Disclosure: I exchanged photographic work for a 5-day stay at the Island Cottage mentioned in the following blog posts. Blog entries or any other social media amplification were not included in the exchange. I was and am free to say and show anything I want about the trip. All opinions are my own.
This morning was the beginning of our last full day at the Island Cottage. I got up early and made my coffee, drew a little bit and had some breakfast.
I still had some photography to do to make sure I got the entire place so I set about doing that.
The hot tub is fantastic, with a great view day or night, ocean breezes. It’s even great in the rain (as long as it’s not a thunderstorm!)
If you are sitting in the hot tub without a ocean view you get to see a fantastic mountain view so you really can’t lose.
One of the most wonderful things about the Island Cottage is the small wall paintings all around. This rooster crows next to the front door. Real roosters crow throughout the day as well, something that is odd at first but you get used to it and it just becomes part of the ambiance in the background.
I found this woman spying on me in the bathroom! She didn’t tell me what she was thinking but it I figure it had to be ‘Wow, what a hot bod that guy has!’ right?
Above each window fish frame the view.
And what tropical beach vacation would be complete without colorful clothes drying in the breeze!
The Kayak Adventure
Our big adventure for the day was to go kayaking and snorkeling. We got the snorkel gear the day before but went down to Crabby’s to get the two-person kayak around 10am.
We were told the wind and waves would be lighter in the morning. Afterwards we realized they meant REALLY early morning because by the time we started out it was a hard paddle into the wind for almost an hour. But we made it out into open water, around a point and back into a bay. We saw a bright white spot that we paddled towards, hoping it would be a nice beach.
Turned out it was and we felt quite accomplished in our first open water kayak journey. We were happy knowing the way back would be easier…or so we thought.
We spent a few hours collecting shells, snorkeling, eating and otherwise relaxing. I took advantage of the one and only time I knew we were completely alone to go skinny dipping, though I did not go commando while snorkeling. WAY too many very sharp and scary looking Sea Anemones around for that!
We saw some amazing fish and coral. I always thought of my neuroscientist daughter Rebekah when I saw the brain coral.
I didn’t catch it with my camera but later I drew one thing I did see. Aquatic mammals are amazing.
We set out later that afternoon for our paddle back around the point and into Coral Bay. Since we knew the wind would carry us for the second half we were looking forward to a faster and easier time of it. Little did we know that the wind wasn’t pushing into the Bay but was pushing us into the rocks! We had to paddle twice as hard to crab into the wind to avoid getting too close.
Linda’s years of personal training, Yoga and Pilates paid off big time. She was rock solid in paddling the whole time. I did my part as well in spite of having a nice snorkeling sunburn and we made it back without crashing into the rocks.
Relaxing and Shopping
I was pretty zonked from the kayaking but luckily Crabby’s Kayak Shack is right next to the Aqua Bistro, where we were able to have a drink and a very needed lunch. I had just enough energy to draw this scene.
The bartender told us about how he and his wife had left a stressful life in Pennsylvania and now lived on their sailboat, traveling the Caribbean and just taking it easy. His wife was visiting him at the bar while we talked. I noticed she had 2 identical tattoos of Holly leaves on her chest, coming up from under her strapless top. Why those I asked? Well, her name is…Holly. What more reason do you need, right? And yes I was tempted to ask if there was a whole Holly Wreath around her chest to her back. And no I didn’t ask.
We had gone in this cool shop earlier in the week but returned because Linda had found some awesome items for Christmas presents (shhh….don’t tell). Turns out the couple, Anna from Colombia and Sebastian from France, had moved to St. John from Miami 6 months ago and had just bought the store 1 week before. It was fun to help them get off the ground by buying some of their cool stuff. Our friend Tracey (who you met in adventure #4) had some nice leather items in the store as well.
And finally I wanted to introduce you to someone we met a few days earlier at Salt Pond Bay. I forgot to include him in the blog post that day. Ital is his name and Tracey had emphasized we needed to come see his work at the beach. he works right there hollowing out and carving gourds. Very cool work. We picked one and wrapped it extra special to make sure we got it home in one piece.
Ital means a natural state of being, nothing artificial or processed. It refers to food but also to a way of life.
That night we were wiped out but managed to go out to Shipwreck Landing for another great dinner before crashing pretty early.
Tomorrow we leave St. John and make our way home!