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Very very long wedding/honeymoon trip to STJ

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Very very long wedding/honeymoon trip to STJ

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This is long overdue... we were married in December and I am just now getting to this! This is a very long post, more like a journal but I took a journal with me and wrote things in great detail. If you have time to read, this could teach newcomers to STJ a great deal about things to do and things to avoid, and this could be helpful for those planning to marry in the islands as well. Enjoy!

Saturday, December 10, 2005
We packed up the car, left our housesitter to take care of our house and our baby girl dachshund and left home for Jacksonville around 4 PM, 2 hours later than we planned! Drive over was nice, we reached Jacksonville about 6:30 PM and arrived at Thomas’ aunt‘s home. We stayed and chatted for just a few minutes, unloaded our luggage and then drove back down to a strip mall where I had a pedicure and manicure done. We were just in time, arriving at 7 PM when the nail salon closed at 8 PM. Just across the street from the nail salon was a McDonald’s, and we were very hungry so we decided to eat our last dinner in style and full of calories. I walked into the McDonald’s with my throw away sandals from the nail salon. After eating, we headed back where I took a shower and Thomas visited more with his aunt and uncle. We headed off to bed pretty quickly after that because of our 3:30 AM departure time to get to the airport in time to catch our 6:00 AM flight.

Sunday, December 11, 2005
Woke at 3:30 AM and packed the car. Nerves were very much on edge, because of the flight and because of the wedding obviously! Arrived at JAX airport and did several loops before figuring out where to park for long-term parking. Checked our luggage, got our tickets and began the trek down the terminal to our flight area. Didn’t realize it at the time, but we had brought WAY too much luggage! We each checked 2 large suitcases, I carried on a large duffel bag filled with lingerie, wedding attire, my tiara, makeup, etc. We also each carried on 2 items, he carried on my wedding dress and his camera bag, I carried on the duffel and my large silver purse which we had the laptop in, which I also don’t want to bring again because it becomes VERY heavy after carrying it for awhile. Poor Thomas carried my wedding gown over his head, careful not to drag the bag at all, which left him feeling very sore and tired by the time we reached the terminal. Pretty much everyone that we passed through the airport did double-takes, many people told us congratulations. We only waited about 45 minutes before we boarded our first flight to Atlanta. It was still dark out when we left, so we didn’t see much taking off. We sat next to an interesting man who was a DJ and reeked of alcohol, obviously from the night before. It didn’t help to settle my stomach much that’s for sure. The flight to Atlanta only took about 45 minutes, and we arrived in Atlanta as the sun was coming up. It is amazing when you look down at the airport and see just how many planes are there. We exited the first flight and only had to walk just a few gates down to the next flight, which was good because of the long walk earlier in the morning with all our stuff. We arrived at our gate and watched for 2 hours as many, many airplanes took off and landed. At about 9:40 AM, our flight left Atlanta for St. Thomas. The flight attendants on this flight were very very nice and even brought us some champagne to celebrate our upcoming wedding. Unfortunately, because I was nervous I simply chugged the entire bottle and didn’t even think to pause to do a “cheers” with my fiancé . He laughed and ignored it! The flight they showed on the trip down was “Sky High” which didn’t appeal to me much so we just basically tried our best to sleep, read magazines and books. We arrived in St Thomas around 3:30 which was an hour later that Eastern Standard Time. The islands are one hour ahead when we are not practicing daylight savings time. The airport was literally at the edge of the Caribbean, with a rocky coast. The airport, Cyril E. King airport, was VERY small and we had step ladders up to the plane instead of the usual terminals. You also walked outside in the open air after exiting and then the baggage claim was an open-air area. Quite different that ATL, and even Tallahassee for that matter!! We were able to claim our baggage with no problem, and there were many men willing to help you get your belongings together and get you to the many taxis waiting outside. Of course, a tip was needed for this J We put all of our things into the taxi van and headed down into downtown Charlotte Amalie for our hotel, the Holiday Inn Windward Passage. The hotel was okay, but quite expensive for what you get, so it was a good thing we only needed to be there for the one night. Charlotte Amalie is interesting, a busy bustling place with so many taxis, many waterfront shops and vendors. We checked into our hotel, and all of the women working the front desk were SUPER nice and helpful, also offering their congratulations when seeing the wedding dress and inquiring about our trip over to St. John. We took the elevator to the top of the hotel, only 4 floors and entered our room. It’s amazing that even just 4 floors up, your view of the waterfront at Charlotte Amalie is incredible. There were 3 cruise ships docked at the harbor on this day, all of them very beautiful. Many sailboats and yachts lined the waterfront. The water was a beautiful aqua blue, with shades of green in the shallower areas. You could also see the points of the reefs just below the surface. We laid on the bed for a few minutes, resting and relaxing, then decided to head downstairs to get connected to the internet, as we were supposed to email Thomas’ Dad and let him know that we got there on time and that everything was going fine. It was very expensive to use the internet, they charged 18$ for 30 minutes!!! I was confused because in the hotel description online it said “complimentary high speed internet access”. Not exactly! We went to our emails, sent them the confirmation and then decided to walk downtown a bit. We looked in the hotel lobby for some local restaurants and found several listings. We set out among the waterfront to find them, and the ones that were within walking distance were all closed on Sunday! We decided to give the hotel restaurant a try which would later be a decision we VERY much regretted! We browsed around one of the gift shops at the hotel and I bought a few postcards to send out. We waited for the restaurant to open and at 6:00 PM, we were the first ones there. The place looked nice enough, and the menu wasn’t bad. Our waiter was very nice and had a strong island accent. So, we thought we were off to a good start. We were a little surprised at the prices, they were pretty expensive for being a hotel restaurant, but we ordered anyway. I ordered the crab cake duo, with a garden salad and Thomas ordered a chicken dish. We were brought bread which was not so tasty, our beverages which included a really good Coke! A few minutes later our meal arrived. My meal was revealed to me and my first thought was that it was pork chops. They were almost rectangular in shape, very flat and not very appealing looking! I asked the waiter, “Oh are these pork chops?” and he informed me that no they were indeed crab cakes! Thomas’ chicken arrived but it was actually prime rib. We just decided to go with it and eat what was on our plates! One bite of my crab cake told me that I would be going to bed hungry that night! My salad was not much more than simple iceberg greens, a quartered tomato and some sliced onions. Thomas’ steak was okay, but to say the least we were disappointed. I thought, well at least we got a good Coke, but then the Coke refill came and it was very flat and nothing like the first round. We decided we were just going to pay the bill and get out of there! The waiter was nice enough though, so we lied and said we enjoyed ourselves and gave him a good tip. Next we stopped off at the bar to get our complimentary rum punch which was part of the hotel package when we checked in. This was surprisingly good, and we sat there for a few moments listening to a live reggae singer in the courtyard. We headed back upstairs and I got a shower while Thomas ventured out to find a vending machine to see if we couldn’t find some type of Snickers bar or something! He returned with a machine coke, and we realized that we were simply out of luck at this Holiday Inn!!! We watched TV for a few minutes, which would turn out to be the only TV that we would watch on the entire vacation, and I read one of my novels “Demon Rumm”. It was decent, but a whole lot like any other romance novel. We headed off to sleep, set the alarm for our busy day the next morning and fell asleep.

