Friday, December 7, 2012

St Thomas Day 6 - An eternity of memories

Trying very hard to articulate the words to adequately describe our day.  Holy Smokes!  I don't think I'm gonna be able to do it justice but at least I'll get something down for journaling sake.

Sunday, when the tour guides were all pitching their tours, Ana caught our attention with the chartered yacht and small group of people.  The all day excursion included snorkeling, fishing and sunset viewing.  All food, drink and transportation.  It seemed pricey at the time, but in hindsight - adding it all up, we got way more for our money!

At 9:00am, Scott from the company picked us up, stopped at the other BlueBeard's hotel to fetch another couple so we had a total of 6 people.  We got to the harbor and met the crew.
Wolfgang was our captain.  Ana (his wife) was the chef.  Julia and Katie were water/boat/drinks/food  whatever helpers.
breakfast - pastries, fruit, champagne (juice for us)

We launched and slowly went out to Buck Island.  The story behind Buck Island is that when the traders gathered slaves, they would leave all the young men out on the island with no food or water for several weeks.  The ones that survived were then taken to the main island to be slaves.  The ones who died were left just as they were.  How horrible!  The bay on the one side of the island was referred to as Turtle Cove and I'm telling you -!

We got out the snorkel equipment and launched.  I actually touched and petted a sea turtle!  I swam towards him and as I approached, I noticed he was eating a jellyfish.  I slowly moved closer and reached out my hand.  Actually touching him was AMAZING!!!  Another one played a little game of peek a boo looking me straight in the eyes and we bobbed our heads up and down in the water.  I seriously was in heaven!  I snorkeled around a little bit seeing another ray, some cool fish and of course more turtles.  I think they are my favorite sea animal now!

After an hour or so of snorkeling, Wolfie took us around to the other side of Buck Island where there was a shipwreck and more snorkeling.  I was cold and I was told there was a barracuda and a Moray eel so I skipped the water this time and instead sunned myself on the upper deck of the yacht.  It is so stunningly beautiful!

Mr and Mrs Erickson snorkeled for quite a while checking out the shipwreck and both were able to see the Barracuda.  Adam and Tib did some diving/jumping off the boat and of course there was more food.

There was another boat doing a snuba tour.  Combination of snorkel/scuba but these suckers paid $170 bucks for 20 minutes.  They looked funny

Tib is allergic to shellfish and I can't stand cheese so sweet Ana totally made our own separate dishes accommodating our special needs.  LOVE HER!

After lunch, we made our way over to Little St James Island.
We did some trolling for fish on the way over and while our boys didn't catch anything, the Texas woman we were with had caught something earlier

Little St James is a private island owned by Jeffrey Epstein.  He is a very rich man who was indicted for sex with underage girls, spending time in the big house.  The locals call the island, Pedophile Island.  The owner never spends any time there but maintains it for tax purposes.  He has staff that live on St Thomas that come over each day, work on the island and the home and grounds and then leave again each night.  One in particular, his only job is to move a plastic cow.  His contract doesn't say how far or where he has to move it, but it has to be moved every single day.  So he comes, moves the damn thing a couple of feet and is done.  Earns 80,000 a year for it.  We also passed a gazebo with a 200 inch TV screen that plays movies constantly even though there is no one there to watch it.  The palm trees he shipped in were 6500 a piece!  The one little island is the most striking example of waste that I have ever seen.  The man is completely wealthy and utterly stupid!

We pulled in the bay and again donned the snorkel gear.  This was mostly reef so we saw a lot of different coral and reef life.  I was having trouble with my mask seal so I gave it up and swam back to the boat.

The memory I will cherish the most is the next hour or so as Splenda Daddy and I sat on the back of the boat, dangling our feet in the water and watching the sunset.  Absolutely the coolest thing ever.  Some small talk, some hand holding, some light splashing of the water with our toes and nothing to disrupt us.  Island on both sides, nothing but ocean and sunset ahead.  It is now seared in my memory forever.

Of course once the Erickson's got back on the boat and dried off, dinner was served.  Seriously, they had given us so much food and drink that it was hard to even fathom eating more, but Ana had gone to all the work, so we felt obligated and beyond that, it was just damn good food!

We stayed in the cove until the sun had set just chatting and I was playing around with the captain's duties.

So funny story.  The 6 of us were on the upper deck while the crew was below cleaning up dinner and whatever.  I decided to pose at the captains chair like I was driving the boat.

I handled the steering wheel and then someone suggested I pose on the throttels.  So I jump back up there and I didn't want to move them, just set my hands on top so it looked like I was doing something.
Well, the whole trip, I had not paid attention and noticed that he actually started the engines down below.  The minute I put my hands on the throttels, they moved ever so slightly at the exact same time as he fired up the engines!  I THOUGHT I HAD DONE SOMETHING WRONG!!  Panic set in.  Like serious panic.  Like I expected him to come flying up and yell at me for breaking some sort of maritime rule and putting us all in danger.  I was desperately trying to get behind Splenda and then run my way back to the upper deck and pretend that someone else had done it.  I was totally and completely prepared to throw Splenda Daddy under the bus for this smart aleck move.  I couldn't figure out why everyone was laughing so hard and then it was all explained to me.  I didn't do anything at all, but it was incredible timing!  I can't even tell you the last time I think we all laughed that hard.  Best comic relief of the night!

We finally turned back and headed for the harbor and boat dock.

Got a last shot of the crew, gave hugs and promised to write a nice review for Trip Advisory.  And truly, I will do it in all honesty.
Ana, Julia, Wolfgang, and Katie

This excursion was the best money we ever spent.  After calculating all snorkeling we did, the food and drink, the three different coves and areas we saw, the fishing on the boat and the sunset dinner - we MORE than got what we paid for.  If you go to St Thomas and you do nothing else, THIS excursion is the must do.  Absolute must do.

We were stuffed from the food, tired from the water play and hit the bed early.  As I laid drifting off to sleep, I was thankful for what a wonderful day.  10 hours on a charted yacht with only 6 people and 4 staff members.  Not a raucous booze cruise, just enjoying the beauty of the island and it's ocean bays.  Good food, good people and the sunset with my love.  Just doesn't get much better than this.


tammy said...

Okay, this part is perfect. We are doing this when we go. Tell me how much it was.

Pedaling said...

every once in awhile the stars align and everything is perfect!
Good for you! Bliss!

Pedaling said...

oh and experience is that their personalities are like little puppy dogs. What a memory!