St Thomas Day 9
Another means of transportation......
My alarm was set for 6:30am, but I was up by 6 instead. That meant that I was going to get to watch the sunrise come up! It definitely paid off for sure. I was rewarded with a spectacular view!
Sakari was going to be upset that she missed this. It was really pretty.
It was definitely a firey explosion this morning and I really enjoyed it. The hubby was up shortly after me and then Kiera popped up and then Sakari.
I decided it was time to make breakfast and when I opened the refrigerator "Where's the eggs????" I can't find the eggs! The hubby said "Remember you said we needed eggs and we went over there to get them and then got distracted by getting the rice". Ugh! So I guess we were having pancakes. Yep, pancakes AGAIN for the second day in a row.
Although Kiera was feeling ok today (with her burn) she now had some blisters. Poor thing. She definitely got it bad.
We packed for the day and headed out the door by 8am. We had to check in for our excursion for the day by 8:45am.
So what are we doing today? We are riding scooters...in the water! Yep, you heard that right! A different type of transportation to see fishies in the water. We had seen these once before, when we were in Roatan, and thought they looked really cool (but don't go down far at all) and it came up on the St Thomas facebook group as being highly recommended and people said it was so much fun. So, I left it up to the girls and it was a definite YES from them. So.....why not!
Yes, it is pretty expensive, but what isn't when on vacation?
The meeting place was located down by the dock at Yacht Haven and where the ships come in.
On the way there I noticed something I hadn't seen before...wind turbines.
We are driving along and I bust out in song...."Ingonyama" (yes I had to look up the spelling of that word and we all have our own made up version of what we think it says) which led into "Hakuna Matata" and Sakari jumped in "For the rest of your days. Hakuna Matata". We were all laughing and singing and Sakari definitely knew more words than I did because I only knew Hakuna Matata...which was the most catchy phrase ever. The hubby was clueless. I told him "look ahead of you"....
As we arrived at our location, we parked in the parking lot and we had been here before on our last trip just trying to find a place to find tourist shops that were open. Back then they were not open...actually not much was open at all back then. It's definitely a different story this time. It was business as usual now that the cruise ships were back. Speaking of cruise ships, I noticed that the Escape was still in port since yesterday. I wondered what was going on and turned to the "specialist" on Cruise Critic to get answers. Not that it mattered but I've always been a big part of the cruise community and inquiring minds (mainly mine) wanted to know. Of course the people of the cruise forum came through for me with an answer of they were overnighting in port and came in late due to stormy weather and large waves. They were able to go ashore again the following day. Disney Fantasy was also in port as well.
I noticed our boat for the excursion today was at the dock (which I completely overlooked for quite some time due to the massive size of the Escape in the background sitting there in all her glory).
After checking in at the dock, we just hung out for about 15 minutes then it was time to get on the boat and head out. As we piled on the boat, there was a boat beside us with people from the cruise ship going on an excursion. The guy on the boat was giving them the rules and what was going to happen and he gave the speech about not throwing toilet paper in the potty because it would clog it up. Our guy piled us all inside the boat and started saying "blah, blah, blah, I'm so sick of hearing don't throw your toilet paper in the toilets it will clog them blah blah blah, I hear the same speech every day from that guy and I just want him to shut up". Hmmm, well alrighty then. That was rude or he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I personally thought it was unprofessional. He gave us our speech and whaddayaknow....he SAID THE SAME THING! Um...ok. Did your whole rant about the other guy giving the potty speech irk you so bad and you gave the same speech thinking it was ok? It didn't really sit well with me.
We pulled out and passed the Escape and the Fantasy.
After the speech, we went outside to sit. I wanted to get pictures along the way with my newly charged batteries...fingers crossed! They did let us know that if you were sitting on the left side of the boat, you WOULD get wet. Well I'm here to tell you it splashed up on that side and would go all the way over to the right! Yep, we got wet anyhow. hehe
The girls were enjoying standing up and riding the waves as the boat went up and down, splish-splash.
They were excited to see flying fish. Sakari always watches for these when on a boat, even if on a cruise.
I was busy trying to catch a picture of the rainbow in the spray of the waves (above) that I didn't even notice the flying fish for quite some time. LOL I never managed to capture a picture of any of them.
So here's our mode of transportation today...
We started seeing lighter blue water and other boats and knew we must be coming up to where we would ride our scooters.
