Boy Oh Boy, Adventures In St. Croix

I like to relax on vacation as much as the next person, but I also like to have fun and make memories. I typically curate a list of things I want to accomplish before traveling somewhere new (I made similar lists for our trips to Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, and Nashville) and St. Croix was no exception. The main items I wanted to check off my list were:

  • watch the sunrise on the eastern-most point of the U.S., Point Udall
  • snorkel the underwater trail of the Buck Island National Monument (swim with a sea turtle)
  • kayak at night in the bioluminescent bay
  • take an ATV tour through the jungle followed by some jet skiing
  • tour at least one of the island’s distilleries (Cruzan or Captain Morgan) and learn about the island’s history from a different perspective
  • see the beer drinking pigs at the Mt. Pellier Domino Club

The first full day we were on the island we sat down together to plan out our week of adventures. I reached out to Sea Thru Kayaks for their bioluminescence kayaking tour and was informed that they were booked solid for three weeks! The guy asked if we’d like to be added to the waitlist and reluctantly agreed thinking it was a lost cause. After calling two other tour companies I started to see a pattern; three weeks was the standard.

After giving up on the thought of seeing bioluminescence on this trip I turned my focus to chartering a boat to take over to Buck Island. Unfortunately we were met with the same response from the different chartering services: it would be three weeks before they had any availability. I was determined to find a way to get to Buck Island and figured there had to be an option at the marina right next door and as luck would have it I found a tour that had to be arranged via phone call (thank you old school business practices!). I called up Captain Heinz and he offered us a charter aboard his trimaran complete with snorkeling and some beach time–exactly what we were looking for.

Luckily we were able to secure a reservation with Gecko Island Adventures for the AVT/jet ski excursion by booking through their website with no issue. And because night kayaking was (we thought at the time) a no-go, we decided to book a zip lining excursion with Carambola Zip Line, but as fate would have it, we received a last minute invitation for the bioluminescence kayaking excursion a few days into our trip and ended up doing both!

Our first excursion was the Buck Island charter. After about an hour sailing against the wind out to the island, we anchored just off the east coast and snorkeled part of the underwater trail which consisted of informative plaques dispersed on the sea floor that can been read from the surface educating snorkelers of the surrounding wildlife including the different varieties of coral and fish. Though the concept is pretty cool, the execution of the underwater trail was not the greatest. I stumbled on my first plaque that talked about barracuda (of which I came uncomfortably close to swimming alongside not long after spotting the placard) and then a random number 8 plaque tucked in some coral followed by the ‘Trailhead’ sign. There were no directional signs, so instead of a trail per se, I viewed it more of a scavenger hunt while focusing most of my gaze on the different species of fish and reef.

After our fill of snorkeling we sailed over to the western side of the island and were presented with three options: enjoy the beach, hike to the highest point of the island to get a good view, or venture to the north side of the island to search for baby sharks (doo doo doo doo doo doo). We opted for the baby shark (doo doo doo doo doo doo) option [I’ll stop now]. It took a little bit of off-the-beaten-path exploration, but we found a lagoon and spotted a handful of baby sharks! We then went back to the beach and spent the rest of our time diving off the boat and cooling off in the water.

We spent the following day relaxing (because who knew how exhausting snorkeling, shark hunting, and sailing were?!). We made our way out to Frederiksted (the other town on the island) to explore some more and enjoy some beach time at Country Club beach. While standing in line at a food truck I received a call asking if we were still interested in the bioluminescence kayaking tour. I may or may not have squealed before graciously accepting the offer. Unfortunately our beach day was cut short, but for the absolute best reason.

