We woke up in paradise… Filled with the morning call of roosters.
Charles and I didn’t set any type of alarm but we were up with the cuckle-doodle-doos at 6am. These sounds were surprisingly soothing as apposed to annoying. After standing on our balcony and taking in the morning views, we left our room and headed to the lower deck where breakfast was being served at our hotel. The continental breakfast they served included pastries from a local bakery (the bread with mango chunks was to die for), fruits, yogurt, oatmeal, coffee, and tea.
There, we met other guests of the hotel and Kathy, the mother of one of the owners of the hotel. Kathy was another great source of information we found on the island and she gave us some inside scoop for places to check out. For great sangria and fish tacos: go to La Blancha during happy hour. If you want to see sea turtles: go to Maho Bay, which actually happens to be a turtle nesting ground. If you want local food (most of the restaurants on the island cater to the tourists and serve mostly typical American bar food): go to the Starfish Market on Sunday where the cook makes great roti and curry sides. After speaking with her, I was on a mission to find some local food before we left in a couple days.
After breakfast, Charles and I went back to our rooms and got dressed to head to Trunk Bay where we would meet the bridal party for some beach fun and snorkeling. Once we were ready, we went to plaza area in front the ferry dock to catch a taxi to the beach.
A taxi ride from Cruz Bay to Trunk Bay costs $6 per person one way. Taxis on St. John don’t charge by the minute but by the mile. Make sure to pick up the St. John Guide Book at the Visitor’s Center on the island. This brochure gave us a map of the Cruz Bay area, pricing for ferries and taxis, listings for car and boat rentals, restuarants and stores and much more. It really helped us find our way around the island. Plus, it’s FREE!
About a 10-15 min ride from Cruz Bay, we finally made it Trunk Bay alive. No Joke. The drive to Trunk Bay involves driving up winding single lane roads on the side of steep hills … and they drive on the left side of the road. I know the cab drivers are professionals but riding in the back of a stick shift pick up truck up with seats installed in the back up the side of a cliff would make anyone’s heart palpitate.
Trunk Bay is a protected beach under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park.
The entry fee for the beach is $4, which takes care of your whole day there. At first I was blown about having to pay to go to a beach. However, Trunk Bay is definitely the most popular bay on St. John and as a result, gets the most foot traffic. These proceeds go towards keeping the beach clean and preserving the coral, which I found out was dying from so many people touching them when snorkeling. (sad face) I got over these feelings real quick once I passed the main entrance because lo and behold were the results of my $4 ticket.
Clouds open up and the angels sing, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.”
After we linked up with everyone in our group and set our towels down (make note that this was 10am and the beach was already bustling with people), we went snorkeling. What is super cool about Trunk Bay is that it has an underwater snorkeling trail. There were plaques among the coral that had cool facts on them about sea life and also lead you around the mini-island you see in the photo above to the left.
This was my first time snorkeling ever… I would’ve preferred to have my first experience be at an indoor pool… Luckily, I like to get over my fears by jumping in and doing the things that scares me most. What scared me most was the idea of a shark creeping up behind me while I was swimming along … The entire time we were snorkeling, I kept looking over my shoulder and made sure to stick close to a group of people. I know I’m supposed to punch a shark in it’s nose if/when it attacks me but really?? … the sealife defense ops really expects me to punch a shark in the nose???
While underwater, we saw supercool fish (I saw the Dora fish from Finding Nemo) and amazing coral structures. After snorkeling, Lmya & I tanned on the beach while the boys went and played Frisbee in the sea. There’s nothing more relaxing than laying in the sun. I’m such a plant at times.
Thomas (body courtesy of “Insanity”)
Charles (body: courtesy of “Insanity”)
Had to pull out the high school booty pose ;)
Once we were all pruny, we headed back to Cruz Bay to get ready for our evening at The Tap Room for dinner, drinks, & celebration.
Here’s a little video clip from my iPhone of our drive back to Cruz Bay. It gives an idea of the winding roads the taxi took us on and also ends with a view of Trunk Bay from afar.
Getting ready …
Walking with the crew to The Tap Room
Located in the Mongoose Junction plaza, The Tap Room is the only bar on the island that brews it’s own beer. The two owners started brewing beer recreationally, infusing them with the flavorful fruit from the island and it was a major hit with the locals. As they say, the rest is history. Mike’s family reserved that bar exclusively for the family and guests this night. I’ve always seen signs at restaurants that say “Closed for Private Party” before and wondered what type of event was going on that I couldn’t get in … And now I was at one of those events ;)
The food here was soo yummy (I recommend the pulled pork sandwich) and the drinks were off the charts. Make sure to try the “Tropical Mango” beer and get a Dark N’ Stormy (Ginger Beer & Dark Cruzan Rum). These two drinks were my buddies for the night.
When people are put together for common causes, there is always that initial and inevitable awkward stage of saying hello and shaking hands… But from the emotional family speeches to dancing and laughing, the group of people we were hanging with at The Tap Room were bonding in the best way possible… Over drinks. Everyone in Caitlin & Mike’s family were supercool and welcoming. We talked about ghosts, argued about the Redskins vs. Cowboys (REDSKINS!!! Woot Woot!), did the electric slide and took many shots in the name of Mike & Caitlin’s wedding … By the end of the night, I felt like we would end this trip giving hugs instead of handshakes.
Caitlin & Mike
Bride & Groom
Caitlin & Mike surprised Charles and I with a very thoughtful/cool gift bag filled with beers from The Tap Room, Pringles, mini – Oreos (These were gone immediately). And an awesome cooler bag, if you look closely the inside of the bag is silver. Super Cool!!!
Charles, Thomas & Ryan
Lmya & I with the owners of the Tap Room
(L: Kevin Chipman, R: Chirag Vyas)
And Soooo Ends Day 2. Thanks For Reading!
Stay tuned for Day 3!
If you missed the post for Day 1: Click Here.