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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day six: Donkeys, and mongooses, and sharks - Oh my!

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Trip report (7/13-7/23) Day six: Donkeys, and mongooses, and sharks - Oh my!

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(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Up early and coffee on the deck again - I am going to have some SERIOUS withdrawal in a few days, but I really don't want to think about that right now.

The plan for today was to hit Trunk Bay as the North Shore beaches seem to be the clearest this time around. Since the evening we walked around the Marketplace, I had been wanting to try Baked in the Sun Bakery, so today was going to be that day. It was still early (about 6:45), but I remembered they open at 6:30, so I was off.

The Marketplace was busier than I expected at that hour. People were congregated in front of Starfish waiting for the doors to open. After waiting in a short line to use the ATM, I went upstairs to the bakery. It was fairly busy there as well, at least by Cruz Bay at 6:45 AM standards - meaning I didn't have to wait in line, but I wasn't the only customer there either. The bagels looked nice and fresh, so I bought six (can't remember the exact price - don't think it was too expensive though) and headed back to the villa.

Hubby was still sleeping, so I started cooking breakfast figuring the smell would wake him up - it did. We discussed a game plan for the day over eggs, bagels (which were very good), OJ and coffee - maybe Trunk Bay today if it doesn't look too crowded. We finished up and were out the door by 8:30. Before heading to the north shore, we stopped by Nauti Nymph to book a boat - Friday would be they day we would have a 26' power catamaran! We also decided on a captain this time - the guys wanted to fish and Captain Nate knows some good fishing spots in around St. Thomas & St. John (because we can only fish in U.S. waters). Friday was going to be a busy day as it was checkout day, fishing day, and sunset sail day (!). No worries, we'll work it out.

On the way to the beach, we stopped at the Starfish to pick up some lunch. They had a nice assortment of sandwiches, wraps, and prepared food. We picked up some sandwiches, snacks and drinks to take with us, and a few barbecued ribs to try (hubby couldn't resist - they smelled delish). We sat at a table outside Starfish, nibbled on ribs (excellent! - great choice if you're looking for a quick, relatively inexpensive lunch or dinner), and I browsed through one of the real estate brochures I picked up on a rack nearby; dreaming again... very $$$ (and I'm used to Boston-area prices). Oh well, it was a nice dream anyway. After returning to the real world, we went into Chelsea drugstore and bought a small (about the size of a large purse) soft-sided cooler. I arranged our food and drinks in the new cooler as we continued on to the north shore.

As we passed the overlook, we could tell that Trunk was more crowded than we prefer, so with a quick call to Rod & Amy, we changed our destination to Cinnamon. Cinnamon was fairly empty - we had our choice of shady spots, and decided on one directly in front of the old dead tree in the water (anyone who has been there knows where this is). The day was perfect; calm, clear, slight breeze... ahhhh. I spent the first 15 -20 minutes looking around and taking pictures. There was a nest of birds at the top of the old dead tree - not sure what kind, but took pictures. During the photo session a commotion erupted down the beach right next to the sail boats. It seemed a donkey became upset with another donkey over something. They galloped around the boats, biting, kicking and braying at each other for a few minutes - of course I had to get a picture of them after all the ruckus.

After pics, it was time to snorkel. We started out toward the rocks on the left toward Peter Bay - hubby heard there was a small debris field from plane wreck a number of years ago and was set on finding it. I followed along not caring too much about the debris, but kept an eye out for anything resembling a propeller, wing, or tail anyway. That's when I saw it - Jaws himself! Well, maybe not Jaws exactly, but definitely a smaller more subdued version of the fish. This one was somewhere between 3 and 4 feet in length, and happily (for me) minding his own business. I tapped (throttled) hubby's shoulder and wildly motioned "shark" - what I mean by that is I put my hands together is the shape of a fin and frantically waved it in front of his face, then pointed in the direction of the beast. Hubby watched it for a few seconds, then anticlimactically, he shrugged - thanks, way to make me feel brave. Honestly it only startled me at first, but as soon as I realized it was (a) small, and (b) uninterested, it's presence didn't bother me - too much. I was fine continuing along, in the other direction of course :).

