trip report St.J part 1 cont.....

Aug 8th, 2007, 05:22 PM
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trip report St.J part 1 cont.....

Back at Gallows I give my dad the Cal-King bed in the br and I open the queen sofa bed in the lr. Since I'm up since 4am and utterly exhausted, I can sleep on a rock at this point (or so I thought). Like a zombie I crawl into the bed & collapse(or was it the sofa bed that collapsed?!)This bed could be used to torture criminals, the dead wouldn't be able to rest in this bed!As I'm laying there deciding what to do, I get confused for a second listening to the birds, thru the closed windows, singing, chirping & literally screaming non stop...is it morning already? No, it's 12:30am & Dawn, the animal lover, is ready to kill those psycho, middle of the night screaming birds, with my bare hands! What kind of &@#*&! birds are these? Even I shut up for 8-9 hours a day!

I grab the bed sheet & blanket (the room is now arctic temperature, I never said I was normal), stumble into the br where my dad is in a snoring coma, & fall asleep the second I hit the very comfy & thankfully, very big bed! End of day 1. *If this report is too detailed, let me know & I'll edit down!

*RESTAURANTS:Here's the deal--coming from NYC where even our cheap street vendors have amazing food, we really are spoiled. When I go the the carribean it's for island ambiance, beaches, water etc., not necess. for fab food. Yet, I don't want to spend $55-$85 pp for a fair meal. So being the friendly person that I am(hey, I sell real estate,now don't confuse me with the shark!) I like to talk to the islanders to get the real lowdown. The people I spoke with, including American expats, said that they all feel most places are overpriced for the quality. For groceries they all go to St.T. We did go to all recommended places which I'll mention as I go along. Most of these rest.'s were already endorsed on this website.

*RESORT: I'll discuss the Gallows at the end of my report.
Part 2 coming soon!!!!!!!
dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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brava! keep it up!
ejcrowe is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 07:29 PM
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7/26- We're up early to pick up our jeep from Cool Breezes. The car has no a/c so we wait as they go find us another one. Car #2 has a/c but no off switch, the back window is missing & the seat belt is semi-broken. We're hot, hungry & anxious to start the day so we take the crappy car up the road to some place for breakfast. We get the worst waitress in the history of food prep. (even by carribean standards). If looks could kill she would be dead 10X over from every table there. Very scary! We gas up the car, get lost for a while & then end up at Caneel. What a lovely resort! We swim,hang a while & then head over to Hawksnest (easiest parking) & do some snorkelling.

I have to stop here to say that having been to over 7 or so various islands, the beauty of St.J is truly unsurpassed. This island is truly breathtakingly beautiful...the colors, the mountains, the sky and sea...amazing! The driving of course, is another story! As they say in my home town of Brooklyn, "fuhggetabouit!" The roads are steep (almost vertical), narrow beyond belief, and one wrong turn u are literally in the water! That area on the north coast road they refer to as the "switchbacks"...oh...my..God!!!!!!My father was holding onto the dashboard screaming the entire time as if he was on the Cyclone roller coaster in Coney Island! Wow! Hysterical!! Def. takes getting used to and I can see a lot of people freaking out over that!

We go back to Gallows for a late day lunch snack & I speak to Akhil, the resort manager, since he was the one to refer me to Cool Breezes car rental. I said that for $434 I don't care what the car looks like but that all should be in working order. He agreed, called them & arranged for a new car to be brought to us that evening. It was already late afternoon so dad & I went back to the room to relax. As we went on the patio to put down our snorkel gear the door slammed shut & we were locked out of our room. (The lizards pushed the door shut!) Fortunately, I had my cell phone so I called the front desk to tell then that the 2 jerks in room 6b needed to be let back in. Akhil showed up laughing and I think I saw goosebumps on his arms when he entered our freezing room! I'm sure that by now he thinks we're insane (he's probably right!)