We were told that this would be our "snorkeling area" and told that there are tons of fish and stuff to see over by the rocks, so that's where you want to go to snorkel, it's beautiful. They said they take some amazing pictures over there so have your camera ready! Yes, you heard that right...have YOUR camera ready. They do NOT take pictures of you at all. You must bring your own camera if you want pictures of this experience. (Which of course is perfectly fine by me and totally acceptable).
We had been given wrist bands when we first got on the boat. Each family was a different color with the amount of people in your party wrote on the wrist band. We were given the instructions on what we would be doing... "Going around in a circle, which would take us up and over a shipwreck and circle around for pictures and then back to the boat. We would be split up into groups and there were 3 groups that day. Then first group would go out and the rest of us could snorkel. Then once that group was coming back in, the next group up needed to be back on the boat to go out. Well, we were the second group, which meant we had less time to snorkel.
He told us how you get in and out of the helmets, how the controls on the scooters worked, and the divers that would be there with us to watch, help and control us going up and down. Then you have that one person...you know it, that one person that will ask "but how does the helmet not get water in it if you're under water?" I mean haven't you all took a cup and put it face down in the water at some point in life and seen that the air remains in the cup and it doesn't fill with water? Yep, that's how it works he said.
We gathered our snorkeling equipment and I handed the hubby the GoPro and I took the camera. I made it down the steps and the kids jumped in. I did ask him where exactly were we and he replied "At Shipwreck Cove". So we were at Buck Island. I waited and waited and started swimming because the hubby was taking too long for my liking. You see a pattern here? Me and the girls swam over to the rocky area. I forgot to turn the camera on underwater mode and I would end up with a bunch of green pictures to start out with.
I immediately spotted a turtle. As it swam off I'm thinking "Where the heck is the hubby with that GoPro!"
I have to say, there really wasn't much to see over here at all. Not many fish or coral...I'm wondering what he was talking about at this point. There definitely was enough fire coral in the area to put a damper on the day if you got too close.
Oh look who's finally coming....and do you notice ANYTHING at all about him as he swims toward me??? Anything at all?
Look, hands free. Nothing in his hands. Nothing around his wrist. Ummmmm...WHERE'S THE GOPRO?? I handed it to him and he went and laid it down and then came in the water. Are you serious right now? Then my camera shuts off. I had another Are you Serious!! moment. It tells me that the battery is dead. This can't be happening to me again. I'm so over the camera issue at this point. This only added fire to the already touchy situation all week. Sigh...I'm heading back. I'm over it already.
I did turn it back on during our swim back and managed to get a few more pictures. Then rinse and repeat. Yep, battery dead, turns off, wait a few, turns back on saying full battery, turns off again saying empty. Sigh!
I finally discovered my settings were on the wrong mode on the way back to the boat. Go Me!
So let me take some pictures of the rocks and fire coral I've already showed you in green, but now they are in blue. Ready folks, nothing to see down her IMO.
Oh look, there's a boat. Oh yea, that's the one I'm trying to get back to.
And this is what we are about to do.
The first group had 10 people in it. Our group would have 8 people (4+4) and I'm not sure how many the third group had.
I got back on the boat and changed out my batteries. It said it was a full battery so we are about to try this again. I knew I was going to heavily rely on the GoPro at this point...just in case.
It was then our turn to scoot scoot scooter time! We were given numbers of a scooter and they said locate it and then get in the water and swim to it. Grab the buoy attached to that number and hold onto it with the buoy being horizontal in the water.
They gave me the number 9 and the hubby 13. But he said he wanted number 9 because "It's a German number and I drive a German car" #rollseyes So, I trade him. It was a set-up I tell ya. Wait, we located our scooter and they had split me up from my family! They put me with another family and one of their kids with my family. Number 13 was NOT the number I wanted now. (I believe hubby was steering clear of me at this point)
As we got ready to get in, the hubby was complaining about how he was going to steer the scooter with the GoPro. Really? I'll just do both myself. I'm not risking not getting ANY pictures for this excursion. They don't take pictures of you. You're on your own! At this point I'm pretty sure why they put me away from my family to start out with. #winkwink #immaknockhimovertheheadwiththisgoprostick
I was the first in the water
I swam over and grabbed my buoy with my new family
Ok, so you will grab the helmet on the side, take a deep breath, extend your body parallel to the scooter and duck under and up. If you don't grab it right, you'll hear a THUNK. That means you hit your head on the helmet. HA! I got this and got this I did.
One by one we were lowered down, to 8 feet below. We had 2 divers to do that.
