A few days ago I shared details about our hike to Reef Bay on St. John and shared copious amounts of photos of the ruins along the way. So many that I thought we could use a little break before continuing with the rest of the day.
We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves to be the only ones at the Reef Bay Plantation and even more delighted to find ourselves to be the only ones on the beach at Reef Bay. Particularly since we knew how popular the trail was and because there were four…or was it five?…cruise ships in port on St. Thomas that Tuesday. And I’m sure there are excursions to Reef Bay, though I suspect Trunk Bay is a more popular choice because no hiking and very little walking is required.
We walked past the small stretch of sandy beach at Reef Bay and, around the corner, were immediately hit with strong winds against a rocky beach. Hmmm…expected the sandy beach at Reef Bay to be larger than it was. Shrug. We turned back and, about that time, one of us noticed something in the water. By golly, it was a small shark. Much excitement erupted.
Here’s the black and white. Does he look bigger?
We settled ourselves on the beach for lunch. I didn’t last long sitting because the bugs (sand fleas?) were atrocious. We were both covered with bites for a number of days afterwards. Actually, St. John left its mark on us in a way that St. Thomas didn’t: bug bites, scratches, bruises. The sign of a good vacation.
After lunch I rolled around in the shallows for a while (shark be damned! It was hot and I was a sweaty mess after the hike in) and then we headed back to the jeep.
On our way back to the apartment (to switch out sweaty clothes for swimsuits and less sweaty clothes) we stopped at a little roadside stand called, appropriately, The Tourist Trap. A few tables with no views to speak of were scattered about. But, the cocktail (Drink Right, Drive Left, composed of five different kinds of flavored rum and juice, blended) was tasty. We glanced at the menu, noted nachos and tacos and lobster roll, and began to drool a bit as we saw food roll out of that teeny-tiny kitchen. We agreed that we would return for dinner that very day and proceeded on our way.
Our destination? Salt Pond Bay. Oh, she was a beauty. The skies were clear, the water blue and warm, the swath of beach broad and white. We experienced snorkel envy (we’d not gotten around to renting and the apartment didn’t have any for our use…but they did have a cooler, which proved invaluable, so who were we to complain?) and promised ourselves we would definitely snorkel on St. Thomas. We soaked it in, knowing that the next day was one of transition as we moved from St. John to St. Thomas, where we would be spending the rest of our time.
After peeling ourselves off of the beach we again stopped by The Tourist Trap. I ordered a Lime N’ Da Coconut…because I was on a mission to try as many as I could. The husband had a local beer (which he confessed was not very good). We ordered pulled pork nachos to share, a pulled pork taco with spicy slaw for me (is there such thing as too much pulled pork?) and a beef taco with homemade tomatillo sauce for the husband. The food was, in a word, amazing. The best we had had up to that point (it moved to second place after we stopped by the roti food truck on St. Thomas).
While we didn’t have a view of the ocean we did have a view of sugar birds. Lots and lots of sugar birds. Bananaquits (aka sugar birds) are the national bird of the USVI. They like…sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. And that’s what the feeder was filled with. I want to be a Bananaquit and eat sugar all day.
The very nice waitress, who, strangely enough, didn’t remember us from our earlier visit (which took place perhaps 2 1/2 hours earlier the same day. The husband suggested she had, perhaps, been indulging in a little herb) did offer to take our picture. What follows is evidence of two very happy people mid-way through a Caribbean vacation. Full of pulled pork and rum.
We returned to the apartment early that evening and sat out on the patio, enjoying the darkening skies, the lights of Tortola (referred to as “Tortilla” by the husband on more than one occasion) coming on in the distance, the crickets (perhaps not crickets. Crickets on steroids?) chirp-chirp-chirping and goats yelling (because they can). Sweet memories of St. John.