Monday, December 12, 2005
We awoke at 7 AM to the sounds of many horns and cars whizzing past out front of the hotel. Monday morning rush hour we guessed! We got dressed, found our marriage license information and headed down to the local courthouse to get our license approved. The walk down was nice, a warm morning breeze with the sun rising up in the water and a new set of cruise ships docked at the harbor. The roads we hadn’t figured out yet, everyone in the Virgin Islands drives on the left side of the road, and thus the walking conditions are the same. Most of the vehicles on St. Thomas were like that of the vehicles at home. All different kinds, taxis, 4WD’s, sedans, trucks, sports cars, etc. We arrived at the courthouse after only about a 10 minute walk. The courthouse was actually one of the nicer buildings that we had seen on the island thus far. We passed the legislature building on the way down and it was nice, but old looking. VERY different from the government buildings back at home. Thomas said he should stop in and see if they needed any help or if session was in. When we arrived at the courthouse, it was about 8:15 but it hadn’t opened for business yet. Just another reminder that down here you are truly on “island time” and who cares if it’s 15 minutes late?! They opened their doors to us not too much later, and the security check man was another super nice guy who had a great smile and a great sense of humor. He offered to hold Thomas’ Rambo looking knife while we went in because someone forgot to leave it back at the hotel and not arm himself while going into a government building! We went into a normal office and presented our information to a woman who verified our identification and asked us to sign a few papers. Thomas forgot his ID that morning, but after reading her a few personal tidbits, she figured he was legit and let it slide. When we were looking into the book that had the names and signatures of all the couples applying for their marriage license, I was amazed at how thick and filled it was. Only from this year too! It was amazing to think that that many people had gotten married here already. I guess maybe it’s not such a rare thing after all! She gave us our license which would need to be signed and verified also by the minister performing the ceremony. We took our license and left the building. On the way out, the security guy told us about a great place for breakfast called Jen’s within walking distance. We walked passed a few of the open air shops near the cruise ships and went into Jen’s diner, a small, cute little establishment just one street off the main road that lines the waterway. It appeared to be a favorite among locals stopping in for takeout breakfast on their way to work. Men in shirts and ties and women dressed nicely were stopping in for quick takes. We ordered our meal and Jen, who we didn’t know it at the time was taking the orders. I ordered pancakes and Thomas ordered French toast. Jen was very friendly and brought us our breakfast which was outstanding, and also at a very good price. We ate and relaxed inside the little café before heading back down the street to stop at Tanzanite and Diamonds International. Tanzanite International had some beautiful things, but even with the Caribbean discount that you supposedly get, everything was very expensive. Didn’t see anything that I couldn’t live without! We walked back down to the hotel and decided to go ahead and check out so that we could get on over to St. John. We packed up our items and found a taxi to take us over to the Red Hook Ferry with connection to Cruz Bay, St. John. Our taxi this time was driven by a woman who had her sleeping infant daughter riding along with us. She was a very sweet woman and she took us on the scenic route through St. Thomas to the ferry, taking the time to tell us stories and share her thoughts on the island. The curves and slopes of the road were nerve-racking at first, but when you stopped worrying long enough to enjoy the amazing view it was okay! We realized immediately that our vehicles would last about 2.5 seconds in this island before the bumper and underbody were ripped to shreds! Now we saw why there were so many SUV’s and 4X4’s. The drive to the Red Hook ferry lasted about 20 minutes and when we arrived at the ferry dock, it was a little more run down than I had expected. There were about 10 dock workers sitting around, and we got all our luggage and sat in the hot sun for about 20 minutes before they opened the ticket purchasing. We had just missed the 11:00 ferry by no more than 5 minutes, so we were stuck waiting for the noon ferry. There was no shaded place for us to sit and wait, all the shaded areas were basically taken by the workers! When it was time to get to the ferry, I asked if I could use one of the rolling carts that was used to transport luggage to the ferry, but I was told that there was someone in charge of that and that he would help us! That someone was a worker who walked slower than a geriatric turtle and didn’t look so “all together”. Anyway, he loaded our stuff onto the cart and wheeled it ever so slowly down to the ferry. Once everything was loaded onto the ferry, Thomas offered him a tip which he said wasn’t enough. You could barely understand anything that he said, and the captain of the ferry boat scolded him for being so greedy. Thomas decided to hand over a few dollars more and we realized then that from now on we would definitely carry our own luggage!! The Red Hook area was very beautiful and we could immediately see fish in the crystal clear waters below. Yachts lined the harbor and soon we were underway. The water was absolutely beautiful, and we began