St Thomas 2020

Day 3: Tuesday, July 21

Beach, snorkeling, pool, and a birthday!!!

This would be our first "real" full day in St Thomas. I want to start by saying that, as always, I had big plans for our almost 2 weeks here. I'm a beach hopper, as everyone knows, prior to coming to the island I did research on various places to go, put them on my MapsMe, and had plenty enough time to go everywhere. 

My very first ERROR started on this day. Since we arrived later in the day (yesterday), we (Kendra) decided to just hang out at Sapphire and enjoy our "new place".  I also couldn't wait to go snorkeling!

Today was Brayden's 12th birthday. We asked him what he wanted to do. His reply was "go parasailing"! So, we contacted Parasail Virgin Islands via the web (they are located there at the marina at Sapphire Beach) and tried to make a reservation. However, they were booked so we decided we'd try again tomorrow. Kendra decided we should just hang out there and then go out to eat that night for his birthday at a seafood restaurant. 

We (me and the hubby) were up at the crack of dawn today. ErrrAerrrAerrrrr! What the heck was this annoying sound? I think I've heard a few times before. Perhaps at Kendra's house. ErrrAerrrAerrr! Over and over. We went out to the balcony and there was a rooster right down below. "Hey, could you quiet down a little? People are sleeping and so is my little preteen sleeping beauty"! Well, he didn't listen and would continue this for hours on end. 

We decided to head to the grocery store and pick up some items to cook during the week, pop, and items that we would be able to make sandwiches with for when we went to the beach. I was a little depressed when I found that they only had diet Coke. It has somewhat of a bitter taste to me. I prefer diet Pepsi, but it would have to do. 

The grocery store we ended up at was a little past Red Hook. We knew about the Moe's at Red Hook, but honestly that area just seemed so busy non-stop and I'd much rather go somewhere a little more low-key. Kendra had said that she went to the same grocery store as us the night before. 

We walked out spending around $230, I think it was, and we were set for awhile. Yes prices here are outrageous but you have to remember they have everything shipped in and that cost money. I had prepared myself for the sticker shock before we came. I look at it like this...use my credit card to buy it and earn points and get more free flights with SW. Yep, I'm winning either way. 

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As I was making breakfast, Sakari was entertaining the birds and she was already dressed for the day. I hate when she over dresses. ;)

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There we go...quick and simple...only it wasn't very quick. The toaster at the condo was extremely slow (or either mine is just turbo at home...I'm not really sure). 

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After breakfast, I was ready to head to the beach and snorkel. It had been 10 long years since I was here last and I really wanted to see if my memory of the snorkeling was still the same. I have revisited my previous pictures from 10 years ago, but as time goes by, so do the memories. 

So, off we went to claim our spot under the grape trees. Fighting for prime real estate with the iguana's would be a daily chore. Also, if you are not out on the beach claiming your spot by...around 6-7am, sometimes you don't get the best view, but we always managed to find the best shade. 

I asked Sakari if she was ready to head out and she put on the mermaid tail and off we went. 

After awhile, I asked Sakari if she wanted to head back in and she said yes. Once we got back, Kam was waiting at the shoreline with me "mamaw, will you swim with me? mamaw, will you swim with me? mamaw, will you swim with me?" "Good grief child, let me catch my breath for a minute I heard you the first time and the second and every time after that."  I figure if I tell her this enough times, she'll stop repeating herself. We shall see.

Well, it's hard to say no to a granddaughter who I just taught to swim a week prior to vacation and she wanted to test out her skills in the ocean. After explaining to her that it's not the same as being in her pool...there are waves that can carry you out, the depth changes quickly and you can be over your head fast, and every other thing I could think of that would make her comprehend that this is not her pool and she is to stay really close to me is what I ended up saying to her. 

She was scared to death of the fish in the water once she managed to poke her head under and see all the fish that she couldn't tell was there when she was standing up. OH NO! We will not have her turn out like her dad who usually won't step more than knee deep in the ocean because he's afraid of fish and anything else that might be lurking under there. Humans are not fish food...well, unless you happen to be a damsel. Then humans are pretty tasty if you get close enough. 

