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May 2011

view from St. John hike

We spent the month of May enjoying the beautiful U.S. Virgin Islands. As we hiked over the hillsides of St. John and enjoyed diving in crystal clear, warm water we had to remind ourselves that this paradise is a part of the U.S. We appreciate the vision of Laurence Rockefeller in the mid-1950’s when he donated 5,000 acres in St. John to establish the Virgin Islands National Park which now includes 12,000 acres (2/3 of the island). The park has kept most of St. John from being overdeveloped and makes it America’s Caribbean paradise.

 

 


 St. John bromeliad

 

From the north side of St. John we hiked up and over the island’s central ridge line and down into Coral Bay on the south coast. Once we were out of the park, the trails were incorporated into steep and rocky roadways which can only be used by hikers, donkeys and four-wheel drive vehicles. From Lamshur Bay on the south side of the island, we hiked up to the top of Bordeaux Mountain, (St. John’s highest point at 1,300 feet), with new cruising friends Stevo and Diana from Dreams at Sea. It was great to take a cooling swim or snorkel after a long hike.

 

 


 

Ann cruising around St. John

We splurged on celebrations in May. We enjoyed Ann’s birthday dinner at a lovely restaurant built in sugar mill ruins at Caneel Bay Resort in St. John and ended the evening watching fireworks celebrating the end of Carnival in St. Thomas. This was the first time that Ann had seen fireworks on her birthday in early May! A week later, we celebrated our anniversary with a romantic Italian dinner in St. Thomas.

In late May, our diving friends Pete and Ron came for a quick visit. You may remember that Pete and Ron visited us over two years ago in Bonaire for a week of diving. You may also remember that during the week they visited, Bonaire received more than half of its average yearly rainfall (see November 2008). We had heavy rains for more than a week before their arrival in St. Thomas and the weather forecast was predicting continued rain for a least half of their visit. After Ron arrived on the boat, he joked that he hoped he could see what Livin the Dream looked like in the sunshine! After more than two days of rain, the sky cleared and we had beautiful sunshine for the last two days of their visit.  

lobster catch

 

Pete and Ron are avid divers and sportsmen. They were very anxious to capture some lobsters from the St. John reefs and arrived with lobster snares and capture bags. The dives were beautiful and we successfully captured six legal lobsters over their four day visit. We released three lobsters we had caught since one was too small and two others were females with eggs. Ann baked a delectable lobster pizza using the great recipe from Linda on Seaman’s Elixir and everyone groaned while they ate. It was delicious!



 

sea turtle

 

During a trip to the Bahamas earlier this year, Ron had enjoyed fresh conch and was looking forward to collecting and cleaning conch. The conch were quickly gathered and Ron was quick study in learning to clean conch. We had fresh cracked conch for dinner one night and baked conch in wine sauce for lunch another day.

In between our hiking, celebrating, snorkeling and diving we worked on a few boat projects and purchased all those U.S. goods that are difficult to find further south in the island chain. Hurricane season is fast approaching so we needed to start moving south toward Trinidad.


 

another delicious wahoo

 

 

On May 27 we said good-by to the Virgin Islands and set sail for St. Martin. As we were leaving the Virgin Islands waters we were given one last reward. We were trolling with one of the new lures that Ron brought to us as a gift and caught a beautiful wahoo. We arrived in St. Martin early the next morning and enjoyed delicious grilled wahoo for dinner that night.

During June we will be traveling south as quickly as the weather will permit.