Friday, April 22, 2011

Too little time....

This morning we all (at least Aaron and I) awoke with visions of hiking dancing in our heads. Today we would get to hike for about fifteen minutes to reach the bubble pool, a spot where water pushes through a narrow passage, up over the rocks at the end, spilling over into a small pool, aerating it with bubbles. Along the way we saw loads of hole-dwelling-iridescent-one-huge-claw-wielding crabs crawling everywhere, mangrove trees, pelicans swooping down to catch fish, cactus, and blue paint on rocks warning us of "poisonous trees." We later found out that the fruit is poisonous, with Christopher Columbus calling it the death apple, and the sap is really irritating to the skin if it drips on you, which it might do if you stand under it during a rain. When we arrived at the pool, there were four people playing in it so we climbed around on the rocks up above to enjoy the view as the water rolled through splashing over into the pool. After the group cleared out, we had the place to ourselves and we took our turn in the pool, waiting at the mouth for big waves to splash over the top, filling the pool with bubbles. Jason even dipped Pika in for a terrifying chihuhahua swim. The boys played and laughed and played and laughed, riding on waves for a long time. Meanwhile, at the water's edge there were baby, black and white, tropical fish swimming around. After the boys had their fill we hiked up to the top of the cliffs overlooking the water and explored, stumbling upon the dragon's lair of doom, a narrow network of fissures in the rocks where air explodes out with what sounds like a firey hiss when the waves crash against the cliff. 

Back on the boat, we set sail for Water Lemon Bay, part of U.S. Virgin Islands National Park on St. John's Island. Jason and I did the majority of the sailing along the way, even completing solo jibes, where I would crank in the mainsail, then release the jib on one side and then crank it in on the other side. Very cool. The boys even got to help with the sails today. We are becoming quite a good team together.  At Water Lemon Jason simulated pulling up to a dock and after a few tries got it down, he was very motivated because he was anxious to hop into the water and snorkel in the National Park. We moored as close as we could to the snorkeling in hopes that Aaron would be comfy snorkeling here. I talked him into snorkeling with me hand-in-hand to the island. He did great especially since it took longer than anticipated to get there due to the current. I thought once we got to the island we could wade in and out to snorkel, but when we approached the island we swam past poisonous black sea urchins. I couldn't handle the thought of wading in and out and having to worry about Aaron stepping on a sea urchin, so we stayed on the island and beachcombed instead. Meanwhile Jason was trying to get Isaac to follow him onto the island because he kept getting stung by tiny, annoying jellyfish over and over again. Jellyfish heart Jason, who can blame them? I do too. 

At this point you may be thinking that we had plenty of activity for the day (or perhaps, maybe, this post is getting a little long), but we just couldn't help ourselves. We just had to go for a hike because there were cool, old ruins of sugar mills, on National Park land, up on the hillside, with big views at the top, and we knew we wouldn't have much time in the morning. So off we went, with Aaron running and bouncing with excitement and chihuahua trailing behind. The first set of ruins had an arch that gorgeously framed the water and islands below. Up top, we sat in the second set of ruins and watched the sun start to set over the panoramic view. Now, that, was a spectacular day. What we have learned about sailing is that we love to sail, but we don't love being stuck on the sailboat all of the time. We need to get off on land and enjoy exploring new places, some of which we couldn't get to any other way. We see the sailboat as a nautical camper van that allows us to explore new places in sailing form, even slower, if you can believe it, but more fun, instead of driving 

Alas, with a very long post, follows too many photos.

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