Virgin Islands: St. Thomas

January 12, 2009 at 8:30 am 7 comments

Just three and a half hours after almost missing my flight, I landed in St. Thomas.

The first thing I noticed was the mountains. Noting the proportions and all the greenery, I thought it looked reminiscent of the Appalachians. Then I took a closer look and saw palm trees and cactii!

Huh. It is not like Southwest Virginia at all!

Our modest group of five were the first to arrive at the Marriott Resort. Since our rooms were not ready, we sat out in an open air lobby and took advantage of the free Internet. I did some billable work! It’s quite a treat to be looking at SQL Server Enterprise Manager one moment and then glancing up to see amazing views.

View from hotel. I would volunteer to write a monster SQL statement filled with nested INNER JOINS and UNIONS if I could look at this while I did it.

When there were a few rooms ready, I took a nap on Sam and Jack’s floor. Later, the Colorado branch of our family arrived and we checked into our entire block of rooms.

There was a minor mixup and I didn’t have a hotel room. My aunt-to-be and uncle went to the desk to try to figure out the confusion. It turns out my room was cancelled and was already claimed by another guest. There were no more vacancies in the hotel. Before I knew what they were up to, my aunt and uncle called the Ritz-Carlton to try to get me a room there.

Whoa. That was waaaay beyond the call of duty. I certainly appreciated their generosity and their intent, but I told them I would sleep on Sam and Jack’s floor. Hey, it served me well for my nap.

Just a few months ago, I was sleeping on a foam pad. When I moved to Elizabeth City, I upgraded to a futon mattress. I’ve slept on trains. I’ve slept on planes. I’ve slept on the floor of Dulles Airport. During my separation, I slept in a variety of places including a green chair, a tent and one night I even slept on a concrete floor next to a hot water heater. As a rule of thumb to everyone for all future Vicky dealings, just know– I am really not picky about where I sleep.

In the end, there was a compromise between the “Ritz-Carlton” and “floor”. I slept on a roll-away bed in Sam and Jack’s room… and I slept well at that.

The next morning, I ate breakfast with Timothy’s family and then we all went to the pool. We self dubbed ourselves “The Pansy Family” as we all cautiously inched our way into the cold pool. Once we got acclimated, the water was actually quite nice.

Sam enjoys the pool

The pool itself was pretty awesome. It overlooks the ocean, has a waterfall AND a bar.

The In-Pool Bar at the Marriott (Photo by my cousin, Melanie)

Later, we were much less pansy-like with the hot tub and Timothy, Jack and I plunged right in. We were totally digging the warm water and suddenly the nearby bushes startled to rustle. And out pops an iguana! A real, live, wild iguana. It turns out the island is covered in them and they really liked the pool area.

Sunbather confused by visitor

Two iguanas in a tree at St. Thomas

After taking about a billion shots of iguanas, I took a walk around the Marriott grounds. It is very lovely there.

Me at the St. Thomas Marriott

Houses and Seagrape Leaves at St. Thomas

Waterfall at the St. Thomas Marriott

Walkway to Frenchmen’s Cove

In the late afternoon, we caught a cab to a marina and I boarded my home for the next week– a 120-foot motor yacht called “Sovereign”. Although my Maryland relatives would not be traveling on the boat, they boarded with us at the dock and spent the afternoon and evening with us.

Sam demonstrates how large the boat is

Jack enjoys the deck

Timothy, Jonathan and Maria on the Sovereign

Since St. Thomas is the only island that permits jet-skis, we had to get our fix in. A bunch of us headed out in the tender and took turns riding jet skis and the water tube.

I found my niche with the youngest of the children. I rode the tube with my cousin Melanie and the jet ski with ten year old Reese. Both shared my preferences for velocity. I can’t say the same for my cousin Jack and my cousin-to-be Chase!

We stay docked for dinner which meant Maria, Timothy, Sam and Jack could join us for supper! There was a private chef on board the Sovereign and he was amazing! He served us a fancy three course supper. As each course came out, he would emerge from the galley and explain the dish. It was like being a judge on Top Chef!

Me (at the Kid’s table) getting ready to enjoy my first Sovereign meal

We did have some excitement at dinner— pirates boarded our vessel and threatened to take some of the children. To our dismay, they left empty handed.

Pirates deciding which children looked promising

After dinner, my Maryland relatives left. The docked boat gently rocked me to sleep and my body prepared for the next day’s adventure!

More pictures of St. Thomas can be view on my Flickr site.


Entry filed under: iguana, St. Thomas, Travel, Virgin Islands.

Virgin Islands: The Trip to St. Thomas and an Epiphany links for 2009-01-12

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dave  |  January 12, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    Looks like you had a fantastic time! I can’t wait to go back to the Virgin Islands.

  • 2. scienceguy288  |  January 12, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    I hope your trip goes well. Enjoy the warmth, because it will be nice and cold on your return!

  • 3. chriggy  |  January 12, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    I haven’t gotten around to checking out all your pictures yet, but it certainly looks like a place worth going.

  • 4. tgaw  |  January 12, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    @chriggy- There are nearly 500 Virgin Island trip pictures on Flickr. It’s a lot. If I were you, I would just hold back and peruse the blog posts this coming week. They’ll feature the cream of the crop.

    Then if there is a particular activity or island that intrigues you— you can parse through additional photos.


  • 5. chriggy  |  January 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Kinda like my Japan pics. Which six months later are STILL not fully posted. I’m gonna have to finish those up at some point. Only 1000 more to go. Woohoo!

  • 6. geekhiker  |  January 13, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Darn it all, if you keep posting pictures like this I’m going to short out my keyboard with drool!

  • 7. tgaw  |  January 13, 2009 at 9:12 am

    @geekhiker – You best purchase something like this. I have a half a dozen more islands to cover!


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