We have been home from our trip to St. John, USVI for 5 weeks now and I am so ready to go back! Really, there is no place on earth like St. John. If you have the blessing of going one day, please go. Your adventureous heart will thank you. As I reflect on our vacation, I can't believe how quickly the summer has gone. It seems like yesterday that we had the great privilege of seeing God's beautiful creations...places like this one, when the sun finally came out (we were in the tropical storm long before it hit Texas) and filled us with all kinds of delight. This is Salomon Beach.
I have to giggle a little when I type the name because Salomon Beach had a long standing reputation as being a "clothing optional" beach. I hope that you know me well enough to know that if I could wear a turtleneck underneath my bathing suit, I would. I am very modest...but I wanted to see this beach. Not, for the reputation, but because it is suppose to be one of the most beautiful beaches on St. John and the book I was reading told me that it was no longer that kind of beach and that Park Rangers will ticket any streakers, so to speak.
My parents, Mr. Incredible, Rachel, Hannah, and I made the 40 minute hike down to the beach...and no one was there. DELIGHT!!!! We were so excited! I think we snorkeled and played in the ocean for about an hour before nine other people hiked down to our little corner of paradise.
The palm trees grow along the sand before they gracefully arch to the sky.
Crystal clear water, white sand, and my family. God is good!
Mr. Incredible and I snorkeled a lot around the rocky cove. I like to dive down to see the playful little fish and beautiful coral. It wasn't long before I felt like something was watching me and I was right...a 5 to 6' barracuda didn't like me diving down to play with his dinner so he decided to scare me half to death. What did I do? I grabbed my man, spun him around and put him between me and the barracuda...and he teased me about it all day long!
Gibney Beach became another one of our favorites. We were alone on the beach for a few hours before anyone found our little spot of paradise but even then it was pretty much just us. Rachel and I snorkeled for a long time until we were surprised by a shark! I am not kidding...a huge 5' shark nearly made me wet all over myself. I grabbed her and we swam back to shore as quickly as possible. It turns out that it was a harmless nurse shark...but still! It was a shark!
The beach is gorgeous at Gibney! Mom and I floated on pool rafts for a long time. It was fun basking in the majesty and glory of God's beautiful Gibney Beach. I wanted to remember what the shore looked like from the ocean so I bravely grabbed my "big girl" camera (bgc) and braved the water to take a picture and I am so glad that I did:
On the next to last day, Mr. Incredible and I jumped in our jeep and drove the beach shore road so that I could snap some pictures of our favorite beaches. This is Cruz Bay (it's not our fave but it is where the ferry brings you over from St. Thomas):
I love this view. This is world famous Trunk Bay and on around is Cinnamon Bay (which we adore). Trunk Bay is where most tourists spend their days. We have been there once but we like to hike to the more private beaches.
Our family enjoys hiking to Waterlemon Key and Leinster. It was a cloudy day but the snorkeling around the key was beautiful:
My dad wanted to see Brown Bay so our family hiked the nearly 100 miles up hill, in the snow, just kidding, we hiked the 1.4 mile trail that goes up 200 feet above sea level and then takes you down to the beach. The night before Mr. Incredible surprised me with a couple's massage at a spa in St. John. It was a sweet thought but the masseuse ladies must have had their training from nurse Ratchet because they were rough! We thought we were sore the next day until we climbed 200 feet on a narrow, rocky trail. We both decided to spit every time someone mentioned massage! LOL.
We made the hike down to the beach where once again we were othe only ones there. Brown Bay is different than the other beaches in that it has a grassy area with little spiky urchins and you have to watch your step. My dad, Rachel, and I had to see what was swimming in the ocean so we donned our snorkel gear and headed out while Mr. Incredible, Hannah, and my mom stayed knee deep in the water.
There were tons of conch shells on the ocean floor. It was fun to dive down and see them. Dad, Rachel and I swam with a sting ray for quite some time and then Rachel and I swam with a sea turtle. The water was kind of murky here unlike the crystal clear waters of Cinnamon Bay.
After a while I noticed my dad quickly swimming towards my mom and Hannah. Later I learned that a 5-6' shark was heading right for them. It was a huge reef shark! Thankfully it turned and swam away before it reached them. All of the books tell you that it is very rare to see a shark in the virgin islands. This was our 4th trip and the first time we have ever encountered a shark. Scary!
One of the conch shells we retrieved from the ocean came with a surprise; a little octopus was hanging on for dear life. Can you see it?
I was so glad that I grabbed my camera. Look at the octopus in the water:
Rachel looks pretty calm for having just gone snorkeling with a shark. Doesn't she?
You never know what you are going to see on your drives in St. John. This little donkey was eyeing us for food as we drove by. Hannah took this picture and it makes me smile every time:
On our hikes we had the fun of getting to see some of the beautiful ruins on St. John:
And enjoying Key Lime pie...yum!
This little guy hung out at the house. The girls called him Zeke:
We hiked the road that was just down from the house too (Rachel, Hannah, Mom, and Dad):
And Mr. Incredible got caught up on some much needed rest:
A treasure I retrieved from the bottom of the sea:
Most days looked like this...but we didn't mind too much because we were together in one of the most beautiful places in the world.