(insert dramatic background drumming)
Our 7 o’clock day started at the bay, with pancakes and mudding galore! After breakfast, we piled into the cars and headed to our first hiking trail of the trip…Ram’s Head! Perhaps the name Ram’s head better describes the goats that created the winding narrow path to the summit. Along the way we passed Salt Pond Bay (whose beach was still clear of invasive vegetation from last years hard working class) ; we can’t wait to snorkel here on Friday!! Through the trees we could spot the pond it was named for. Our path led us past every variation of spiked plant you could imagine (Renee mentioned there are about 200 different species of vegetation on St. John) including poison ivy on steroids and the cutest little Turks head cacti.
Hold on to your hats everybody, we’re almost there!! This is us in the “saddle” of the Ram’s Head trail, granted the breeze was absolutely refreshing after a hot trek but boy was it ever blowing….could have taken off with the rest of the birds flying under us along the cliffs. As is our nature (being shark chasing, boat jumping CRAZIES) we took the shortcut to the point which tended to be steeper, rockier, but in our minds, more straight forward in our race to the top of the world.
One by one we stormed the point peering recklessly over the edge onto the crystal waters… okay more like trudged the last third of a mile to the peak in which we flopped onto the nearest rock and indulged in some CHOCOLATE (again, Thanks Renee!). Still the view was amazing with Booby Rock to the west and the white caps of Drunk Bay and the neighboring cliffs to the east. If you squint and turn your head 90 degrees to the right (feel free to try this at home) you could just make out the island of St. Croix which is the largest of the US Virgin Islands; a whopping 48 miles long. Unfortunately the sun was getting hotter and it was time to begin our decent but not before we honored our missing comrade…owling for LIZ <3 ( I may need you to remind me of the proper technique…)
All this talk of heat, it was time to go for a swim! Making our way down the trail we could make out the click-clacking of waves over the rocks. Soon after the trail opened up to Blue Cobblestone Beach, named for the rounded blue stones and coral as far as the eye could see, there was a mad scramble past the cobblestone figures (one of which I believe was happy to see us…) clothes flying every which way in the rush to jump into our wetsuits and get in the water.
Renee insisted on us hovering around the shore to fully appreciate the rain maker effect of the water churning the cobblestones; it truly is a beautiful sound. From there we dispersed in search of any marine life we could find. This included cowfish, a stingray, and two different species of moray eel. And what better way to end a “relaxing” day then at the spa? Most of us lounged on the hot rocks while Randi entertained the masses by juggling coral…yes CORAL. Sadly this had to end and we began the hot journey back to the parking lot so we could head back to VIERS for lunch. Good thing it was worth it, they spoil us! Mmm… chocolate chip cookies!! From then on our schedule was on island time with the majority of us napping on any available surface area.
Around 2ish (okay maybe 3ish) a smaller group headed to Yawzi Point for some late afternoon snorkeling. We sludged down the road to the VIERS dock… no one ever tells you how awkward it is to climb down a ladder in fins. A few belly flops and one or two graceful dives later we braved the current to explore the caverns of Yawzi. Not to far into our snorkel we came across 17 Caribbean Reef Squid swimming neatly in a line. We took turns diving down for pictures, which happened to startle the squid into an electric blue shade before they returned back to their patterned brown phase. Most of the other reef surrounding the point was dead but that didn’t stop us from seeing BIG fish. This included two angelfish and a 5 ft. barracuda (don’t worry we’re all professionals now…).
This message has been brought to you by Asya and Jessie. Hollins OUT!
ONE MORE THING….NIGHT SNORKELING!
Needing to fill every single moment with something spectacular we ventured out in the dark down the muddy road to Lameshur Bay. The peekaboo moon provided nearly no light and Wilson insisted we walk without our flashlights – slippery but doable. Voices were loud, lots of squeaks as a bunch of nervous Hollins women backed into the ocean with small underwater flashlights to find their way. But we found comfort in the bobbing of the glow stick snorkel tips on the surface of the water – we knew we weren’t alone. Everybody found something exciting – simply the being in this strange dark world filled with tiny neon shrimp and minuscule fish. The best finds were an white-spotted octopus in the grassbeds and 4 Caribbean spiny lobsters on Poopy Rock which had Nearly NO fish. We walked back under the peekaboo moon to cold showers and cute frogs! Life is good.