March 22, 2011

st. thomas: day 7

The last and final day :(  We packed up and headed down to town one last time for last minute shopping and lunch.  Evin bought me a Swatch watch on a whim that I love and we ate at this tiny bar full of funny decorations.  When we got to the airport our plane was delayed but when we finally got in the air I had quite a bit of fun sticking my wide angle lens fitted with my polarizing filter out the window to create rainbows in the sky.

March 21, 2011

st. thomas: day 6 (secret harbor)

The last full day of our trip we set out to find some really great snorkeling.  The Frommer's guide my mom brought along indicated that a place called Secret Harbor was worth checking out so we headed that way.  The beach is actually at a resort, but it's open to the public.  Parking was confusing and we were all nervous about getting the car towed by parking it in a resort parking spot but an employee gave us the OK and we walked to the sand.  The beach was quiet, small, and absolutely beautiful.  What we found under the water was even more incredible.  I saw sea turtles in their natural habitat for the first time (something I'd wanted to see the whole trip) as well as so many other fish and amazing coral.  I took a risk and put my D80 in my questionable underwater housing because the underwater scenery was too much to miss (although the Pentax does a pretty good job).  Some condensation did find its way in but my camera is okay.  Glad we waited to visit this beach til the last day--if we'd gone before that, we would have gotten spoiled!

March 20, 2011

st. thomas: day 5 (magen's bay)

It's Sunday and I'm not getting much else done anyway so I figured I'd make another post to hurry along the process of sharing these vacation photos.  So, on Thursday, we headed to Magen's Bay which is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  When we arrived, though, it was overcast and not so picturesque as I was expecting.  It rained a couple of times but we were in the water so it didn't make much of a difference and after awhile it cleared up and sure enough the beach was gorgeous!  The snorkeling wasn't good but there were birds diving for fish all over the place and eventually we found huge schools of little fish swarming around and avoiding being eaten.  Afterwards, we headed to the St. Thomas Dairy to get some delicious milkshakes (psst: they had alcohol in them) and then I went back to Zora's shop to get my sandals fitted.

st. thomas: day 4

We didn't go to the beach on Wednesday in favor of going shopping and letting our sunburns have a rest.  We walked down to Charlotte Amalie to walk around awhile and then ended up getting drinks on top of the island with a great view!

March 17, 2011

st. thomas: day 3 (part 2: st. john's beaches)

After lunch and shopping in Cruz Bay, we got some pamphlets on where we could find the best snorkeling and set out in the Jeep.  We meant to go to Trunk Bay, a pretty famous one with an underwater trail, but it cost $4/person to get on the beach and parking was a nightmare, so we passed it up.  The first beach we did stop at was really beautiful but there wasn't much to see underwater, so after swimming around awhile we got back in the car and headed to a beach where we were sure to find something.  After a .8 mile hike along a rocky trail we ended up on a secluded beach and it was totally worth the walk.  So many great reefs and fish to be seen (got really worn out from swimming though!)

March 16, 2011

st. thomas: day 3 (part 1: arrival to st. john)

I guess the title of this post is less than accurate, seeing as we spent the day on St. John and not St. Thomas, but I have a title theme going so whatever.  On Tuesday morning, we got up and drove to Red Hook on St. Thomas to catch the car ferry over to nearby St. John.  This is the day from which I have the most pictures (364) so to cover it all it will take a couple of posts.  Here are some photos from the trip over and our time spent wandering around Cruz Bay before taking to the precarious roads in search of good snorkeling.  

March 15, 2011

st. thomas: day 2 (part 2: coki point beach)

After donning our swimsuits and lathering up with plenty of sunscreen, we piled in the Jeep and headed across the island to our first beach destination: Coki Point Beach.  First, though, we had to make a stop at the Kmart to pick up some snorkel gear.  We finally arrived at our destination, were directed to park by some locals standing in the parking lot, and escorted to the shore past a graveyard and between some beach bars.  We were welcomed to Coki Point and told that it boasted the best snorkeling on the island...or was it in the whole Caribbean?  The locals asked if we wanted to rent any chairs ($5 each) and we settled in a partly shaded spot among some rocks.  After some fuss with getting all the snorkeling stuff out of the plastic packaging, we flopped into the water (so clear and blue--it was my first time being in tropical water like that).  I was armed with my Pentax Optio W90 (waterproof point and shoot) as well as a questionable waterproof housing for my DSLR that had a history of letting water in (but my brother took some silicone to the leaky spot and I hoped for the best).  Swimming with a DSLR in a puffed up plastic bag is a lot of work!

March 14, 2011

st. thomas: day 2 (part 1: from the deck)

Monday morning I woke up early and couldn't go back to sleep.  A few hours later when I finally got out of bed, the sun still wasn't up and I felt like death (if you read my last post, you know that this is because I had a bit too much rum and not enough food the day before).  Evin and I sat on the deck anyway, basking in the warmth of the Caribbean, watching the sun come up over the mountains and the Carnival ship dock at the port.  Instead of feeling better, I continued to feel worse and eventually had to force down a cup of tea, some Emergen-C, and a piece of toast, which helped.  While recovering, I shot some tilt-shift photos off the deck (finally!  a high vantage point to make the lens do what it was made to do) before we put on our swimsuits and headed to the beach.  Of course, there are far too many photos from the beach to include in this post, and I've got some reading to do for class (blech!) so these few photos from the porch will have to do for now.  Slowly but surely I will share my trip--I promise! (and hopefully Blogger starts to cooperate again--I've been having issues with uploading photos and selecting more than one at a time to insert into the post.  When I start getting into longer posts, that's going to get really annoying!)

March 13, 2011

st. thomas: day 1

Last Sunday before 4am we were awake and headed to the airport to start our spring break adventure.  My parents, brother, boyfriend and I crammed in the car with our bags and headed to the airport.  Our flight left at 6am for Chicago and from there we'd head down to the Caribbean.  My parents had a direct flight and spent considerably less time in transit, but they still had to wake up and take us to our early plane, and they got to St. Thomas ahead of us to pick up the rental car.  They took us to our house for the week--practically a palace compared to the surrounding residences (the place belongs to a friend of a friend of my dad's, who happens to be a pretty wealthy real estate guy.  We got lucky)--and we had a drink before heading out for happy hour/dinner.  After tacos and pineapple and rum drinks, we went back home to swim in the pool or whatever.  I actually ended up drinking more than I should have and getting sick on the first night (I hadn't eaten much all day and they make the drinks stronger there, it turns out) which wasn't pleasant (and neither was the next morning).  Fortunately, I learned my lesson and didn't have that problem again for the rest of the week.
There weren't many great photos from the first day, but there are a few to illustrate the course of events anyway.
I was done with this book shortly into the second flight (I was rereading it anyway).  I followed it up with another Vonnegut book...and another...

March 1, 2011

quadcam, first roll

Just got to see the scans from the first roll through my quadcam (this post) and they actually sort of exceed my expectations.  Being a toy camera, I wasn't sure of its capabilities in low light, but with 400 film it didn't do too badly!  I look forward to using it during the spring and summer for more color and all that good stuff.  

new england

I read a short story in Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House last night before falling asleep on the couch that reminded me wonderfully of the days I spent in New England a few summers ago.  The story, entitled Where I Live, was set on Cape Cod.  Although I think I prefer the south, I tend to love all coastal places and today I went through the Facebook album I'd created from my trip up north.  My photography was a bit different then (August 2009), but the photos, especially as a cohesive album, brought me smiles (and further excitement for my trip to a coastal location in a few short days!)

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