U.S. Virgin Islands

Almost a year ago, we lost our Doppelganger Couple, Shannon and Andrew, to the wilds of Texas. Shannon received a job offer she just couldn’t refuse, and so we found ourselves bidding farewell to the pair. We missed them immediately.

It seems that they missed us too, judging by their entreaties for us to come visit them in Dallas. But our colder than expected Grecian vacay from last year was still fresh in our minds, and Dallas in February isn’t exactly beach weather – but St. Thomas is!

We booked an AirBnB condo in Red Hook for the week, and met Andrew and Shannon in St. Thomas. Our condo looked out over the bay at St. John (where we’d spend two days hiking, snorkeling, and making life changing decisions). It was also five minutes from Lindquist Beach, one of those idyllic stretches of forest-backed white sand and island-dotted turquoise waters that seem to exist only on post cards.

While we all looked forward to some relaxing beach time, we also didn’t want to miss out on the more active pursuits the island offered. Our first full day after arriving, we booked a kayak-based excursion of the Cays close to our condo. We paddled through mangrove forests, hiked past some Manchineel trees, snorkeled with barracudas, and held a hermit crab race (Sophia’s pick, Manicure Ruiner, won). It’s worth noting how much being surrounded by thousands of hermit crabs has in common with an episode of The Walking Dead.

The following day, we took the ferry over to St. John to check out Virgin Islands National Park. Our plans were to head over to the lesser visited east end of the park to hike and snorkel some quiet spots. Unfortunately, the currents were not in our favor, and snorkeling would have been rather pointless. Instead, we changed plans and hiked down the Cinnamon Bay trail with plans to come back on Monday when the forecast was better. The Cinnamon Bay trail, and Cinnamon Bay itself did not disappoint. We were also able to snorkel for a bit over on Honeymoon Beach before heading back to our condo.

On Sunday, we explored a bit more of St. Thomas. We spent the morning enjoying the pre-crowd Magen’s Bay Beach before climbing into the nearby mountains for some ziplining action. While the aerial views of Magen’s Bay from the treetops were amazing, the ziplining adventure was rather ho-hum. Ziplining itself was fun, but the majority of the three hour “adventure” was spent waiting in line on each platform. Not worth the cash they charged. After some more beach time, we did a sunset hike over to Mermaid’s Chair – an isthmus that separates the Carribbean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean – with a stretch of sand merely 12 feet wide.

Monday was our last full day of vacay, and we had unfinished business on St. John. So we once more boarded the ferry to Cruz Bay. This time, the weather held as promised, and we picked up some snorkel rentals and grabber a taxi over to the Brown Bay trailhead. We knew we were heading out of tourist territory when the taxi drivers weren’t even sure where it was that we requested to be dropped. We hiked the Brown Bay trail into Brown Bay where we snorkeled among a shallow, secluded coral reef filled with fishes. We even spotted a couple of squid! After drip drying, we then continued our hike over to Waterlemon Bay where we traded shallow waters for the deeper water haunts of sea turtles and nurse sharks. It was the perfect compliment to our morning swim. We managed to find a taxi (apparently word got around about the crazy people who we dropped off at the east end this morning with plans to walk halfway back across the island) back to Cruz Bay where there waited for us drinks and snacks as we enjoyed our last sunset sitting on the beach.

All good things must come to an end. Tuesday morning we packed up out suitcases, hugged Shannon and Andrew goodbye, and had them drop us back off at Lindquist Beach – they had an early afternoon flight home, but ours wasn’t until the evening so we decided to spend our last afternoon the way that we spent our first. Plus, someone had to finish off the last of the booze.

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