Wednesday, February 25, 2015

St John February 14-21, 2015

We had a wonderful vacation to St. John, US Virgin Islands February 14-21, 2015
I guess these pictures go in order from newest to oldest - I was trying to figure out how to show our trip from the beginning to the end, but I guess you get to view the end to the beginning!

Friday February 20, 2015

This was our last night on the Island.  We ate at Oceans 362 - we went at the perfect time to watch the sunset.  Beautiful!
The food there was stupendous!  
Glenn had the local catch - Wahoo
Melanie had Tuna cooked rare with tiny cubes of beets and potatoes.
I don't remember our starter - but Glenn fell in love with our dessert of Doughnut Bread Pudding and Bacon Struesel Ice Cream!

This was our view from our balcony Friday morning 2/20/15
Glenn spent another day of rest and trying to help his back by using the Sauna, the Whirlpool, and relaxing.  
Melanie took a snorkel trip that included two snorkel stops and a buffet lunch.  I met a couple of nice couples and a family.  One woman, Ruth, and her husband had never gone snorkeling before.  That is rough to have your first time to just jump into a deep ocean.  I gave her advice to just relax - and don't fight it.  I spoke with her after - and she loved it, her husband on the other had said he struggled.  

Another view from our balcony

Friday Snorkel trip - these first pics are of the resort

The captain of the sail boat

We snorkeled a couple of places.  The first place had the best reefs.  

Under the pier

Puffer fish

The next two are of an octopus next to a shell

These blacks spiny urchins have barbs that can really hurt and are almost impossible to get out - stay away!

After our second stop - a leisurely sail home

Trying out the panoramic setting

Thursday February 19, 2015

Thursday night - 2/19/15 - we wanted to go to an authentic local restaurant - we had heard good things about De Coal Pot.  We had several fun things.  
We started our meal with mini Chicken Roti - and Curried Chicken in a wrap
Glenn had a pasta and lemon sauce with several yummy seafood items including conch, scallop, and shrimp.  
Melanie went straight for the whole Red Snapper - along with steamed veggies, fried plantain, and "Sweet Potatoes" made out of regular potatoes.  

We started our dinner Thursday night at The Terrace - they have a raw oyster bar and Happy Hour from 4:30-6:30.  Here is the view from our table.  We love oysters!

Getting ready to go out Thursday night.  We had a pretty chill day Thursday - Glenn had hurt his back somehow - so we took it easy and spent some time at the pool and the beach.  
Glenn and I even got a back massage!

Wednesday February 18, 2015

One of our favorite activities - Scuba diving!  We got PADI certified last year.  

And in we go!

Notice the seaweed - the current was pretty rough that day!

Melanie just floating around!

Can you see the Eel poking his head out in the lower right hand corner?  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday night is Lobster Night at Morgan's Mango!  This is a one pound Caribbean Lobster - with fixins'  Caribbean Lobster can be dry - but this was perfect!

The view from our table at Morgan's Mango - with snaps of Glenn and Melanie

Tuesday we finally got to go on our Kayak, Hike and Snorkel Ecotour.  It was fantastic!!!!

We started with a Kayak trip to Scott's Beach in Caneel Bay.  

 We had a great tour guide named Patrick that really knew his stuff.  
Here he is scrapping off part of a seed pod that truly tastes like Sour War Heads or something

This is a Tarantula.  Our guide was so impressed - he said you never see these out during the day.  This one must have been sick.  

Mr Tail-less Iguana - guessed to be about 35 years old

One of the world's smallest raptors

This is how the guide usually shows Tarantulas.  You see these holes all over - they are tarantula nests.  He stuck a long piece of grass in the hole and the tarantula would hold on and come out briefly!

A millipeed

I loved all of the air plants growing in the trees.  

I was surprised with this being a tropical island how many cactus there were - but it has a very dry time of year (now - despite the all day rain on Monday)

Views of the bay along our hike

 This little guy is a hermit crab.  Apparently they usually all get together and change out shells only once a year!

This is a fake pineapple plant that was planted as hedges along the properties of the Sugar Plantations to keep people and animals out.  

