Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rain, Drink, Snorkel, Rain, Drink...

Our week in St.John with our close friends Tim & Jill was quite rainy, but also alot of fun. Dr Desert Flower and I learned to snorkel. Tim & Jill had been there the year before & "knew the island" so Tim piloted the Jeep Liberty rental over snaking, hair-pinned, narrow, steeply inclined, vaguely maintained mountain roads adeptly, and guided us to the beaches:

  • Monday, Salt Pond - we saw sea turtles! urchin, coral, sponges, and many, many fish
  • Tuesday, Hawksnest - choppy seas, too rough for me to snorkel, and then it rained
  • Wednesday, Cinnamon Bay - it rained after being there less than 2 hours
  • Thursday night, Maho Bay - went on a sunset cruise on the 23 foot sloop "Pepper" (more on that later)
  • and finally, on our last day of snorkeling, Trunk Bay - awesome snorkeling in the Nation's only underwater National Park trail

The week went sort of: Rain, Drink, Snorkel, Rain, Drink... [repeat]. Cruzan rum is bottled on St. Croix Virgin Islands, and it pretty darn cheap ($9.99 a liter) and delicious. Unlike Bacardi, Cruzan gives me no "bolt gun to the forehead" headache. It rained like a biblical flood the day we arrived, and waited for our luggage to offload from the ferry in a downpour. Then Sunday night, we tried to eat a new beach-side cafe called "The Spyglass" and it was akin to The Bishop's last golf game in Caddy Shack with torrential winds blasting the entire bar - a soggy credit card receipt, blown back hair, soaked clothing, after 10 minutes and 4 fish tacos, we sought more secure shelter. Monday morning the radio announced that St. John had hit a new record 1 day rain fall! Lucky us!

Maintaining a good face mask seal for snorkeling is easier when your face is not covered in sun tan lotion. Snorkel first, apply sun screen later. Spit in your mask, and smooth out the mucus-y spit with your fingertips. Think that's gross? Ok, then enjoy the fog that will fill your mask. Put your fins on IN the water, not ON the shore, and in waist deep water to aid in buoyancy. Face the shore - it's easier to walk backwards in fins. Swim calmly and slowly, and not flailing about, and fish tend to i) approach you curiously, ii) use you from shelter from predatory birds overhead, or iii) ignore you completely and go about their business iv) use you as a hunting blind to circle around and eat some of the tiny fry that have formed a huge school on the other side of the floating biped. Having a respiratory infection with a cough is NOT conducive to enjoyable snorkeling, as coughing up mucus and blood into one's snorkel is unpleasant and attracts the wrong kind of aquatic life - better to rest upon the shore and get your lungs' capabilities back to normal. If you've never snorkeled before, splurge on a good snorkel with a valve that pops shut when it submerges. It helps to minimize the amount of "salt water nebulizer" effect of gurgling and inhaling stray sea water (those of you with small children or severe asthma know what a "nebulizer" is).

Don't bother packing an umbrella. It's just dead weight, and you won't have it with you when the tropical rains blow in. If you do keep it in your hand, that hampers your beer, whiskey, and rum drinking, and it'll get blown away / inverted by the tropical winds. Leave it at home. We over-packed, by a factor of two - dragged home a 50 pound checked back of clean clothes & yoga mats. Completely unnecessary. One large checked bag is all you need for a week on St.John. More on that later... many posts to come!


  1. Au contraire Cinnamon I sacrificed my sunglasses to Poseidon, so we had a full day of sunshine.

  2. you are correct! It was Hawksnest where the rain drove us out. Poseidon did accepted your sun glass offering at Cinnamon. So much rum... many of my neurons got crossed I think =P


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