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TRIP REPORT AUG. 5-12 PART FIVE: THE END

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TRIP REPORT AUG. 5-12 PART FIVE: THE END

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(@sharon)
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Did ya know I almost cremated myself alive getting into my car yesterday to go to Walmart to get my film developed? My car's temp. thingie said 111, but I believe it was ONLY 105! What a scorcher! I have spent approximately 3 million dollars keeping my two grape tomato plants and one lone yellow bell pepper plant alive during this hot-a*sed drought!
Did I mention that they were withered like an old man's dangly parts when I returned from STJ? At least my animals were still alive! I think my college-educated boys can actually spell RESPONSIBILITY, but they are totally clueless of what the word means. Okay, I will get on with my trip report! Just had to vent!

Our last full day on STJ crept up on us with what I can only describe as sorrow. I wanted to pretend that we were staying much longer. Funny how in grief of one sort or another one goes into denial at first. A quick shower jumped me back into reality, and then we decided to go to one last beach before we left. I had read that Francis Bay was beautiful, so we packed up our stuff and headed there after a breakfast of toast and grapefruit. We had considered Leinster Bay, but heard it was a rocky beach and after me falling on my rump the first evening we had arrived and after George splitting his foot open on a rock, we decided against it. I think the rocks had it in for us. We jumped into the old faithful grey goat and took off for Francis. We stopped along the way at the scenic overlooks and took photos. Why am I feeling so sad? Luckily, we had decided on Francis because Hawksnest, Trunk, and even Cinnamon looked packed. Though crowds don't really bother us, we just wanted a beach mostly to ourselves on our last day and we found it at Francis. A little off the beaten path, but well worth it. There were only 3 other cars there when we arrived, or at least that is what I thought I saw through the convention of tiny vampires that were toe-dancing off my window just waiting for their happy meal! Wow! Fortunately, the Off! seemed to work well this time and they went off to party elsewhere rather quickly. The beautiful beach is just a few steps away from the parking lot, thankfully. Wow! Just, wow! Francis is soo beautiful! It took us several minutes of just ogling the place before we went about putting on our sunblock and snorkeling gear. I highly recommend wearing a t-shirt while snorkeling if you have any tendency to burn, and besides, the white ones help scare sharks away, lol! Pay particular attention to applying water-proof sunblock to your lower butt-cheeks and the back of your legs also, or you will suffer like I am still suffering. I am not looking forward to this a*s peeling, believe me! The water was absolutely divine! We snorkeled straight out and then decided to hang a right. The water became a little murky farther out, but I saw some sea grass and was hoping to see a sea turtle. We noticed several of the grey manta rays scooting about. Mind you, both of us had our peripheral vision in overdrive because of the shark incident. I was thinking about the shark when suddenly something big and black caught my eye to my left, coming right towards me just a few feet below me! I stiffened up suddenly, out of sheer fear! The most beautiful Eagle Ray was passing underneath me, not a shark! I was in awe! I tapped George so he could see the ray, and we just floated spell-bound as it went past us. Two giant remoras were attending this glorious creature! I couldn't help but to follow it, knowingly making it skittish, so that I could take a few photos, but the photos turned out crappy. I quit snapping the pics when I realized I was out of film. Just didn't want to lose sight of this awesome creature! I finally left it alone after a few minutes and we started going out further and more to the right. We were pretty far from the main beach. Again, we were on our paranoid look out for sharks, though George's food was healing well and not bleeding at all. Once again, I suddenly saw something huge and dark off to the left but this time on the grassy ocean floor. OMG!!! A loggerhead sea turtle whose back looked the size of my kitchen table! I knocked the hell out of George this time to get his attention!! It also had two huge remoras in attendance and was nonchalantly munching on sea grass! So damn cool! I suddenly lost my mind and while having flashbacks of "Finding Nemo" in my head, I dove down sharply at it, thinking to grab ahold of it's shell and go for a ride with it! Did I mention I am certifiably insane?? Thank God he was too quick for me, because, unbeknownst to me, sea turtles can get the hell out of there when they want to! Whoosh, and he was gone! I shuddered thinking where I would have wound up if I had gotten a grip on that turtle! George and I came up for a breather, and this time I had my a*s chewed out royally!
