June 29

Daphne Waking Up

I didn't sleep well at night, because I never sleep well in a new bed. I kept waking up all night long. A around 5am I heard what I think were two gunshots and then I was up for good. Joel was awake too and eventually got out of bed and started trying to take photos.

We explored our hotel, this time in daylight. It is built onto the hillside and they have terraced gardens going up the hill. The gardens are lovely. Joel stayed much longer than I since he was taking photos. I went back to my room to read.

After a while Joel showed up telling me that I have to come see "the room" - the Moroccan Tile Room. He took me down to the first floor and opened up a door hidden around a corner. Though I would hesitate to call it a beautiful room, it had a lot of character. One of the very old paintings was faded and damaged at the corner. The centerpiece of the room was a large stained glass window, though it no longer serves as a window but has a light behind it to make it glow. Many old books and bottles lined the walls and the place had a very musty smell to it. Joel said they use the room for parties. I just hope they can open it up before hand to air it out.

Hotel 1829
We were getting hungry. Our hotel serves a complimentary breakfast, but we were interested in finding meat patties. Joel and I love them and always eat them when in the Caribbean. I think the versions on St Thomas are a little too greasy, I like the ones I've had in Eleuthera and the Cayman Islands better, but they are still good. I remembered two places that I could get them. The little hole in the wall was the best so we went over there to get one. They had many different kinds of patties. Last time I was here I tried salt fish but didn't like it that much. This time I tried chicken in addition to our usual beef and it was quite tasty. Not as good as beef, but a nice twist anyway. Someday I'll have to try the crab and the conch varieties. BWT if you haven't tried patties they are a very spiced meat of some kind that is wrapped in pastry and deep fried.

Joel had forgotten his vitamins so we went back to our room to get them. Then it was back to town to shop.

Joel wanted a new camera, the Minolta DiMAGE 7i. There were two shops along Main Street that would carry the camera but none of them were open yet. It was past 9am, which was their opening time, but I guess it was 9am island time.

We stopped in a few stores that were open, looking for gifts for the kids. The guys behind the counter kept trying to push jewelry on me, which was a totally lost cause. I'm just not a diamond jewelry kind of gal and besides I always wear the jewelry that I make (and sell, see Daphne's Designs).

We finally found a nautical store that sold old coins. We got a copper coin for Ben that came with a shipwreck story. Beth's gift came from a different shop that sold t-shirts that change colors with the sunlight.

Finally we went back to the camera stores and they were open. Joel played with the camera for a while and finally bought it and a flash to go with it. Then he felt guilty over spending so much for something he really didn't need. I'm sure he will get over it.

We finished up our shopping and headed back to the hotel. We packed up but it wasn't yet time to leave. We wanted to check out at noon, because we didn't have to be in Redhook until 1pm to catch our sailboat. So we read for a while, and of course Joel took some time to take photos.

After we checked out, the hotel called a cab for us. The cab driver's name was Captain Francis. The first think I noticed was how clean his cab was. Totally spotless and he had an organizer between the front two seats; quite a change from the cab that picked us up at the airport and had trash strewn across the floor. The second thing that you notice is how nice he is. We chatted all the way over to the harbor. And he dropped us off at the flagpole to wait for our boat.

Our captain, Captain Theo, brought the dingy over to pick us up. The boat we will be sailing is a catamaran called Cat Maudy. It is run by a husband and wife team, Theo and Ursula Breiler. Our cabin is small as all sailboat cabins are. The bed is nice; it narrows down at the feet. There is one window on the side that had a wind catcher in it, to funnel air into the room and a hatch on top that has to be closed if it rains. It is stuffy in the room when the hatches need to be closed (while sailing) but quite pleasant otherwise.

After saying hello to our hosts Ursula made us some sandwiches then we were on our way to St. John. We were told that the seas were a little heavy, but I enjoyed the rocking of the boat.

We anchored in Francis bay which was very protected from the waves. The water here was calm and flat. There is a beautiful beach along the bay and a wedding going on at one end of it.

We got out our snorkeling gear and swam over to the beach. There was not much to see but sea grass on the bottom. A few fish swam by but not many. Earlier Joel had seen a turtle swimming by the boat. I was hoping to see it in the water, but no luck.

Once on shore we walked the length of the beach and back. It was quite a pleasant afternoon, but I hope the weather clears a bit so we can get some good snorkeling in later in the trip. The weather has been quite cloudy, windy and it keeps threatening to rain, but it hasn't happened yet.

Feeding the Seagulls
We swam back to the boat. Just as we got back I saw a stingray gliding along the bottom. I called Joel over and we swam around with it for a while. Theo was in the water doing something to the bottom of the boat. - cleaning it maybe.

We got onto the boat and rinsed off. Fresh water is a commodity here so we try to use as little as possible. Then we change and hang our wet stuff off the railings to dry, using cloths pins so it doesn't blow away in the wind.

There were quite a few seagulls in the bay. Ursula brought out some crackers to feed to them. She had me hold one up in my hand. The gull scared me to death. It came in behind me and grabbed the cracker out of my hand. It was very quick. The next bird bit me when trying to get the cracker. Now this didn't hurt but it definitely freaked me out a little so I let the others do it instead of me. The seagulls down here are beautiful; grey and white with black markings. When they glide over the water the blue green of the ocean is reflected off their underside. We could get some really good looks at them when feeding them because they would glide right next to you, hovering waiting for the next cracker.

We lazed around talking until dinner. I was drinking rum punch. Yum. Dinner was salmon and rice. She cooked two vegetables for me, sweet potatoes and some strange green thing (she told me what it was but I've forgotten). It was green and tasted a little of summer squash. I don't like squash very much but this was very mild and nice. Dessert was some kind of chocolate pudding.

We gabbed with our hosts until past our bedtime. It was noisy so a little hard to get to sleep. There were three large power boats tied up together partying until three in the morning. I slept better than at the hotel, but don't sleep well in strange beds. I woke up sometime in the night. There was a light mist coming in from above. It wasn't really raining, but I closed the hatch and went back to sleep. Later that night I opened it back up. It gets a little stuffy with the hatch closed.

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Text and images © Copyright 2001 Joel and Daphne Gould. If there are any problems or questions email Daphne Gould.