Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial
Day 5: St Thomas
DAY 2 on the ship: ST THOMAS!!
So I have been here a few times and have loved everything we have done (Sapphire, Coki) and wanted something different...although it was super hard not to want to return to Coki after the awesome snorkeling last time. I have seriously never seen all of the brightly colored coral anywhere like there was there. But, I like to experience new things each time...so I went in with an open mind.
The great people here on cc recommended Lindquist. So that's where we are going. It's a protected 21 acre area at Smith Bay Park. You can see St John across the water from there and it's a nice view. They have showers and restrooms, but no vending there. There are picnic benches and plenty of grape trees lining the beach for shade. It sounded perfect! It does come with a price tag though (and a small one, but worth it) of $5 for adults to get in and children under 13 are free.
I set my alarm for 6:45am and got up and showered. We headed up to breakfast and I was kind of shocked that there really weren't any lines or many people out and about. We decided to eat breakfast outside by the pool instead of inside at the buffet.
Kendra didn't come alive until around 7:30am and cracked my whip and told her she is about to get left if she didn't hurry and eat. It was almost 8am!
We had been docked for awhile and we were just waiting on the announcement that we could get off the ship...which never came.
Everything looked dead out there so far.
I was peeking over the edge and seen that people were getting off. It was around 8:10 and we decided to head back to the room and grab our beach bags and see if we could get off. (I would find out later that day that we actually arrived and could get off the ship at 7am and I had completely forgotten. Oops).
We were off the ship and the paparazzi was in full force:
There really weren't too many people out and about.
So we headed toward the shopping mall.
Since we knew that Lindquist didn't have vendors, we would need to grab something to take with us to the beach for lunch. Once again, the wonderful people on cc told me about a deli that would make fresh subs. Only, I forgot to write down the deli's name so that I could ask where it was at. We would wander around trying to find it on our own, looking like obvious lost tourist.
I knew it was somewhere in these buildings. We stopped to ask several people along the way about the "deli" and they told us "go down there and it's at the end"...nope! "Turn that way and it's over there"...nope! They had pointed us to a "deli" vendor, not the grocery store type of deli we were looking for. It was hard to explain what I needed and there didn't seem to be anyone that knew what I was talking about. If someone would just SAY THE NAME, I would remember.
After walking down several rows of buildings a taxi driver ask if we needed a ride (as several did along our way). One last try to see if he would understand what we were looking for...and HE DID! Pointed us in the right direction and said if we needed a taxi to Lindquist (I had told him where we were going AFTER we could get food), then he would be waiting on us.
FOUND IT!!! We took a look around. It was like a mini-grocery store.
Big mistake to allow B with a cart. I had to scold him several times for taking off...of course Sakari lost her mind once again and was in the cart while he pushed her around the store like he was Jeff Gordan. Geesh! We honestly can't take him anywhere.
In trouble by mamaw and not happy about it.
They give you a note pad with the choices and you circle what you want on there and they make your sub.
I believe our subs were around $9.75 each. So kinda expensive, but it would have to do. Kendra grabbed some chips and pop and we checked out and put everything in my 2 coolers I had brought, full of ice and out we went.
The taxi driver was still outside waiting on us as promised. It was already getting hot out and I couldn't wait to get in a van with some nice a/c.
We followed him into a parking lot for our trip to Lindquist. Only we kept passing up all these vans...and arrived to this:
An open air bus. Oh Great. My mind was going in circles. Thoughts were racing in my head...it's hot, I want a/c. How did we get stuck with this? Then my mind reverted back to the first cruise I took my hubby on, which came here, and months before we left, a family was on an open air bus and the daughter was celebrating her 16th birthday and was shot as a gang by Coki open fired at the cemetery near by as another gang member was being buried that day. She died. It was my first experience of hearing about things in tourist places (it was my 3rd cruise, but I hadn't cruised since 1989 and 1998 and there wasn't any internet back then to hear the "every day life" in the countries you visit).
Deep breath. Ok, we got this. The hubby didn't look thrilled about this and I assured him it was ok. "As soon as we get to moving, we'd have air".
Of course the kids were thrilled
We arrived in about 20 minutes and the driver quoted us a price of $9 each there. He had told us that it was $2 to get in (although I know I had read $5). He also informed us that cabs do not come down in there (which we also knew) and he could return to get us. We gave him a time of 3pm to return. He told us to be packed up and waiting at the parking lot AT 3pm for when he pulled up. We agreed.
We pulled up to the office to pay for our entrance. Yep, it was $5 for each adult as I thought.
