A word before we get going
Earlier this month I spent an amazing week in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. I want to be able to share all of my trip with you in one posting but there is no way to do it justice. So this is the first part of a three part series I will be posting this week covering my trip. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I enjoyed living it and reliving it through writing this. Enjoy.
How it all came about.
So as many of you know I reside in Ft. Lauderdale Florida; a not so little town just a little north of Miami. Well a few months ago my girlfriend and I were talking about how tired we are the palm trees and sunshine and how we needed a vacation. Well she immediately went online and found that we could get tickets to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands for around $200 a piece! This was just the change we were looking for so on the spot we got the tickets and decided we’d make our plans as we went along.
We decided the best way to do this was to kind of wing it so we actually out very little planning into the trip. This adds a bit of adventure as we really had no concrete plans of where we were staying while on Jost or St. John; but we did have a tent so we knew we could sleep somewhere.
My “3-year plan” is to be living down there and I knew I wanted to show her around and sell the idea. So we decided in the 7 days we’d be there, allotting for 2 of those days being travel days, we’d hit St. Thomas, Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, and then St. Thomas, which is my favorite island and where I hope to be soon.
And we are off
Sitting at the airport bar the anticipation was building, as I hadn’t been in the VI in a few years I was eager to get back. So with my sailing based novel and travel containers of good rum in my carry on we were under way. I ordered a ginger ale to accompany my rum, eased the seat back, put on some good music, and got lost in my book for a couple hours while we made our southward.
A short flight later we arrived in St. Thomas and were greeted by our new friend and founder of the “Way too much fun club” Jeff Howard; who was gracious enough to let us stay at his home on St. Thomas. A special thank you to Jeff for that one!
St. Thomas, we have arrived in paradise
Jeff’s place, la casa de Howard, is amazing as it sits minutes from 2 beaches, both walkable, and overlooks Vessup Bay. Here you can watch the ferries and fishing vessels pull in and out of the marina as they head out of the pass through all of the moored vessels.
That night we grabbed some drinks in Red Hook then Jeff met up with us at the bar. We decided to have a cook-out and grilled out so we grabbed some food, beer, and rum from the store and headed back to the house. Without question the greatest view I’ve had for a cookout; as you can see below.
The next day we got early up and decided we wanted to go snorkeling so we met up with Jeff’s father and headed over to Secret Harbor, which is just up the road. The next few hours were spent exploring the harbor, chasing sea turtles, investigating coral structure, and just enjoying being in paradise. The white sand, blue water, and palm trees were such a welcome break from South Florida….OK, what can I say, I know what I like. And even though it’s very similar to Florida; there is just something magical about the islands for me.
After some lunch at Sunset grill and some more exploring of the reefs we decided to head over to Sapphire Beach. I always loved that area and really wanted a Bushwhacker from flip-flops. But much to my dismay flip-flops had been closed, along with the rest of the bars here, for years. But the place renting chairs had a decent rum punch, which the guy at the desk poured from a jug, and he mentioned there was a decent bar up the hill.
Well after walking through an army of large iguana we made it to the bar. There was no view here but the happy hour made up for that with super cheap rum drinks. So we spent the rest of the afternoon sipping on rum, joking with the locals, and talking of our plans for relocation southward. Just before sunset Jeff picked us up and we grabbed some more grub at the local grocery and had another feast overlooking the bay at casa de Howard.
We settled in at a decent hour because we had to be up early to catch the ferry from Redhook to Jost Van Dyke and I wanted to be sure to get the early one. We had two friends already down playing in the islands we were meeting in Great Harbor the next day.
Especially in low season you want to be sure to get to the ferry early because you don’t know when, or if, the next one will run. But also be prepared to wait until they are ready to go and for delays if there are not enough people for the trip.
Tomorrow, Jost Van Dyke
So be sure to come back over tomorrow and check out my Jost Van Dyke leg of our island journey. As you would expect from such a place, it was a very memorable experience. See you all tomorrow.
Update: Follow our Jost trip here