December 20, 2011

USVI: Christmas Boats

Every year St. Thomas has a Christmas boat parade and I was lucky enough to be part of it this year, thanks to Shawn and his friend. We cruised around the waterfront of Charlotte Amalie Harbor while crowds gathered land side to watch the show.

November 22, 2011

USVI: Kristen Visits St. Thomas

Before I even left for St. Thomas a friend from home, Kristen, had booked her flight to visit. I was looking forward to this week before I even arrived. I took a week off of work and we rented a car to explore. 

1. The day Kristen arrived we went swimming at Bolongo Bay before heading to ladies night in Red Hook:

{ Bolongo Bay }
{ Red Hook }
2. On Thanksgiving day we went to Secret Harbor and then the infinity pool at the Marriott before heading to a friends house for a turkey feast and my birthday:

{ Secret Harbor }
{ Infinity pool at the Marriott }
{ Thanksgiving and my birthday }
3. You cannot visit St. Thomas without a trip to the British Virgin Islands:

{ The Baths at Virgin Gorda, BVI }
{ Lunch at Marina Cay, BVI }
{ Obligatory snorkel mask photo }
4. We went to watch a basketball game at Paradise Jam with pizza at Pie Whole after (Paradise Jam is a tournament where US universities come down to St. Thomas for two weeks of basketball):

{ Pie Whole in Frenchtown }
5. We took the car ferry over to St. John to camp at Cinnamon Bay and explored the island with a stop at Hawksnest beach:

{ The car ferry to St. John from Red Hook }
{ camping at Cinnamon Bay }
{ Hawksnest beach }

November 17, 2011

USVI: Dinner Cruise

Last Tuesday Kerri and I went on a dinner cruise with New Horizons out of Sapphire Beach Marina over to Christmas Cove, St John. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was amazing.

October 20, 2011

USVI: A little work, a little vacation

I am fully settled into life on St. Thomas - work, vacation, eat, sleep, repeat.

In a very short period of time I have learned everything there is to know about USVI - where to eat, how to get around, how to island hop and what to do there. Working at a hotel requires you to know everything, even predicting tomorrows weather.

{ Adventure Center }
The other day Kerri and I joined a kayak tour of Magen's Bay. The most famous beach on St. Thomas and it was perfect.

{ Magen's Bay. Way over to the right is a nude beach, fyi. }

Nate, Kerri and I have become a trio. Nate works at the kayak rental shop on the beach at The Cove, Marriott so we have been there a lot as well as the infinity pool since it's amazing.

{ Infinity pool with Kerri }

If we aren't at work we drive around in jeeps, take the water taxi from the Marriott to downtown, learn how to scuba dive and swim at the beach. Life is good.

{ Always riding in Jeeps }
{ First time scuba diving }
{ Lunch at Gourmet Gallery }
{ Downtown Charlotte Amalie }
{ Cruise ships in at Charlotte Amalie (a-mall-yee-ya) }

October 7, 2011

USVI to Puerto Rico

St. Thomas to Puerto Rico in 30 minuets on Cape Air! I am off to Lexington, Kentucky for a few days to celebrate my grandmas 90th birthday but first a night in Puerto Rico. I wanted to wander the streets of Old San Juan again and stop at my favorite shop to pick up some more rope soled shoes and swing by the Ralph Lauren outlet.

I stayed at the San Juan International Hostel and it was truly great. The rooms were small but not many guests where staying there at the time so I was able to hog the fan AND the internet worked in the dorm rooms, which I have learned is not always the case with hostels. All the guests were welcoming and had fascinating stories about their travels, we became a quick bunch of friends.  

September 20, 2011

BVI: The Baths and Jost Van Dyke

Since we live in the Caribbean and have access to all the tours that the VI offers Kerri and I joined New Horizons Charters on the Breakaway. We were off to the BVI before breakfast for our day off.

