Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St John

For those who didn't hear about it beforehand, the Mooses went on a wonderful week-long trip down to St. John, in the Virgin Islands, last week. A week of warmth, swimming, snorkeling, good food, good friends, and relaxing on island time! Here's the start of a recap.

It took us a good long while to get down there. We arose before dawn on a Saturday and drove down to a relative's in Boston. She provided us with a safe (and free!) place to leave our car for the week, and even delivered us to Logan airport. From there, a flight down to St. Thomas.

Next: a taxi van across that island to the ferry terminal at Redhook.

After a brief way, we had a calm ride across the water to Cruz Bay, the main town on St. John. The three of us were the first of our contingent to arrive. Our friends from Chicago were arriving on the next ferry with their 11-mo old, and M and Deen on the ferry after that. Eight people, two child car seats: we ended up with two vehicles, which also provided good flexibility in making plans around nap times.

Once we all arrived in Cruz Bay, got the two rentals, and stocked up at the supermarket, we drove across St John to the far southeastern corner, to the Estate Concordia, the eco-resort we'd be spending the week. This was our first experience with driving on the island. The gist of it is this: you drive on the left side of the road, but in american cars (mostly Wranglers and pickups); the roads are few, narrow, steep, and twisty. The close quarters make the average cruising speed of 30 mph seem like slaloms on a formula-1 racetrack. All this, and in the dark, for it was just past sunset when we set out.

The Estate Concordia is a cluster a semi-permanent wall tents and small studio apartments. The "tents" are wood-framed, split level buildings that sleep six in close quarters. The walls and roof are made of a plastic-fabric laminate with abundant zippered screens. Each has plank floors, attached porches, a small kitchette and fridge, solar lighting, solar hot water for the navy-style showers across the way, and composting toilets. These are perched on a steep hillside overlooking a spit of land running south to the ocean.

To the east: Drunk Bay and water all the way to Africa.

A 15-minute walk to the south and west: the calm inlet of Saltpond Bay, where there is an excellent beach and accessible snorkeling.

All these buildings are connected by many flights of stairs and boardwalks. Here's a view from the south:

More to follow.

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