Here we are on day 4 of our cruise, day 7 of our 10 day trip.
This was a big day! It was my husband’s birthday and our first time visiting Saint Thomas!!
The ship was to be at port in St Thomas from 7AM-4PM. Knowing the ship would be at the port early, our plan was to grab breakfast quickly and enjoy a day being beach bums! Birthday beach bums!
Ok, I know I just said in my last post that I wasn’t going to say I woke up first, but I had to wake up first to decorate, because today was my love’s birthday!
So, I woke up early to deck the room. I had to borrow tape from our room attendant the night before, as my tape went MIA. I have a feeling my youngest daughter has something to do with that! Anyways, the tape was super noisy. Every time I had to pull out some I felt like a screeching alarm in the room. So I snuck into the bathroom every few moments to roll out a few pieces at a time. I got all the decorations up on the wall across from the bed and put the gifts on the counter in front of the TV and then slipped back into bed to sleep a few more moments. I thought my husband was awake as he held my hand, which is something we do in our sleep every night, but it spooked me out because I was just out of bed. Then as I started to relax, I heard all this noise. I was spooked again but I opened my eyes to watch all the decorations shimmy down the walls. 😦 Luckily no one woke up, but I had to unhook my hand to rush back in the bathroom to use the tape, and figure out new places to decorate. Well, after a few tries putting stuff back up, I had to ditch putting anything on the wall, or on the wall art, or on the TV, or on the bunk bed! Everything would slide off seconds after I taped them up. Why? I have no idea!! All that was left was one streamer across the wooden closet. I ended up laying everything else around the floors near the closet by the bed because what else could I do!?? grrr!
There I laid. Awake. It was 6:45AM now, about the time I get out of bed. I was facing the curtains that were closing off the balcony. The want to jump out of bed to sit on the balcony was strong, but I was trying to let everyone sleep in. But the curtains, they were pulsating. Like they were taunting me to run over to open them. Quietly, I snuck across the room to peek through the curtains. As I part them in the middle, a bright yellow ray of light struck my eye then filled the room with brightness. We were in St Thomas!! The girls started to rustle awake, so I blurted out a birthday cheer! I couldn’t help it! We all screamed and jumped into bed with him for a “Daddy birthday” hug. It was so cute to see them realize it was his big day! He was happy to see us all excited for him and…he was happy to see that one streamer, of course! haha
This was the view from our balcony. I don’t have the volume on here for some reason, but the Caribbean music that was thumping from the DJ at the end of the port was awesome. We all were jamming in the room with the doors open as we got ready. What a great way to say hello, St Thomas!
We had packed a bag-style cooler for these beach stops. The night before, we talked to our room attendant about getting a few scoops of ice. He instructed us to leave the bag on the handle to our room, and he would help us out. We got back from breakfast to find our bag filled with ice! Like to the brim! We had a good laugh about it as we filled our shower with a foot of ice. I packed up two bags; the cooler with waters, snacks and a bottle of white wine, and, a beach bag. Oh wait! I forgot to mention that our attendant left us towels the night before on our bed for this trip, which was awesoooome!! So, I packed our beach bag that I had brought with the towels, mineral SPF, goggles, water tight phone cases, cups and hats.
We got off the boat smoothly, again. The only thing I was asked about was taking off my hat (or lifting it off my forehead) to compare my face to my key card photo. Not a big deal, but just something I dealt with anytime I got off or on the boat with a hat on.
The St Thomas port was new. So pretty! There was a large path that went through a shopping plaza that made its way to the taxi/bus stand. There were tons of jewelry and clothing shops, a restaurant, and, market style souvenir stalls throughout. Very clean and as I said, pretty. My favorite parts of this port were … the DJ booth set up at the entrance/exit of the port. The guy behind the DJ stand had to have been 7 feet tall, and boy, could he dance! Then as we walked through the gate there were a handful of iguanas laying out in the sun along the rocks. They were hilarious.
Before leaving for this trip we did plan our island days. While in St Thomas we wanted to hit the beach to snorkel or try to see animals/nature of the island. We decided on going to Brewer’s Bay, a locals beach that was just minutes away from the port with bathrooms and food trucks. While we were talking to the taxi service, a family of five from our cruise took me aside to ask if they could join us. They seemed nice, and I did recognize one of them from the pool two days earlier, so we agreed to have them hop along. They turned out to be a very nice family from Florida, grandparents with their teen grandchildren, and an aunt.
