Special Visitors

Well gang, we’re back in business. All it took was for the laptop to spend a week with the techies and a new keyboard. Hurray!

Nathan has said, one of the best things about living on the island is having the opportunity to share it with others. Well, it’s been a few weeks since our friends from Washington, Randy and Janneen, came to visit. We had a great time. I’ll share a few of the highlights from the visit.

One of the first things we did was take the ferry over to St John. St John is one of the three US Virgin Islands with 60% of it’s area designated as national park.

Loading onto the ferry is a kick, nothing like the WA state ferry system. The ferries are open and hold about 2 dozen cars, depending on the trucks that may also be boarding. You have to back onto the ferry into a spot. To avoid distractions, my passengers waited on land as I backed the car on the ferry.

Ferry to St John

Ferry to St John

loading on ferry

Even in the rain, when everyone else left the observation deck, the nor-westerners hung on, enjoying a libation from the special V.I. menu.

San Juan and ff 026

St John Ferry Menu

St John Ferry Menu

Once there, we enjoyed the gorgeous Cinnamon Bay Beach, snorkeling, a little shopping in Cruz Bay and dinner at the Beach Bar,

K & D above Trunk Bay

as well as watching the activities on the beach…

Water activities

Beach activities

Not having had enough sun, sand and sea, we set off the next day for Secret Harbor. There we again snorkeled, swam, and Janneen learned to paddle-board. As usual, we hauled our chairs, water toys,and snacks. Another beautiful day in paradise.

Getting onto the board

Getting onto the board

Onto her knees

Onto her knees

And finally, success…what perseverance!!

UP!!

UP!!

Paddling around the boats.

Paddling around the boats.

Reward!

Late lunch at the grill.

Late lunch at the grill.

The next day we were off to San Juan Puerto Rico. It’s a 15 minute flight. We took Jet Blue, which I highly recommend. Puerto Rico has been a U.S. territory since 1898. Christopher Columbus’ arrival in 1493 brought the Spanish influence to the island and this is still evident today. Spanish and English are both official languages. However, all road signs and other signs/information are in Spanish. Spanish is spoken fluently wherever you go. English is also spoken. We spent our time in Old San Juan, visiting the historic sites, museums, coffee shops and restaurants.

There are two large forts/fortresses/castles in old-town. The fortresses were originally built around the city, San Cristobal Castle on one end and San Felipe El Morro Castle on the point entering the harbor. This is a good website if you’d like more information, http://www.nps.gov/features/saju/001/virtual/. You can click on a picture to  enlarge the image and see them as a slideshow.

We really enjoyed Old San Juan and could have spent longer. There are many, many sculptures throughout old San Juan as well as murals painted on buildings. People were wonderful, food was great. On Sunday night there were two bands playing at either end of the park. The salsa dancers were mostly 70 yrs and older (my guess).  On our return we learned farmacias in Puerto Rico operate as in Mexico, anyone can go in and buy “drugs”. We had rain, yet, it didn’t dampen our fun. While we were away from St Thomas, it rained hard the entire time. Nathan’s cisterns were filled to the brim, as well as the pool almost to the top.

After Old San Juan we were ready for more beach time. A day at Magen’s Bay Beach.

Beautiful Magen's Bay Beach

Beautiful Magen’s Bay Beach

San Juan and ff 150And the visit wouldn’t have been complete without a day trip to the British Virgin Islands. We went to Spanishtown to clear customs (it is the British V.I.) and buy me sunglasses (really, I left mine behind!). Then on to The Baths on Virgin Gorda, snorkeling in some of the most amazing coral reefs, Cooper Island for a wonderful lunch and ending the day at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost VanDyke, BVI. Again, click on the first picture to see a larger image or view as a slide show

It’s always hard to say “Good-Bye” especially to such Special Visitors. Maybe this has piqued your interest in visiting the Caribbean. See you soon.

Good Bye Special Visitors

Good Bye Special Visitors