We would spend quite some time searching for "sea glass" and pretty little shells at the shoreline after she got used to the fish around her and knew they were interesting to look at.

I was really happy when I managed to find 2 pieces of green seaglass. SCORE! It rained a little here and there and I just chalked it up to that sporadic Caribbean showers you get all the time.

Meanwhile, Sakari was starring at the trees and I got out to see if she had found some scaly critters lurking above our chairs. Yep, she sure did. There were about 5 iguana's above us and a few on the beach.

Since she is the animal whisperer, I handed her a camera and let her put a few of them in a trance while she got really close to them to snap some pictures for me. I knew the minute I tried to get anywhere near them, they would give the signal and retreat. If the mere thought of me getting close to them didn't scare them away, then the sight would of my hee-ho, limp, grunt, hobble all the way over to the tree would.

A few final thoughts on the snorkeling. These are just my thoughts and experiences. I remember Sapphire Beach (back in 2010) to be the most awesome snorkeling ever. I remember the fish, the coral, the fun we had. However, after visiting many other places in the Caribbean, and also after visiting Coki beach, I started to question if Sapphire really was as good as I was remembering it from years ago. Just my opinion, but it doesn't compare to Coki with the various colorful corals or variety and it certainly didn't compare to other places I've been to in the Caribbean that are simply AH-MAY-ZING! (Like St Lucia for instance)

So why did I remember it as a great snorkeling place from before? I honestly think a lot that had to do with it was that it had been the first time I had been snorkeling in over 21 years. So, it really amazed me to see all the fish and corals. It was also my husbands first time being in the ocean and snorkeling so it was so exciting at the time. But now that I would call myself somewhat of an "expert" in snorkeling and have been many many places, I would call the snorkeling here ok to mediocre. There were a lot of rocks with smaller damsels, tangs and so on there. A few nice corals here and there and I was overly excited when I found an orange looking coral. But, it just doesn't compare to the purple coral you will see at Coki. Is it worth a day to visit? Of course! It's not like you aren't going to see anything...it's just that it's not on my "top" list of snorkeling places after today. You also can't beat the beautiful beach and all the grape trees and palms to sit under.  More on this later....

The kids wanted to go to the pool for some fun and we gathered our things and walked via the beach to the pool area. You can tell that this area was hit by the hurricane (I assume) and they never rebuilt or opened up the bar that was there or repaired the roof, electrical or anything. But hey, we came for the pool so it didn't really matter to us. I'm kinda glad there isn't a bar there because if there was, that area would be a lot more crowded than it ever was during the times we were there. 

The kids had fun playing in the pool and I got my water therapy in for the day that's for sure. 

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Although there are signs posted not to jump off the walls or planters at the pool, very rarely did you see an adult or child that followed those rules. My kid and grandson would give me heart palpitations every time they jumped or flipped off the top to the bottom and no matter how many times I'd yell, they'd catch me off guard and do it again. At one point, Billy did his back flip as well. 

We decided to head back and get ready to go out to eat for B's birthday. We looked at several places after googling and I decided to ask the "landlord" where a good place to go for seafood would be. She gave some suggestions but after looking online at the menu's, they really didn't have what we were hoping for (crab legs, shrimp or lobster). So, Kendra looked online and found a place that she said she'd like to go. It wasn't too far and located at Bolongo Bay and was called Mim's. 

Now getting here was pretty easy using the maps, but once you got back there the parking and turning around situation was not. This was a resort and what appeared to be a one way really was not. I couldn't find any "parking" for guests so I just pulled up to a "for resort guests only" parking spot and called it a day. We had to walk down a huge hill and by the time we found the actual restaurant, Kendra spotted the restaurant parking right by the restaurant and close to where we first came in at. She volunteered to go back and move the van for me. We went down the steps to let them know we'd like to eat there.