Hey! I took it well! We were getting tired by that time and realizing how far we had gone out, we decided to head back. George poked me and we both popped up out of the water. He pointed down and to his right, and asked me what kind of big fish that was. I poked my head underwater to see a 3-foot long barracuda tooth-fully smiling at me as he studied us. I raised back up and said, "Barracuda!" and I thought George was going to shat his swim-trunks! I laughed my butt off! I was just so damn tickled to see one! When we looked back down into the water, the cuda was long gone. Old folks like us shouldn't have wondered off so far, but look at what we had gained! It was quite the struggle to get back, and we ventured over an area that was really deep and kinda murky, spooking both of us somewhat. I could not see the bottom. Be sure and pace yourself if you get too tired, and stop and just float until you feel like you can go on. That is what we had to do several times. Dumb-a*ses! What made it not so bad is that we came across that same loggerhead turtle a few times on our way back, giving us a valid excuse to stop for a few minutes. It had to be the same one as the same two remoras were attached. We finally beached, and staggered over to our chairs and collapsed. After reapplying sunblock(take along some baby wipes to wash your hands!) we just sat back and limmed. Aw, what a perfect last day! We not only saw an Eagle Ray, but also a Loggerhead and a Barracuda, all in one snorkeling trip! I think the Lord was smiling down at us! The only bad part was that I had used up the last of my film on the Eagle Ray, and had no photos to show of the sea turtle or
the Barracuda! After looking at the developed photos yesterday, I don't think it would have mattered anyway. The underwater photos came out so poorly! If you have the time and can afford it, buy an underwater contraption for your digital or 35mm, I am sure it will be worth it! We hung out at the beach at least another hour, just soaking up our little bit of paradise as long as we could. Despite taking Benadryl for my sun allergies and coating on sun-block, the sun started getting to me and we reluctantly left. I turned one more time towards Francis, trying to memorize every tiny bit of it, as we headed for our car. Sniff! We headed back to our condo, but I was starving and asked George to pick me up a burger somewhere. A cold sandwich just wouldn't do. After circling around a few times in Cruz Bay, he parked in the big parking lot near where the taxi drivers park and went off in search of a burger for me. Did I tell you that George is a saint? He is! Good as gold. He came back with a juicy burger from somewhere, and I inhaled it on the way back to the condo. After sipping a Pepsi on the balcony, and laughing in amazement over our last day's experiences, I crashed out on our bed for another power nap! We had already decided we just HAD to spend our last dinner at The Lime Inn! We got there about 7:30 PM for our 8 PM reservation, and dear Rich took us to our table early. They didn't have a 1 lb. lobster left, so I ordered the 1 1/4 lb. grilled Caribbean lobster, and this time did not order the shrimp cocktail appetizer. George ordered the swordfish. Both were excellent, though again, the lobster was a little dry. Nothing a little melted butter wouldn't fix! I started to order a Painkiller, but realized I needed to do some last minute shopping and believe me, you wouldn't want to see this chic shopping while drunk! Talk about hemorrhaging money! I did order a peach margarita, but didn't even get a buzz off of it. Our bill was about $65, less tip. Rich came by to make sure everything was alright. He really makes you feel special, as do his employees. RJ, who is a young, sweet boy who was pitch-hitting as bartender that night, had me kiss him on the cheek goodbye! You cannot find that very often in the states! We wandered off afterwards to the shopping area close-by. Cannot remember the name of the place but they have some nice little shops that I dumped some cash at. I am a freak about buying souvenirs, thinking I have to buy something for all of my co-workers, on top of my family and friends. George just gritted his teeth and patiently waited on me. Yes, I told you he was a saint! A light rain started, but it felt good in the heat. Got into the grey goat and slowly meandered back to our condo one last time. There is nothing left to say other than I did not sleep well and woke up early and just sat out on our balcony taking it all in and taking some photos. I packed most of our things after a shower while George watched t.v. I then did some cleaning, which is an obsessive trait with me. I know I have made many housekeepers happy, including our own, over the years by this obsessiveness. Therapy has not helped. The only reason I have a housekeeper is because I am somewhat crippled and have a hard time with cleaning floors. Sucks to be both mentally and physically challenged! We saw the car-ferry heading in and rushed with our bags out the door. We made it in plenty of time, considering we were just a minute or two away from the ferry parking lot.
Once on STT, I just had to go shopping one more time at Havensight Mall, which was full of cruise passengers! We ate lunch at a place called the Upper Deck or something like that, and the food was good. We arrived at the airport really early, and stood in a long line in the heat to be checked in. Luckily, the customs area was inside and air-conditioned, and we just breezed on through. Checking baggage was something else, and George was stopped because his right shoe looked suspicious. Same shoes he wore on the trip down. Go figure! I shopped again at the airport store, mainly to buy another book for the ride home. It was a quick, uneventful trip to Miami, and I was tickled they had a smoking room! We then jetted off to DFW, and finally arrived exhausted and sad at the airport. That is the end of my trip report. I am glad that everyone enjoyed reading about our experiences. I know I enjoyed reliving them for you! Everyone has been great here, and I really appreciate all of the help I received prior to my trip.