You know me - I love orchids.  

I can't remember the several names for this tree - but one is the "Gringo" tree - it has a green trunk with red, peeling bark.  Red and peeling - just like the gringos!!!

In an extreme emergency - an Agave plant leave can be stripped to obtain a "needle and thread"!

One handsome dude  

A big old termite nest.  Apparently discarded ones can be set on fire and then you can place your fungus foot over the smoke to cure it!

Wild, but tame donkeys on the property of Caneel Bay

I think this is a Mahogany Tree seed pod. 

We then went snorkeling in Scott's Bay.  This is a Sea Turtle!

A big conch poking out to say hi

I will never know how our guide saw this on the bottom of the ocean, but it is an octopus hiding in a conch shell.  He comes out far enough for a close up!

An underwater hermit crab

Next we kayaked to Henley's Cay - normally a great snorkeling place - but that day the waters were too rough to see much.  I did get some pretty good pics considering.  
This is a seaweed that is becoming a gourmet health food.  We actually had it served with our meal on Friday night.  It is like a crispy and salty sugar snap pea.  It is called edible Sea Purslane

These are some of my snorkeling pictures with my underwater camera.  

A type of flexible starfish

We kayaked back to Honeymoon Beach where we started.  They had a yummy lunch of Cuban paninis, drinks, chips, and brownies waiting for us.  
We then could use the beach for the rest of the day at no charge (usually $20/person)
This is Glenn's chair set up in the shade.  

This is Melanie's chair in the sun!

As the sun started to get lower, it was time to head into town to Morgan's Mango for Lobster night!

Passing by some of the Sugar Mill ruins on our way to the taxi.  

Monday February 16, 2015

Monday night's dinner at Zozo's

 Monday we had plans to do a 5 hour Ecotour - Kayaking, hiking, and snorkeling.  It rained most of the night and when I called in the morning, they assured us that the trip was still on.  We got there, registered, geared up and then the heavens let loose.  Luckily it was as we were on our way to the kayaks - they cancelled.  We took a taxi back to town and had a fun lunch at the Sun Dog Cafe in Mongoose Junction.  Melanie tried a Chicken Roti - a local dish of curried chicken and potatoes wrapped.  Glenn had a BBQ.  We did some fun shopping and browsing between rain showers.  

Zozo's - Monday February 16th.  Glenn had Pork - three ways!  Pork sausage, a huge piece of Pork Loin, and a piece of Pork belly on top - he loved it!
For starters we had an excellent house made pasta with mushroom cream sauce as well as Mozzarella, Meatball, Tomato, and Basil with crostinis
Melanie had local tuna (rare) with asparagus, potatoes, arugula, with a tomato and olive sauce.  
We shared an elegant dessert of Banana cake with Strawberries and Whipped cream.  

The grounds of Caneel Bay where - the view from ZoZo's Restaurant.  

 Dressed to go to The Terrace Restaurant
 We spent a day of rest, studying scriptures, sitting at the beach (and maybe some napping too!), 
even a short paddle in the available kayaks.  
For dinner we went to the Terrace.  Always a wonderful place with high class service and well prepared gourmet dishes.  We had starters of Seared scallops and Chevre cheese and prosciutto salad.  Glenn had "the most delicious filet I've had in a long time" with brussell sprouts and potatoes.  Melanie had Lamb, polenta, and asparagus.  
Shared a dessert of Tart Apple and Salted Caramel Crepe.  

 The view from our Villa - good morning sunshine!
 Sunday morning -February 15th.  Nothing like a green smoothie in paradise and a handsome man!
 Red and White for Valentine's Dinner.  We went to the Lemongrass Restaurant at the Westin for dinner after we went shopping at the nearby market.  We had stuffed lobster - we love lobster!
 I love my Valentine!!!

To get to St John we flew from Charlotte, NC, to Miami, FL - then Miami to St. Thomas, USVI - where we taxi to the harbor and take the Weston Ferry to St. John.  They greet you with a golf cart and take you to your room where your luggage magically appears.