A bunch of friendly photo bombing damsel fish trying to get in my way. Although if you know anything about damsel fish, they are only friendly if they are looking for a handout. Otherwise, they won't think twice about defending their "area" if you invade it and snip at you. No worries, it don't hurt and it's only when you are around their "house".
We were all down and ready to take off. I was struggling with trying to work the GoPro and the camera. I decided it was easier to just put them both on the same arm and go back and forth while the right hand just controlled the throttle. Yes, I took all my pictures and video one-handed. That's either skills and talent or determination.
I was so far back that there was absolutely NO WAY to catch up to my family. It wasn't happening. They were so far ahead and these things are SLOW.
No one was waiting up for me so I'm just going to be at the end and enjoy myself. Peaceful serenity.
Sakari was falling behind...because I knew I wasn't catching up. There was no way
Now one thing they did tell us was to keep our feet on the foot pad. They said if we were to crash into each other it would save our feet because it's very painful to have your foot smashed under water. I don't think Sakari listened to any of that speech because her feet were all over the place from extending them out in front of her to trying to reach Kiera with her foot, to just acting silly. Poor Kiera just wanted to ride and Sakari was aggravating her to death! (Caught on video and at one point, you really have to be looking for it, Sakari tries to grab Kiara and Kiara pushes her away so Sakari gives her a little "stop it kick". I laughed so hard and so did they when they seen I caught it on camera).
I'm just going along minding my own business and rotating between the camera and the GoPro and I looked to my right and BOOM there was a shipwreck. I thought I was going to run into it and steered away from it. It was SO CLOSE! Scary close. I could have ran into it. Then all of a sudden I see the miniature divers over the ship. Wait, are those actually real scuba divers? Yep, they sure were. I was not even close to hitting the shipwreck. The perspective on these scooters make you look like you are so close!
However, Sakari looking at the shipwreck gave Kiara a chance to break free and she must have stopped for a moment because now Sakari was way ahead of her.
Then the hubby was coming in hot....I thought he was going to run into me. He still had his mask on. LOL (He has to wear them anytime he has his head underwater because he has no eardrums he was told and can't get water in his ears and his mask has ear covers. He used the mask to duck under and get into his helmet but was supposed to take them up once he got inside of it.
We circled around and made it to "the pretty place to take pictures" ??? And the diver lined us up and grabbed my camera. He had us all hold hands to keep us together.
I don't even know how he managed to get us all in line because the hubby was bobbing up and down, up and down. I kept pulling him back down. He says he didn't even realize he was
Yep, he still had his mask on. Photo bombed by the damsels again.
Then the diver throws his hands up and shrugs. He hands my camera back to me and ....the battery is dead! UGH! I signal him back...I'm screaming "No wait, don't go! It will turn back on a few more times! I need more pictures in case those didn't turn out." Of course I was screaming to the fish because he couldn't hear me but he could definitely read my body language and he took the camera back and managed to get 2 more up close pictures.
Then the camera turns off again and he hands it back. Well, I guess I get what I get and I'm satisfied with the pictures.
I managed to get it to turn on one last time to catch a school of fish going by.
It was time to go back to the boat and I was the last one out of the water. I'm pretty sure I heard a THUNK as I got out ... "I'm ok!"
Once back on the boat we all talked about how close the shipwreck looked and the miniature divers we were sure they planted over the shipwreck because no way could they have been real and that small...LOL We sat around and talked about our experience while we ate the yummiest cookies and drank CapriSun. We hung out up on the top of the boat and talked with some of the other people on the tour. We had a good time as we waited for the last group to take their turn.
Then it was time to head back. The girls decided to go into the Captains quarters where he was steering the boat. They rode back with him most of the way and he told them stories and showed them what all the dials on the boat did. He told them about his experience with a dolphin and she brought her baby to him. They all discussed their favorite sea animals and why. His was a nurse shark. Then about diving and finding a Goliath Grouper and what all happened (they blow out water to ward away predators and unwanted guest). They had a lot of stories to tell by the time we made it back. They said he was a really nice guy despite the odd beginning of the tour with his comments. Of course I had ask did he invite them up there or did they just go in and Kiara said "We just went in because I wanted to see how everything works" and I knew that answer was coming because she's very talkative and likes to soak up all the knowledge she can about everything. Think of her as a grown up Kambriah if you've read my other reviews. :D
He mentioned his wife was one of the scuba divers that was in the water with us during our scooter adventure. She was on the back of the boat answering questions and talking to people. I ask her how much did one of those cost and she replied $20,000 each.
