July 17, 2008

Our trip to the VI's

Ryan and I are both going through vacation withdrawl now that we're back in Greenville, but I guess we had to get back to reality sooner or later! After a LOOONG day of travel, we made it back Tuesday night around 10pm. In order to leave our resort on St. John we had to take a 45 min. ferry boat ride to St. Thomas, a 10 min. taxi to the airport (where we had to check in 3 hours before take off!!!), a 4 hour plane ride to Atlanta (with a 1 hr. layover), and finally a 45 min. plane ride to GSP. Needless to say, we were both exhausted when we finally got home and I had the worst backache I think I've ever had!

Long, miserable travel aside, we had an amazing time on our trip and I think it was exactly what the both of us needed. On Friday after we arrived we booked a chartered boat trip to the British Virgin Islands and got to visit Tortola, the Baths at Virgin Gorda, and we snorkeled the caves of Treasure Island (aka Norman Island). The Baths, for those of you who don't know, is the name for a part of the shoreline on Virgin Gorda where huge boulders are strewn across the beach forming natural pools, grottos and caves. They say these boulders are the result from the once volcanic origin of the island and are a naturally occuring tourist attraction. It took us about an hour to navigate our way through the unmarked trail and see this really amazing scenery.

Our final stop on the BVI boat tour was to Norman Island, which the locals also refer to as Treasure Island because of the many legends of pirates and buried treasure. In fact, it is believed that the classic book Treasure Island was inspired by this island and its infamous pirate tales. While we didn't actually set foot on the island, we snorkeled around the perimeter and through 3 of its naturally occuring caves. We saw so many beautiful fish (my favorite being the Rainbow fish) and even got to swim with 2 local barracudas named Norman and Barry.

While the BVI tour was fun and interesting, we decided to take the rest of our vacation and just relax! We rented a car and toured many of the local beaches, Ryan did a lot of snorkeling while I swam in the beautiful waters and sat on the beaches and caught up on some reading. We saw a baby shark, tons of conchs, a sting ray, an octopus, a sea turtle, sea urchins, and a bunch of brightly colored fish while wading through the waters. Seeing many of these sea creatures within arms length is enough to make you a little nervous, but they generally keep their distance and are pretty wary themselves of the people swimming.

On our last day in St. John we decided to just stay at the resort and hang out by the pool. Little did we know, that same day many brave iguanas decided to also hang out by the pool in search of a few snacks! Ryan and I were both relaxing in our beach chairs, reading, when the biggest iguana we'd seen jumped on the back of Ryan's chair scaring him right out of his seat!! Iguanas are harmless and very interesting creatures, but these were pretty sneaky and abnormally friendly! An informed guest told us they love hibiscus flowers so Ryan picked a few from a nearby bush, fed them to the hungry iguana and then shooed him away. I got a cool video of Ryan and the iguana that I will try to post here in a few minutes.

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