Celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary and my 50th birthday, we decided on what I considered to be my dream vacation: “Catamaraning” around the Virgin Islands, stopping in whatever cove we wanted, snorkeling whenever we wanted, just relaxing with someone else in charge of the boat and taking care of the main meals!
So we embarked on our adventure on the Guiding Light, captained by Shane McClellan. We had sent our food preferences, our itinerary preferences and our activity preferences ahead of time and flew down to St. Thomas to start our journey. We headed over to St. John for some pre-sailing time, never traveling there before. After a day and a half on the island, renting a car to see as much as we could pack in before getting aboard, Shane picked us up in Cruz Bay. From the start of our 5-night cruise, we knew it was going to be a trip to remember! Every day, we hiked different trails and snorkeled at least twice a day in different spots and every night moored in a different bay. By the end of the second day, we sat down with Shane and decided that we were going to stay all on the US side and specifically St. John!!
We had not planned on doing any hiking, but everyday totally enjoyed the various trails and spots that Shane suggested. Ram’s Head had the most breathtaking views, but we enjoyed the “off the beaten tracks” just as much. Shane was quite the historical tour guide, taking us on tours of the various sugar factories and plantations around the island. Other treks were just us being pointed in the vicinity. I can honestly say that each day would not have been complete without a daily hike J
We tended to snorkel every morning in the new mooring spot and every afternoon in another amazing spot. Our favorite snorkeling spot was Taktite, somewhere around Salt Pond Bay (or that end of the island!!) – the variety and color of the coral and fish were just breathtaking. We saw sea turtles almost every single day, with Buck Island hosting the most. At Waterlemon, we saw a brown spotted ray, and at Mary’s Point, where Shane snorkeled with us, he coaxed out a nurse shark!! To say we completely loved our hiking and snorkeling time would be a gross underestimate J
Living on boat was truly an educating experience for me at least (my husband has had some experiences with tight quarters and unusual bathroomsJ), but it was as much of the fun as the hiking and snorkeling! Shane is quite the cook, and we had delicious dinners every night. I absolutely loved his homemade bread which we had with lunch every day and at breakfast some mornings. We enjoyed the unstructured breakfasts and lunches, making whatever we wanted for breakfast, including my husband’s killer bacon and eggs, and create-your-own sandwiches at lunch. Every night I enjoyed a special beverage!! I learned how to quickly close the hatches when the rain came in and can walk up to the trampoline without holding (or at least hardly holding J) on to the railing!
This has truly been exactly the trip we envisioned and we completely enjoyed our time away from the cold weather and rat race of work. We are already talking about a return trip, plotting out our next voyage with Shane.
Niki and Gary