to get our first glimpses of St. John. The ferry ride was slightly bumpy but enjoyable, and we soon began to bear down onto the tiny little island of St. John. As we neared the Cruz Bay harbor, it was not difficult to see that there was something much different about this island than St. Thomas, different in very pleasing ways!! Beautiful condos and shops lined Cruz Bay, a small little area. Our ferry docked at Cruz Bay and we were happy this time to cart our own luggage off! Again, the water was amazing and we began to trek uphill slightly to find our rental Jeep company,” Cool Breeze Jeep Rentals”. Luckily, it was very close to the dock, although the walk seemed much worse than it was simply because of our abundance in baggage! The man who got us our jeep was very nice and took us to the lot where our garnet Jeep Liberty waited. Getting there was not very far away, but at the time I remember being so incredibly overwhelmed thinking that we would never find our way around and that we would never be able to adjust to driving on the left side of the road!! Luckily, those fears were soon diminished because although it appeared differently at first, once you have driven through the roads just one time, they are incredibly easy to maneuver and get around. We then headed over to our villa company and got the keys to our villa, Mar de Amores. A nice man from the villa agency then drove to our villa with us following behind so we would get to it easily. We passed the Westin hotel which was very nice and then headed up steep hills until we turned left onto “Rock Ridge Road” which was VERY steep and narrow. Luckily, there were no “drop-offs” like I had feared and the view even from halfway up was breathtaking. We finally arrived at the villa, the last house at the end of the road. Beautiful landscapes greeted us, tropical palms and flowers were everywhere. Bougainvilleas were very abundant throughout the island, along with hibiscus. The coconut palms were so pretty and green. The house was very charming and inviting, although a little different looking to us than the pictures. It seemed smaller than we expected, but then again it was just the two of us. We immediately walked out onto the deck to survey our view, which was definitely worth the price in itself. Chocolate Hole and Great Cruz Bay were just below us and to our right. St Croix was outlined in the distance directly ahead of us, and a f
ew small little private islands were out to the right. We unpacked all of our things, although throughout the entire trip I never really unpacked anything, I just threw my suitcase open there on the floor and grabbed whatever I needed. Again, we realized that we brought simply WAY too many things. The villa was very warm when we arrived, but once the multiple screen doors were opened, the breeze began to flow throughout the house and it definitely cooled down. All 3 of the bedrooms had an air conditioner unit which made sleeping very comfortable. After unpacking, we decided to take a drive down to our wedding location, Trunk Bay in the National Park. Driving through the Virgin Islands National Park for the first time was such a great experience. You can see so many beautiful beaches, with the almost unreal looking water surrounding them. We first passed Caneel Bay beach and resort which was very beautiful. Next was Hawknest Bay, which was truly beautiful as well. When we approached Trunk Bay, there was a scenic overlook which we stopped to look at and realized immediately that the beach we had chosen was even more beautiful than any of the pictures we had seen. It was such a great feeling. We ventured on down the island and came to the park. The only disadvantage to Trunk is the 4$ per person entrance fee which we paid that day for only about 20 minutes of use. After sitting there and choosing our exact wedding location, we decided to head back up to the villa. We dressed and got ready for our meetings at the Westin with Stacy our wedding coordinator and Rev. Juggernauth, the officiating minister. The Westin was a very nice hotel. It was funny to arrive and see such a beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby when it’s 80 degrees outside. Stacy was a wonderful person who got down to business quickly and told us exactly how everything should go. We met with her for about 20 minutes and then waited for the reverend. He arrived and was very sweet and patient. He went over the order of the ceremony with us and made sure that all our preferences were in order. After meeting with them, we decided to try some St. John cuisine and we visited the restaurant Morgan’s Mango in downtown Cruz Bay. Dinner this night would not be disappointing. I kept it simple and ordered a cheeseburger in paradise while TH ordered a Cuban chicken dish. Both of our meals were excellent, the service was also good and the wait staff was friendly and entertaining. I don’t think that it had quite hit either of us yet that we were so close to our wedding ceremony! We went back to the villa and I took a semi-hot bath in the large Jacuzzi tub. Unfortunately, there was not nearly enough hot water to fill the tub even 25%. We had already read in the villas’ guest book about how no one had a successful go in the Jacuzzi. I wonder why they even have it in the house, and why it is even advertised in the villa description?! After getting my shower and combing through my hair, it was time for bed. I had Thomas tuck me in good, and he left me in the master bedroom while he went to one of the guest bedrooms to sleep. I slept fairly well that night, I remember saying my prayers and being pretty exhausted so that I fell asleep pretty easily. I only woke up once that I remember!

