August 22, 2013

Virgin Islands

I've been sharing pics of stories from our Eastern Caribbean cruise with you all week, and today I continue with our day in the Virgin Islands.
On Day 4 of the trip, we pulled in to St. Thomas, but it wasn't until mid-morning, so it was actually really neat to sit on the balcony and slowly, but surely, watch the island appear!

Before we proceed, I should tell you my dad is a meticulous planner.  He researches, plans, checks, and replans every last detail of a trip.  I can't even tell you how many family emails were circulated in the months leading up to this trip: from way back in November asking for opinions on where we should go to a 2-week notice reviewing proper dress for each night.  He asks for feedback, but 99.9% of the time, we just go with what he says...
And I have to give it to him: he generally gets it right...way right!  When we got off the boat in St. Thomas, we had a pre-arranged cab driver waiting for us.  The cab ride was an adventure in itself as we swerved our way through 2 lane roads ...and no none of the three children were in car seats...lovely, huh?!?  Luckily, the moving vehicle seemed to knock Levi right out anyway

But ultimately we reached our destination: a chartered boat.  Basically, our captain...Alex, a 20ish guy from Indiana (not that that matters, but I just was really surprised to have such an American captain because everyone else seemed to be island bred!), said we could go anywhere we wanted.

Of course, Dad had a plan.  We took the boat about 30 minutes across the ocean to the British Virgin Islands.  While Captain Alex was clearing customs there, we got off and did some exploring.  

We had heard a lot about Foxy's, so of course we had to stop in for a drink.  It was totally deserted, but one quick glance could tell you a bunch of people had been there at one point...including Kenny Chesney on more than one occasion!  Apparently, this little hole in the wall...or shack in the sand would be more a major deal at New Year's.  Both our cab driver and captain said it is the third largest New Year's Eve party in the world, attracting about 15, 000 people.  Josh is already plotting our return...sans kiddos...for New Years 2016.

After checking out Foxy's, we got back on our little boat for a short jaunt to the Soggy Dollar Bar and Restaurant (I don't know the exact geography, but they were both in Jost Van Dyke if you're interested).  Soggy Dollar was probably my favorite place we went on the whole trip, a true-blood "swim up bar" in that we had to anchor the boat in the water (there is no land access so everyone anchors in the water...hence the name Soggy Dollar because they literally hang up your money to dry when you pay), swim up to the shore, and then proceed to have some food and drinks, including their infamous Painkiller.  I didn't get a good shot of the actual bar, so here is one I borrowed.
We ate, we drank, and then we hung out in the water...where we even spotted a stingray swimming underneath us.

After awhile spent there, we got back on the boat for some touring.  Captain Alex was kind enough to play some of the boys' favorite tunes for their listening pleasure..."Suit and Tie" for Colty and "Wheels on the bus" for Levi.  Even with that, the movement of the boat knocked Colty right out!  Not Levi, though...that boy was loving the ocean and the waves, cracking up at every bounce we made.  I even had to fight to keep him in the boat.

 Until he finally succumbed...
From our boat, we got to see St. John and St. Thomas, some pretty impressive oceanfront homes in both locations, and Meagan's Bay, one of the most famous beaches in the world supposedly.

And after hitting some pretty hefty waves on the way back to the marina, I was pretty happy to be back on land.  And very happy to have had such an amazing day exploring the Virgin Islands under my belt!  Tomorrow: St. Maarten!

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