We get car#3 & the third's the charm! We drive to Starfish market & buy stuff for making picnic lunches & tons of bottled water (insane prices).A lot of people that live there told us not to drink the tap water.We weren't taking any chances. Bottled was cheap enough & w/all the swimming, sunning & hiking u need to drink a ton of water, espec. in the summer! We had dinner at Bannana Deck -very tasty food & dessert + good service & prices.
to be continued....
dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 8th, 2007, 09:04 PM
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7/27- Breakfast at JJ's (in the town square near the ferry). Very unfriendly waitress(New Yorker?),slowwww service & fair food. Though the people watching was fun here and the roosters & baby chicks running all around town & the beaches was truly comical. At Gibney beach there was a rooster that crowed all day. There is something really odd about the birds on this island -- it's like "Invasion of the Bird-Snatchers!" When do these birds sleep? Ya gotta love the carribean!!!!!

We packed a picnic lunch today (Gallows supplies ice packs & a cooler) for convenience & spent the entire day at Trunk bay. Thankfully, the snorkelling was good since the "boat people" weren't there (no offense to you crusiers but u guys really can't swim or snorkel!--just kidding..not!) Snorkelling is def. the best here, hands-down. I will discuss overall snorkelling in St.J at the end of my report.

We had dinner at Joe's BBQ. Really yummy chicken/ribs + delicious sides. We ate dinner incl/sodas & cake for dessert for $28 for the 2 of us!My dad loved this place! It's pretty hysterical--there's no sign, it's basically a guy, a grill, a freezer & 3 plastic tables almost situated in the middle of the street in town! U can easily take the food to go & eat at your place. If u want ambience don't go here, but if u want great food & big bang for the $ then don't miss it. Later that night we met 2 expats from the states living there since the 80's. They told us how pissed everyone is about all the construction going on in & around Cruz Bay & how the traffic has become a nightmare. Traffic in town was so horrific that we left the car at Gallows & walked to town every night for dinner. U know things are bad when I tell u that the parking in Manhattan is easier than it is here! They also told us that the Westin resort is going all time share. Re: the Westin, those staying there told us that the place def. needs refurbishing.

We bid our new friends goodnite & unlike the birds on this island, we fell asleep as soon as we got back to the hotel! to be continued..
dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 07:07 AM
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Love your report...was cracking up reading the part about your dad screaming going down northcoast road.
mnag is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 10:03 AM
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Great report! I've been going to St. John for many years and you've captured a lot of the changes the island is going through. Looking forward to the rest....
MP07950 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 12:00 PM
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7/28- Breakfast at Inn at Tamarind Court (Cruz Bay),shady outdoor dining, tasty + grt service! Nearby is Island Bakery for nice pastries & Johnny Cakes. We stop at Dolphin Market for more water, fruit. Then over to Gibney beach (one of my favorites) where there's some good snorkelling up along the right side of the coastline. There's lots of shade along this beach so it's good for swimming/relaxing.

Dinner tonight at Cafe Roma (Brenandg: all your picks were right on but where is Paradise Cafe? I couldn't find it - maybe it was my heat stroke!) delicious homemade bread, huge, excellent salads &pastas. Moderately priced @$35pp. We had some show that night right out of our restaurant window. A couple of "grown" men came stumbling out of Rhumb Lines (across the street) & a big fight broke out ending with 1 guy laying belly up in the middle of the street! The police had to close it off to car traffic. What craziness! After about 1/2 hr. this guy gets up off the floor, refuses the ambulance& walks away. Our waitress says, "Oh yeah, this goes on every wknd." Maybe it's a set- up so as not to let the tourists get too relaxed. Though, I think we all get enough adrenaline just driving around the island or having shark encounters (don't worry, the sharks aren't on the roads!)

7/29- Breakfast at Deli Grotto(in Mongoose Junction). I love this place! They have grt coffee, breakasts& delicious lunches, muffins/pastries. U put your order in at the counter, self-serve the coffee & when breakfast is ready they bring it over to your table. U can eat in (there's a/c) or take stuff to go. They also have internet service. Grt food, service & val!

We buy lunch to go & take the roller coaster over to Jumbie beach-- really nice off-the-beaten path feeling with lots of good snorkelling off the rocky shore. We then head over to Maho which my dad liked for the very calm & fairly shallow water. The parking is also easy here & the beach access comes nearly up to the road. We have our picnic lunch, swim, snorkel, see lots of squid & trunkfish.

