Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sept. 21, 2016--- Off to St. John!

I guess I was pretty excited.  I was up before sunrise and laid out on the round chair on my patio watching the sun rise.  By 8, Angie and Josh were up and we hustled to get ready and off for a day of snorkeling.

We let an employee valet park the car the night before.  I got a kick out of the sign he parked by.  Kind of hard to read it here, but it says, "Caution  Area prone to flooding.  Park at your own risk"
We made it to the ferry port by 8:45 and got on the 9am car ferry to St. John.  It was $50 round trip, cash only---same as when we were there for 9 days a few years ago.  Views from the ferry were pretty.
After the 30 minute or so ferry ride, we were on our way to the north side of the island.  Stopped at an overlook near Cruz Bay harbor.

Cruz bay
Continued on to the overlook of Trunk Bay.  I've read that it got it's name because there use to be a lot of leather back turtles that would rest on shore there and the sailors of old thought they looked like trunks. I had snorkeled here 3 or 4 times before, so didn't mind that we skipped it this trip.
zoomed in view of Trunk Bay.  There is a fee to go here, but it does have a nice restroom with changing rooms and there's even a small restaurant and gift shop within the grounds.
As we rode along, we saw several of these.  The "kids" said they're termite nests.  They sure have a lot of termites here! 
We debated on taking this .8 mile trail and then swimming across to a little island----Waterlemon Cay, I think.  But the weather looked iffy and the parking was also iffy.  So we continued on to see what else we could find.
another view near the start of the above trail
a short drive farther was the ruins of a sugar factory--Annaberg Plantation ruins..
We walked around it
even admired the wild flowers growing by it.
the old silo
more beautiful flowers.
more of the ruins.
There was even a viewing area here over the Caribbean.
the view across the Narrows.
back to wandering around the sugar mill.

the boiler room
the silo, again.
inside the boiler room.
more inside the boiler room.

We had passed Maho beach on our way, it had easy access, so we decided to go back there and snorkel.  Glad we did, it was beautiful and the snorkeling was quite good.
We headed to the rocks at the far right and even snorkeled around the point.
Caribbean grouper.
school of tiny fish
French angelfish
another grouper
Even had a nurse shark swim just feet from us.
beautiful fish
butterflyfish in a forest of Christmas tree worms.
squirrel fish
reminds me of the emperor fish in Hawaii but I know they're not.  Will have to look him up later. (was told this is a sheepshead porgy)
more angelfish
don't remember seeing these guys before.
a parrot fish
a very large barracuda!
glad he was more interested in getting cleaned then taking a bite out of us!

lots of Caribbean groupers
squid or cuttlefish?
spotlight parrotfish
stingray with a cropped tail.
one more picture of the ray---still has his barb, though.
a grunt, squirrel fish and a couple soldier fish.
After snorkeling Maho for a couple hours, we headed over to Hawksnest.  We had snorkeled here once before, too, and really liked it, so wanted to go back again.
more of Hawksnest.  Note the coral comes up right near the shoreline.
school of fish
blue headed wrasse
a sergeant major
this place has tons of elkhorn coral
blue tang

another kind of grouper  ( Graysby Grouper )
I believe this guy is a kind of grouper, too.
a wrasse
sea biscuit
another mystery fish.
another grouper and parrotfish
another ray
some sort of large crab
another parrotfish
loved how calm the water was.  Nice change from the rough Hawaii waters we snorkeled in just weeks before.
another view of Hawksnest.

looking across from Hawksnest.
loving all the colors.
When we were done there, we were hungry.  Went back to Cruz bay in search of lunch. 
Didn't find any restaurant we wanted to eat at, so we went to a little grocery store and bought sandwiches and snacks.  Ate it in the car.  Then we tried to find some beaches on the South side that we were told about.  Ended up just being a ride.  We never did find how to get to any of the beaches there.  So when we got back to Cruz Bay, we decided we didn't have enough time to go back North to snorkel since the last ferry left at 6:30.  So we caught the 3:30 ferry back to St. Thomas.
Back on St. Thomas we decided to go check out Sapphire Bay which is right by Margaritaville.

Even love the wild flowers there.

and the paintings on a building there.  There are restrooms and a dive shop here, as well as a bunch of condos.
Ultimately we swam out to the point at the far right.
I believe these are a type of Pompano.  They are aggresive little buggers!  One kept nipping my leg.
school of blue tangs.
school of grunts
some of the coral out by the point
more coral and grunts.
not quite like around St. John, but still pretty good. 
a scrawled file fish
school of juveniles.
colorful coral
more sergeant majors and elkhorn coral out by the point
The water is rougher out here, but the underwater terrain is more interesting.
yellow trumpet fish and blue stripe grunt
soft coral
hard coral
large wrasse
grunts and goatfish
squirrel fish
another painted wall on a building there.
By the time we were done there, it was time to go back to the resort, hit the pool for a bit, then clean up and head to the Margaritaville restaurant for another great dinner and to try not to think about my trip being half over already!. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this! We are heading to St. Thomas for our first "tropical" trip ever and I'm hoping to do some snorkeling. I have never done that either so your blog is very inspirational. I like the idea of hoping over to St. John for part of a day as well. It looks completely "doable". Thanks again!