The road took us all the way into the park and pretty much there to the beach. It's a turn around area, not a place to actually park I believe. There's not much walking involved.
So I'mmmmm backkkkk! On with the review.
Here's the road leading back to the beach and turn around area to drop and pick up people.
There is an area with a roof over it for waiting for the taxi's. This is where our driver said to be packed up and waiting for him at 3pm.
We got out, paid the driver and turned around to see the beautiful ocean.
Sakari immediately spotted a termite "house" in the tree. I ask her if she was hungry.
IT WAS BEAUTIFUL THERE!
The sand was white with a bit of a pinkish tint to it when wet and it was so soft!!! Amazing! So beautiful! Did I mention how pretty it was there? Honestly, it kinda reminded me of Sapphire Beach.
Sapphire has about the same set up. Soft sand, beautiful water and grape trees lining it.
.....and immediately this happened. This girl doesn't even give you enough time to put your things down. It's a drop and go thing with her.
Sakari has expressed a lot of interest lately in parasailing. She talked about it a lot this cruise. Of course you could see it off in the distance and she just didn't understand why we couldn't do this today too.
We picked our "picnic table" and put our things down. We noticed there were life guard chairs up and down the beach. But we didn't see any life guards.
This would be our spot for the day
There are a lot of sandy areas and other areas with sea grass as well. I know there are people that don't like the sea grass, but there's a mixture of both and just the right amount. You have to think sea grass=critters and you never know what you might see in it. It's usually where you will find things like starfish and turtles, so don't knock it. But there's not much here, so no worries.
We spotted our first fish of the day. Some Palometa fish (of course, they are always the welcome committee everywhere you go).
Yes, this day Sakari had really put on the "outfit" to become a mermaid. She had matching beads and a seashell bracelet (which I had no idea that she had even brought these).
Now B just turned 8 in July (3 months younger than Sakari as I have said...and also yes, we do actually call him "B" and always have). Since he has a summer birthday and since we cruise a lot, Kendra decided to buy him a seadoo seascooter (like you see them have excursions with these). Now we "normally" go to the beach every weekend to ride jet skis and tubing with the boat, but this summer super-sucked and we didn't get to go a lot (Kendra sold her boat and that decreased our visits). But, she still bought him this seascooter thinking it would be great for vacation as well.
So, he has tried it out once at our beach, but never in the ocean or "clear" water. This was the first attempt.
I initially thought it was cool (at his birthday) but after using it a few times decided it's just not practical to use. The thing is SUPER heavy, you of course have to charge the battery (which takes 8 hours) and then lugging it to the beach is just not fun.
The other thing is, it's LOUD! I have seen people on here mention that it's not a good device for snorkeling when booking an excursion because the sound of it will scare fish away. I now see what they mean. It is noisy and the goal of trying to see all the good things is to be quiet and super still so that they come out from hiding. This would never allow that to happen.
The other thing is that it's like a fan and the battery makes the fan blades move to propel you in the water. The problem with this is that it propels into your face when you are behind it. For adults, it's a little easier because our arms are longer and we can hold it down a little lower. But for munchkins, it just doesn't work out the best.
I can tell you that they did have a blast with it all day though. But, I would never pay that kind of money for this. I just don't see it getting a lot of use no matter where you are and I think Kendra realized this on this beach day.
Do you see it??????????????? What about now?
I am really good at spotting these things.
It's a Peacock Flounder for those that see it. They are so funny because they try to camouflage themselves and they sit completely flat on the bottom with their eyes facing up. The weirdest looking thing ever, but yet so neat.
Sakari grabs my arm and points and says "Mommy look! It's a cowfish!!!"
There's Mr Flounder. He looks so sad. In the sand he's white, in the grass, he turns to brownish
There were a bunch of ballyhoo there too. They swim along the surface of the water and look like mini-swordfish. It's always so hard to get a picture of them. I don't think I have ever successfully taken a GOOD picture yet.
I did not realize that Mr Flounder had eyelashes. I don't think I have ever been able to get this close up to one without them scurrying off before I could get a close-up.
We had pretty much went over the sandy/grassy area in the front of us. I knew I wanted to explore a little more down the area, but wanted to take a break first. I headed out and back up to our "table"
10 minutes of sitting there and I'm bored. Ok, time to head back out in the water. I seriously can not sit still for a minute. I hate it. I'm on the go constantly on cruises. So much to see and do and I'm afraid I'll miss something.
I headed out to the water and turned right. It was pretty shallow and in some areas along the small rocky wall at the shoreline I could just float on top of the water and crawl using the sand.
