St Thomas Day 4
Walking in the sea, animals and iguanas
Rise and shine early at 6am. I wake up to find Kiera sitting outside on the deck and was watching the sun come up. I didn't know there was anyone else out there that loved sunrises/sunsets more than Sakari...and now I know. She was dedicated this vacation! Gotta hand that to her. I'm not as dedicated, but have become an early riser for awhile now...I think the world is ending because everyone knows that has never been a me thing.
I sat out there for about an hour with her and got some decent pictures.
I headed in to take a shower. Something weird was happening. We had no water going into either one of the toilets, but there was water in the shower. By the time I was out, everyone was awake and functioning. I made pancakes for breakfast and then told everyone to get ready...we were walking on the sea floor today.
I had pre-planned this day prior to leaving home. Last time we were here we did the SeaTrek at Coral World and everyone had a good time. We also do a SeaTrek if it's available where we vacation. They are a lot of fun. Some have some interesting things on the walk...others do not. This one is a "do not" type of walk, but it would be something new for Kiera. Heck, everything is "new" for Kiera. It's not something I probably would have done again here, but with her having absolutely no experience with the ocean (pretty much), I thought it would be a way to break her in. Baby steps for the newbie!
We left the house and arrived at Coral World around 8:45am. Our "walk" wasn't until 3pm, but I knew that I wanted to get here early to get a parking spot. They only have a limited amount of parking spots available at this place (or Coki as well) and when I say limited I mean like maybe 10 spaces...if that. Now I was told that where we stayed, it's an easy walk to Coral World and plenty of people do it, but if I could drive, I was driving there.
Everything these days seem to be done by QR codes you have to scan and this place would be no different. Scan the code for everyone to fill out a waiver. What happened to the easy days you could just fill out a piece of paper and be done with it? I miss those days. I hate typing on a small phone. My eyesight is not what it used to be when trying to read things up close like that in small print.
We got our wristbands and headed in. Coral World is a super
mini version of a mini zoo. There's no much there, but enough to
keep kids busy for a few hours...but all day for us? No way.
We would just have to make the best of it.
We went around looking at the animal exhibits. We remembered last time we were here, there's a small shark tank and we watched one of the larger sharks eat one of the small ones. We also noticed there wasn't as many sharks in the tank this time around. Maybe the aggressive one ate them all? I think there was a total of 3 small sharks and 1 large nurse shark in the tank this time.
Kiera was able to get her first glance at sea turtles and she was excited. Well....just wait until you are actually swimming with one! That was going to blow her mind!
We headed into an exhibit that we had never been in before. I don't know how we could have missed this one. You walk inside and it was an aquarium that was in a circle and went all the way around you as you stood in the middle. It was so beautiful with tons of fish and animals.
And then we seen this big guy...KEVIN!! Kevin was a huge puffer fish and I just love puffer fish. They are one of my favorites! They have so much personality. They follow you and look at you and Kevin was just amazing! We would talk about Kevin the entire rest of the trip. I don't think I have ever seen one quite as big as him before. I'm sure any time we see another puffer, his name will be Kevin. I like Kevin...or maybe Melvin...that would be a good name.
We headed down to where the dolphins were at and you were able to walk out onto the deck along the side of them and watch. There was a girl there that was doing her internship with them. She told us about the places that she had worked and about the program in school. In order to work with the dolphins being a trainer, you had to go to school for either psychology or marine biology. While I understood the psychology part behind it, I still found it weird that you wouldn't HAVE to go to school for marine biology to do this kind of work if you did psychology instead.
She gave us a history about the dolphins they had there at Coral World: Liko, Noelani, Sonny and Ping. I remember when we were here last, we did the kayaking with the dolphins and we were with Liko and Sonny that time around. The female is the largest weighing in at 500# and 9 1/2 feet long. She said they can see around 230 feet and can see both in and out of the water with no distortion. So when they are in the water looking up at you, they see you perfect/
She told us about their personalities and which ones were not comfortable swimming in the shallow section of the area, how they follow one trainer but respond to others in different ways. She told us where they came from and their habitis. She gave us a history of where she came from, the places she had been and how much she loved working with marine life. I ask if she had heard about the recent dolphin attack on their trainer in Miami and she had and I believe she stated she had worked there as well at one point.