Tuesday, December 13 2005
I woke up around 8 AM and knew that Thomas wasn’t up yet. I went on out to the kitchen and ate a Pop Tart that we had purchased from the Dolphin Market the day before. The Dolphin Market was a very small littler grocer but had really almost everything that you needed. We decided to stock up on lunch and breakfast foods and to try and eat those meals inside the villa as much as possible. So, I ate my little Pop tart and looked out at the water to see if I could see our parent’s cruise ship coming into harbor. The night before I had seen a cruise ship leaving at dusk and it was truly beautiful. But, I didn’t see anything so I went back into my room and hung out for awhile. Soon I heard Thomas getting up and we yelled through the doors and the walls at each other to avoid any run-ins! At about 9 AM, the phone rang and Thomas’ Dad was on the line to tell us that their cruise ship was docking. I felt relieved because this was obviously important that the families be there to witness the wedding! They said that they would call us to let us know when they arrived at the dock because their ship’s captain was keeping them on EST and they also had to go through customs because their previous destination was in the Bahamas. I began to relax but also began to go through in my head all of the things that I needed to do! Before I knew it, it was 10:30 and time to be looking out for Earl, the taxi driver who was coming to pick me up to take me to my hair appointment at Beauty In Balance, the local hair salon which was luckily just a few minutes from the villa. I grabbed my veil and tiara and heard Earl coming up the road. He was a super nice guy, and he told me that he was one of the few natives of St. John on the island. In the 5 minute ride to the salon, Earl told me all about his beloved coral reefs of St. John and how they were being destroyed through the weakening of the ozone as well as the destruction from swimmers and snorkelers who would unknowingly scrape their fins or hands across the coral, which instantly destroys them. I could tell that he loved this island immensely, but that he was heartbroken to see it’s natural beauty and wonder being slowly dissipated. I arrived at Beauty In Balance and was greeted by Shannon, the receptionist who I had spoken with once before. She knew who I was, stating that the veil and tiara kind of gave it away. Soon I was back with Jennifer, a Boston native who had lived here for about 15 years. I showed her a picture of Carrie Underwood at an awards show, and she went to work on my hair. Not too long after she had begun, my sister, mother and niece arrived after TH dropped them off. He had picked them up from the ferry dock. They look very stressed and tired, but also a little relieved to be there. It took Jennifer a little longer than I had expected for her to do my hair, but we were soon done and then his Dad arrived to pick us up. Thomas had shown him how to get there and he did very well navigating the terrain for his first time! We went back up to the villa where everyone was eating lunch and beginning to get ready. I got started on my makeup and the time seemed to fly by. I put on my undergarments for the dress, the crinolin,etc. Then it was time for the dress itself. It takes about 2 other people to help put it on easily and successfully! But, we did it and zipped it up. I then put on the finishing touches of jewelry and finally the shoes. Getting everyone else together to me seemed more stressful than my own attire! Thomas, his mom, dad, my brother, Emilie and my sister all left in our rental Jeep to go down to Trunk, and then Stacy arrived at 3 PM to transport my dad, my mom and I. The ride there was nice but I did begin to feel nervous the closer that we got. We pulled into Trunk and were able to drive the car right down very close to the beach without being spotted. Next thing I knew it was time to take the walk with my Daddy! The weather was looking very nice and Stacy had cleared out people along the beach who were in the path. I saw Thomas and immediately knew that I was making the right decision. I stepped lightly through the sand on Trunk, which is by the way the softest sand that I have ever felt! The ceremony began, and it flew by. I did cry when saying my vows, but not too bad because every time I would read them after I wrote them I would cry hysterically, so I think that considering I actually did pretty good!! We took pictures with our families and a few with ourselves, and then it was time to send the families on their way! Thomas loaded me up into the Jeep and we watched as the Taxi Bus loaded the family. We drove away, and back up to our villa. That night we had made reservations at Caneel Bay’s Equator restaurant. We arrived there at 7:30 and were soon seated at a open aired dining area with beautiful décor and landscaping. Everyone at Caneel was so nice and wished us congratulations for our wedding. I ordered a Caesar conch salad and the lobster dish, and Thomas ordered the shrimp pasta dish. The Caesar salad was probably one of the best salads I have ever had, and the lobster dish was good but it was very tricky getting it out of it’s shell. Thomas’ dinner was very good. The head waiter of the Equator came over at the end of the meal to let us know that he had arranged for a special dessert to be made for us, and it arrived soon after. It was a mixture of about 4 different desserts, with the word “Congratulations” spelled out on the plate in chocolate. We knew that our honeymoon was truly beginning, and it was a very romantic and sweet night. It was pleasant also to watch our parent’s cruise ship leaving the harbor all lit up at night.