The beach was not in a high tourist traffic area, but it was a beach that people hyped about online. When the taxi driver we were heading towards turned around, he was legit the coolest man I had ever seen. He was this little Rastafarian elderly man. He was dressed in his company shirt with crisp khakis and wearing a huge, larger than his body, rasta knit hat. This hat balanced perfectly on top of his head. It must have weighed a ton! I FELL IN LOVE. haha We arrived to Brewer’s Bay in literally 8 minutes! WOO! Our driver made plans for his return pick up, for 2:30PM, as he left us at the beach.
We walked down this pathway to the most natural, picture-perfect white beach that any of us have ever seen. The water was aquamarine colored like you’d see in travel magazines, and it was flickering the sunlight all around. Oh the sunlight. It was bright and warm, and the air was barely kissing our skin with breezes. The perfect beach day. There were no rental chairs. There were no benches. There was basically nobody on the beach but us nine. (Though there were folks working in food trucks.)
There were a few trees lining the back of the beach, so we set up camp underneath. My family grabbed their snorkels, then headed towards the reef and grassy areas. As I got into the water, my family called me over as they were seeing so many things. I was making my way over, and saw a ton of translucent white fish, they really enjoyed nipping at my bum. haha! My husband stood up in the water to call me over because they were swimming with a giant loggerhead turtle! I mean, they just got in the water two minutes before me, how were they seeing such spectacular animals already?! As I walked over, I saw the turtle peer up above the water near them, he was really there! Which freaked me out haha.
They continued to explore and swim the reef for a long time as I swam about fifty feet away, and talked to the folks who came along with us. They were very nice people and we were exchanging day to day life in the cities we were from. Which was nice.
The water was warm, but not warm like it was in Fort Lauderdale a few days before; here it was inviting and refreshing. It felt good on the skin, and didn’t have a heavy salt feel. I had brought along a set of watertight cell phone carriers, and grabbed one as I kept hearing all the cool things my family was seeing across the way. The second I got back in the water and turn on my phone, there was a baby turtle next to me! He was so sweet and cute! I tried real hard to get videos and pictures. As the turtle swam away, my husband shouts over that there are lobsters and stingrays on the coral reefs, too. Our oldest daughter asked for my phone to video everything, so I obliged and went on to swim. They all raced back to me after a while to show a great video of our girls swimming with a turtle, which you can see here on my IG. Those plastic cases are great, but they can be hard to see through underwater but what we did capture came out good.
We continued to swim with our new cruise friends. They all were nice. The grandmother of the group and her sister, the aunt, loved talking to me and kept me company while the girls went off with my husband for long spans of time. When my family swam up to me to share their finds, I lent the other family our goggles so they could enjoy the reef, too. It was around this time that my husband and I decided to get the girls out of the water for a drink and a snack, which the girls sucked down in seconds before they ran back into the water. That’s what I get for giving them Pringles (their favorite beach snack). The other family handed us our goggles and took off to explore the beach. Since it was quiet, my husband and I stole a few moments together on my towel just as we grabbed a glass of wine with our snacks, bananas and more chips. I love Pringles, too, so. The girls were swimming close to shore, so we decided it was the right time to walk the beach.
This beach was unique because it had a coral reef within feet of the edge of the surf, so the sands were an unusual color and it was full of dead reef corals and shells. Which, if you look down at one of my photos below, I am holding a brain coral that I found. I have that in my bathroom now. 🙂
We got back to our stuff and saw that we had about an hour until our driver was due back to get us, so everyone ran back to the ocean for last rounds of swimming and snorkeling. I tried to snorkel, and guess what, everyone? I was freaked out! haha I am not a confident swimmer, so being face down so close to everything was not my cup of tea. But I did enjoy swimming around everywhere else. I then figured it was time for me to get out of the water to dry off and pack up our camp. When I browsed across the beach I saw maybe 10 people hanging out. That was it. This beach was public but private-like.
I HIGHLY recommend Brewer’s Beach!!