{ Breakaway, our ride through the British Virgin Islands}
{ The Baths at Virgin Gorda, BVI }
As usual, the first stop was The Baths at Virgin Gorda. The Baths are smooth rocks forming tunnels with waterways flowing through them. You climb, swim and crawl from one end to other.

After returning to the boat and filling up on pain killers (the drink of the VI) we drove over to Scrub Island for lunch.

{ Scrub Island }

Swimming after eatting was encouraged so we snorkeled the reefs. Snorkeling is starting to become the new norm.  Before our fingers could prune we were on our way to Jost Van Dyke and the Soggy Dollar Bar. The Soggy Dollar Bar got its name because you have to swim from your boat to the beach with your money. It doesn't get much better then White Bay at Jost Van Dyke.

{ Soggy Dollar Bar, JVD }
{ Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke }

{ White Bay, Jost Van Dyke }

September 19, 2011

USVI: St. John

{ St. John, USVI }
At the last minute Ashley and I hopped on the boat to St. John that picks up at the Marriott. Just like that we were off to swim and snorkel at Trunk bay, explore an old sugar mill, and cruise the island in a safari (big truck with open sides). Trunk Bay is one of the worlds top ten most beautiful beaches and it did not disappoint. It's not yet tourist season so there was hardly anyone around. Ashley and I had a little beach corner all to ourselves. St. John is much more green and lush then St. Thomas with hiking trails and forest views. It is just beautiful there.

{ Trunk Bay }

September 18, 2011

USVI: Kayaking and Snorkeling the Mangroves

{ Kayak the mangroves }
Another vacation day for the books! Kerri and I joined Virgin Island Ecotours for a kayak, hike and snorkel through the mangroves. It was such a simple morning tour but so different then everything else offered on the island and we absolutely loved it. We also had a hermit crab race with lots of cheering as our little animals raced to the center circle.

{ Hermit crab race... let the games begin }

September 17, 2011

USVI: Swimming with Sea Turtles

{ The Cat }
We have started to call our days off vacation days instead. It really is the only way to describe it since we don't have proper weekends and our days are filled with vacation activities. Kerri and I (Kerri works at the Adventure Center) sailed on The Cat (a catamaran run out of the Marriott) over to Turtle Cove at Buck Island to swim with sea turtles. The Cat sails to Buck Island off of St. Thomas twice a day. We joined the morning sail, nothing like snorkeling before noon. I have learned quickly that working for the Adventure Center has one great perk, all the tours we sell we get to do for free. Can't get much better then that.

{ Swimming with sea turtles }

September 15, 2011

USVI: Getting Out & Exploring

I started work last Wednesday and for the following three weeks I will be training. On my days off I am making the effort to explore the islands. My first island adventure: ferrying over to St. John.

There is a ferry that leaves from Red Hook every thirty minutes that take you over to Cruz Bay, downtown St. John. It is so easy, I think this might become a regular adventure. I walked around the little town at Cruz Bay for the afternoon. I was excited to explore more then my condo complex and the Marriott. St. John is way less touristy then St. Thomas. Has the island vibe that everyone is looking for. There is a lot you can do on St. John but I have to save those adventures for later!

{ Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI }
To continue on with my days off and my attempt to explore I taxied over to Sapphire Beach on Saturday, which is on the east end of the islands. White sand and turquoise water! It was amazing, I only had to watch out for the iguanas lurking around. I was eventually rained out which was fine since I needed some shade time.

{ Sapphire Beach }

September 12, 2011

USVI: Watergate Villas, my St. Thomas Home

The view from our balcony
{ The studio at Watergate Villas }
I have arrived in St. Thomas! I am sharing a studio in Watergate Villas with Ashley, a friend from Seattle. We are right on the water looking over Bolongo Bay. We have a pool and two restaurants (Iggie's Beach Bar & Grill and Mim' Seaside Bistro) walking distance.

I have moved down to live in the Caribbean and work at the Adventure Center, a company within the Marriott that sells tours to the guests. Here we go!

{ Bolongo Bay view from Watergate }
{ View of Watergate with Mim's Seaside Bistro on the left }