This night we were lazy so we had dinner delivered to our room from the China Shack. They add a 15% grat. & $5 del. charge to the already overpriced bill. For the convenience we didn't care but the food, though edible, was semi-sucky. (Sorry, Brenandg. I think u liked this Chinese food. Where do u live? I'll overnite u Chinese food from NYC and you'll never eat this stuff again!)

*Topic Change... Have I mentioned the fact that at $300per night(off season) I had to hide my bedsheet. Yeah, that's right, this isn't a typo! Since the sofa bed was only comfortable to the tiniest of lizards, dad & I ended up sharing the king bed. Needless to say, we used separate sheets & blankets. Well, this truly caused mass confusion among the housekeepers. Every day they took away the extra sheet. Of course, they left us the extra blanket. They actually brought us more balnkets due to the cold front within our room. (I think I saw 1 housekeeper cleaning with a ski hat on!) So every night I had to stop by the front desk to get the extra sheet back. This seemed to be a normal occurance at the front desk, nothing unusual about it! After a few nights I got tired of stopping there and so goes my story of hiding the sheet!

7/30- Another delicious breakfast at the Grotto where they already know us by name. We buy our picnic lunch & drive up Mt. Everest to go to Francis beach. **One more note about the driving. If the "switchbacks" aren't scary enough in their own right, what about when you're going up& around one curve & another car is coming past u in the opposite direction?! Holy #@&*! My dad screamed and (don't tell him) but I think I closed my eyes just for a few seconds... it was way too scary to look!

Ok, so we get to Francis early and see that there wasn't a ton of shade on this beach but in the limited shady areas there were thousands of bright red ant-like bugs crawling all over the place. Gross and really weird, ewwww! I never saw anything like that before.
I liked the fact that on the left side of this beach u could swim/snorkel over to a small deserted beach & continue on over to Maho. There were a lot of pelicans hanging in the trees & diving for fish. Since these mutant ant-things forced us to sit in the sun, we couldn't stay all day so we spent the rest of the afternoon at Maho beach.

Tonight, dinner at La Tapa. This was a little expensive. It's a cute place but it was a very hot night and it was a little stuffy in there with no a/c & close tables. I thought the food was pretty good, my dad wasn't too thrilled.

PART 2: SHARK STORY COMING UP!!
7/31- We bought muffins & fruit at Grotto to take to the beach. We had plans to meet a very nice couple we just met, from VA, over at Salomon beach.
Some Fodorite recently posted that the Lind Point Trail is a, "pleasant hike". I would call this hike a lot of different things, but 'pleasant' isn't one of them. Pleasant for who, a goat? I'm not a major athlete but I'm also not a regular couch potato and my dad is in fantastic shape for his age. He also hikes with me at our vacation cabin up in the mountains of PA (of course, there's low humidity & the air is nice & cool). The Lind Point Trail isn't uphill but it's a steep & slippery trail w/tons of loose rocks which makes it easy to lose balance & slide down. Also, the late summer sun is broiling hot, you're carrying your beach stuff (towels, snorkel gear, water, food) and walking carefully as to not lose your footing or step on one of the hundreds of huge hermit crabs crawling all over,(that part was kinda cool).

Before going down the trail, we parked our jeep at the National Park Biosphere Center where a very cute & really sweet park ranger explained the trail and gave me a couple of maps. I think I noticed a look of pity behind his smile as he waved goodbye. Now if I had a sherpa guide carry all of our stuff and spray us with ice water as we walked, I would then consider this a 'pleasant' hike. Better than 'pleasant' if that hot park ranger carried me down the entire trail on his back!

25-30 hours later (just kidding!it was minutes)we crawl onto the beach, drop our stuff, gulp down our water and fall into the ocean head first!Our new friends are already there and laughing since they had an hour to recuperate from their heat exhaustion. Seriously, this is one stunning beach...that's right, you're stunned by the time u make it to this beach! It really is beautiful!

NOW START PLAYING THE JAWS THEME...
First, a little background info. I've snorkelled and dived all over the carribean. I've seen reef sharks on nearly every scuba dive, but you're normally with a dive group of about 8-12 & the sharks swim by at about 20-30 ft. away. I've seen lots of nurse sharks while snorkelling usually in Grand Cayman. U can find them resting towards the bottom, under rocky crevices, pretty far off from the beach.

