TURTLE BEACH, BUCK ISLAND REEF, BBQ Coakey Bay Beach- Website:
TOUR BY BIG BEARDS
Here's the back of the boat. This time around when you went down the steps and to the water, it was a pretty big drop. The water went up to your neck. Not an easy thing to do holding your bags and trying to keep them from getting wet.
We came to the beach area that we were going to have lunch. It wasn't the prettiest beach.
There was a lot of seaweed on the beach and in the water. But, that's mother nature and you can't control it.
Now I know some that have been on this excursion say they went to a private island and others have corrected them to say it's actually back on the main land. It is very primitive. I can understand why they think they are on another island. There's absolutely nothing around here but the beach and a little set up for this excursion.
Getting off the boat, I would find the girls doing all the work again...carrying everything from the food, drinks, coolers, supplies...in the water and up to the lunch area. They immediately went to work preparing everything and cutting up the food. Our Captain did the cooking on the grill.
This time around, I decided to forego the rum punch and just do fruit punch. Now I know what I didn't like...it was the fruit punch they used that made the rum punch taste funny.
Then they also had big bags of chips...the kind where everyone digs their hands into the same bag to put some on their plate!
We decided to head back out to the water since it was going to take a bit to get lunch cooked.
Very primitive. No restrooms or anything here.
There were some houses in the distance.
I heard a commotion back at the food area and discovered that it was time to eat.
They had one of those games that you have a string with a round ring attached to it and then a hook on the tree. You try to swing the ring to get it to attach to the hook. Sakari tried it several times and just when she was ready to give up, she made it!
Hamburgers, hotdogs and chips. I would say it was definitely a "cheap" lunch you received for that extra $30 per person!!! I can assure you we each didn't eat $30 worth of food. They are making a killing off of this. So we basically paid $85 for our lunch between all 3 of us (Sakari's was $25 extra). I thought it was a rip off because that's the only thing extra we did on the full day sail.
Here's my $30 plate.
Now remember I said this place was primitive. Well there's not really any lunch tables or anything to sit down and eat. Your choice was to sit on a bench (and there really wasn't a lot of them) or stand at this crate-type of thing and eat. See the picture above? The wood was broken in areas, there was actually some rusty nails sticking out of it on the side I stood on, and for some reason there were tons of spider webs all over it (once again, nothing they can control).
After a day of swimming and snorkeling, I would like to at least sit down to a picnic table or something to have my $30 meal at.
After biting into my hamburger...I about puked. It wasn't even cooked! There's one thing that I can't stand and that's uncooked food. I know some like it, but not me! My food has to be fully cooked. I ended up pinching off the entire hamburger and feeding it to the mongoose! Yes I said mongoose.
The Mongoose of St Croix: They are native to Africa and were intentionally placed on the island in 1884 to help control the black rat population. During that time, sugar cane was the biggest export from St. Croix and rats love to eat sugar cane. So, it was thought the mongoose would naturally prey on them. Most reports claim that the mongoose introduction did not have the desired effect of rat control. (This may be because rats are nocturnal and mongooses aren't.) The mongoose hunted birds and bird eggs, threatening many local island species. They have now become prey of the red boa. The tree climbing boas swing down and snatch the mongoose from the ground.
So there's your history lesson on the mongoose.
They really enjoyed my hamburger.
There was a hug crab with big pincers that was sitting there by the mongoose. I have no idea why it was so far away from the water and they didn't seem to bother each other. (Now mind you, a mongoose can kill a king cobra).
I was still pretty hungry, but had lost my appetite from the uncooked hamburger. I decided to head back out to the beach because I knew we didn't have much time here.
Sakari was doing her job to clean up the ocean and finding trash. She found this glass bottle too.
Sakari did manage to find several pretty shells and also some glass rocks to add to her collection. (Notice the dark blue? It's rare)
So it was time to get back on the boat and start our sail back to Christiansted. I knew they had said, in my email, it was about a 30 min sail back. When we asked the captain, he replied "Oh about 30-45 minutes back". SAY WHAT? There's a big difference between 30 and 45 minutes when you are on a time crunch.
It was now 2:47pm and people were still getting back on the boat. COME ON PEOPLE!! We have a ship to catch.
This whole time I still can't understand why the full day trip has a sailboat. We have to get back to the ship by a certain time and sailing is not the way to do it (although they did have some motors on the back, it was still a slow ride).
We were finally pulling up to the dock area and notice the other boat there docked... you know...the "fast" boat the half day sail gets.
According to my timestamp on my picture here...still in the water and not even docked...it is 3:32pm already. Oh geesh. I'm starting to get really nervous! They had better have those taxi's sitting there waiting on us like they said.
We all got off the boat and we were trying to find out what "taxi" we were taking and everyone was searching where to go. They told us to head down the street walking and there were buses down there. We were told to go with the man "in the light blue shirt". There were A LOT of us following him and a bus pulled up and people went running. However, there was a second bus and he told us to come that way because the first bus only held 25 people. More walking.
We walked way up a hill for blocks and blocks. Seriously? Why couldn't they have picked us up at Big Beards the same way they dropped us off. When I was told they would have a taxi waiting to zoom us back to the port, I'm pretty sure I wasn't thinking in the back of my mind that we would be walking a long distance to get to it.
We finally made it to the bus and all piled in. The bus driver got off the bus! And walked away! What the heck! Trust me, I was not the only one agitated about this situation. There was a lot of talk going on at this point about missing the ship.
At one point he came back on the bus and stood there and looked at everyone and someone spoke up and said "Can we please go??? We are going to be late. What are we waiting on? We are going to miss our ship! We have to be back on the ship at 4:30pm!"
Finally we were on our way. The other van that we were unable to get on was now pulled up behind us and waiting. I guess I picked the right bus because we were now pulling out and they were sitting there.
Now let me tell you, this driver was on a joy ride. Going along very slow, being very cautious, a few times coming on the speaker and telling about the area we were in like if we were on an island tour. Shhh, blurp "Yes, this is the oil refinery. It is closed. We lost over 25,000 jobs when they closed" Shhh, blurp.
I felt him put on the brakes over and over and every time I looked up, there was nothing in front of him. I just didn't understand it or his driving. He was more than aware of our time frame since everyone had said something to him and I can't imagine him not hearing the talk between the cruisers along the way. We were a nervous bunch of people at this point. I did not want to be a pier runner. Although it would make for a better story line, "Mitsugirly and family almost miss the ship...watch them on youtube as pier runners", I did not want to be that person!
The ship was finally in site and I was dreading the long walk in port and down the pier.
He told us to pull out our ship cards. We all did and security glanced in and we drove in...and KEPT DRIVING!!!
All the way down the pier and right to the cruise ship door!! Ok, I'm feeling better now.
Only look at this...See the gray and red van in front of us? That's the van that was still sitting back in Christiansted when we left. How the heck did they manage to pass us? (We were in the white bus).
It felt so good to be back. Look at that beautiful wall of windows. We walked onto the ship at exactly 4:30pm...all aboard time! This is the closest I have EVER cut it to getting back on the ship.
Our picture from that morning...in happier times and before the nerves started.
I honestly didn't really care for this added BBQ. The food was not cooked and the rum punch just wasn't good at all. Then you have the open bags of chips that everyone is digging their hands in. Other than the hotdog, it wasn't very good.
It's the biggest rip off every for $30 extra per person for this very cheap meal.
No place to really sit down at a table to eat at. Broken slated creates you had to stand at to eat just wasn't my idea of a good place to have a lunch.
The beach wasn't that pretty and it's primative just like the others with no restroom or anything.
I just would never want to return here honestly.