As I hung out to dry, I noticed the folks we went with had just finished food from the trucks. We read that these were great places to grab food, so when they came back to camp we talked about their experience. They all really enjoyed their lunches, and only one did not eat much, the aunt. She was a pretty funny lady. Odd how I want to describe her, but she was a female version of the comedian Ron White. She seemed like the same age, she smoked and talked with a raspy voice, laughing every time she spoke. She had some outlandish stories to share, too. I was having fun with her the whole day, so she sat with me and I shared a glass of wine with her. And her niece. It was a great way to end the beach day.
Our taxi driver came back a half hour early to make sure we saw him. We got everyone ready to go and made it back to port by 2:40PM! We walked about the port shopping and talking to some locals. It was a lot of fun, and the girls were happy to buy a few necklaces and tshirts that they liked.
We got back on the cruise and ran straight to our room. We heard the ships’ horn blow, which indicated departure from the port. We all shuffled out to our balcony to find a magnificent view!!! The green hills of the island were going by with the ocean peppered with white sailboats and a giant rainbow sprayed across the sky. It looked so fake! But it was real!
It was the perfect way for St Thomas to say goodbye!
The day was still early when we shipped off. We had plans to go to the Sunset Bar. This bar is on the top deck with almost 360 degree views. So pretty. We found seats at the edge of the deck. The girls ran to get milk shakes as we took some photos around the deck. This evening the sunset overlooking the boat was incredible. The water against the sky … it was surreal. The Sunset Bar lived up to its name. They had a fun menu, and as my husband brought to my attention, a special Veuve Cliquot cocktails menu. I was psyched! I ordered the mojito cocktail. And I laughed out loud when he handed me my drink. IT WAS AS BIG AS MY FACE!! I am not complaining, but it was hilarious to hold it. And delicious!
We watched the sun set as we sipped our drinks. Then we walked the ship to see what nighttime activities were happening. It was such a beautiful evening. The air was warm and the breezes were refreshing. The girls walked together so my husband and I walked hand in hand behind them. It was a perfect walk. We bumped into my Australian friend, Rosaria, who we met yesterday. Actually, she saw us walk by where her and her husband were eating and ran after us to say hello. She is so cute, and wanted to make plans to see one another again along the trip. So quickly we exchanged our plans for the next day in Tortola then she ran back to her dinner table.
It was now time to make our way to the dining room. When we checked in, I whispered to the hostess that it was my husband’s birthday as he was standing to the side with our children. She nodded and winked at me saying they had it in our file and will do something special. My husband must have seen it because he smiled at me and said he didn’t want any attention for his birthday. DRAT!
Well, that did not stop me from whispering it to everyone. haha Irfan, our waiter, told me the night before that he had a plan for my husband. So when we got to his table I figured things were in the works! We ate a great meal together. The service was still top notch. We also chitchatted with some of our table neighbors, who happened to be from Massachusetts, too! We joked around with our servers all night, and did MORE magic tricks. This time they had a bunch of tricks to stump our daughters. And me! Then they asked my husband to teach them the tricks from the night before. They were so happy when he did!
So here is a head scratcher. When the dessert came out, nothing happened. So, I was confused. Where were the candles? How about the singing? My husband looked at me and whispered ‘no singing’.. he was happy. I let it go because maybe my husband got to them or something first. Who knows? But if that is what he wanted, we weren’t going to sing there for his birthday.
It was about 10PM by the time our fun with our table died down, and the girls were tired from swimming all day. They wanted to head back to the room to open his gifts. We let the girls run ahead to the room as it was time to grab a martini for us. The girls were happy to see us walk into the room a few moments after they got there, because, much like their mom, they love giving gifts. Now, I had to split my gifts in two..well three. One from the girls and one from me to take on the trip and the third to open when we got home. This was because the other half of the gift was SOOOO heavy. Before giving him his gifts we stood at the end of the bed and sang HAPPY BIRTHDAY as loud as we could to him! Balcony doors open and everything! haha He was not embarrassed, but we got it out of our systems and had fun bouncing on the bed! He loved all the cards and gifts, which is all we could ask for. Our kids made some creative cards this year that I am sharing.
We snuggled in the big bed together until the girls left us for their bunk bed to sleep.
Yes, HGTV was on the whole time. 🙂
Next up is day 5 in Tortola!