Saturday, November 11, 2006

Leaving St Croix

This picture is a little hazy because I was shooting through the window of the plane. At the top left you see Sandy Point, the turtle nesting grounds I mentioned. That is the Southwest corner of the island. If you look closely you can see the Frederiksted Pier in the middle of the western coast. The steep rugged coastline in the bottom left is Annaly Bay. This is a very historic part of the island. Many years ago escaped slaves fled to this part of the island to hide from their owners. Many died. Some built or found (stole?) small boats and escaped to freedom in Puerto Rico. The region is being threatened because someone wants to build a massive resort along that ridgeline and destroy some of the rugged coastline to build beaches there. I have a "Save Annaly" bumper sticker that I saw on many cars on the island.
This is a picture of part of the Mississippi Delta as we were approaching New Orleans.
I just had to include this lovely picture from the airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The airplane is the one we flew in on from St Croix. We got off the plane and then slowly loaded onto the shuttle bus. This took 10-15 minutes to fill both shuttle buses. Then the buses started moving slowly and travelled all of 40 yards and then parked at the terminal building where we disembarked. When we realized how short a distance we had to travel in the bus we all started laughing. We could have walked there much faster.

Thanks for looking at the pictures. We had a really wonderful time. It was hard to come home but we knew we couldn't stay becuase we had to get home to Ella and Grandma Kathie. Boy were they glad to see us. Now we just have the memories and the pictures. But they will help keep us warm in the cold (okay okay...) in the cool Texas winter. Posted by Picasa

Chenay Bay

Our last full day on the island and for the last snorkeling we went to Chenay Bay. It was really cool because there was a lot of stuff very close to the surface. Although with the massive sea urchins that could make you a little nervous at times. On the way to and from the reef area we swam through a shallow grassy bottomed area and we saw a number of conch laying in the grasses. Even though some looked old and beat up we didn't disturb any of them. You never know if something is living in it.
This sea anemone was really nice too.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Swirling Reef of Death IV

This eel was really cool. He was a little nervous that we were looking at him. He would move around a little. It was a little creepy.

The reefs just went on and on. It was gorgeous.
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Swirling Reef of Death Part III

I don't know what type of coral these are but they are really huge. Look at the next picture with Anne the divemaster to get a sense of scale for some of these things.

I believe that this picture is looking down into the same coral from the previous picture.
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Swirling Reef of Death Part II

Here is the only picture of me while scuba diving underwater. There are also some pictures of some odd things that I saw on the bottom like the remains of an old dive mask and a lovely steering wheel.

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Swirling Reef of Death Part I

I went on a two tank dive one day. The first tank was the shallow wrecks. Here are a few pictures from the second dive at The Swirling Reef Of Death. Check out that lobster in the last picture. The water was a lot clearer here so the pictures turned out a lot better.

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Eastern St. Croix

The easternmost point of St. Croix is Point Udall. It is also the easternmost point in the United States and its territories. The monument in the background was built to commemorate the millenium. It evokes two M's which each represent 1000 in Roman Numerals. It is also a sundial and there is a post that represents the position of the sun at the turn of the millenium.

This picture is looking down at the easternmost point of Point Udall. That is as far east as you can go in the USA.

Just a little to the west of Point Udall is this radio telescope. It is part of the baseline array telescope. There are individual telescopes all around the world that are all connected and synchronized via the Internet. When the telescopes are aimed together they produce a much higher resolution image. Ahh the wonders of technology.

Just a shot of the Virgin Island license plates.
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Sunset Dinner on The Beach

We had a wonderful dinner at Sunset Grill on Sprat Hall Beach. We arrived about 1 hour before sunset and had a great table right on the sand. We had the beach to ourselves for most of the time. Our table is just off to the right of the shot. Just as it began to get dark two other couples came and occupied the two tables you can see in the picture. Then the waitresses brought out tiki torches to give us a bit more light.

This picture was taken while seated at our table.
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Villa Margarita, St. Croix

We stayed at Villa Margarita for the whole week. It just so happened that we were the only guests in the villa that week so we had the place to ourselves. John and Adele were fabulous hosts and Adele always had good recomendations for places to go and eat. As you can see from the pictures it sits right on the water. We could open our windows and hear the surf and enjoy the nice steady tradewinds blow through.
Here are two shots of the back of the house so you can see the great multilevel deck and the pool.

Just beyond the pool in this picture is a gate and path that leads down to the water. There were some really great shells to be found right down there.

And right around the corner (and all over the island) are these old sugar mills from when the island used to process cane sugar. All of the mills on the island are protected now so if you have one on your property you cannot remove it or destroy it. In fact we saw a few homes that had used the sugar mill as part of its structure. They just built right into it.
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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Shallow Wrecks Part II

Just a nice look at the fish on the top of one of the wrecks.

These little things sticking up out of the sand are actually eels. The whole area looked like a field of grassy weeds. Then as we approached they started retreating into the sand.
Apparently this big spotted guy is always to be found hanging out in the bow of the wrecked tug boat.
I also liked this squid that was just visiting the barnacles on the mooring line our boat was tied up to.
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St Croix Shallow Wrecks

As we descended to the first of the wrecks I saw these two rays swimming around together. One was quite a bit smaller than the other so I thought that one might be a baby or something.
Here is a closer shot of one of them.
The pictures in the deeper water really surprised me. The camera chooses longer exposures and also uses the flash more and the result are these bright vibrant colors in the plants and coral. Trust me. This coral did not look like this at 60 feet down on a murky day. But the pictures sure look cool. I guess that if there were more natural light they would look more colorful in general though.

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