Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Paradise Vacation

AMAZING!  That is what I need to say first and foremost.  It had been so long since we had a good long vacation.  On top of that, St. Thomas and St. John are such beautiful and amazing islands.  It was so relaxing.  I don't have enough good to say about it!

We left for St. Thomas on Wednesday January 09.  We originally planned to leave on the Thursday night, the 10th but the flight looked better on the 9th so we headed out.  We came back on Tuesday January 15th.  Ben, Katy, Lyse, Jana, Dave, Tayler, Brookie, Dustin, Mom, Dad and I were the ones that went.  It was sooooo fun!

This was a last minute planned vacation.  Jana got a vacation rental in St. Thomas and Jetblue flies there so I didn't have to pay a cent to get there.  We had so much fun.  We didn't get to our room until almost 6 pm on Thursday night, so we honestly did not do much that night.  Our big adventure was finding a baby rat in the POOL when we got there.  The kids all jumped in the large, beautiful pool.  They said, "There is something in the Pool.  It's a mouse.  It's a dead mouse."  I looked in and saw the baby rat swimming away and said, "Nope it's alive" as all the kids were screaming and running out of the water!  Ben got the pool skimmer and grabbed the rat.  He was kind (? I guess?) and released the little critter by the beach.

Now I was thinking, "cleanliness"?  But honestly that little rodent was the only unclean thing I saw in our resort.  It was VERY well kept and there were even some cute, kind and well cared for cats that ran around the premises (I am sure to keep those rodents under control).

Our rooms were amazing!  We had the most amazing views from our patio.  This is what we got to wake up to each morning!  Down a few stairs and we were at an amazing bay on the Caribbean Coast.

We had a great 3 room unit.  It had a fully stocked kitchen and we were able to really keep the price of this vacation down due to the kitchen and a few grocery store trips.

Friday we spent the day at the beach outside our room.  After a while, Jana and I went and picked up our parents from the airport. Ben, Dave and all the kids stayed at the resort to play.  Mom and Dad's luggage was lost so we ended up being at the airport longer than planned (about 2-3 hours).  We didn't get back to the room until later that evening.  Ben, Dustin and Lyse were all snorkeling down in the bay.  They were able to see many fun conche shells as well as a sting ray.  They loved it.

Saturday we spent the day at Coki beach.  For Christmas Ben and I got an amazing tree hammock.  That hammock was hung on many beaches and fully enjoyed!  At Coki Beach I was rather sick, so most of my day was spent wrapped in a blanket in the hammock on the beach enjoying watching Ben, the girls and my family play in the water.  It was rather relaxing for being sick! :)

I did go out and snorkel with Lyse, Ben, Katy and Dustin for a bit.  It was fun and the water was warm.  Lyse LOVED snorkeling. Wow that kid loved to snorkel and she really loved the snorkel power units my parents have to pull you around in the water.  At one point she took off on one and was clear out in the bay with the unit.  Scared me to death (and every other adult) and it was my fault cause I told her to take it and go out to her dad.  She just headed the wrong way and rather than heading to Ben on the side of the bay, she headed straight out into the bay.

The day at Coki was amazing but cut short when a storm blew in, we decided to pack up and head out.  We stopped at fruit stands and purchased some yummy mangos, bananas and papaya to make fruit smoothies and then headed back to the room.  The kids went down to the pool for some more swimming and I took a nap then helped with dinner.

The Sunday I REALLY REALLY wanted to go to St. John Island.  I finally convinced everyone it would be amazing and worth it so we took the 5 minute drive to Red Hook to catch the barge to take the minivan (that technically seats 7 but had 11 in it) over to St. John.  I said I would pay for it to go across so I stressed BIG time it would be like $100 or more but it ended up being $45 total and we didn't have to pay for the people so it was just over $4 per person to go across to St. John.  My dad and Jana also helped pay and so it was only $20. 