Wednesday, December 14 2005
We awoke this morning exhausted and ready to truly relax. We had decided to return to Trunk this morning for a relaxing time at the beach where we had been married. We managed to get there before the park officially opened, which meant that this time we skipped out on the entrance fee!! The beach was practically deserted when we got there, and the spot where we had been married still had rose petals from the day before. I laid out on the raft a lot in the water that is the most beautiful I have ever seen, and Thomas and I snorkeled the underwater snorkel trail around the cay in the Bay. We saw beautiful creatures, flounder, blue and yellow tang, pufferfish, parrotfish and more. The coral was beautiful as well but you could tell that significant damage was done to the reefs because of all the signs throughout the park which told visitors to be extraordinarily careful about swimming near the reefs and to never stand on them to avoid hurting them. Trunk Bay began to get crowded just around noon, which was when we decided to head back to the villa for lunch anyway. We made sandwiches and had chips and then decided to visit the beaches of Maho Bay, just down the way from trunk and cinnamon bay. Maho was delightful! It was a beautiful, calm, quiet beach lined with palm trees and tropical plants. The water was very clear here as well, and the snorkeling at first seemed like a bust until we discovered a little cove all the way to the left of the bay with rocks. There were literally thousands of fish in their schools. A cute little yellow fish hung out with us the whole time we were in the water! I saw a sting ray and chased after him walking through the water with my underwater camera hoping to get a great shot of him, but he was rather speedy! We saw barracuda and so many fish that you could never count them all!! I Floated underneath a palm tree for the rest of the afternoon and Thomas took out his camera to get some good shots. Around 5 PM, we headed back to the villa and got showered and ready for dinner. We had heard good reviews about a restaurant in Cruz Bay called The Lime Inn, which boasted an AUCE shrimp night on Wednesdays. We decided to try it out. We were greeted at the entrance by the owner of the restaurant who was very nice and showed us right in! We were sat at a table VERY close to the others, which made for interesting dinner conversation, considering you could basically hear everyone else’s conversations as well. Luckily, we were seated on both sides by some very nice couples whom we talked to as well. The AUCE shrimp was fantastic, and even the side dishes for this meal were great. We decided to be bad and order dessert as well. Thomas got a true key lime pie and I opted for the brownie sundae a la mode. Both were excellent, as we shared them with each other as well. We encouraged the other couples to go for dessert as well, which they did! We walked around downtown Cruz Bay a little more and visited a few of the neat shops around the area where I bought a few little things. Then, we were completely stuffed and decided to call it a day and head back to the villa.