The snorkeling was quite good along the rocks. We saw many yellow Goat fish, Palomita, and several Jacks chasing schools of fry. The sea fans were particularly pretty here - purples and golds; water clarity was good too. The only complaint I had at all was about the annoying drip of water I was getting on the inside edge of my left lens. I decided to pull up onto Little Cinnamon beach and re-seat the lens to see if that would stop the leak. As I was working on my mask, hubby reminded me to hold tight to the retainer clip so the I would be able to put the mask back together when I was finished. He was, at the same time, re-seating the lenses in his mask, just because. After a few minutes, he said "Remember how I told you to make sure you held onto your clip? Well, I just lost mine". You have got to be kidding! Okay, how far can a small transparent plastic clip possibly go? It's got to be here somewhere, right? I put on my mask (now functioning properly) and started to look... and look... and look. No luck. We both looked for that stupid plastic clip for almost an hour before we finally said "forget it" and moved on. So if you happen to be on Little Cinnamon beach and find a small clear plastic mask clip that says "AMICO" in black letters, please let me know - I'd be more than happy to make a return trip to retrieve it. 🙂

We were able to snorkel the rest of the way back to Cinnamon, but hubby's mask was leaking quite a bit, so he had to stop every so often to empty it. Later we'll have check to see if either shop in town carries Amico parts. When we got back to Cinnamon, we walked along the beach past the cottages; 10A-10B seem to have a really nice location! We had some lunch, then sat in the beach and limed for the rest of the afternoon. Every so often we heard a rustle in the brush behind us and/or smelled a slightly musky smell - the mongooses were getting restless. I think they had their beady eyes on our snacks.

At about 5:00 we decided to head back, but before we left, we hiked the ruins and nature trail across from the parking lot. It was an interesting hike; lots of information on the placards about the ruins and the local flora and fauna - I can't believe the main house was actually inhabited until 1968!. The hike took about 30 minutes and was a nice way to end the day at Cinnamon. On the way back to the car, we happened upon a donkey family (the baby was cute) which I had to photograph, although I don't think they appreciated it much. Sorry guys.

One the way back to the villa, we stopped at Starfish for some wine and cheese. We cleaned up and headed to Rod & Amy's for dinner. The girls sipped wine and nibbled cheese while the guys manned the grill (I like this arrangement!). Dinner - shish kabobs, grilled potatoes, and tossed salad - was enjoyed by all after a truly lovely day in paradise.

 
Posted : August 24, 2006 4:22 pm
(@papabou)
Posts: 159
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really enjoying your reports and greatly envy your long stay at stj. addictive isn't it.

brief comment on purging water from mask while snorkeling. seems you and hubby were stopping to do by removal of mask. and easier method if your mask doesn't have a purge valve is to get vertical in water so top of mask is closet to surface, exhale into mask by noise (how else) slightly lift bottom of mask from face and extra air pressure from exhaling which you can continue will force water from your mask. once you get hang of it you can actually do face down while continuously exhaling and turning your head so that water can get to mask edge and escape. this is the same principal of exhaling into mask to reduce water pressure against mask when you go down. that elimates the mask ring impression on the face of free divers.

if any novice snorkelers reading this post, be sure and equalize ear pressure when diving below the surface. you can rupture an ear drum at less than 10 feet down. you equalize ( i do at about 5 feet down and repeat as i feel pressure building in ears) by squeezing nose shut, mouth closed and and try to blow out your nose which creates equalizing pressure in inner ear and all's well.

i hope i didn't insult you on these basics, you're probably PADI open water certified! maybe someone will benefit.

papabou

 
Posted : August 24, 2006 6:41 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Topic starter
 

Papabou - as I read your reply, I began to vividly remembered my scuba certification days (NAUI for us). We both know all about donning and clearing and valsalva, etc. The problem with his mask was that because it was barely holding, he didn't want to push the limits with it - so he just dumped the water rather than use any method that might upset the delicate pressure balance between the inside and outside of the lenses. Thank goodness we weren't diving! At least I had the advantage of being able to clear the proper way - and not for even a second loose sight of any of the under water beauty - lucky me 🙂

