What an island! We loved pretty much every bit of our vacation. We headed down to Jacksonville, FL Monday evening to stay with some friends prior to our 8am flight on Tuesday. Then it was down to Miami and off to St. Croix!
I have to say, I did not realize how much easier a trip would be in a US territory vs another country. Just being able to speak the language and to not need to convert the currency alleviated so much of the headache/stress that can go into a vacation. Does this mean I’ll stop traveling to places where English is not the primary language? Of course not – but maybe I’ll work a little harder on learning Spanish. I just need to dust off that Rosetta Stone…
We arrived in St. Croix Tuesday around lunch time, grabbed our rental car and set off to find our condo. Mark was nominated as the driver for this trip – they drive typical US vehicles (with the steering wheel on the left) but they drive on the left side of the road. Very interesting – and pretty exhilarating more than once…
|Our unit was right in the middle – with the red chairs|
Our condo was fantastic. It was a studio unit on the ground floor with the back porch opening directly onto the beach. It was really well stocked and I would not hesitate to stay there again (Sugar Beach Condos – unit 113). As soon as we unloaded our luggage and scuba gear, we headed into town (about 5 minutes away by car) and scheduled our scuba dives for the next day. We had priorities, ya know.
We grabbed some pretty delicious food at Angry Nates – food that had me hunting for Miss Anne’s hot sauce in every single store we went into. (I never did find it, but I guess I can order some) We also hit up a grocery store on the way back to the condo so we could stock the kitchen. And bar. Rum is only $7/bottle, and you know I’m frugal, so I had to grab that bargain!
Wednesday was Dive day – we did 2 boat dives each, and just BARELY missed seeing whales! As we were arriving at our 2nd dive location by boat, the captain received a call that whales were spotted – at our FIRST dive location. Some of the other divers said they could hear them under water during our 2nd dive, but I only heard my bubbles… The dives were great. This was the first time I’ve not had one of my mini-panic attacks as I descended on the first dive. Sure I’ve been certified for 20 years, but I’ve spent (fill in the blank) years knowing that I’m not supposed to breathe under water and it’s a hard habit to break. Anyway – the dive instructor gave a VERY thorough plan of what we would be doing AND I hopped in early and snorkeled around the area before suiting up – per someone’s genius suggestion. I can’t remember who told me to do that, but whoever you were – THANK YOU!
So if we had such a great time diving and saw so much cool junk under the water – where are our pictures!?! Huh. Wellll. Turns out that, we think air port security turned on the GoPro to verify it was a functional camera when they were scouring through all of our checked scuba gear. The tricky thing with a GoPro is that the buttons don’t really make any sense at all. You have to know the code to all the flashing lights. Seriously. (Come on GoPro – is it too much to ask for a simple on/off/etc button?!) Apparently they did not know the magic code to turn the camera off – so the fully charged camera was not so fully charged 48 hrs later when we needed it. And someone, I won’t mention his name, didn’t realize he had actually packed the charging cord until we got home. So what does all of this mean?!! Well, it means we have to go back to St. Croix and suffer through another dive trip. Way to insure a return trip,
Mark! I mean, nameless spouse.
We saw lots of stuff during the dives – turtles, sting rays, eels, fish (duh), and loads of coral, etc. About 30 minutes into the 2nd dive, I was done and ready to get a move on to other things. But you can’t just shoot to the surface, so I hung out and finished the dive. I can only look at parrot fish and coral for so long.
For lunch we headed to, hmm, I think You Are Here after that. We’ve been home for a week, so the timeline runs together, but I’m pretty certain I remember being there and drinking some pineapple-rum concoction in my swimsuit/cover up. So that had to be the day. We were starving, and the food was great. Next time we’ll try the pizza. It looked fabulous.
|Here’s where Columbus attempted to land on his 2nd visit this way – looking for water.|
|We made sure to hit at least a few tourist sites!|
|Just the “regular” view as you drive around the island. (!)|
Thursday was Fredericksted day! We drove over in the morning and rented a couple of SUP’s for an hour. There was only so much to see, so we ended up finishing the hour off with some SUP yoga/pilates moves. Turns out I can do 3/4 shoulder stand with minimal falling into the water. Who knew? Fortunately the water is warm and refreshing, so all of the falling I did when I was trying to do Standing Hand to Big Toe pose (yeah, that’s really the name) was actually kind of pleasant. You know, if falling can be pleasant. I do happen to know I can do this pose – I’ve done it before in Savannah, but it just was not happening that day. (and we hadn’t even started with the rum drinks, yet!) At least I was able to entertain the few people sitting on the beach. Again, no photos. This time we were just too busy having fun to take time for pics.
F’sted is gorgeous. Just as gorgeous as Christiansted, where we were staying. F’sted is where the occasional cruise ship comes in – maybe 1-3 per week. The rest of the time the town is buttoned up tight. If you go, make sure to hit up the SUP rental stand (the only one on the island) and get a shaved ice – preferably with rum.
Thursday afternoon we met some new friends we’d made via Women Who Sail (FB group) and after chatting about living on St. Croix – ups, downs, etc, we headed to the monthly Art Night in C’sted. It was great. You just walk around and drink wine and eat cheese and look at/purchase art. We came home with new matching wedding bands hand made by a local company. Very cool. And a bargain! We finished up the night at a local restaurant. I’m thinking I made a poor menu choice – I went with the conch, but it wasn’t fried. If I’m going to eat something as boingy as conch, I need some crunch. So this wasn’t for me. But the curry chicken looked fantastic. I’d definitely go back – and just get the chicken.
Speaking of chickens – they just roam freely all over the island. Tons of mama chickens with their babies trailing behind. It was really cute as a tourist – but I could see where it might get annoying if you lived there. We also saw a lot of cow and goat farms. That means plenty of meat on the island. Unfortunately, the lack of water seems to translate to a lack of veggies on the island. So most places pretty much just serve a meat and starch. NOT a vegetarian’s paradise – but I’m sure there’s plenty to be had if you know where to go. Next time I am absolutely going to check out ArtFarm! And I saw one veggie restaurant and one vegan as we were roaming around. So it’s out there, I just need to go back and enjoy.
Friday was Real Estate Day. I’m telling you, we were this close to coming home as the new owners of a condo! We looked at single family homes in the mountains – too hot, too big, not enough wind, but great views. Then we headed down to Condo Row and checked out various options.
|View from the back porch – thru the hurricane bars.|
The condo was a deal! And if we planned to live on land and were ready to pick up and move, we’d have jumped on it. But we have a floating condo – and by the time you added the monthly amenities to the mix, if we’d have bought it to rent out, it would’ve been a break even property for us. Not exactly the kind of investments we look for. So, even though we took a second look the next day and headed to the ATM for the earnest money, we just decided it wasn’t right for our Plan. We’ve gotta stick to The Plan. And now that we’ve had another magical taste of the island life, it’s time to get moving on that Plan!