attended.

When I returned to the villa (where hubby was wondering where on earth I had been for over two hours), I changed, then we left to meet Rod and Amy at Maho. We found a car-sized hidey-hole along the road to park in, and found them on the beach. Amy had made about a dozen sandwiches, and packed drinks and snacks for the four of us, so we were set for the afternoon.

After liming a bit, we decided to snorkel. The snorkeling was better than Salt Pond bay had been the day before. Visibility was quite good (although still not as crystal clear as I've seen in the past). One noticeable difference this time were the thermoclines we passed through as swam along the rights side of the beach toward the point - it was almost chilly in some spots, and very warm in others. Perhaps a result of recent rain showers?

We packed up around 3:00 and headed back to town to pick up something to make for dinner. The mahi mahi looked super-fresh and at $12.99/lb was by far the least expensive fish available at Starfish. We also bought summer squash, yellow rice, a lime, shallots, fresh ginger, and a bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz (can't for the life of me remember how much this set us back).

We prepared the mahi for grilling with the lime (both juice and zest), minced shallots, and minced ginger; sauteed the squash (also with shallots), and cooked the rice. Rod and Amy came over with another bottle of red wine (you can never have too much, can you?) which the girls sipped while the guys grilled (way to go, eh? :)). Dinner was as good as any we could have had out, and clean up was minimal (in addition to having a well equipped kitchen, villa had a dishwasher!). After dinner, we took a quick dip in the pool before retiring at ~10:30. Even cooking dinner is fun in paradise.

 
Posted : August 11, 2006 4:45 pm
(@coden)
Posts: 112
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Sounds like you had a lovely day...thank you for sharing it us. I felt like I could have been in church with you and definitely cooking and eating the mahi-mahi! Yum!!

 
Posted : August 11, 2006 6:53 pm
(@papabou)
Posts: 159
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ccasebolt,

while in the minority, we appear to both truly enjoy maho. Maho is our favorite beach, you park close, and the bride can have sun and i can have shade when not snorkeling seldom more than a few people. except for the large tarpons that usually hang out in the massive schools of minnors, maybe the larger fish aren't as plentiful as some places, but i find the abundance of the anemone and soft corals of so many colors along the rocks on the right side quite different and enjoyable. also as you get to the point and the shore turns to the right into francis bay the water gets much deeper and the fish become larger. we've always found the water very calm and clear. a truly limmin beach.

never tried concordia, the bride thinks she's roughing it at a nice hotal if the tv's broken. if you've never tried it, you need to experince dining on the deck of a villa in upper chocolate hole or gifft hill at sunset. a lovely way to end a day in paradise.

thanks for sharing your experiences. enjoy paradise for those wishing we were there.

papabou

 
Posted : August 11, 2006 7:38 pm
(@berlingirl)
Posts: 37
Eminent Member
 

Sounds like a fantastic day of vacationing. Doesn't get any better than that.

Maho and Trunk are our family favorites on St John. Maho for the Sheer Beauty and crystal clear water. Trunk, for both of those reasons, plus we love the snorkeling there as well as the facilities.

Diane

 
Posted : August 11, 2006 10:19 pm
(@Sunflower)
Posts: 1
 

HI CCasebolt - thanks for a great trip report...hope there is more to come! While on Island, I never fail to go to mass at OLMC. I just love that little church, and the new church (long time in coming) is really lovely. You described the mural so accurately. And you are right, I agree that for that community, the music, the singing, the mass and pre-mass rosary, etc., are a real social and religious experience, not just the fulfillment of a "Sunday obligation" mass! I think those folks don't care how long it goes on!! and yes, they do dress up.

The time I was there July 5-15, was when Fr. Crespo had his mom visiting. I think she comes to celebrate July 4 etc. She was there last year too. When we walked downtown each evening he and his mom would be sitting in the park chatting w the folks. Very sweet!

Again, thanks for the report - sounds like you had a fab time.

 
Posted : August 14, 2006 11:05 am
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Sunflower - I was there when his mom was vising as well - July 15th. Were you also at that mass or at the one the week before (I think she had been there a week or so at that time)?

I was so touched by the sense of community there; similar to our church at home before it was closed (one of the many victims of the Archdiocese of Boston's recents closures - don't get me started; that discussion belongs in a whole other forum!). I truly miss it here and much appreciated seeing it again.

 
Posted : August 14, 2006 2:59 pm
(@Sunflower)
Posts: 1
 

Hi CCasebolt - I was at the week before - July 9, and I usually go to the 7:30, but made the 9:30 that day. I was surprised to seeing the videotaping, but that's good for folks who can't get to mass. I missed seeing the "ladies" (Miss Martha) at the earlier mass...Sorry to hear about your parish church closing...Hopefully, you'll find a good parish community. Hope to be there next year at the same time!

 
Posted : August 14, 2006 3:59 pm
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
Trusted Member
 

Great trip report! Sounds like you had an uneventful time on STJ, unlike my husband and I. Aww, I am so addicted to this board and the wonderful trip reports!

Thanks!
Sharon

 
Posted : August 14, 2006 8:38 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Sharon - If you think that's true, you missed day one of my report! Just goes to show what you said is true - sometimes you have to go throug hell before you get to heaven. Check it out - guaranteed to make you feel better (or at least give you a chuckle)

BTW - love your reports 🙂

 
Posted : August 14, 2006 9:17 pm
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
Trusted Member
 

Oh shoot! I had forgotten about your day one experience with the traffic and lost luggage! I guess we were lucky to not have to go through that on top of everything else! At least next time we go to STT and STJ we will know our way around!
Again, great reports!

Sharon

 
Posted : August 14, 2006 11:12 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Seems like some sort of hazing to determine how much we really want to be there; eventually we passed the test and could finally enjoy ourselves - Good thing 😉

 
Posted : August 15, 2006 5:13 am

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