So my new friend, B., who is a good swimmer, but not as secure as I am in the water, comes snorkelling with me out by the rocky coast on the left side of the beach. We see a decent amount of fish & stuff & finally start heading back. As we're snorkelling toward the shore, and fairly close at this point, she stops swimmming, taps my arm & says, "Dawn, there's a shark underneath you." Now, you have to remember, I only know her for like a day and a half and at this point I don't realize that her preternatural calm is actaully shock. So I'm thinking, shark, shmark...it's probably a barracuda & she's freaking out. I look down and don't see anything. She grabs me again& thru gritted teeth she repeats, "there is a shark under you!" She aint kidding baby!I look down again and see the shark hovering about 2 ft. behind her. This was no barracuda! It was at least 4 1/2 ft.& was wider than any reef shark I'd ever seen (maybe it just ate one of the boat people!) I lift my head up out of the water and tell her to stay calm. Before I even finish my sentence she's swimming torpedo-like back to shore!I yell after her to take it easy, I'm seriously worried that the shark will pick up on her panic.

The entire time this is happening I have an underwater camera hanging off my arm. By the time I remember the camera the shark swims out toward the deep, taking my greatest photo op. with him (I guess that was better than taking a body part!) I really am super comfortable in the water but having a shark that size, so close, was a pretty big shock! I was surprised that he came that close to us but I think he knew that I was the female Ace Ventura of the carribean, and that I was no threat to him. Or, I'm just a lucky idiot! My friend, B. said she never swam so fast in her entire life!

The cool thing about these desolate beaches is that you do get to see a lot more stuff. On the other hand, maybe we need to be grateful to all thise crazy crowds of "boat people" for keeping the sharks at bay!
to be continued....
dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 05:56 PM
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I am loving your trip report. Glad you liked most of our restaurants picks. Paradise Cafe is a small kiosk in Wharfside Village that is very easy to miss but you probably walked past it a bunch of times. If you are walking from GP and make a left at the street where the church is, it is just a little further down on the left but before the ferry dock. Near Freebird and some other jewelery stores.

I have to admit, we ate China Shack after a day of shall I say "limin" on Jost. As long as we didn't have to go get it and it was food, it was all good. We had Lo Mein which was really more like spaghetti noodles. I don't recall what else we had, not that memorable I guess. La Tapa is still our current fave, but we don't mind the heat. Sounds like you should go on a cruise to Alaska! Those artic temps are calling you . I agree, JJ's is great for just taking in the surroundings, but I have given it at least three tries and have not been happy.

Thats a bummer about the sofabed at GP, but I always have my doubts with sofabeds. I can always feel the bars. It sounds like yours was really bad .

The driving on STJ is interesting. My formerly fraidy cat husband took to it like a fish to water. I would rather be the navigator.

We did the Lind Point Trail hike but when we got to Caneel, we took a taxi back. Did you take the upper or lower trail? We took the lower trail to Solomon and then weren't sure if we would have to go back up to get to Honeymoon and Caneel. Turns out we didn't, but I agree, it was hot. We should have brought more water. We were parched by the time we got to Caneel. Live and learn.

Now that I heard that your jeep from Cool Breeze didn't have AC either, that is going to be a main stipulation before we take the vehicle. The passenger seatbelt didn't work either which made me nervous. If we had the car longer than a couple of days, I would have pursued it.

If I saw that shark, I would have freaked out, glad it wasn't me!!! I love the Caribbean but have a serious big fish phobia. Yes, Fodorites, its true.
brenandg is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 06:29 PM
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thoroughly enjoying this trip report!

i've just now got to the point where I think I would like to see a smalllish shark during my snorkeling. But I would definitely freak out if I saw my first one just a couple of feet away from me and it was that big! four feet might not sound like much, but seeing a fish four feet long is a lot bigger than it sounds--i know from swimming with a huge barracuda!
ejcrowe is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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Brenandg: I think we took the lower trail & a different trail back which left us in Cruz Bay. Our new friend did a super big favor for his wife, me & my dad. He took the original, tougher trail back uphill to get the car & then picked us all up in Cruz Bay! As far as the car goes, I rented it for a full week so for the$ I think a/c was warranted. Also, I feel it's important that people honor business agreements. The owner of Cool Breezes came thru for us in the end. We kept the car for a an extra 1/2 day & he didn't charge us which was very nice! As far as the sofa bed, I'll discuss Gallows at the end of my report. I'm glad you are all enjoying it! so I will continue..

