Posts Tagged ‘subway’

9 rules for swimming off (almost) every beach in St Thomas in a day (or die trying)

Rule 1 – Get up early
If you roll out of bed at midday, you are not going to see many beaches. Wake your children and wife early and wake them often. Remove all sheets and duvets. Use threats to make them move, eg If you don’t get out of bed now, we will have to eat Subway for lunch rather than a fish restaurant with exceptional views across a bay. NB This threat works better on one’s wife rather than one’s children. Also, another threat that doesn’t work is to tell your younger daughter that if she doesn’t get into the bathroom before her sister, she will have to wait a long time.

Rule 2 – Rent a car
You can take taxis, but it will cost you more and take longer. There are so many cruise ships that dock at St Thomas, you have to book a rental (hire) car months before. We used Avis. There appears to be no correlation between your booking of an Avis rental car and its availability. In Dominica, we learnt that a reservation of a rental car did not necessarily mean that a car was reserved (?). We got to the Avis office as it opened. The lady looked shocked to see us. She immediately was on the phone to her boss. “I have 9 reservations and no cars. What do you recommend?” We were fortunate that a car (double upgrade) was returned as we waited. All the other families that hadn’t followed rule 1 were probably less fortunate.

Rule 3 – Travel around the island in some logical order
We went anti-clockwise or (counter-clockwise as I now must call it). You can criss-cross the island, but the roads are narrow and the traffic jams can be significant.

Rule 4 – Enjoy the beaches but move on quickly if something isn’t right.
Our first beach, Morning Star, was only a couple of miles from Charlotte Amalie. It’s also known as Frenchman’s Bay Beach and is surrounded by Marriott properties. We thought the beach was too narrow and the backdrop too built up and moved on quickly. Vessup Bay suffered a similar fate later.

Rule 5 – Be very picky about the characteristics of a great beach
Our second beach, Bolongo Bay, had lots of great things. Lots of water toys, great view out to sea. Also, any beach with iguanas is a very good beach in my view. However, there was only a single iguana on the beach….and in St Croix (Manchenil beach), a pair of iguanas walked two feet away from where we were sunbathing. Also, the water was a bit too cloudy for snorkelling. We did like the free wifi for Nancy to play with her new iPhone and another iguana who was drinking from the swimming pool.

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Rule 6 – Some beaches are hard to find
Secret cove is well named.

Rule 7 – Children doing something for the first time will delay you
After years of resisting snorkelling, Nancy decided to give it a try. Who can blame her? Coki Point is excellent for snorkelling. The water is incredibly clear and you swim amongst thousands of fish. They also sell dog biscuits on the beach to entice the fish to you. You will soon have a hundred or more fish nibbling off your dog biscuit. Coki Point is not a perfect beach; for two things, it’s very difficult to park and there are too many people on the sand and in the water. There are lots of independent vendors on and around the beach. Nancy had her hair braided on this beach a few years ago and I can still remember the screams.

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Rule 8 – You will end up eating in Subway anyway
We couldn’t get Nancy out of the water and we were running out of time.

Rule 9 – Make sure your last beach is the best beach
Magens Bay was meant to be the penultimate beach. We love Magens Bay (see pictures below) and it regularly appears in the top beaches around the world. There is an extreme difficulty in getting the family to move from this beach. You have to pay an admission charge ($4 per adult, but free for children if you pretend they are younger than they are), but this keeps the crowds manageable. The water at Magen’s Bay was crystal clear; the sand white and fine; the temperature in December ideal; and the wildlife magnificent. Tilly and Nancy were playing an aquatic version of American Football in the water (which seemed to be mainly an excuse for jumping on boys). The upshot of all of this was that we never made our final beach, Brewer’s Bay.

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