Thursday, December 15

Today was our daysail with Captain Phil on the Wayward Sailor, a small red sailboat out of Cruz Bay. This was an excellent day! We met up with Captain Phil at Jojo’s café in Cruz Bay. Captain Phil looked exactly like I expected. He was blonde, old, but older by the sun with tan weathered skin. He has been in the Caribbean for 37 years, 17 of those years he has been in St John. We were humored by the fact that they were expecting very cold temperatures which were to be in the upper 60’s that night. Our group consisted of myself, Thomas, a nurse anesthetist and his stepson along with Captain Phil and his assistant Taryn. We headed out to the first snorkeling spot which was located directly across from a private island who’s name I cannot remember right now! Anyway, the snorkeling here was great. The current was pretty strong but mostly you didn’t notice it because you were so caught up in the amazing things you were seeing. We saw several lobster, yellow and blue tang, purple fish with twinkle lights that almost looked like they were glowing, flounder, grouper, sea anemone, sea spine and one magical little reef with a beautiful eel who was snaked in and around the holes in the coral. A huge grouper guarded this reef, literally working the reef the whole time we observed. So cool! After we were in the water for about an hour and a half, we got back onboard where Captain Phil took us through a little tutorial on the sea creatures around us and Taryn made probably one of the best lunches we had on our trip. It was a simple crab sandwich with chips, melon, and brownies but there was just something about it that we both agreed was excellent. We started to sail back around the island (I want to say it was Little St James maybe?) and headed out to a small rocky island known as Dog Island. We could see this island from the view up in our villa and it was quite a ways off the coast! It’s amazing though how when you are so overwhelmed by what is underwater, all your fears are gone. Sharks? Who cares!! This location we snorkeled was awesome. Great reefs that led to an amazing dropoff where you looked out and all you saw was clear blue. Such a beautiful and peaceful sight. Here we saw more of the beautiful fish we saw before, lots of very big pufferfish. I spotted an octopus hanging out in a trench on the bottom, I noticed him because of all the open clam shells around that he had eaten. You would have never known he was there because he miraculously changed the colors of his skin to match those of his surroundings. Only his eyes could really be seen. When he moved, his color changed. It was amazing, I had only seen stuff like that before on the Discovery channel!! While the boys were off chasing something over the dropoff, I was headed back in the other direction and in front of me swam a beautiful sea turtle. He was so cool to watch, but before I knew it he was gone. The sail back into Cruz Bay was incredibly peaceful. We hit a small rain shower which felt great, and it too was gone in just a few seconds. I found myself feeling more content than I thought possible. I had just been married to the greatest man in the world and now I was ending a day that I didn’t think could have gotten any better. You look out at the world of dry land everyday and think there are so many great creatures on it, but you really have no idea how many beautiful things in this world exist until you stick your head under the Caribbean Sea! That night for dinner we made spaghetti in our villa.

Friday December 16
We awoke this morning with the plans of driving to Coral Bay for a donkey ride. We did drive to Coral Bay which was a wonderful drive through the middle of the island with views like you wouldn’t believe. Each night that we were out on the deck of our villa we would hear tires squealing like crazy. At first we thought people were just playing around a lot and squealing their tires. It wasn’t until we started to take extremely sharp and steep curves on the roads that we realized the tires squealing couldn’t be helped!! Finally, when we got to the stables, something told me that this wouldn’t be something I would enjoy. I felt bad backing out because we did have a reservation, but it was after all my honeymoon so I got over it. We decided instead just to drive as far as we could, exploring all the places we could find. This was a great idea because we saw parts of the island that were clearly very secluded. We drove all the way through the East End and went past private cays to Hurricane Hole. We stopped and got out at many of these places. One of the cays was not lined with sand, but instead mangrove trees that branched out into the crystal clear water. We saw lots of donkeys and goats along the way. We decided to eat lunch at Skinny Leg’s which was another good choice. Their burger was just as everyone said, great! The bar had a great atmosphere, even at 12 noon. We headed back to the villa to get ready for our second round of wedding photography. Our photographer, Constance Wallace as it turned out had an unexpected death in her immediate family and as it turned out my husband became the photographer. Thank goodness he does this as a side business back in the States! I went back to Beauty in Balance to have my hair, tiara, and veil done and got back in full wedding attire, which I can’t say isn’t fun every single time! We went back to Trunk Bay and took pictures for about 2 hours, getting some really beautiful shots. I am so glad we decided to take more pictures! That night we went back to our villa and had salad, steak, macaroni and cheese and champagne!