The kids were still enjoying their time with the "Boss" in the cabin.
We knew we were almost back when we seen the cruise ships in port. There was a rain cloud rolling in and I had a feeling we were about to get caught in it.
So here's the video I took of the day. I hope you enjoy it. I guess I probably could have shortened it a little but if you only knew just how long it was before I cut a lot of it out, you'd laugh. I struggled with trying to do both the camera and the GoPro. Most of the time I thought I had turned the GoPro off and I didn't. So, there were tons of footage of it dangling as I scootered along. After watching all of that, and chopping most of it out, I thought I had a fairly decent sized video to create...until I had the hubby watch it with me and his eyes started rolling into the back of his head after awhile. LOL I ended up with a final piece of 9 minutes long.
We had a good time and would we do it again? Yep, we sure would (just in a different location of course). The girls loved it and it was a new experience for us. Yes, I had equipment bloopers and the hubby just wasn't cooperating with me today (I think he was broken that day) but the tour itself...a lot of fun. I would highly recommend it if you haven't tried it before.
After getting off the BOSS boat and thanking the Boss for our trip, we headed to a little stand to get some slushies. It seemed like the right thing to do to end our wonderful day we had just had. There was a little stand right on the pier. We got 2 strawberry-banana's and 2 mango's. They were yummy. The hubby ran off to find the restroom and came back telling us we should walk down "that way" because shops were open and it looked like there was neat things to do down there.
There really wasn't too much to see IMO. There was a plane and a big chair to take pictures with, but nothing that interests me. So we turned around and decided to head back. Now the art on this wall definitely interests me.
Just in case you are wondering...diet cost more than regular. We find this to be the case on all the Caribbean islands. I wonder why.
We were trying to figure out what to do now. It was still early and we had the rest of the day ahead of us. I told the family I'd like to go back to Sapphire so I could try to snorkel there. Hopefully the waves would not be as bad today as it was the other day when the girls attempted to snorkel.
We arrived and it was beautiful out. The sprinkle clouds were gone. We gathered our beach bags, towels and beach chairs and headed down to the beach. We found a tree that had a few empty chairs under it. There was nothing in the chairs indicating that anyone was there anymore. I knew these were the Sapphire Beach Resort chairs and they were for use of the people staying there. Now remember, we all had our own chairs. We put our chairs down under the tree and I ask the guy sitting on the other side of the tree if anyone was sitting there and he said "No, they left for lunch awhile ago". Perfect! Not that it really mattered because no one was there and there were tons of different families under that tree.
This would be our view:
After sitting there for around 10 minutes a lady came over and started saying "These are our chairs!" I was like "And?" She said "They are for the people staying here at the resort!" Me once again "And?? I've stayed here before, I know who they are for" She said "We went to get lunch" Ok, maybe I'm not understanding what it is that you are wanting from me. I have my own lunch as well. Is there a question or are you just wanting to fill me in on the rules of Sapphire, what you were doing or maybe you should just inform me of what you had for lunch as well? I mean ???? I was so confused. She repeated herself that those were their chairs. At this point I'm getting a little perturbed because she is wasting my time with her daily events and I'm just trying to enjoy the view and get ready to snorkel. I told her "We have our own chairs. We are not in your chairs. We have no plan to sit in your chairs and I have no idea what point you are trying to get across." She finally decided to scurry off and she obviously never made her point because I was left scratching my head. Maybe she didn't want us sitting under the same tree? I don't really know. She didn't own the tree or the chairs or the resort for that matter. We didn't invade her space. We didn't put our chairs down in the middle of her chairs, we were on the side. Can't people be nice and share the shade? I guess not with her. This was like chair hogs on the ship...only they didn't leave their towels on it or anything behind. Well, we were sharing anyhow whether she approved or not at that point. I bet you can guess what happened next....yep, the family never did come back. They sat out on their deck continuing to eat their lunch and chit chat the entire time we were there.
I broke out the PB&J sandwiches and chips and we all ate OUR lunch. Then we discovered there was an iguana in the tree above us.
There was a lady that had a stand set up under one of the trees. She was taking up an entire tree in the shade. It was something that wasn't there when we stayed a few years ago. She was selling the opportunity for you to do sand art. She had different displays set out on the table as examples. The girls were really interested in doing one and ran over to ask for money. Ok, well how much was it? $50!!!! Seriously? You have free sand underneath your feet, she had coloring and I assume a substance to make it stick together and harden. I couldn't justify $50 and had to decline their request.
