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Trip Report Feb 7 - 15 Days 4, 5 & 6

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Trip Report Feb 7 - 15 Days 4, 5 & 6

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Posts: 519
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Second installment of my trip report series. We had 3 couples and stayed on STJ at Island Horizons villa. So far, we arrived, stayed at Island View Guesthouse, visited Mountaintop and Magans Bay, made our very first treacherous drive to the villa, and spent a day at Drunk Bay and Little Lameshur.

Day 4 (Tuesday)
It rained again the night before, and the winds were still pretty strong. That darned weather front is taking too long to blow through! Today was Maho Bay. I've driven through the Maho area a couple times, but have never spent any time there. We checked out the map and saw that there is a "cut through" road that is a short-cut. We loaded up our chairs, snorkel gear, and towels and headed out. We unfortunately missed the highway 20 turn-off and ended up going all the way around the island to get there! We were plenty early, so it was only a small aggravation and we arrived at Maho around 10am. It was really beautiful. We are really seeing the best water color and clarity so far on the trip and are appreciating every minute of it! We soaked in the sun and snorkeled the right side of the bay. Snorkeling was good, but not yet great. The sunshine was GREAT (while it lasted)! As the morning went on, the clouds began to appear again. That beautiful sunshine that we had earlier in the day gave way to gray skies with only occasional peeks of sun. We left around 1:30 and headed to Cinnamon to grab some lunch. I'm glad we packed it up because as soon as we got to the restaurant at Cinnamon, the rains came again. Probably an hour solid of heavy rains. We ate lunch, had a couple beers and waited it out. Eventually it became just a mist and actually stopped raining for brief periods so we headed down to the beach for a bit. Only stayed an hour or so (just enough to allow the guys to snorkel the cay) as the afternoon weather was just not going to cooperate with us. We left mid-afternoon, and I used all my training on how to be "island polite" and asked some taxi drivers the best way back to Coral Bay. Once we saw where the North Shore Road meets Centerline, it was easy to get to those beaches the rest of the week. It was our turn to make dinner, so we put some potatoes into the oven to bake and fired-up the grill for the Rib-Eyes we brought (which had been marinating all day).

Okay - this is important so pay attention. This is also the night that I introduced my brother-in-law to the joys of Banana Rum! I made some Painkiller mix, then poured him a "Banana-wacker". That's 3/4 Banana Rum and 1/4 Painkiller Mix over ice. He fell instantly in love with this drink, eventually modified it to just Banana Rum with Pineapple Juice (too lazy to make the painkiller mix!) and subsequently knocked down nearly 2 bottles of Banana Rum over the next 4 days!!! This is made more funny to me because he's an ex-marine with a BIG TIME type-A personality and he's now hooked on on rum-and-fruit-juice drink. Beware the pleasures of flavored rum!

I stayed up late watching my UK Wildcats win on ESPN.

Day 5 (Wednesday)
This is the day we were supposed to go out with Ron (from Island View Guesthouse) on his boat for the day. But - the winds continued through the night and I just didn't think our group would like to be on the water with the consistent "chop" in the area. So - Ron was great about it and we decided to cancel the trip. I really want to do this trip next time. I've heard that snorkeling the Indians and stopping at the Caves is a pretty neat experience. Maybe next time.

Instead, we did Trunk Bay this morning. It was simply gorgeous! The sunshine was EVERYWHERE - FINALLY! While there was still some waves, it was still Trunk and they were very manageable. We enjoyed our morning here - went snorkeling a couple times. The water was clearing up and we could finally really get to see some of the underwater items. This was a heavier cruise ship day and I finished my snorkel run just before the "attack of the cruise ship snorkelers'!!!

We left Trunk and headed to Woody's for lunch. Decided to take a taxi back and forth so we wouldn't have to wast so much time looking for parking - that worked out great - no stress! The Woody's Bushwacker is one of my favorites - probably my #1 on STJ. We always have a lunch here (it's too crazy for us during Happy Hour), and really enjoy the hot sun, the cold drinks and the excellent sandwiches (and onion rings are SOOOOO good).

Took taxi back to Trunk then drove to Cinnamon. We hadn't yet seen Cinnamon with sunshine - it's just so much different (better) when the sun hits that blue water. Unfortunately - AGAIN this afternoon the clouds took over and we still didn't get any sun at Cinnamon. Have no fear - we're resolved to a great Cinnamon day and would be rewarded later in the week.

Tonight was a "dine out" night and we went to Shipwreck Landing in Coral Bay. Dinner was good, Key Lime Pie had the best flavor of any we tried, but it was still pretty frozen (boo).

Day 6 (Thursday)
Today was the day I was most looking forward to. Today is our Leinester Bay and Waterlemon Cay day! We've been to Leinester multiple times and it has always produced great snorkeling and great relaxation. Today lived up to that expectation. FINALLY - the front has moved on and we are left with great blue skies, sunshine, tropical heat, and crystal clear water. We got there early and drove the trail to the little parking area on the right. That cut almost half the walk off which was great since we were lugging around our chairs, snorkel gear, lunch/drink cooler and towel bags.

Remember that couple #3 have never been to the islands and were really wanting a great snorkeling day. We got it here. We saw just about everything that can be seen here. There were 5 sea turtles dining in the bay area upon our arrival, the starfish were out in full force (probably over 50 lying around), a couple of stingrays were discovered, and the coral around the Cay was just like being in an aquarium. Here are some photos from our day.

We stayed here all day. Had to drag ourselves away at around 4:30pm. Back to Island Horizons for our final "cooked in meal". Tonight was marinated pork chops right off the grill. It was so good and we shared snorkeling stories after dinner then everyone just crashed at 9:30. All safe in bed before 10pm!

Final installment coming next. It includes a day trip to JVD and our final day on STJ (hint - Cinnamon finally comes through!)


Posted : February 22, 2009 5:15 pm
Posts: 7
Active Member

Hi VI Lover -

Great trip report - it's really giving me a big ol' grin, getting ready for our STJ trip (we leave Thursday next week) 🙂

Fantastic underwater photos (especially the turtle!!) What type of camera did you use?

Thanks again,

Posted : February 23, 2009 4:49 pm
Posts: 519
Honorable Member
Topic starter

It's the Olympus 850 SW. Takes really nice underwater shots and "really good" above water - "normal" shots. Our other camera is a Sony 4mb camera with the larger lense in front and it takes much better "normal" pictures. But - I got this camera specifically for underwater. All the pictures in the stream are from the same Olympus camera.



Posted : February 23, 2009 7:34 pm
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