US Virgin Islands: May 2008

2008.05.30 022.foongis

In 2008, it was back to our old stomping grounds in the US Virgin Islands. This time, we originally planned on flying into St. Croix for our first visit to the USVI''s largest island. Delta had different plans for us though, cancelling our flight entirely. Fortunately, they were able to get us to St. Thomas on the same day, so we were able to improvise.

Once we landed on St. Thomas, we headed to the seaplane base in Charlotte Amalie to catch a flight to St. Croix aboard Seaborne Airlines. It was our first trip aboard a seaplane and despite the stuffiness of the cabin, it was a short and enjoyable flight. Once on St. Croix, we picked up our rental Jeep and headed to the condos at Gentle Winds, just outside of Christiansted.

Gentle Winds was impressive. The condos were far enough outside of Christiansted to supply quiteness and isolation, but close enough to St. Croix''s most happening city to make driving to and from inconsequential. Gentle Winds was equipped with its own private beach and snack shack, rumoured to grill up the island''s best burgers. However, Susan and I were on the go so much, we didn''t get the chance to judge for ourselves.

Our first adventure was a snorkeling excursion to the crystal clear waters off Buck Island. With 100 ft. visibility, Buck Island provided some world class snorkeling. On the island, a series of rugged trails provided some of the best views in the Caribbean. There are many charters available for Buck Island excursions. We chose the reputable Captain Heinz and were quite pleased.

Our most memorable moments in St. Croix were spent on horseback. We joined the gang at Paul & Jill''s Equistrian stables for an afternoon horseback ride. We were not disappointed! The horseback ride consisted of a walk along trails surrounded by tropical trees and plants, a stretch on the island''s white sand beaches, and a gallop back home to the stables. While not every group gets to push the horses full-throttle, we were lucky enough to be in a small, adventurous group who the owners felt comfortable riding hard.

After our time in St. Croix, we were off to St. John, via sea plane, to meet up with Dad. It was Dad''s first trip to the islands, so we planned on showing him all of our favorite spots. Naturally, we started with food. We started with a king sized feast of crab cakes at Miss Lucy''s located near the Concordia Eco-Tents, where we were back for our second stay. An avid camper, I think Dad enjoyed the rusticness and quietness of the Eco-Tents as much as we always do.

Our time is St. John was uncharacteristically overcast, so we started our first morning there with site-seeing while we hoped the sun would emerge from hiding. We took in the Annaberg Sugar Mill, did some hiking at Cinnamon Bay, and checked out the crowded beach at the famous Trunk Bay. For dinner, it was Shipwreck Landing, which has quickly established itself as one of our favorites. The bartender remembering us from 2003 was especially nice.

Our time in St. John came and went with no sunshine, so we headed over to St. Thomas for the final leg of the trip. Normally our stops in St. Thomas are centered around Charlotte Amalie, mostly due to convenience. This time, we set up camp on the other side of the island in Red Hook. This turned out to be a great decision, as we came away with a completely different view of the island.

We spent our time in St. Thomas at the Point Pleasant Resort. Point Pleasant was just that - the rooms were affordable, had all the amenities, and offered great views of the Caribbean. The sun finally came out, so we hit Coki Beach and Magen''s Bay for some beach time on our final full day on the islands. Of course, Susan and I capped off the night with a trip to Duffy''s Love Shack. We''d do a short tour of Charlotte Amalie on the morning of our final day before catching our flight home.

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Category: Stabler Vacations
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