So here's my tour of the right side snorkeling.
A little Azure Damselfish trying to hide from me.
A feather duster (sea worm) and I thought the look on this fishes face staring at me was cute.
I think the colors of the water are neat how they turn out different depending on the area, how deep or shallow you are and if the sun is or isn't out.
French Grunt or blue striped grunt (not sure the actual name)
FIRE CORAL...THE DEVIL. LOL I think it's amazing how many years I snorkeled, not knowing anything about fire coral and probably had some pretty close calls with it in the past and didn't realize it. But the minute that Sakari had an encounter with it and got stung in Cozumel, I see it everywhere. I always make sure to point it out to her.
Some four eyed butterfly fish and more grunts. This poor guy looks like he has a boo-boo. See the red around his face?
Cauliflower that has sat in the fridge too long: (I know my fish, but I know nothing about coral if you haven't noticed).
A juvenile French Angelfish and four eyed butterfly was seen. They have a small blue fin on the bottom and look completely different than what they grow up to look like.
See the puffs of sand? There was something down under the sand and every so often you would see the sand shoot up in the water. It was neat to watch. Maybe crabs?
A HUGE blue tang
♪ We are family...I got all my sisters in me. ♪
A PURPLE feather duster worm!!
Squirrel fish...so hard to get them to come out. They seem to be the most timid fish I ever come across.
This is where I was at from shore.
Haha, this was a total mistake and the only picture I got like this. It's too bad the above area wasn't in focus.
Ran across another one of these Honeycomb Cowfishes and it was even bigger than the last.
No lie, the length of this guy was probably the length of my arm.
Then I found a smaller one. This place was just loaded with these cowfish. He was pretty green.
The kids following another cowfish. Sakari was amazed at them turning colors (honestly, I did not know they did that either). It would go from a green to a blue (the stripes). Sakari explained to me that it did that when it was nervous. She may be right, or she may have just assumed it by the way it was acting at any given time.
I had finished my snorkeling over on the right side and headed back to our spot on the beach.
Sakari and B still out there having fun with the fish and his seascooter.
Kendra found this carved on a tree and took a picture and sent to her finance and told him she did this just for him and was missing him. LOL
So...I noticed the family packing up our things at the picnic table. I ask why they were moving. A guy came along and said he was the lifeguard and he needed that table and we had to move. He wasn't very friendly.
We packed up and moved. He brought out a surfboard looking lifesaving device and put it on the picnic table and then drove away. He was away for quite some time. It was weird. When he returned...FOR THE ENTIRE DAY...he sat at the table, not the life guard chair in the air, and starred at his phone. He was either texting, on the phone, or on social media...THE ENTIRE DAY!! I watched him for quite some time and he never watched the beach or the water or anyone in it. I had joked around with him a few times about a few things, trying to lighten his mood and be friendly, but he didn't smile and he wasn't having it.
So, at one point I said something like "So if someone is out there drowning, should we disturb you or just grab the board and head out?" His reply was "You might just want to grab the board because I can't even swim". I laughed. He did not. At that point he said "seriously, I can't" and of course at that point I also began to think he wasn't lying about it. I told him "No worries, there's a mermaid out there that is a really good swimmer and she would probably save a life"...still trying to get a smile or giggle out of him. But I got nuttin! His head went back down in his phone and that's where it would remain the rest of the day. Oh, except when he was on his phone and pacing back and forth toward the parking lot. It's kinda a scary thing to know this is what you have to rely on if something bad was to happen. Honestly, this guy should not have this job. He made us move so that he could sit back at the table and text all day instead of doing his job. He could have easily text in the life guard chair where he belonged.
See how he's sitting there and his head in his hand while looking at his phone?
We (Kendra and I) decided to head down to the other end of the beach and see if there was anything down that way ...either by land or water. The kids wanted to join us and off we went while the hubby stayed back at the table.
There was a lot of areas that had hard rocks that had been carved out by the water.
Those areas looked like sand and sea grass that you could walk out onto, but I would quickly find out it was nothing but rocks and you can't walk on it or it would cut you to pieces.
Now look at the size of these 2 pieces of coral!!! They were massive and in the picture you can see just how close it was to the shore and in very shallow water. They were probably at least 3' round.
In we went to snorkel. This area was a little deeper than where I was over on the other side. It kept getting deeper and deeper. But, the kids did good.
Kendra spotted a Blue-stripped Lizardfish and pointed it out to me. Good eye Kendra!