 
Posted : August 24, 2006 7:17 pm
(@papabou)
Posts: 159
Estimable Member
 

hope my elementary comments did'n't offend you; perhaps someone will read and benefit. there are a lot of folks out there that i've seen with mask pressure rings on face, i can imagine what they have done to their ears. oh well.

sounds like hubby may be ready for new mask if he can't find a replacement seal. i'm still using my 1985 tabata dual lenses silicone mask with same prescription lens (& oceanic snorkel & mouth piece) i purchased when i was getting my padi cert. my instructor encouraged buying a high quality product because it would last. it did, over 20 yrs including regular scuba trips until 2000 and 6 vi trips limited to snorkeling since then. while my glasses prescription has changed several times over the years, the water maginification seems to provide good viewing still. have thought about new mouth piece for snorkel since the divider is almost chewed into after all these years. maybe next year.

cheers,

papabou

 
Posted : August 24, 2006 8:05 pm
(@ccasebolt)
Posts: 323
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Topic starter
 

Offended! Of course not. The way I see it is we are all similar people with a similar affection for the same place, and we're all eager to offer our knowledge to help each other appreciateand enjoy it the best possible way. It's no doubt we have many of the same interests and enjoy reading about our common experiences.

You may be right about the mask. Although it is only about 7 years old (purchased for the NAUI cert), I've had no luck locating the manufacturer to inquire about replacement parts. I'm afraid they may be no more. Oh well, the mask has served him well. A small price to pay for the returns over the years; always a bright side, yes?

 
Posted : August 24, 2006 8:44 pm
(@coden)
Posts: 112
Estimable Member
 

Thank you ccasebolt for the wonderful report...such detail. Makes it easy to jot notes down for us so we'll know things once we arrive in December.

papabou - thanks for the snorkeling hints, we are such novices that we've only snorkeled in a friends pool, twice, this summer. Now we have ordered fins, delivered on Wednesday woo-hoo! and prescription masks, which are to be delivered today!!! WOO-HOO!!!

I've copied your purging and the equalizing hints for our use in December. Thank you so much as I had no idea on either. Especially the equalizing.

I'm so glad to hear that you've had the same prescription mask all these years. I thought that my son and I would be able to keep ours forever as well and am glad to hear this is true. We actually got the kind where the lenses are separate, so we can change out the mask if needed. Can't wait for the UPS driver to get here today...maybe I need to call in sick from work. Ha-ha!!

 
Posted : August 25, 2006 6:48 am
(@papabou)
Posts: 159
Estimable Member
 

coden,

wise investment to have own equipment if you do at least 2 trips. almost obligatory where you have major vision correction. you can practice equalizing out of water; simply close mouth, squeeze nose shut and try to exhale. you'll feel pressure builidng on inner ear and sinuses. when you have water pressure on ears from descending, that balances or equalizes pressure. presto same as being on surface.

for mask purging, easier to practice in pool because you are less bouyant that in salt water. most people can descend feet down by simply exhaling and reducing lung capacity. do that with some water in mask and as soon as bottom of mask is under water force air into mask through your nose, gently pull bottom of mask slightly from face and water goes out the opening. same air into mask helps relieve water pressureon outside mask as you descend.

good luck and enjoy.

papabou

 
Posted : August 25, 2006 12:03 pm
(@coden)
Posts: 112
Estimable Member
 

papabou - thanks again for the info. I've printed it off and will take to the pool this weekend and practice. I really appreciate the info. because as new snorkelers we don't know squat!! LOL

I don't know if we'll get to snorkel more than once a year but with a prescription of -10.75 & -7.75 plus a really bad astigmatism, we have pretty messed up eyes! Ha!! So the investment is done, got the mask and lenses today and I think they'll do okay. I am ready to snorkel and can't wait!!

 
Posted : August 25, 2006 12:22 pm
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
Trusted Member
 

Yipes! What is it with all the sharks??! Great report, ccasebolt! Felt almost like I was there again!

Sharon

 
Posted : August 25, 2006 7:31 pm

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