Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Let's go to the beach, beach: St. Croix Adventures, Part 1.

Bridesmaids were meant to flyyyyyyy! That was the line of Kay, the bride we flew to St. Croix for last week. To the tune of Nicki Minaj. Yes, we sing talk to each other. Generally it's in 90s boy bands, but an exception is made for Nicki.

And the island is so beautiful that you just have to sing. That right there is what we call a stretch of a transition. The island is beautiful, without a doubt. It didn't have as much cheese and I'll have you believe. In all honesty, there was a shortage of goat cheese for the amount of goats I saw. I'm breaking the six days I spent on the island into two posts. In this one I'll cover the sand and surf portion, and I'll cover the land lover portion in the next post.


St. Croix is an island, and therefore has a bunch of beaches. Duh. Kay let us in on a secret though - all of the beaches are public. Hotels can gate access and charge for chairs, but if you walk into what looks like a private beach area on your ambles down the shoreline, you don't have to fear because all they can do is give you dirty looks. I don't even know if that would happen, because I didn't experience that at all. On our first day on the island, we hit Cheney Bay on the eastern side of Christiansted. The sand was soft, the water was clear and super warm (which I love) and there was another island in the distance. Quintessential paradise. The only dagger in the side was apparently there were some urchins lurking and Kay's mum found one in her toe. Ouch.


Nothing a little vinegar bath couldn't fix though - she wasn't down for long! 

The water here did have sea life when you went about knee-deep: the little ocean scrubby grass (not the long, dangly, tickling seaweed making me dart every five seconds for fear that something touched me),and rocks and shells. I didn't actually see any fish, but like I said, the urchins were somewhere.


That same night, we traveled across the island (which is seems easy as a less than 20-mile drive, but the roads are some of the worse I've ever traveled, so the progress was slower and full of pothole-dodging, speed-ditch avoiding, and bottoming-out on cringe-worth speed bumps) to try our handbalance at paddleboarding at Stand Up Paddle at Teres Veho Beach. It. was.awesome. The water was probably like 15-feet deep, but so clear that you could see straight down to the coral, rocks, soft white sand, and occasional fish. We started out a little rough, but by the end of our hour and a half on the water,we weren’t toppling over every twenty minutes. We were feeling the burn in our arms and abs too. I can see why people get hooked.


The next day, we hopped on a catamaran boat with the bride's family and relatives for a trip to Buck Island. Buck Island boasts the only underwater national park, designated by President JFK. After a rough ride to the side of the island with the reef (we were going against and across the current), we were sufficiently drenched and ready for snorkeling. Our guide hopped in ahead of us and dove to clear off the signs underwater as we snorkeled above. The coral was incredible- and close! At some point there was less than a foot between the coral and my belly. We saw fish I swear were right out of Rainbow Fish, barracudas, and the largest lobster I could not have even imagined. This guy was seriously over three feet, tail to head. And chompers to match. I backpedaled quickly. The trail through the coral opened up into the ocean and the sight was phenomenal- there were schools of fish and it was straight out of The Little Mermaid.

That's our boat on the left, and our boat riders in the water.

After we took in all we could, we climbed back on board the boat to sail to the other side of the island for Turtle Beach. The sands were so white and the water so glass blue. Beautiful.

And there is no editing to this photo. None. I wish I was kidding.

We spent the rest of the afternoon jumping off the anchored boat, rolling in the warm water, and chastising the bride that this was her life.


On the way back to the big island we saw what I've been dying to see: a sea turtle. In the wild. Happily swimming. I didn't grab a picture because we were sailing and I was sitting on the side of the catamaran, not within the boat, which simultaneously made me feel very cool and like I was about to be eaten by a jumping shark's very precise timing.

Those were my water adventures. I missed the excursion to Rainbow Beach on the west side of the island, but it came as highly recommended as Turtle Beach. The only difference is it's a little more convenient with the travel aspect.

From the variety I saw, you really can't go wrong. That's how paradise should be.


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