Our family had the great opportunity to recently visit the U.S. Virgin Islands on island of St. Croix. I guess that farmers have a thing for sneaking away somewhere warm during the winter months. David and his dad were both itching to get away this winter, and thakfully, our business credit card points help cover most of the airline cost. It's nice to get away when the weather is cold at home, because the summer time can be pretty stressful when you're a farmer. We decided to try something different this year, and this was our first time visiting the Virgin Islands (which are about a two hour flight off of the coast of Florida in case you were wondering). We traveled to the Island of St. Croix. It was a beautiful island...the beaches are breathtaking and the water is a beautiful aqua blue. It looks like a swimming pool! The water is so clear and blue, it's amazing! Overall, the weather was amazing...I would dare say that it's nicer weather than Hawaii...less temperature variance, and the water is a bit warmer. The rain storms dump a ton of rain in quick spurts, and storms come and go very quickly. It was sunny 95% of the time during our visit. The beaches are beautiful! Our favorites were Sandy Point and Buck Island. Sandy Point is only open during the weekend or when a cruise ship is town. It is located on National Wildlife Preserve, a turtle preserve to be more exact. I guess it is closed several months of the year because the turtles nest and hatch, and the island does a great job of protecting them. We were able to see the large turtle nests and parts of their eggs from this year's hatch. Buck Island can only be reached by boat, so we took a sail boat out to the island one day. It is a National Park, and the reefs and underwater life are amazing. We enjoyed snorkeling and seeing things underwater that I could only imagine...it was hard to believe it was all real!!! My kids are all getting to be really good snorkelers and swimmers...and even divers!!! The craziest part, was that there were all of these AMAZING beaches, and there were very few people there. It was almost like having a private beach most days. The local people do not seem to use the water, or cater to tourists using the beaches, because it was hard to find beach gear.
We rented a home on the beach, and the kids loved it because there was a big pool with a diving board at our house. The view was BEAUTIFUL, but the house itself was a little older and run down like most everything on the island. I'm almost certain that my children were water logged, because if they weren't at the beach, they were in the pool! We enjoyed going to the Blue Water Terrace (right across the street from our house) for delicious food, and site seeing on the island, especially in the rain forest.
Overall, I would say it was a great trip. I enjoyed seeing a different part of the country, but I don't think we would ever visit again. I felt like things were more expensive than Hawaii (groceries, eating out etc), and everything was very dirty and run down. The islanders are very friendly for the most part, but I heard from several people that crime was very bad on the island, and that you should always be very careful. There wasn't much when it came to shopping for souvenirs of any sort, and there were very few options for eating out. Overall, I would just say that there isn't as much to do, and things aren't very family friendly. With all of that being said, it was a great experience, and I am so grateful to be able to see different parts of the world, and to share so many memories with my family and also with David's parents.
Here are just a few photos from our trip:
I had a little bit of fun playing around with panoramic camera on my iphone...
I thought I would share a new find with you...I ordered these cool little Dandy Phone Cases for Grace and I to put our phones in. We wanted to take photos with our phones/ipods at the beach, but we are always worried about water and sand ruining them. These little cases say they are completely waterproof and can be submerged a few feet, but we didn't dare do that. We simply used them to take photos by and in the water without actually putting them under water. They also have a nice little lanyard so you can keep the phone around your neck. This was especially nice on the boat ride...it was too wet when hitting waves to get out my big DSLR, but I could safely keep my phone around my neck and take photos with my phone in this nice little case.