Sharon

 
Posted : August 16, 2006 2:10 pm
 Lysa
(@Lysa)
Posts: 1
 

Sharon: Right on! Great last day! Great reports!

I loved the lead-in about the"old man's dangly parts" hahahahahaha!

 
Posted : August 16, 2006 2:22 pm
(@landlockedbeachlover)
Posts: 285
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Great series of reports! You are a certifiable hoot!! Drunk shopping is THE BEST. And even more pleasant when your better half is 8 sheets to the wind on bushwackers or painkillers. At least it is for me, as he himself starts to "hemorrhage" by pointing out all the cool things I deserve 🙂

Glad you had a great trip and the nurse sharks didn't get you both. Someone mentioned Sharkweek on Discovery Channel, and I must say that was the first thing on my mind as I read the post someone attached about the seal on Magens Bay. Where there's seals, there's sharks. And ones that are hungry for more. Ah-EEE!

Welcome home - - post your pics if you have them digitally!

 
Posted : August 16, 2006 2:23 pm
(@chris-at-work)
Posts: 1138
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Sharon
Thank you so very much for sharing but doing so in such a memorable manner. Not sure about that "dangly parts" comment, but it does provide the visual. Glad to hear you also had great success at Francis. Always a sure bet for turtles in my book although you should not actually touch them since the oils on our hands (natural and man made) could effect them. Now you can live vicariously on this board until your addiction (for STJ, not fire sticks) calls you back.

Welcome back to Texas!

 
Posted : August 16, 2006 3:16 pm
(@Kathleen B)
Posts: 1
 

You had a WONDERFUL last day!!! What a great way to end a trip with a spectacular snorkle trip! I feel like I was back on my own trip hearing about The Lime Inn and even your flights cause we flew through Miami and back to DFW too! What part of Texas are you from? North, South, Dallas?

 
Posted : August 16, 2006 4:11 pm
 Lora
(@Lora)
Posts: 1
 

Thanks so much Sharon for sharing your experiences with us. For me, who has yet to experience the VI's, it just makes me sit and daydream and pretend I'm snorkeling over a big turtle! On discovery's "shark week" they also said sharkes like stingrays. I don't know what nurse sharkes are (compared to other sharks) but I don't think I want to be around one.

I'm glad you had a wonderful vacation and hope you get to return soon! I too will have 2 college-aged boys at home when I go next year. no wait - in April they'll still be at school thank goodness! ( I'd rather pay someone else to feed our dog than to depend on them.)

Hope you're going to post your pictures !!

 
Posted : August 16, 2006 6:36 pm
(@chrisn)
Posts: 238
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Sharon, thanks for the great and funny report. Isn't Fransis great? My little man's fave beach. Definitely a standout as they all are. Sitting here wishing my life away for the day to come when I return to paradise again...

 
Posted : August 17, 2006 11:32 am
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
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I am glad that everyone enjoyed my reports. Out of all the beaches, I think I liked Francis the best, with Trunk a close second. I do think Trunk should be the first stop for anyone new to the island, simply because it is so beautiful. I would be glad to post some photos, if someone would kindly tell me how. I was able to improve the appearance of some of my underwater photos with a photo program I have, but they are still far from being the right color and clarity.