Sakari was doing pretty good swimming out there. She's an excellent swimmer under water, but above water I still worry. She just learn to swim on top of the water and tread water (I think) last year on one of our cruises. She's improving all the time, but I still worry. She's excellent as long as she has her fin on, but without it, she still worries me. She would continue to improve this cruise...more to come.
The area started getting deeper and deeper. I took B back to an area that had a bit of a sand bar type thing going on and told him to stay there OR ELSE! I warned Kendra and told her it's up to her to watch him now.
The further out we went, of course the better things got.
Now when I say we went out further and further, I don't mean like really far out. We were still following the shoreline and there were some rocks with coral along the area where they had the ropes for swimming at. Along that area and a little past it was some pretty awesome snorkeling. I didn't go far since Sakari didn't have her fin with her. I knew she would insist on going and without the fin, I wasn't going to chance it. So I turned back around when I seen we were actually on the other side of the flags.
I did have to dive down to get close ups of anything I wanted a picture of.
Sakari doesn't think twice about diving down to get a better look at things she sees. This would get her into trouble this cruise.
As we headed back to shore, once we were able to touch again, I stood up and looked toward the beach and see the hubby coming in the water. Maybe we must have been gone too long and he was starting to worry and came looking for us. He says "I think there's something over here you might want to see" and points....
Oh the excitement:
Sakari took off following it (she thinks all animals are her friends) and then it took an about face and headed toward us. Eek
We headed back to our table and decided it was noon and we needed to have lunch. Everyone gathered around for our yummy gourmet subs.
After eating, there was an iguana (there's tons of them in the trees) above us that would come down and stare. Can you spot him? (Where's Waldo).
The hubby decided he wanted to be friends and try to feed him.
Which of course would scare him off every time and he would go higher up
I seen some other people looking up in the trees down a ways from us and went over to investigate.
efore long, this was the sight and entertainment for the day... The kids found a sand toy and the hubby put food in it and climbed the tree to put it up in the tree.
Mr Iggy came down a few times and ate some, but is clumsy and knocked it over several times. The hubs would pick it up, put the food back in it and repeat.
These guys were getting jealous and started to gather around. It became a game of once the food fell, who could get to it first, the hubby or the birds.
Now one thing I wanted to show you about the entrance to the water where we were located at. There were a bunch of rocks/shells right as you go in the water.
We swam some more and enjoyed more of these guys...
Time for a trip to the bathroom.
Out behind us at the turn around/handicap area
The sand was HOT! The road was HOT! It was hot. ♪Feeling hot hot hot♪
Very nice and clean restrooms
Outside of each restroom, there was a shower area on the sides. Kendra and I both made the mistake of going in the guys...don't ask. LOL Oh well, we had B with us so we played it off.
Chickens and Roosters there
Back to our area...and the life guard still with his head down in his phone. But hey, at least he moved up a little higher and sat on the table.
To my surprise, the hubby wanted to come snorkeling with me. Ok, I'm game. Let me show you around.
I spy you!
Now I don't know what the heck this is, but the picture didn't turn out very good.
I'm telling you, these were just everywhere
Now these fish always confuse me. I don't know if they are needlenose fish (gar) or a pipefish or trunkfish. (I don't think the trunkfish because they have a larger and wider mouth). Does anyone know??? What's the difference??
Neon fish cluster
Once we were done snorkeling, we headed back to our spot and started to get things gathered to leave. It was about 2:30 and I wanted to get rinsed off and dried some before our trip back.
Our open air bus pulled up in the parking lot at 2:45pm. He said 3, so we weren't ready and we sure weren't standing in the area he told us under the roof. Not my fault. He did park the bus and got out for awhile.
We headed back to the port for a little bit of shopping.
Now, I would DEFINITELY recommend this place. We had an awesome day here. I thought the snorkeling was decent, we seen a lot of things, and the stingray topped off the day. (It's no Coki, but it will tie you over with things to see :p) The restrooms are clean and it's nice they have showers. The admission price of $5 is well worth it. But, the life guard is useless! It was gorgeous there and definitely a place I wouldn't have a problem returning to (only I like to try new places ):D so I probably won't any time soon).
I could spot our ship in the distance.
When we got back to port, we did a little shopping.
And a little fun
This is what the buildings across the street look like. It's like a mini shopping mall. Man it was so hot out when we returned. We went in the stores just to get out of the heat and have some a/c.
