I am so sorry for my blog absence over the last month! I have been working a lot, trying (unsuccessfully) to fix up my blog and website, and taking a nice long break to marinate in warm salt water.
For the last five years, Mike has talked about one specific beach on one particular island in the Caribbean as being his absolute favorite place on Earth. We've been to the Caribbean together before but never made it to Cinnamon Bay, so we found a cheap pair of plane tickets and headed down to the Virgin Islands. We ended up staying longer than we planned so I have a lot to share with you.
We packed a tent and camped at Cinnamon Bay, in a sandy patch a few steps from the beach. Bright, sparkling blue water lapped gently on the prettiest white sand beach I've ever seen. I love beach camping... there is something special about falling asleep to crashing waves and waking up to a gentle breeze under sun-dappled palm trees. It rained torrentially the first night, loud enough to wake us up, but we lucked out that our little patch of sand had a large tarp left over by some other camper and we stayed completely dry. During the day, the breeze off the beach did an okay job drying clothes hung on the line. I've never been to a resort, but I expect that camping and hosteling are more my style (and certainly more budget friendly for an artist and a grad student!)
Every morning I (inexplicably) woke up around 6:30 and went for a walk alone on the beach, which was usually completely empty except for a few gulls, herons and wild donkey tracks. There were lots of other little beasties ducking in and out of our campsite as well.
And my favorite resident of Cinnamon Bay...
She let us swim peacefully alongside her for almost half an hour during our first snorkel right off the beach from our campsite. We probably could have stayed with her longer if a very large barracuda hadn't decided to join us and totally creep me out. They're supposedly not a threat to humans, but they look like this, so... yeah.
After each morning at the beach we headed in to Cruz Bay, the main port town, to wander around before our scuba lessons. To save money, we didn't rent a car and instead took taxis that were only $7 each and usually just pick-up trucks with bench seats bolted to the back. Factor in the 10 miles of left-side driving and winding hairpin turns and it was probably a good thing we left the driving to professionals.
A little handwoven palm basket I watched this guy make was the only souvenir I brought back from the entire trip. There was lots of other pretty stuff, but always in the back of my head is the reminder that the less stuff we have, the easier it would be to potentially move somewhere like this:
How pretty is that little bay full of boats? I liked Cruz Bay. It reminded me a lot of where I lived on St. Simon's Island in that it was an interesting tourist-town mix of cheerful locals, surly locals, straight up vagabonds, wealthy resort-goers, young budget travelers like me and Mike and everything in between, all kicking off their shoes and taking in the hot salty air together. Some people temporarily escaping the rush, others permanently. It seems like the overwhelming vibe of the Caribbean is that everybody talks to everybody, sharing snorkel spots and sailing advice, and there was hardly a moment when we weren't chatting with people at the bar or making friends with people we'd met at the dive shop. We left Boston just a day or two after the marathon bombing lockdown was lifted so it was nice to commiserate with fellow New Englanders and hear the latest updates in a much less stressful environment.
And there's nothing like a Red Stripe and a traveling band to close out the night before making the long haul back to our beach tent and slightly sandy sleeping bag.