7/31 cont.. After all the hiking, swimming, sunning and shark encounter we were totally exhausted and starving. Of course, my dad wants to go back to Joe's BBQ so that's what we do. We put our order in for take out & they tell us it's a 30min wait. My dad gives me the look so we wait..and wait..and wait. The place is a mad house & the wait turns into 1hour&20min! I tell Uncle Joe that he needs to open a franchise in NYC! He thinks I'm funny so he puts our order ahead of 2 others!

8/1-Breakfast at the Grotto(my new home away from home!) We purchased our picnic lunch & head out to Gibney beach where our new friends are waiting. At this point I think that my friend B. is a little afraid of snorkelling with me being that I'm a shark magnet. Do you think the shark knew that I was a real estate broker from NYC?! We had a very nice relaxing day and actually had a decent sized stingray hang around the shallows for quite a while. This kept a few people out of the water! I got some really close shots of him with my disposable.

That evening we all met up at Mogos(a small, local carribean/west indian restaurant in Cruz Bay). We had Mahi Mahi & curry shrimp w/rice&veges + coconut tarts for dessert. Very tasty & inexpensive food. The place looks like nothing special, no ambience, but the food/service was great!
While we waited for our friends to arrive the owner started telling me about the recent problems happening on the island. She said drugs & homelessness have become major issues. She told me about a pregnant tourist who helped a female beggar to some food. As she walked away the homeless girl attacked her from behind, knocked her down on the ground & stole her purse. Thankfully the vacationer and her baby weren't hurt. I will discuss the island in general at the end of my report.

8/2-We pack another picnic lunch and go to meet our friends at Trunk bay for our last full day on St.J. There was a ton of wind that day which caused all the "boat people" to leave early so I had the entire reef all to myself!Yippee! *Oh & by the way Brenandg, yes those birds are seagulls & they are the loudest birds anywhere! The birds are so strange on this island.. I think they may be planning a coup!!!
to be cont....


dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 08:15 PM
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Loving your report! Kinda feels like I'm reading a "Stephanie Plum" novel, just great! Can't wait for the next installment.
travelerfromtx is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 06:43 AM
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dawnie,

I love your report!You add alot of humor to the story!The driving was very scary on our first trip to St John (June 05) but by the second trip (Sept.05) I was very comfortable driving on the left side on those narrow,winding roads.

The shark would have freaked my out like your friend.I snorkel alot while on vacation and have not come acrossed a shark yet.We saw some rather large Barracuda in Grand Cayman which were a little scary!

We are thinking of going back to St John in March..and plan to snorkel alot,so who knows...we may see a shark.(I hope not).

Christie
christiegr is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 06:50 AM
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Dawn,

Was the restaurant Mogo's beside Conrad Sutton's car rental in Cruz Bay? If so, we ate there and really enjoyed there food..but I thought that the name of it is Sogo's? not sure.

Christie
christiegr is offline  
Aug 12th, 2007, 09:25 AM
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Christie, My dad thinks that it was "Sogos" & now I can't remember. I know that it was down the block from First Bank going towards Gallows Point. U would think that a real estate broker would have a good sense of direction..think again when it concerns me!!

For those of u who have fallen asleep to my report, fear not..the end is near! and for those who are enjoying it, don't worry mon.. there's a bit more to go!!
dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 01:27 PM
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8/2- cont. After a relaxing day at Trunk bay we head over to Mongoose Junction for some shopping. This evening we have a great dinner with our new friends B.& G. Unfortunately for all of u, I can't recommend this 'restaurant' since our friends were kind enough to actually come over & cook dinner for us at Gallows! We had a lot of fun, swam/snorkelled out by the resort and watched the sun set on our last full day on the island!

