Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Last Day in Paradise aka Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands

We were so glad to wake up to sunny skies on our last day in the Hotel on the Cay.  We went down to the beach to swim and relax until we had to check out at noon.  Then we left our things and took the ferry over to have lunch one last time.  We walked up to Club Comanche (where Bill used to play piano) for old times sake and ordered a couple of sandwiches to go from the little restaurant on the main floor, shopped for a few minutes and then it was back to the hotel to get our bags and to take a taxi to the airport.

On the way to the airport we saw this sign and it reminded me that we had seen them
all over Saint Croix. They point out where to go in case of a tsunami.  Definately to higher ground!
Here we are checking in, OUTSIDE of the airport and then we were on our way to Miami.  
Looking back at Saint Croix.
We arrived in Miami, got a good night's rest and flew out at 7am.  When we arrived in Syracuse our son David was waiting for us with our car.  Not a drop of snow and 41 degrees made it feel warm compared to the 6 degree day we left a week ago.  By Saturday it had snowed 6 inches and the Arctic Air is back!   St Croix is calling.....where the breezes blow all the time and the days are sunny and warm.  We'll be back!

I have to put in a few more pictures of the wildlife we saw on the cay.
These birds flew in and out of these trees on the Cay.
I found this lizard on the walkway while returning to our hotel room.
Mr. Crab was in the water over by the launch area.
And last, but certainly not least are these 3 1/2  foot long Lizards that resided on the beach side of the hotel along the small decorative pools.  They were not within reach, but creepy all the same.  We saw only one all week, but on the last day there were 6 out sunning themselves.  Our grandsons would have liked these guys!
The interesting thing was that there didn't seem to be any bugs or flies anywhere.  I guess it is because of the trade winds that blow continuously day and night.  That was delightful!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Tuesday - cloudy with a chance of rain in St. Croix

We traveled all around the Island Sunday and Monday expecting that on Tuesday we would hang out at the beach on the Cay, do some more snorkeling and relax, but this is what we saw when we woke up, so......
......it was back to the car to try one more time to find St. Dunstan's Episcopal School that Marc and Susan attended in his 6th and her 5th grade.  We were told the general direction it was supposed to be in, but after exploring in 5 different directions at a 5 way intersection we decided to stop at a McDonalds where an older worker we asked knew exactly where the school was.  It was up the next street a quarter mile from where we were.  Finally......success! 
This is what we found when we got there.  A broken sign and an abandoned school, but at least we knew we were in the right place.

 This picture is of St. Dunstan's Episcopal School when Jim Yeich (a teacher from my high school) came to St. Croix in 1966 to be the Summer Headmaster.  That is when Jim met Marc's family.  It looked a lot different then.  The next year Marc would leave St. Croix halfway thru 7th grade to go live with Jim in the states and finish 7th grade at Blue Ridge High School in Pennsylvania. 
Marc standing in front of the school as it looks now.
   What was once the school office...
 .........and what it used to look like back in the 60's when Jim was there for the summer.
This is the door to Marc's 6th grade class room # 7.
 Some pretty foliage is still growing on the school grounds reminding us how nice is must have looked at one time.
 Just an old play horse, but it made me think of the children who must have enjoyed riding on it. Maybe even Marc's sister Susan who was a year younger than Marc.
 A real horse was tied up there at the school.  While traveling around the island we would often see horses tied up in a yard, or along the road on long ropes, but we never saw them fenced in.  Marc said that on St. Thomas when he and Debby had horses Susan got stuck with the donkey and when they tied one up the other two wouldn't go far.
 Looking the other direction from the entrance.
Finding so many old friends, three of his former homes and the two schools he attended brought back so many memories to Marc of his life here in the Islands.  I heard new stories, made new friends and was grateful I got to experience the beauty and uniqueness of the life Marc used to live as a young boy and also in the summers as a teenager down here in Paradise!
I don't know how he could have left all this to come back to the states, but young love makes you do crazy things and I am grateful we have had 42 years together so far.

More old pictures:   Marc's family working to restore the "Liza" on the Cay.
Barbara, Debby, Susan, Bill and Marc
In this picture Jim Yeich is working on the front of the Liza with Bill.
This is Marc boating over to get Jim who would tutor Marc at the house on the Cay.
The family dog, Schnapps sailing with Marc on the North Star.
This is a picture of the scale house (yellow building on the right) as it is today and .......
..... how it looked in the 60's.  There was a huge scale inside the building.
The white building below used to house the Alexander Hamilton Hardware Store.......
.....and it looked much the same back in the 60's, but look at the old cars lining the street.  