Saturday December 17

Today we started out by hiking the Reef Bay Trail! The hike down was pretty easy, some steep steps the whole way but I remembered thinking this may not be such a fun walk back up!! Still, it really was awesome to be in the middle of a tropical rainforest with all the lush green around. On the way down we took a side trail to a waterfall where a pool was formed with ancient petroglyphs carved into the stone. This was a really neat experience. The waterfall was truly very pretty and the peace that surrounded this place could be nothing more than magic! We had some of our own bottled water and went back on the trail. We arrived at Reef Bay and it was a truly beautiful beach. We hung out for about 20 minutes, I wished there were showers down there because it would have been an excellent place to swim. Being that the walk up would be hard and long, I didn’t want to add to the fact that I would be wet and sticky from the water. The walk back up WAS long and hard, and as we were about 2/3 of the way back up I began to dislike my husband for the first time. (this was after all, his idea.) Then just when I thought I couldn’t take it any more, I heard the sound of a passing truck. Within 5 minutes we were back to the Jeep! I wasn’t mad at my husband anymore, I realized it had been worth it, and the exercise did me some good with all the food we were indulging in daily. For lunch we heated up a frozen pizza at the villa. That afternoon we went to Hawksnest Bay, Denis Bay where we saw a triple rainbow, and Cinnamon Bay. We came back to the villa, showered and went to the Fish Trap for dinner. I had shrimp and scallops and Thomas had salmon. We had coconut cake that was excellent and my lime margarita wasn’t too bad either!

Sunday December 18

This morning Thomas wanted to hike another trail. He decided to do the Ram’s Head Trail which would take him past Salt Pond Bay and the Shoals which he said were beautiful. The Ram’s Head Trail takes you out to Ram’s Head where you overlook a high cliff where the air you are breathing hasn’t been touched since it left the African coast!! I personally had enough walking for awhile so I decided to take that morning and relax at Trunk Bay again. It was just as beautiful as it had been the days before. I cannot describe the color of the water. It is like a jewel of turquoise and blue that can’t be duplicated! It was a wonderfully relaxing morning. Thomas came and picked me up. We picked up a BBQ lunch at Uncle Joe’s BBQ in Cruz Bay. This was again excellent food!! That afternoon we visited a place that we both wished we had discovered earlier in the week, as we would have spent an entire day there. Waterlemon Cay. We drove down and walked the short walk to Leinster. The beach wasn’t too great and at first the water didn’t look so spectacular. Until you put your mask on!! Immediately upon getting into the water I was in awe. Awesome sea creatures were everywhere!!!! We snorkeled along the right side of the beach out to the cay. Sea cucumbers, barracuda, grouper, tang, parrotfish, anemones, everything you could think of! We were so overwhelmed by what we saw here, and so disappointed because the sun was going down fast. As we began to head back, I was in front of Thomas by about 20 yards, and I happened to glance to my right into the clear blue. I saw the most glorious animal I have ever seen in person, a gigantic spotted ray. I literally lost my breath as I looked at him literally in slow motion gliding his body through the water in a way that said “yes, look at me, I am soooo beautiful!” He had to have been 6 feet tall from the head to the tip. He was dark blue with white spots all over. I was in awe. I don’t know if he was there for 5 seconds or 50. By the time I caught my breath I tried to summon my husband over but it was too late, he was gone! We made it back to shore with excellent memories yet so sad because we knew there was so much more to be seen out there and we couldn’t get back soon enough to see it! We hiked back to the Jeep and headed back to the villa. I stopped at Trunk one last time to get a glance of the place that will forever be the most special place in the world to me. As we drove past all the sights that we had become so used to seeing over the past week, I realized I was now saying goodbye to them and my heart sank. That night we had a wonderful romantic dinner at Zozo’s. I couldn’t pronounce a single thing on the menu, but whatever I ordered was good! I bought a palm tree pen from a little shop next door, and then we headed home. That night I began to pack up and had a mix of feelings of happiness and sadness for tomorrow was the end!

