This is mostly for my benefit so I can have a day-by-day accounting of what I did.
And a little for you so you don't have to keep looking at pictures of gorgeous beaches and lovely sealife.
This is the break down:
Arrive late. Check in to airport hotel for one night.
Arrange for rental car. If I ever go here again I will skip even trying to rent a car at the airport and just call Discount Car Rental. It was easy, and cost more than $150 less for the week than renting at the airport. Note to self: avoid driving a Caliber in the future, especially anyplace with hills. This car has NO power.
After getting car, head over to resort to unload all the various bags into their luggage storage area until later that day when we could actually check in.
Drive back into Charlotte-Amalie for lunch of Presidente beer, mango-glazed chicken wings and other assorted appetizers at Fat Turtle in Yacht Haven Grande mall.
Head into the main shopping area of town to wander around until time to check in.
Get accosted by various salespeople and guys trying to hawk timeshares.
Go back to resort, check in, unpack and, finally, get my toes into that amazing water.
After some beach time, clean up for dinner. Head to Iggie's and Bolongo Bay Beach Club. Find a market on the way there and stock up on provisions.
Dinner, rum drinks, sleep.
Thanks to VI EcoTours for the disc of photos.
This was great. The kayaking was good exercise and the snorkeling was relaxing.
Saw lots of juvenile fish. Saw lots of barracudas.
Lunch in Redhook at Fat Boys. Hmm... is there a Fat theme here on the island?
Had a lobster burger. Basically this was like a crab cake, but made with lobster and then put on a bun. So yeah, it was good.
Drove around the island until finding Magen's Bay, described by many sources as one of the world's best beaches.
It was OK. The view from the road above was awesome. The beach itself? Yeah, better than many beaches, but I was underwhelmed.
I especially did not like the entrance fee, per person AND per car. I guess I am used to just going to a beach.
But it was cool. Until I went to change into my bathing suit and realized I did not have it.
Lucky for me and the others on the beach I was wearing nice new underwear. Because I ended up wearing panties and my bra with a tank top over it to swim at one of the world's best beaches.
Get lost driving back, trying to take the shorter route over the mountain instead of the long way around the coast.
Drivers here are rude and impatient.
Back to clean up and nap and relax.
Dinner was a beer and conch fritters at the resort restaurant. I was not that hungry, surprisingly.
Diving with Underwater Safaris. See earlier posts for details.
Sushi lunch at Beni Iguana's in Havensight.
Back to nap.
Hanging out on the beach at Bluebeard's, just generally relaxing.
Later, winner winner chicken dinner in Charlotte-Amalie.
Woke up at the ass crack of dawn to go fishing. It was an inshore charter.
Not much was biting. I caught a bar jack and a gar and a few small grouper. All were catch and release. Nothing was caught that was OK for keeping and cooking. Oh well.
Oh yeah, and somehow no one managed to get a picture of me catching anything even though my own camera was being used and it was a simple push-the-big-button deal.
Back to nap. And nap. And nap.
This early morning got me all jacked up. The rest of the dat was just hanging out.
Dinner at Cuzzin's in CA. This was a great local meal. I had Creole style shrimp with local stuffing, rice and peas and plantains.
You guessed it, back to the resort... get ready for bed.
Up early to head to Coki Beach to dive with Coki Beach Dive Club. More on this in a post to come later.
After diving, grabbed lunch at MailMan's bar and grill right there on the sand at Coki. Jerk chicken with rice, beans and plantains. Yum.
Back to the resort to clean up, take a little nap.
Did some hanging out at the pool and pool bar.
Later, dinner of mahi-mahi tacos at Duffy's Love Shack in Redhook.
Oh, and mai tais.
Eat, drink, sleep... just like most nights here.
Went into CA to do some browsing and shop for souvenirs and gifts.
Got a call from Dianne at the next dive company, Aqua Action.
Weather and conditions where they wanted to go were not perfect so they were going to Buck Island instead. Since I had been there already, I canceled the diving for that day. I wanted to see as many new sites as possible.
Dianne was nice enough to refer me to another shop to try to dive Friday.
Since diving in the afternoon was now off, there was the chance to have lunch at a great local place, Gladys' Cafe. It is not open for dinner, so this was about the last chance to eat here.
I had pan-fried grouper Creole style. It came with rice, beans, sweet potato and plantains.
This was an AMAZINGLY good meal. Simple, but so tasty.
After this, a little walk around town then back to the resort. The dark clouds were looming and the rain was on its way.
Back at the resort, watched the rain for a while and do a load of laundry.
Later, went to the pool. It was cloudy, but not raining anymore.
For dinner... back to Iggie's. I had chimichurri marinated skirt steak with steamed veggies and smashed potato.
On the way out, I noticed that the dive shop there was open. This was the one Dianne had referred me to, so I stopped in.
They had just come back from a night dive.
I asked about what they had going in the morning and what they thought about conditions and weather.
They said things looked good. Be there by 8 a.m. to dive.
Cool. I really wanted to get in three days of diving here.
It was going to be the last day and then flying home Saturday. I went back to the resort and double checked on safety for diving and flying. The suggestion was not to fly for 18 hours after diving. Excellent. I would have 25 hours.
OK. That was settled. Now, sleep.
Up early to go diving with St. Thomas Dive Club out of Bolongo Bay.
More on that in a later post.
After diving, back to get cleaned up then over to Redhook for lunch at Molly Molone's (An Irish Yacht Pub, it was called). I had the black and bleu burger. This was a burger, with blue cheese mixed right in, then blackened. Oh yeah, it also had bacon on it. This was a most excellent burger.
Next, a little nap.
After that enjoy a mango rum thing over at Iggie's. Iggie's was the bar and grill at Bolongo Bay, a resort not too far away from Bluebeard's. It was more fun than the bar at Bluebeard's.
Back to the resort to just hang out for a while. The weather was a little gloomy. I checked online. The forecast for the next 10 days called for rain. Good thing the vacation was almost over and good timing for the trip.
The last dinner that night was at a place near Bolongo called Mim's Seaside Bistro.
I had an amazing dinner of coconut curry lobster tail. It was big chunks of the lobster meat cooked with tomato, onions and mushrooms in a lovely coconut curry sauce then poured back into the lobster shell to serve.
It was soooo good. The coconut was just the right sweetness to balance the curry. And the lobster was in big enough pieces that you didn't have to fish around wondering if there was really any meat in there.
After dinner, back to the resort to pack up and go to sleep.
St. Thomas to San Juan, San Juan to Dallas, Dallas to L.A.
I got home about 11:30 that night.
That is it. Vacation over.
Sunday and Monday were spent easing back into real life so I could go back to work Tuesday.
And there you have it. My travel diary. Usually I actually write all this in a little book. Now the blog is my little book.