St Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands
1999 Family Diary (While we were living in New Jersey.)
Sunday March 28th: I made pancakes for tea. After their baths, the children went to bed in their travelling clothes. They were so excited!
Monday: Woke 3:30, left house at 4:00 am.
Drove to Newark and parked in long term parking. Monorail to airport. Checked in 5:30.
Boarded plane, all going well. Taxied to runway, then returned to gate because pilot felt sick!
Delayed 3 hours. Phoned and sorted out connecting flight.
Finally flew to San Juan. Airport felt dirty and I was worried about eating anything there.
Got a tiny plane to St Croix. No bags.
David left me and children in a nearby Pizza Hut while he went to find our cases. Was suddenly aware that I was on my own, in a strange country, with three small children, no money (left purse in car) or phone and a food bill. Hoped David hadn’t done a runner!
David returned and we drove to Colony Cove (800-828-0746) Our condo nice. It had tiled floors (good for sweeping up sand), a three bedrooms and two bathrooms , a sitting area and a little kitchen. You opened the curtains and there was the beach, right there. Breath taking.
Tuesday: Shopped in local town and had breakfast.
Walked along beach, found a huge conch shell.
Swam in pool and played on beach.
In the evening, when the children were in bed, there was a strange scratching in the kitchen. I went to investigate and found one of the shells that Rebecca had collected earlier was walking along the floor!
Wednesday: Swam in pool.
Drove along NW coast road looking at views. Walked through palm trees, banana trees and tropical flowers to a beach. So beautiful.
Went to Christiansted. Children spent their holiday money. (David gave them all $5 on Sunday.) Mark had lost his so we lent him some. He bought a mug and a china bell. He then smashed the bell and was upset. Rebecca and James immediately gave him their money. So sweet (he will be a dictator one day if I get the parenting bit wrong….)
David snorkeled. We walked on beach, watching him and pretending he was James Bond. Afterwards, he said it was odd snorkelling, he felt like he was trespassing on fish territory. I was mainly just glad he didn’t get eaten by a shark. He wanted to go to an aquarium so he could name what he had seen in the wild.
In the evening we walked along the beach. Suddenly realised the sand was moving! Full of hermit crabs. Rebecca freaked a bit and had to be carried.
Thursday: Swam in pool.
Went to Christiansted aquarium.
Walked along boardwalk. Pretty.
Drove around a rainforest.
Walked in St George’s Botanical Gardens. I loved the warm moist air. Lots of amazing plants and no snakes, so I was happy. James fell over. We had no watches on so didn’t know the time and were there hours!
Played games in the evening. David was surprised how good Mark was at ‘Pairs’ so insisted on a private game so he could check he was still the best. (I foresaw problems in a few years…)
Friday: Swam. Breakfast.
Drove to Sandy Point. It was hard to find as along a dirt track. Beach was deserted and full of wonderful shells, sea sponges, coral (and washed up litter.) Really really hot and no shade so we couldn’t stay long in case the children burnt. Saw a cotton bush (I’d never seen one before.)
Drove back to condo via Fredericksted. Saw a liner. It looked so big and out of place compared to the rest of the island. I guess when you are on one you are not looking at it, so don’t care. Drove through the rainforest again. I put down the windows so we could smell the humidity, flowers and hear the birds as we drove.
Saw a banana tree with a flower. Very phallic. It was growing in a man’s garden and when he saw us looking he invited us in to take photos. The people all seemed very relaxed and friendly and spoke to us as if they knew us.
Lunch in restaurant of hotel next door to condo. Nice food. Walked in garden. Rebecca found a fallen coconut.
It was always breezy there, warm but not hot. We had to be careful to not burn. I spent hours on the little patio, watching the palm trees blow in the breeze and the little fishing boats bobbing on the sea. I saw herons and pelicans flying around and the children collected orchids to go in the kitchen.
In the afternoon, David smashed up the coconut so the children could see inside. It was old and dry and we had another one which wasn’t ripe, so we couldn’t eat them but it was interesting. Rubbed the milk on our skin (was sure I’d read somewhere it was good for you.)
We drove along the south coast. Very barren, no palm trees, lots of cactus and rocks. Went to the eastern most tip of the US. Walked down to the beach and played in the sand.
Saturday. Swam, walked, shopped, breakfast.
Went on a boat to the coral reef. David snorkeled, I stayed in the boat with the children. It had a glass bottom so we could see the fish. We saw a barracuda and lots of blue ‘paraffin’ fish and needle noses.
Then we went to Buck Island. The beach was fantastic, I had never seen such soft sand or such clear water. David swam. James, fully dressed, ran into the water up to his chest to, “Tell daddy something.” So he swam too (momentary lapse in mummy concentration.)
Pizza Hut tea.
Sunday: Swam. Mark wanted to try snorkelling so David showed him what to do. He then went round and round the pool with his swimming floats on and his face underwater. Wondered at one point if he’d fallen asleep!
Breakfast, then went to a church. It was okay.
Spent afternoon on beach then packed. I didn’t want to go home…..