Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Blog

I hate to bump the mantas from the top of the blog food chain, but there's so much natural beauty here I thought I'd do a mostly photo blog of some new land and sea sightings. We went to a local cultural festival at the Annaberg Sugar Plantation and felt very underdressed. These ladies put us all to shame!

Beautifully dressed local ladies.... and a shabbily dressed tourist!
We've seen female golden orbs all over St. John and this was a pretty big one. (See June 2011: 'Underwater World Briefly') It was suggested by someone who heard us commenting on her size that perhaps she was full, having just eaten her mate. Mmmm... pass the salt please!

Another lovely local lady.... Female Golden Orb
Annaberg Plantation includes a garden that's being tended by a local guy named Charles who's absolutely devoted to plants. He learned bush medicine from his grandmother and passes along the knowledge to anyone who cares to ask. He gave us papayas, sugarcane, bananas, coconuts and more. Here are just a few of the other things he grows.... 

Pigeon Peas
Flowering Pigeon Pea

Skip models painkiller leaves for backache. You can barely see the soursop leaves tucked under his hat to keep his head cool!
Soursop - has bright white flesh with dark seeds. It's sweet and sour and delicious.

Skip with the bush doctor, Charles 
Flowering Aloe  
Aloe and cactus

How a coconut palm starts
As always I'm working on my wildlife photography skills and have discovered, not surprisingly, that the slower something moves the easier it is to photograph. Here are a few slow fish we've been swimming with lately.

Queen Angelfish
Scrawled Filefish
Stoplight Parrotfish
We've seen some really interesting fast fish too, but you'll just have to take my word for it. Happy Leap Day!

Friday, February 17, 2012


There have been some new critters in Francis Bay lately.... and Skip and I took a swim with them! Two big beautiful manta rays swimming around feeding! They looked to be about 8 feet across from wing tip to wing tip. VERY COOL!!! 


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pretty as a Picture

On the shelf in a local grocery store... just a little reminder of how beautiful it is here.
Living literally at sea level, we don't get the bird's eye views these covers have without some effort but it's always worth it. A hike on Virgin Gorda gave us great views of the east side of the island and back over to Saba Rock, Prickly Pear Island, Eustatia Island, Necker Island and the surrounding reef.

Saba Rock is tiny, but they fit a lot of stuff on it! See the kite surfer at the bottom right?
After a few months of lazing around in the Virgins Skip and the dinghy were both badly in need of a haircut.

The dinghy goes first...
Much better!
Then it's Skip's turn...

Also much better...
I haven't done much in the way of flora and fauna shots lately since we haven't been hiking or swimming much - (both tricky to do when not breathing well) but I'm getting back into the swing of things and we've gotten out and about more lately. So - flora and fauna!

This guy looks menacing but he was only about a half inch across! Tough guy, eh?

Orchids growing wild in Virgin Gorda
If we don't get a boat cat.... perhaps a boat goat? The little ones are pretty cute.
We've also been running into friends out of the blue! Some Outbound owners... Tom (Farasha), Tim & Sharon (Fisaga), Bruce & Susan (Andiamo) and Ted & Toni (Spree) who were staying on land up in North Sound. Vacationing with Ted & Toni were Sasha & Chris (daughter and son-in-law) along with their two little ones, Nicholas and Lara.

Sasha and Chris bring the kids over to Saralane for a visit.
Our friend Jim, who we met in the Bahamas, kept his boat "Top of the World" (great boat name) in the yard in Virgin Gorda where we hauled out for hurricane season last year and we ran into him there in time to watch the Superbowl together. There were some grim looking Patriot fans in the bar at the end of the game. We're hoping "Top of the World" gets wet again soon!

Jim & Skip on Top of the World - high and dry in Virgin Gorda.
On a quick stop in Road Town to do some errands we ran into our old friend Hank Schmitt who runs Offshore Passage Opportunites (OPO), a group that along with other things, connects crew with yachts. Congrats Hank and Kathy on your FIFTH grandchild!!

Skip & Hank
Our youngest new friend, Libby, is five years old and has already covered more miles on a boat than most adults we know (except for Hank!). She befriended us on Saba Rock and when I asked where she'd been sailing she took a deep breath and started ticking off all the places.... Turkey, Greece, Thailand, etc. She's been sailing with her parents (who we eventually met) since she was two and has such great confidence I wouldn't have been surprised to hear her say she was single handing. Sailing kids are such cool kids!

Libby finds a starfish.
A hike on Norman Island gave us a great view of Saralane in Benures Bay with Peter Island in the background.
I have more to post but I don't think the wifi signal I'm poaching is strong enough to load a MOVIE! Yep, I have a movie to include in the next blog. All I'll say is that it was just about the most incredible thing Skip or I have ever seen underwater and I can't believe I captured it. Check back soon!!