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Trip Report week of 2/6 Part III

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Bill
 Bill
(@bill)
Trusted Member

Hi again. This is the 3rd and last report of our trip from 2/6-2/13 2006. Days 5, 6, and 7 turned out to be our best on STJ because of the weather, activities we planned and because I no longer feared for my life driving on the left (for the most part)!

Day 5 (2/10); Boat excursion day! After lurking in the shadows and reading so many trip reports and postings on this fantastic message board I had booked New Horizons II for a power boat day trip to Virgin Gorda (the Baths), snorkeling, lunch at Marina Cay (Pusser's) and the Soggy Dollar Bar. Because of all that I had read here I had a strong suspicion that this would be a highlight of our vacation. We were not disappointed. The NHII picked us up at the Nat'l Pk dock and sped off with 11 other people through Drake's Passage to VG. The weather was perfect. Calm seas, warm temps and bright sunshine all day. The Baths were "other-worldly" to say the least. I was the only person on the boat with a camera in the Baths. Many of the passengers asked me to take their pictures while inside the caverns and email it to them when I arrived back home. Well, I still have their photos but not their email addresses. (If you were one of these people on this tour on 2/10 let me know - remember us Bill and Maureenie-weenie?)

TIP: get a water-proof case for your camera. You must swim into shore on the NHII and many other excursions and photos of this place are a must.

Next we were off to Marina Cay, which is a tiny piece of sand, rock and palm trees near Caminoe?? island. Our guide, John, said it was about 6 acres total with a fuel station, a house and a quaint Pusser's restaurant with a few palapas. It was truly a Caribbean setting. It was here that I had the best Painkiller of the week. You can order a #2, #3 or #4 which referred to the ounces of Pusser's rum it was made with. I ordered a #3 and YEE HAWWW! I was on my way to a great afternoon! (the grilled Mahi sandwich was good too!)

TIP: be careful with Pusser's rum!

Next we snorkeled 500 yards away near the shore of Caminoe. I threw on my gear and was the first into the water. Now, I have been snorkeling a few times before but typically I have been disappointed. Not a lot ot see in the way of sea-life and coral but this was amazing! Beautiful, live coral and schools of colorful fish, even Barracuda.

Next we were off to Jost and the Soggy Dollar Bar. When we arrived on White Bay the beach was jumping! Music in the air and boats everywhere. The views were also beautiful with a long white sand beach, swaying palm trees and STJ just across Drake's Passage. 2 more Painkillers and 1 Dark and Stormy and we set off for STJ. The end of the tour. What a tour it was! By far our favorite day! It was 4-4:30pm when we arrived back on STJ and frankly I don't recall what we did the rest of the night?!?

TIP: NHII was fantastic! The boat was large and fast and the crew took great care of us. The destinations were excellent. We booked our tour online and they gave us a 10% discount. (Every little bit helps.) We liked the size of the boat. It holds up to 16 passengers. This seemed like the right size to meet a few other people but not too crowded. Because it was fast we got to the Baths ahead of the big crowds. Also, don't forget to tip the crew.

Day 6 (2/11); We packed up the jeep (a little later than usual) and took off for Saltpond Bay. It was an easy 5-10 minute walk to the beach where there were 4 other people. Within a minute or two I was snorkeling. This was one of the easiest places to snorkel and well worth it. I saw lots of fish and my first Sea Turtle. Very cool! When the beach got a little more crowded we set off on the Ram Head Trail hike which is a 45 minute - 1 hour hike (each way) through jungle, rocky beaches and desert-like trails. You end up at a peninsula at the tip of STJ which has sheer cliffs 200' high. Views are of the south side of STJ, the open ocean, the BVI and east side of the island.

TIP: THIS IS A MUST DO! Bring lots of water to drink and film (or space on your digital camera card) The vistas are unbelievable all along the way. It was HOT! Do the hike early in the day and snorkel after to cool off.

For dinner that night we walked up to ZoZo's just before sunset without a reservation and begged for a table. We got one right up at the railing. What luck! The place was pretty full too. We enjoyed the sunset and the food. After dinner we walked to Woody's, which for some reason that I can't explain, I just love! The beer is good and the crowd gets goofy.

TIP: reservations are a good idea at most of the more popular restaurants. We just got lucky.

Day 7 (2/12) Our last full day in the USVI. We packed the cooler loaded up the beach chairs provided by the villa and set off down my favorite road, North Shore, to Cinnamon Beach. We arrived around 9am and it was empty. Another beautiful beach! I believe I took 100 photos here of the scenery, the donkeys, the Pelicans and my beautiful wife. We stayed and played for the entire morning. Next we had to see Leinster Bay and the Annaberg Ruins. The color of the water in this bay must be seen in person. I wish I had taken the time to snorkel here as well but we were looking forward to enjoying the villa and the pool one last afternoon. We stopped at Shipwreck Landing for lunch which was actually the best food we had all week. The chef was very creative. I had a Mahi Reuben sandwich which was great!. Mo had an asian tuna sushi thing that was caught that morning. It was fresh and delicious. We should have come here earlier in the week for dinner. One more stop at Skinny's for a sweatshirt for our son and we were off to the pool.
We had a great time enjoying the deck and blending a couple of rum somethings.

We had dinner at The Balcony which was good and said goodnight to St. John.