St. John was so worth it!  It was GORGEOUS!!!!!!  We went to Trunk's Bay Beach and it was the most beautiful beach I have EVER been on.  I had been really sick all day Saturday but I could NOT resist the water on Trunk's!  It was absolutely AMAZING!  It was warm water, beautiful sand.  It had pretty good snorkeling.  I guess the waves were bigger than normal but the big waves were fun!  We spent hours out in the water playing.  As we were playing, a man with a paddle board came by.  Dustin asked if he could ride and the guy actually handed over his paddle board for the kids and Ben to play on!  They were in Heaven!!  Ben had always wanted to paddle board so I was so grateful he go to do it for a bit!

Trunk's Bay was my favorite little piece of paradise!  I could spend days and days and DAYS there!!!

That night as we got the car back on the barge, I looked out over the sun setting sky and I saw a HUGE sting ray jump out of the water and flap it's wings.  I was amazing and yelled for everyone to look as the beautiful creature jumped out a second time.  A funny islander man said, "Stupid Eagle Ray thinks he can fly like a bird".  LOL  made me laugh and I was in awe at the beautiful, amazing creature I was able to see.  I seriously at first thought it was a dolphin because it was so large.  I am so grateful I got to see that moment.  It just made my day!!

Monday once again I was really sick after spending the day in the water.  We went to Meghan's Bay (another beautiful beach).  The family all loved spending time in the water jumping the large waves.  I avoided the water because I just was not feeling well.  Lyse and Katy earlier in the day told me they would not be putting on swimming suits because they "hated the beach and did not want to swim".  It took them being at the beach about 2 minutes to come up and ask where the swimsuits were at and how they could get in the water!  Silly girls!  I loved watching everyone play and wished I could be out there.  As the group was getting ready to go I thought, "that's it.  This is once in a lifetime, I am going out to enjoy for a bit".  I was not going to get my hair wet or ride the waves like they were.  Lyse was actually riding Ben's back while riding the waves.  He was her "surf board" and she loved it!  What an amazing Daddy he is!!!!  As I climbed in the warm water I wished I didn't feel so cruddy and could have enjoyed this all day.  I managed to play in the water for a long time.  As I turned my back to watch Ben, Lyse and Dustin ride a wave, a large, LARGE wave broke over me and Katy.  I was fully wet and lying sprawled drowned eagle on the sand.  Lovely! :)  I was rather embarrassed that it seemed like EVERYONE on the beach saw my knock out!

After leaving, we went back to our Resort beach and played on the kayak.  As we were down in the water, a lady told us of a turtle.  We searched for him for a bit but never saw him.  As we headed back many snorkelers told us of the sting ray.  That was it, I HAD to snorkel.  Afterall, I couldn't get more sick right?!?!  So I quickly borrowed my mom's snorkel gear (she was out there snorkeling with my dad).  I got to see the sting ray.  It was amazing!!  We got our snorkel gear and Ben and I snorkeled out in the bay until it was too dark to snorkel any longer.  We saw all sorts of beautiful coral and fish.  It was gorgeous!  We also saw a crab in a conch shell and fish that looked exactly like sand.  It was truly amazing.

We finished up the night by warming up in the hot tub then going to the room to pack.  I had promised Katy we would try to go shopping and later that night we headed to Red Hook to see if anything was open to shop.  It wasn't but we did get an ice cream cone and saw a fight go down between to Isalnders at the restaurant "Taco Hell".  We headed back to the room to go to bed.  It was so sad to know we had to get up early in the morning to leave.

Tuesday morning we got up super early and loaded 16 bags and 11 people in a Dodge Caravan.  I will post the video of this on my blog.  It was hilarious to see us all get out!  We left at 6 am and got home after midnight (it was soooo cold our starter motor on our car was actually FROZEN and many prayers finally helped us get it started so we have a working car).  We went from 75 degrees to 5 degrees in 1 day.  Oh I miss that 70 degree difference.

Our vacation was a TRUE paradise vacation.  I loved it.  It was so relaxing and enjoyable.  Everyone left looking forward and making plans to do this again next year!  It was GREAT!!!  I will post more pictures as I get more uploaded!  For now, I am going to bed.  See I came home and was REALLY sick when I got up.  Went to the doctor and I have bronchial pneumonia and a sinus infection.  I did decide I much preferred being sick in Paradise of St. Thomas and St. John than being sick in the cold of Utah!