We must have spent at least an hour here talking and watching the dolphins and then some of the dolphin "swims" were starting to take place. Obviously these people did not watch the news recently.
I took this picture and contemplated posting it for those back home saying that we seen a dolphin today...just to see if Kendra would question if it was for really out in the ocean wild or at a tank. LOL I decided against it because she is a detective and catches on to everything and would probably figure it out quickly.
I would however send her the following picture and ask "Where are we?" Of course she immediately knew.
On the way out of the dolphin exhibit, Kiera screamed with excitement. She had spotted a few iguana's laying on the rocks in the sun. So, I told her to follow this trail and her mind was about to explode at what she was about to see.
Everywhere you look there were iguana's. This area must be the Hyatt of St Thomas for Iguanas. No, they are not in cages. They are just everywhere. They were invading the turtle area as well. I hope they live in harmony.
You would have thought this place was an iguana sanctuary instead of Coral World by the amount of iguana's there were there.
We then moved onto the Lorikeet area now that it was open. I did notice there didn't seem to be as many of them this time around either.
Other birds in the area...
Stingrays were in a tank and I figured the best way to get a picture was to put my camera below the water. That's when Kiera couldn't believe I could put my camera in the water. I explained that it was waterproof and she would be seeing a lot of that.
We decided to head down to the "dome" under water and have a look around. This time I WOULD remember that even though we ourselves were not physically under the water, we ARE under the water so to speak and that meant that if I wanted to take pictures, I would still have to put my underwater settings on my camera. I made that mistake last time and couldn't understand why everything was so green.
There's always a lot of tarpon hanging out under the dock. Man they were huge.
We had seen just about everything there was to see here and had a whole lotta time to spare before we did our SeaTrek. We decided to stop and get some cold drinks and relax for a minute in the lunch area.
Resting my leg sure felt good. But, you know what would feel even better on it? SNORKELING!! We decided to head out and over to Coki for awhile to kill time. I hadn't got to snorkel yet and I just love Coki. I think it has one of the best spots on the island for snorkeling and I was excited to get started.
We stopped by the vehicle to gather our bags with our beach towels and snorkeling equipment and over we went. Of course we were bombarded with someone wanting to rent us chairs and umbrella's and another person wanting to get you drinks and eventually another person wanting to braid your hair and another wanting to sell you jewelry. You know vacation has officially started for tourist when all of this happens...especially here at Coki.
We declined everything and took our towels out and sat in the sand under the trees. See...it's free here!
We watched this person with their "Pet"??? chicken as it was carried around the beach. I tried to get a good picture of it because it had very long fancy tail feathers. But I wasn't able to .
I immediately headed for the water of course. The water was a little cold, but not as cold as Sapphire was yesterday. The girls followed me in and off we went.
I have to say, I really wasn't seeing as much as last time. This was really weird. The last time we were here there were tons of beautiful purplish-blue coral (blue bell tunicate) everywhere. However, the above picture does have a reddish strawberry tunicates) was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. But this time, there wasn't any along the sides. We started heading on down and going around the corner. As we did that, we started to see more coral, which was a good thing. I was really starting to rethink if I wanted to actually dive at Coki this time around.
This guy was saying cheezzzeeee to the camera:
Now I did give Kiera a lecture before we headed out about snorkeling and using her snorkel. She does have a dry snorkel and I explained how it worked. She had first said that she wasn't going to use it and I told her since she had never done it before, she needed to try because she needed to get used to breathing through her mouth because that's what she would be doing when we go scuba diving.
She started out with it but once we got out there she pulled it out and then took it off and had Sakari holding it while she swam. She said she really didn't like using it. That had me worried about whether or not she would have issues breathing in a regulator with diving.
I have to admit, the further around the corner you got, the better the snorkeling was. So, that was a good sign.