Arriving at the Cyril E King Airport in St. Thomas is much like arriving at the airport in Key West: passengers stumble out onto the hot tarmac from planes that have arrived on uncustomarily short runways, are met by generous winds and humidity, and are pleasantly surprised to find shots of rum available right at baggage claim. The Islands are the Islands, no?
St. Thomas is 14×3 miles long, with the airport at the far west end of the island, and Red Hook Harbor, my destination, is at the other. And the trip in between is not for the faint of heart. Piling into a jam packed passenger van, a few things become immediately apparent :
1. The curvy, winding, hilly roads of St. Thomas make even the most settled of stomachs uncertain.
2. Double yellow lines on aforementioned roads are merely suggestions.
3. Posted speed limits of 10mph on aforementioned cliffside curvy, winding, hilly roads are completely ignored.
(It should be noted that of the 23 pictures I took of this cross country excursion, not a single one turned out un-fuzzy….)
Red Hook is a busy buzzing harbor loaded with enormous sportfish boats, crusty old houseboats, and sailboats tied to any number of creative mooring balls. Waterfront bars are brightly painted and promise of rum.
Leaving Red Hook we headed directly to Christmas Cove… And I firmly believe the reason they call it that is because every day spent there is a gift. Christmas Cove washes sapphire colored water up onto the shore of St. James Key, a rocky scraggly island littered with spiked leggy cacti, and leafless trees that have put all of their energy into producing tiny white honey scented flowers.
The water in Christmas Cove is full of turtles who bob the surface almost flirtatiously and then swim back to the bottom to feed on the grass beds. It’s no wonder the first thing I unpacked was a swimsuit and snorkel gear. And the rays – they are everywhere. A spotted eagle ray with a span of at least six feet slowly flapped his wings as if he was listening to lazy underwater island music.
If ONE is called a ray,
And TWO are called rays,
Are THREE called a rave?
Catch ya tomorrow my friends ….