I'm not a big shopper. There's 2 things I buy in port. A magnet from each port we have been to (Sakari collects) and a tee shirt. Once I get one of each of these, if I return to that port, I don't have to shop! LOL I have people (from work and family) that always say "Get me something from ____, while you're on vacation" and my answer is always "nope". I hate when people ask you to bring souvenirs back from places YOU went. I don't bring them back for myself really and I'm surely not spending money on it for someone else. Think about it. Someone gives you some "My friend went to ____ and all they brought me back was this crappy tee shirt" and it's funny at first, but how often do you think they really wear it? Or you bring back that ceramic figurine with the name of the port on it. They haven't been there. They don't know what it signifies. Where does it end up at after it has collected dust for awhile? At the thrift store! That's where! Go to a thrift store and look at the ceramic knick-knack displays and tell me all of those weren't from family and friends buying souvenirs on vacation and when the time is appropriate, you slid it out of site, in hopes that they wouldn't miss it, and gave it to the thrift store. Right? It's a waste of money for me. I refuse to fall into that trap. End of story. LOL
So here is my purchase this time around. I ONLY ended up getting 2 this time because Sakari had to have the one with the cruise ship on it and I had to have the sea horse (the one critter I have yet to find when snorkeling).
I got the sea horse because it matches my new foot tat
What do you think? Can they be friends? (Kendra has the matching tat too).
Back to the ship we went at 4pm
There were some people outside the gate playing music on the way back.
After showering and changing we headed up to the outside grill to eat and had to take our food inside because it was just too hot to eat outside. After eating we headed back outside to watch the ship pull away.
The kids were more interested in doing things they shouldn't...well, I should say B was. For some reason he had JEANS on!! It was way to hot for that. Let's just say he ended up in the pool showers...playing, and he was soaking wet. Kendra was a little perturbed with him and said they were going back to the room for awhile. I watched it happen, I watch Kendra not watch it happen. I waited for her reaction. I gave her the "watch your kid better" look as she walked away. Was it mean? Maybe. But, we go down this road every time...well, every day I should say with him.
At some point this day, they had a Dr Seuss parade going on inside. We were walking, they were walking and my pictures turned out crappy. Sakari participated in this once. The next time she refused. So, I didn't even mention it to her this time around. Of course, she was upset when she seen the parade and it was too late to join in. The entire "theme" this time around was "Vote for Cat" & "Cat for President". I'm guessing they are not too happy with the elections this year and the Cat in the Hat is a better choice.
Now we did buy the internet package so the hubby can work on vacation. I know others say how it's crappy to go on vacation and work or not get away from the "real world", but honestly, we seem to cruise a lot these days. If he was to completely shut down when we were on vacation, we would lose a lot of money. So, it's as simple as purchasing the internet and running orders about 1 hour a night and be done with it. We have my youngest son, Kolin, run the store while we're gone and the hubby still does the online thing. He don't mind, I don't mind and we still enjoy ourselves. He's always said he can do his job from any location in the world, including a beach...and he does.
Now, the reason I mentioned this is the internet on the Fascination was probably the crappiest we have ever had. It was VERY slow and sometimes didn't connect well. This particular day it would not connect AT ALL after returning from port. It took 2 hours after leaving port for any signal to happen. Such is life, but I just wanted to bring it up.
Later in the day Sakari wanted to go to the kids club. Remember that Carnival doesn't have the kids club open on the first night of the cruise...which I'm still trying to figure out this concept! So, we went and signed her in and told her what was on the schedule for the night (a dance party) to get her super excited.
Like always, we hit up the casino.
That night I would find a few of the games I normally like to play and I would walk away in a couple hours $54.54 ahead of the game. The hubby however, walked away $40 short.
The hubby said "I really have to get these orders in" and wanted to head back to the room to see if the internet was working yet. It was and he decided to devote the next hour or so working. Well, that's not fun for me...so I headed back to the casino without him. LOL Which is a good thing because this time I won another $48.
When I was done, I headed to pick up Sakari from the kids club. She immediately said "That was the BEST NIGHT EVER!!" Ok, I just had to hear about this. They had a dance party and she told me how much fun it was. She even said "It was even better than last nights!!" (Meaning the sailaway party). I was happy she was happy and all was good in the world of Sakari. She also mentioned she got to draw while she was in there. So, I'm sure that had something to do with it.
She mentioned she was hungry, so we headed to the Pizza area at the back of the ship.
My child is not normal...I swear
I ended up with a salad just because I had been craving one. (Yes, you get this from the pizza place).
We made it back to the room and Sakari got a stingray towel animal. Sakari ask how they knew we had seen one today.
A little t.v. and off to bed we went.