Next time, I will be more prepared. We had brought my brother's video camera, but between buying the wrong film at first, not reading the manual, and most importantly trying it out before we left, we were unable to film our paradise. I would have also bought an underwater case for my digital camera, and a memory stick. The nightmare of being lost with our first trip won't happen on our next, because we will be familiar with the roads and layout of the land.

I think I have sold several people at work about going to the U.S.V.I. with the tales and descriptions that I had to repeat over and over yesterday! They really enjoyed hearing about STT and STJ and seeing the photos. When someone asked me what was the single most best thing about STJ, I had to say the water. When asked what was the single most worst thing about STJ that I experienced, I must say it was the mountainous roads with few road signs. I guess I am a flat-lander. The food, for the most part, was disappointing. Like I have said, do not go there thinking the food at restaurants are comparable to what you are used to at home. If you know this in advance, you will not be disappointed. The Lime Inn and The FishTrap were the exception. For pure island atmosphere, you must go to Skinny Legs! In hindsight, I wish we had tried out a few more restaurants, but once we found the one we really liked, we stuck with it. If you are young and/or real adventurous, then by all means get a 4WD and go check out the off-road areas. We were quite happy with our full-sized car, and it performed well. I cannot imagine not renting some kind of vehicle if you go. Those open-air taxis did not look comfortable and people were sweating heavily in them. I don't like to be at the mercy of someone else driving me anyway. I guess that is all I can say so far as last minute tips. I have really enjoyed everyone here on this message board, and plan on visiting this site often to reminisce and plan for a trip, maybe next year??

Take care everyone and thanks so much!

Sharon

 
Posted : August 17, 2006 1:04 pm
 jay
(@jay)
Posts: 1
 

Sharon!
Thanks! for! taking! the! time! to! write! your! trip! reports!

 
Posted : August 17, 2006 2:31 pm
(@sharon)
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Your! Welcome!!!

 
Posted : August 18, 2006 1:26 am
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
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KathleenB: Oops! I almost forgot to respond to your question! We live on 10 acres near Wills Point, Texas, about 30 minutes east of Dallas. We are what we call East Texas White-trash, lol! No offense to other white trash! Where do you live?

Sharon

 
Posted : August 18, 2006 1:35 am
(@coden)
Posts: 112
Estimable Member
 

Sharon - I've loved reading each of your reports. I've truly felt like I was there with you!! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your trip to STJ with us.

 
Posted : August 18, 2006 6:15 am
(@Kathleen B)
Posts: 1
 

We are about 2 1/2 hours northeast of Dallas in Texarkana!

 
Posted : August 18, 2006 8:17 am
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
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Coden: Thank you for being so kind! Glad you enjoyed them so much!

KathleenB: You are East Texas White Trash too?? We moved out here in 1985 and custom-built our home because we didn't want to raise our kids in the city. Now, the city is creeping in, and we hate it! Pretty soon we will be another Carrollton or Plano, that is, just another burb of Dallas. Grrr! They are building a "Ranch" of custom homes near us that will have it's own race-track for all the people who want to race their own BMW's and Corvettes. It will have it's own equestrian center too. Can you believe it? I cannot imagine buying a custom home in a neighborhood surrounded by a private racetrack! What a gimmick! Hope we get some rain!

Sharon

 
Posted : August 18, 2006 12:32 pm
(@chris-at-work)
Posts: 1138
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Sharon

Rain? This time of year we start to look forward to a tropical depression just to break the pattern. At least we are not seeing storms in numbers like last year. Season's still young though. Don't ever wan't to go through another Rita and God forbid we ever get a Katrina.

 
Posted : August 18, 2006 4:35 pm
(@byrequest1)
Posts: 117
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Sharon,

Had to comment about RJ. Isn't he the sweetest?! We hunt him down whenever we go there. He's home in NH now on a little hiatus.

Glad you had a wonderful trip!
Lisa in CT

 
Posted : August 21, 2006 5:47 pm
(@sharon)
Posts: 74
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Yes, RJ is a sweetie! He really takes care of the guests at The Lime Inn. I think he said he was going to work at his brother's social club while he is there, kind of a working vacation. I hope that kid has big plans because he is a charmer!

Sharon

 
Posted : August 21, 2006 5:52 pm

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