Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I wake up early on vacation, this morning at 7:30, like it's my job. This morning's charge is to get some geographical orientation. Ian and I eat breakfast and set off to cover nearly all the drivable perimeter of St. John. Roads are maximum two-lanes, two ways, and mandatory 4WD, or at least some hardy transmission, and aside from Cruz Bay, walled by tree and bush, and graced by an occasional donkey. There are no taxis, which I think unwise for an island with so many cars and so little road, but who am I to say.

(^ This is Trunk Bay from an overlook from the road, my photo this time! - check your cellphone, M!)

By 12 we have settled into the beach in Hawksnest Bay (pic on right), under a broad-leaf bush for some shade from a mean sun. The water is paradise blue and green, and the sand is white and soft. Shortly after the family arrives with the snorkel gear, the clouds creeping over the hills from the west break. It sprinkles, and then pours, and then 20 minutes later the sun is shining as if nothing happened.

I set off in the water with mask and snorkel. Even though I've been diving, I've never snorkeled, and it wasn't nearly as sunny when we dove. And how spectacular! So many fish! Blue, yellow, silver, striped, big, small. The only life I could recognize from Pete's marine life picture book was the brain coral, tube sponge, and spiny sea urchin. Fortunately, he got some great underwater pics. Here's his photo of a school of blue tangs. There's a spiny sea urchin on the left corner. If you step on them, the spikes are impossible to remove and you have to wait for them to dissolve in your body.