8/3- "What?!!!!!!" I scream at my dad as he shakes me awake. The resort forgot our wake up call & we have 35 min. to finish packing, wash up & check out. For 2 night owls this is insane! We're running around the suite like headless chickens in a total fog!
I was really pissed (ok, so I was already mad that I was leaving)since they forgot our wake up & I really wanted this to be a leisurely morning and not a zombie frenzy!

We rush onto our taxi & head over to the ferry. When we first arrived in St. Thomas & took the ferry over to St.J they made us carry our luggage on with us. So when we got there this morning I turned down a ferry worker who seemed to want to carry our bags just a few feet over to the ticket counter. He didn't say anything, but gave me a very strange look. After we bought the tickets & began walking toward the boat, I heard someone yelling at my dad, in a very nasty way, telling him to leave the bags at a certain place on the pier. When I stopped to question him, I realized that they take the bags & put them up on the back of the boat. These guys were really mean but I tipped them anyway since I didn't feel like diving into the sea for our suitcases!

At the airport I'm stopped while going thru the security check because I had a giant bottle of water in my carry on. (I told u I was a psycho zombie this morning!) It was so hot that I asked security if I could take some before she took it away, so she gave me back the bottle & told me to discard it afterwards. Luckily for everyone, I'm not a terrorist & had no plans to blow up the plane!!

Isn't it amazing that airlines don't even give free snacks anymore! I paid $10 for 2 chicken sandwiches for my dad & I. As I looked so forlornly out the plane window at that beautiful carribean sea, I took a bite of my airline sandwich and was shocked at how delicious it was. Or since I was starving from skipping breakfast, a wet towel may have tasted good!

*** About the snorkelling: I've enjoyed scuba, snorkelling & free diving(some of my favorite activities) off of quite a few islands. I heard so much about the snorkelling on St.J that I'm sorry to say I was a bit disappointed. There really aren't a lot of reefs, but rocky coastlines and the reefs that are there are mostly dead. Though surprisingly, there was a decent amount of sea life. The best(for St.J) snorkelling was found at Trunk bay, though it was the most crowded beach. You can't compare the vibrant colors, stunning coral formations and abundance of marine life that you find in the Caymans, Turk & Caicos islands or even the Yucatan . Yet, the beaches, water and overall island landscape were undeniably beautiful! And to be fair, I admit that I never made it over to several beaches, including the ones off of the Coral Bay area. I would return to St.J in a heartbeat and happily explore the rest of the island that I missed the first time around!
to be cont..
dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 03:38 PM
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Your trip report was hilarious. Really enjoyed it, especially since I was there in July and my husband was forced to come to a screeching halt in front of a semi on a steep mountain road. My feet were embedded into the dashboard trying to stop the jeep with my own personal foot brake. I don't think you missed that much over by the Coral Bay area. The beaches were rocky, we didn't see much snorkeling, although other people have said they had great luck there. We're from Chicago and we were a little disappointed in some of the food. We still love St. John though!
franzen is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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I just now got to read your trip report. You are so funny! I've never seen a shark while snorkeling. I'm torn about whether I'd like to . We loved St. John too and plan to go back one day. Thanks for posting!
caribtraveler is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 05:22 PM
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Dawnie: thanks so much for your great report.
I have a question abt snorkeling. You said you thought the snorkeling was better at T&C than at St John. The one time we were on T&C, we found virtually no off-beach snorkeling. Had plenty of very nice snorkeling trips by boat, but nothing whatsoever to compare with the great snorkeling from various beaches around St John (Caneel, e.g.) I would be interested in returning to T&C if I learned that the snorkeling there was really comparable to (or better than) St John and Cayman. (We had some very good snorkeling on Cayman, but I didn't much enjoy the island otherwise.)
Thanks again for your wonderful report.
poss is offline  
Aug 14th, 2007, 08:05 PM
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poss, I found the best snorkeling hands down in Cayman. However, I haven't been there for about 7 yr's & not since the last big hurricane so I don't know if it's still the same now. (Hurricanes can do major damage to the shallow water reefs off any island, Bonaire is the perfect example). Off the beach freediving used to be amazing, there were tons of fabulous reefs all over the island! I simply wanted a change and it was also getting a little too commercial. (Is that what u didn't like about Cayman?)