Our 20th anniversary vacation favorites:
* NHII boat trip
* Trunk and Cinnamon Beaches
* NORTH SHORE ROAD
* Winsome House Villa and the view of Coral Bay
* Ram Head Trail
* Skinny Legs
* Shipwreck Landing
* Bougainvilla (a shop in Mongoose Junction where we spent a small fortune)
* snorkeling most everywhere
* Pusser's rum - YUM!
* Painkillers
* The Soggy Dollar Bar and White Bay
* My wife in her new dress and my wife out of her new dress -LOL
(it was our anniversary, after all!)

This final posting of our trip report is sad in a way. It's sort of like leaving the island all over again, like turning the page in the book of a wonderful part of my life. I spent so much time learning the island and what to do and where to go from all of you for so long. I can't thank you enough!

Bill and Mo (alias, Poor-sick Mo/Maureenie-Weenie)

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Topic starter Posted : March 5, 2006 6:53 pm
Bluwater
(@bluwater)
Island Expert

Wonderful report, Bill. I enjoyed every bit of it. What a terrific anniversary memory.

For us travel buffs, the end of the trip is a let down. Many years ago, more experienced travelers told me that the one cure for the post-homecoming blues is to begin planning the next one.....just like an amusement park where you get off of the ride and run to get right back into line.

Thanks for the report. I laughed so hard at "You can order a #2, #3 or #4 which referred to the ounces of Pusser's rum it was made with. I ordered a #3 and YEE HAWWW! "

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Posted : March 5, 2006 7:33 pm
Chris at Work
(@chris-at-work)
Noble Member

Thanks for sharing and stay in touch. It's your new found insight that helps the next newbie on the board. Great idea identifying the "Tips". Things like that jump out and help more than you realize.

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Posted : March 5, 2006 8:18 pm
jay
 jay
(@jay)
Guest

Thanks for the time and effort to write. Good stuff. Like the lessons learned that become highlighted as "tips".

Here is a tip for you: if you have a lot of great photos that you want to share with others in "hard copy" PLUS get a great momento of this anniversary trip, check out the "photo album" option with the online photo services.

This takes time to edit/create with captions, but a couple evenings spent on the computer vs watching TV, and in a few days, a wonderful coffee table worthy photo album arrives in the mail for <$40.

They all seem to have this service. I've tried shutterfly.com and mypublisher.com with good results. I'll never bother with the 4x6 prints again.

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Posted : March 6, 2006 10:30 am
rgc1600
(@rgc1600)
New Member

Great reports, Bill, I thoroughly enjoyed them. And the "Tips" format was especially helpful to those of us planning/anticipating our first visit. Thanks!

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Posted : March 6, 2006 11:07 am
Bill
 Bill
(@bill)
Trusted Member

I am glad it was helpful!

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Topic starter Posted : March 6, 2006 10:43 pm
blujahz
(@blujahz)
Estimable Member

Thanks Bill - We are going in June and will use your trip reports as reference.

One question: in using NHII for your boat trip - how did you deal with immigration and customs when going to the BVI? (you make no mention of it...)

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Posted : March 7, 2006 5:51 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Island Expert

When you go on a crewed day trip, you don't worry about customs. That is why the crew gets the BIG TIP at the end of the day! 🙂 All you have to do is show up with the documentation they request!

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Posted : March 7, 2006 8:26 pm
Bill
 Bill
(@bill)
Trusted Member

Blu, bring a passport or a drivers lisence and birth certificate as well as $20. The crew does all the work and clears you. Glad the report helped you. I found reports on the board very useful before our trip as well.

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Topic starter Posted : March 7, 2006 8:31 pm
VTXcafe
(@vtxcafe)
Eminent Member

Bill, great report. We went lasy Oct for our 20th, we saw and did alot, Watermelon being our favorite.

I checked and found we have 2 tickets for the flight for $20 with the miles we have racked up, so we are planing out next trip in Sept/Oct!!

The opne thing I am looking to add is the NHII

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Posted : March 8, 2006 6:52 am
mary beth
 mary beth
(@mary beth)
Guest

Thanks Bill.... great stuff. I look forward to my trip in October all the more now and I promise to come back with a report!

mbw

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Posted : March 8, 2006 9:44 am
VT2STJ
(@vt2stj)
Active Member

Thank you, Bill, for letting me relive my time on my favorite island! You should be a professional writer--I really enjoyed your style! I agree, the "tip" format was a wonderful idea, especially for the newbies, but it sounds like us "seasoned" vacationers enjoyed it as well!

Curiosity question: when you were at Mongoose Jct. did you happen to notice if the Deli Grotto was still there? It would have been on the ground floor beyond the patio garden place, straight ahead if you had your back to the road. We discovered it last time were there and I can't rave about the sandwiches enough! I'd hate to see it not survive...

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Posted : March 11, 2006 11:44 am
Bill
 Bill
(@bill)
Trusted Member

V, I am not sure about the Deli Grotto. We didn't look for it so I can't say for sure if it is still there. I did a Google search for Mongoose Junction and it was not listed under the web site. Thanks for your compliments!

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Topic starter Posted : March 11, 2006 3:13 pm
Carolyn
 Carolyn
(@Carolyn)
Guest

still there...same location as VT2STJ described. We liked their sandwiches best out of comparable sandwiches from Baked in the sun and Simple Feast. Just our opinion, but based on the amount of business we saw both times we were in there, it appears as if they are bringing in the people!

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Posted : March 11, 2006 3:26 pm
VT2STJ
(@vt2stj)
Active Member

Excellent! So good to hear! We were there off-season last year and they had lines out the door some days....thanks for the post!

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Posted : March 13, 2006 7:51 pm