King's Alley used to be the place to shop in the 60's.  Now there are lots of new shops and places to eat.
Kings Alley again...a long time ago

We shopped for a few things and then went back to the Hotel.  I swam in the pool and we later took the rental car back to the dealer and were picked up by Don Kimmel who took us to his and Judy's condo.  Their condo was right on the beach and we got the grand tour.
The front has a large protected porch and a door to go out to the beach that locks for privacy and security.
Beach front to the right.
Beach front to the left where they do a lot of snorkeling.
The living room faces the beach and so does the kitchen in the pictures below.  
The condo has two bedrooms, two baths and is very modern with the work the Kimmels have done to it.  Nicely decorated and right on the beach.  They use it for a month in January and rent it out the rest of the year.  It would be a wonderful place to rent for anyone wanting to visit St. Croix.
We went out to dinner with the Kimmels who are delightful and fun to be with.  It was so nice getting reacquainted with Judy and getting to know Don for the first time.  What a great end to our day.  We couldn't believe our vacation time was almost over.  Back to the hotel to pack. 

Monday on St. Croix

The first thing we did Monday morning was to tour the Old Yellow Danish Fort
 before heading East in the car.  The Danish built it, then gave it up to the English and the United States bought the Virgin Islands in 1917.
 I guess you wouldn't have wanted to try to climb over the walls to get into this place!
 You couldn't stand up in any of these dungeons.

 The Cay behind us from on top of the fort.
The Fort from the Cay.
Town from the fort.
This is what the Fort used to look like when Marc was a boy living on the Cay.  I like the red color better!
 Alexander Hamiliton's family was from here in the Islands.

 One of Dick Newick's first trimarans that our new friend Miles bought years ago was dry docked at the marina.
Marc took these pictures of Trine while sailing on the North Star with Bomba over near Virgin Gorda.
This is the Buccaneer Hotel and Resort.  It has a beautiful building up on the hill and other rooms down on the beach.
Looking over the golf course back toward Christiansted.
This was up by the entrance to the Buccaneer.  These purple flowers hanging down above this walkway were beautiful.
 These next two pictures are of  Marc (17 yrs old during Christmas Break) when he worked down on the beach renting out boards, selling drinks and taking people sailing on a Sunfish at the Buccaneer Hotel.

This kite surfer was out on the reef  as we headed for the St. Croix Yacht Club on the East end of the island where Llewellyn keeps his trimaran moored. 
 Another view of Buck Island from near St. Croix Yacht Club.
 This shows a different view of one of the big Cats moored up the lagoon where we snorkeled Saturday at the underwater trail at Buck Island.
 The craziest thing happened Monday on our way to the St. Croix Yacht Club!  Marc was just saying that the one person he hadn't seen of his old friends yet was Inglore Westerman, whom he used to sail with for Sea Rovers.  Then...as we were almost ready to turn into the Yacht Club we saw a man walking along the side of the road and Marc said, "I think that man looks like he could be Inglore!"  We pulled into the yacht club, turned around and drove up right beside the man and stopped.  Marc rolled down his window and asked the man if he was Inglore Westerman and he said yes.  Then Marc told him his name was Marc Clay and Inglore reached in and rubbed  the back of Marc's head.   "You remember when I dropped you on your head?" Inglore asked.  He told us he was walking home so we asked him if we could take him for lunch and then home afterwards.  We talked and ate for a good long time while Marc showed him old island pictures and he told us stories.  One time on the wharf Inglore had Marc's hands and Arthur had Marc's feet and they were swinging him threatening to throw him in the bay, but when Inglore let go Arthur didn't and Marc's head crashed onto the wharf.  Inglore said there was no blood, but it really scared him that Marc could be badly hurt.  Marc has a tough head and he turned out to be just fine, but Inglore never forgot!
 Marc and Inglore

 Inglore and Winnie's Westerman's home.

 Marc, Inglore and Winnie.  It was delightful getting to know both Winnie and Inglore in their lovely home.
 Inglore's hobby is building these sailboats.  I wish you could see the perfectly detailed workmanship on them.  They are beautiful!!!  I told him Marc needs a small version of the one on the right.  
 Here is a small boat Inglore has been restoring at the Yacht Club.
Flashback.....Marc and Inglore having a teaching moment.  Inglore said he was about 23 in this picture.
Marc's mother, Bill and Marc on the North Star getting ready to go for a sunset sail with Captain Inglore who is standing on the wharf.
This monument is at Point Udall which is the most eastern point of the United States.  The road leading up to the monument was narrow and winding. You could see ocean on 3 sides.

 Looking back at Buck Island in the distance.

 Dinner Monday night was in the courtyard at Savant Restaurant.  It was voted 'Most Creative Cuisine" by the daily news and we had to agree.  Delicious!