I headed out to try to snorkel. The girls didn't want to go and decided they would just sit around and draw on their ipads.
Blue Tangs or Surgeon fish
Sponge and yellow Christmas Tree worm
Juvenile Beaugregory Damsel Fish
Juvenile French Angelfish
Yellow Tail Parrot Fish
West Indian Sea Urcin
Juvenile Puddingwife Wrasse
Trunkfish hiding under the rock
Magnificent Feather Duster and Yellow Feather Duster
Blue Tang Surgeon Fish
I have to tell you, I was FREEZING! The water was so cold and every once in awhile I would hit a warm spot and no this wasn't coming from me. I honestly wasn't out there for too long because I just couldn't handle the water temp today. I went out and then turned around and started to head back in. On the way back something caught my eye. I looked and looked around and couldn't figure out what I had seen. As much as I was freezing, I just had to know what it was. I would just float for awhile...just patiently waiting...and freezing. Then it appeared again. It was small, it blended in and it was very busy crawling in and out of the rocks. I knew I had seen one once before in Aruba and it's the only time I have seen one. Sakari had to tell me exactly what it was. Do you see it?
It was a mantis shrimp. It was so cool to watch. They are just so busy.
I tried zooming in to the picture. It didn't turn out too well but you get the picture.
I got out and had to sit in the sun to get warm. I was just that cold.
The family was just hanging out and I mean my family not the family that went to lunch and never returned.
We decided to pack up and leave. The snorkeling experience wasn't the greatest and it was cold. I was still cold for some reason. I suggested that we go back to the condo and maybe go swimming.
We decided to try out the pool at the bottom of the resort. The kids jumped right in and played ball. I was still cold and was chasing the sun on the deck and moved around several times to try to stay in it. There was no way I was getting in the pool at this point. I just couldn't.
We hung out a little while and decided to head back to our place. I really needed to take a hot shower and get into dry clothes. After taking a shower, I was STILL cold. I don't know what was wrong with me.
I was messing with my camera's again and trying to figure out if they were really charging. I also started messing with the GoPro because I had noticed, when diving, that you would turn it on and then after awhile I would look down and the screen was black. I'd have to push the button a few times and get it to turn back on. Is there a timer on this thing??? I would learn that the screen goes black after a few minutes HOWEVER it IS still recording. I wonder why it does that. Do they all do this? I've just never messed with it enough to discover this.
I was sitting outside and I yell to the girls inside "There's a Parrot outside!" They come running and it took quite some time for them to discover what I was talking about. Do you see it? Haha, I got them.
So I could tell everyone was getting hungry and I decided tonight would be pizza night. I did the same thing that I did when we went to Aruba and brought the packet of dough mix, some sauce and purchased pepperoni and cheese when we got here. Now last time it was a hot mess! I couldn't get it to spread out right and it was the oddest non-round piece of dough I have seen. Just terrible. This is round two of trying it again. I will try to be a little more impressive with my shape this time.
I mixed the dough and put it in a bowl. It said to let it set for 5 minutes and I think maybe I didn't do that last time.
I was making two pizza's this time and here we go with this first. I spread it out but this time it was going on a square baking sheet so it would be a square pizza. Now I had 2 pizza's and a bag of pepperoni and man there was a lot of pepperoni in there. I would end up double piling the pepperoni on the second pizza just to use them all up.
The final results....Voila! It worked out great this time and was pretty darn good...or either we were all pretty darn hungry. Either way, both pizza's were ate up.
After eating we were out sitting on the deck and we heard a "meow" and looked down and found a black cat starring up at us.
She was very talkative. The girls heard her and came running out. They started throwing down bread for her to eat. She acted like she was very hungry. It didn't take long for Kiera to say she just had to go down there and see her. We call Kiara the crazy cat lady because she has like 8 cats.
The girls spent some time down there and then when they came back up to the condo, Kiera was crying. Like actually crying red face and all. I thought maybe the cat scratched her or bit her but no, she was crying because she wanted to take it home and knew she couldn't.
I swear it always seemed so late here after the sun went down and it was dark out. I would be ready for bed a few hours after that and it would only be around 9pm. We did our nightly ritual and went to bed, a little tv, then to sleep. Another big day tomorrow.
UP NEXT...row, row, row your boat...