Monday December 19th

Going home day! L We woke up, cleaned up the villa, cleaned out the Jeep and took one last look over the villa balcony. I remember all the sunsets, all the romantic images of the cruise ships sailing away from St Thomas into the dusk, all the colors of the sky as the sun eclipsed the water. We glanced out at Dog Island remembering the great time we had there. We looked one last time at the villa pool that was used once, for 5 minutes by me and made a note that pools were overrated in the VI! We headed back into Cruz Bay, dropped off our keys to the villa company, dropped off our Jeep to Cool Breeze and walked up the street to eat breakfast at Chilly Billy’s. Breakfast was good but I began to get my pre-flight knot in my stomach. I wished there was someway to just warp through time and not remember the flights! It came time to get on the ferry to St Thomas. Carrying our luggage back was just as much of a pain as bringing it over, and we made another mental note that we used maybe 20% of the clothes and shoes that we (I) brought. The things you learn! As the ferry pulled away from Cruz Bay, I sat up top and wanted to cry! I was so incredibly happy and felt so incredibly blessed to have been to a place so perfect, but I knew that I had began 2 love affairs that week, one with my new husband and one with an island that was more like heaven than Earth. We arrived back to St Thomas and realized that although it had some nice areas, when you were on St Thomas there was really only one question-how fast can I get back to STJ?! We arrived at the airport and had a smooth check-in. We finally boarded the flight and took off. I managed to get over my fears long enough to look out the window and see my island getting smaller and smaller as we flew away. The flight was great, there was a little rough air at first but it soon calmed down and I began writing this journal. We arrived back in Atlanta and headed over to Chili’s where I felt I deserved a grande El Nino margarita. It was great. The flight back to Jacksonville was very smooth and very short. The 767 jet was hard to feel anything in! I liked that! The weather when I stepped outside of the airport was an unwelcome shock. It was 45 degrees. We got in the car, cranked up the heat, and began the drive home. We arrived home around 1 am, and slept incredibly hard. We woke up the next morning refreshed and began to get back into the groove of things.
I wrote this journal with the intentions of putting in every detail I could possibly remember. This was the most amazing experience of my life and I got to share it with the most wonderful person in the world. God has blessed us with beautiful places and I know that when he created St John, he had myself and my husband in mind. For that all I can say is thank you. Everyday that passes we think of the island if even for just a moment, and we can’t wait to get back to it again!

Posted : June 24, 2006 11:28 am
Posts: 1

Congratulations on your wedding. What a nice place to begin live together. Thanks for the report.

Posted : June 24, 2006 7:50 pm
Posts: 249
Reputable Member

That was a GREAT trip report!!
It was like reading a short story! And I'm not a reader!!
Sounds you had a perfect start to your marrige! Just think of all the anniversary's you have to look forward to now!
My husband & I spent our 25yr. wedding anniversary in St. Thomas 'bout 3yrs. ago....& we can't wait to go back! Sounds like we should be spending more time on St. John tho!!
This year we are thinking of taking our daughter's back with us....but they can only stay a couple days...we don't want to share our place....just tease them!

Posted : June 25, 2006 10:40 am
Posts: 1

sitter- thank you for the compliment!

I know that is like the longest thing to read but I actually read it in my own journal about once a week just to remember again! We are going back to STJ this fall but we'll be on a cruise and only there for 12 hours, so I am trying to decide how to fit in all the things we want to see again in that timeframe! It is going to be very hard. Can't say I would be all that upset if we missed the boat!

Posted : June 25, 2006 8:52 pm
Posts: 1

Thanks for a great detailed report. Congrtulations on yur marriage...and a wonderful way to start it!

Posted : June 26, 2006 1:29 am
Posts: 233
Reputable Member

Your trip report was a wonderful read. We spent a day out with Captain Phil and enjoyed every minute of it. I share your feelings about God blessing us with the beauty of St. John and the Caribbean Sea.

Posted : July 5, 2006 4:15 pm
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

Veyr nice report. Congratulations!

Posted : July 9, 2006 9:40 am
Posts: 1

Great report, felt like we all went to the wedding. Just curious, it sounded like you picked STJ for the wedding but had never been there? Why STJ. It is my favorite place but nit sure I could plan a wedding in a place I never saw before.

Posted : June 10, 2007 4:04 pm
Posts: 460
Honorable Member

cocosmom - if you look, this was posted a year ago, and somebody by the name of "sex" decided to respond and bump it up. I have no idea what his post says. what's up with that?

Posted : June 10, 2007 4:07 pm
Posts: 102
Estimable Member

The "sex" is ex - is that like "the love is gone"? And KTPalm has never been heard from again. Still, if you can get past pedicures and tiaras, this is an excellent read of the natural beauty in the islands. It's funny - on STX we went to the beach on Christmas - only tourists were swimming there. It was too cold for the locals or anyone who'd had time to acclimate at all!

Posted : June 11, 2007 5:07 am
Posts: 1 missed that..very odd!

Posted : June 11, 2007 5:06 pm
Posts: 2026
Noble Member

I saw it when it went up adn the post was still visible. It was one of those blue pill links or whatever. Seems htat the mods have deleted the new post, but that still left this thread at the top.

Nice wedding report - worth another read.

Posted : June 12, 2007 8:57 am
(@sesso con cavalli)
Posts: 1

pagine piuttosto informative, piacevoli =)

Posted : June 23, 2007 12:31 pm

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