As far as Provo, T&C, even though off the beach areas to snorkel were very limited, there were only 2-3 places, they were, in fact, excellent! To be fair, when I was in the T&C's I did mostly scuba diving (wall dives)off a boat and the diving was incredible! All the islands have some pros & cons. The reefs right off the beaches in the T&C's are way less in quantity than in St.J. but the overall quality is incomparable as far as health, vibrancy, life & color.

I'm a little spoiled since I've been lucky enough to dive&snorkel by some truly beautiful, living reefs. Believe me, I'm not complaining.. the water/beaches are absolutely gorgeous in St.J & let's not forget my big Shark Encounter of the Closest Kind!!!(pretty freakin exciting especially when all limbs are left intact!)

**I will wrap up this report shortly, with my opinion about the resort & a few island observations.

dawnie9 is offline  
Aug 15th, 2007, 11:25 AM
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GALLOWS POINT RESORT: Overall, this is a lovely resort with spacious rooms, pretty decor, beautiful landscaping& views + a fantastic/convenient location! (Let's also not forget that the a/c gets an A+ in my book!)
However, there are some cons: This is an older resort & is def. starting to show its age. We stayed in a 'lower ocean view' room for $300 per night low season ($500 high season). At these prices I wasn't expecting a Ritz Carlton, but everything should really be in pristine condition. Some examples: The refrigerator was clean on the inside but the outer handle was semi-broken and dirty/yucky. I loved all of the floor to ceiling window shutters but many of them didn't close completely so for those staying in harbor view rooms, the ferry noise could be fairly loud. The kitchen cabinets were kind of worn & a little dingy looking.

Now the shower area was big enough for 10 people to comfortably shower together..(I'm sure Brenandg will confirm this) Exactly why that many people would want to shower together may not be a topic for this web site!!! The bathroom itself was really nice. Though not fancy marble, etc. it had a real carribean feel to it with that huge walk-in shower, pretty metal sea life sculptures and beautiful terracotta floors throughout. What ruined it was the shower head! It was one of those plastic hand held things from the 1970's and the water flowed out in drips. Even my dad, whose almost bald, had trouble clearing the shampoo out of his few hairs! The flow was so slow that I think he fell asleep one night while waiting for the soap to rinse off!

The queen sofa bed was a disaster. We all know that a pull out is never going to be as comfortable as a regular bed but this was ridiculous! For a little more money u can purchase a better quality sofa bed (I know because I have one at home).

Since the window shutters didn't totally seal, we did have lizards in the room almost everyday. For us this was a plus, we liked having them & even gave them names! If you have a lizard phobia then you better take some valium!

I think the problem is in the way this place is set up. I stayed in a condo resort in the T&C's that was less money but more upscale in overall condition. Even though the units were also individually owned, the resort ran the place more like a hotel in that all the furnishings were uniform throughout, down to the dishes and fixtures. So I think the problem here is that since each room is kept up by the individual owners & not he resort, there will always be large variances in condition, etc.

Again, overall, we were happy with our room, it was big, pretty (refreshingly cool!)and the location was excellent! The changes needed though fairly minor, would really make a huge difference for the price. I must commend the resort manager, Akhil, he is a real gentleman! Everyone that worked the front desk was extremely friendly and attentive.
The resort even provides coolers, plenty of beach towels & beach chairs which is a nice touch. The grounds here are just lovely, attracting beautiful (though they're loud & a little nuts) birds including tons of hummingbirds.

One top feature of this resort is the location. Since I'm a real estate broker I'll say it, "location, location, location!" Since the town of Cruz Bay has turned into a traffic nightmare, it was a HUGE advantage to be able to leave the car & walk to town every night!

**Water: Several islanders told us not to drink the water. They said that since it's cistern water it isn't that sanitary. What do I know about cistern water?! In NYC you turn on the faucet & out comes delicious water. One person (I can't disclose who my sources are)said, "You don't want to drink that water. It lays there & lizards poop in it!" Lizard doody in the water?!!Ok, we'll drink bottled only! to be cont..
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