If you have never experienced bioluminescence before you need to add it to the top of your bucket list pronto. In simplest terms: it is real life magic; we literally felt like we were in a Disney movie. The best part of touring with Sea Thru Kayaks is that they do in fact have 100% see-through kayaks which makes the experience all the more immersive. If you are unaware, bioluminescence are microorganisms that when touched/moved give off a temporary glow, so the kayak moving through the water and the paddles touching would cause the surrounding water to light up. There were also bioluminescent jelly fish that would sporadically light up like lightbulbs. My only wish is that I could have taken a video of our experience, but bioluminescence is essentially not photographable (unless you have professional equipment and even then you can’t quite capture the beauty), but my memory of the experience is one that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

Next on our itinerary of adventure was an ATV tour of the jungle followed by some jet skiing. When we booked with Gecko Island Adventures we chose what they refer to as the “Land and Sea” package which included a 1 hour guided AVT tour, a 1 hour jet ski rental, followed by a reservation for 2 chairs and an umbrella for the rest of the day at Rainbow Beach. Neither of us had ridden 4-wheelers before, so we were both pretty intimidated, but before we headed into the jungle we had a trial period of driving on the roadway to get used to the controls. This experience is definitely not for the faint of heart nor is it for trepidatious drivers. Once we got to the interior of the island the trails became extremely treacherous with 2ft deep puddles you have to blindly navigate through as well as washouts that formed gullies that you had to straddle with the ATV and maneuver very precisely to prevent from rolling over. My husband rode passenger for the entire ride because he was nursing a wrist injury–plus I literally drive for a living and am slightly more comfortable with navigating motor vehicles in uncommon spaces. With all that said this was one of the best ways to explore the island and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Fella and I had gone jet skiing one other time before (during our honeymoon in Belize) and this time was just as fun. In fact this time we may have had a little too much fun because our need for speed resulted in us being thrown off. Ooops! We rounded out the day in our beach chairs huddled under the shade of the umbrella and people watched because boy, was there a shmorgishborg. Rainbow Beach is about 100 yards long and is tightly situated between the water and the roadway, and as I eluded to in my previous post, this was one of only a handful of beaches that wasn’t overrun with coral and/or sea urchins or closed due to nesting turtles which made it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The beach was densely populated and there were multiple types of music playing on speakers all within earshot, so if you prefer a calmer vibe, I would steer clear of Rainbow Beach.

Our final excursion was zipling. The company is only a few months old so they don’t have a physical location they are based out of. We met up with the tour group by spotting their humvee-styled truck on the side of the road close to the GPS destination provided. The zip course itself was only 3 lines long with the second line being over a half a mile long (the longest line we’ve ever done). We’ve ziplined a handful of times together and each time has been very different experiences–including this one, but in a less-than-exciting way. The harnesses they use make it so you’re essentially in a swing with a seat and a backrest. You can’t spin on the line and starting and stopping are done for you so you’re just there for the ride, which for some most is ideal, but because we have more experience (and we may be a couple of adrenalin junkies) we felt this particular course was a bit tame. When I mentioned this to one of our guides, he promptly told me how to zip upside-down which made it a tad more thrilling.

In all honesty I could have done without the ziplining excursion, but I believe in fate and I feel I was meant to have this experience for the simple fact that at the meeting spot there was a horse that was tied up to a tree with a long rope (which is pretty common on the island). He had gotten himself so tangled that he couldn’t move. When we returned to our Jeep after the excursion I spent about 10 minutes untangling my new friend from all the overgrowth, sometimes even using my teeth to cut through some of the vines. Once freed from entrapment he went straight to his water trough and had a nice long drink. Good deed done.

The sunrise at Point Udall was nice (I’ve seen better in the mountains where I live), but feel like it’s something you just have to do when you’re on the island to say you’ve done it much like visiting the Mt. Pellier Domino Club’s beer drinking pigs. We tried to see the [non]alcoholic swine, but due to the excessive rainfall, the trail leading to the pigpens was too dangerous and we were unable to see them.

Unfortunately we were unable to tour any of the distilleries on the island since they were closed due to the pandemic, but we did get to spend a few hours hanging out at Leatherback Brewing before our departing flight back home where we had some pretty tasty brews and delicious BBQ chicken pizza.

Even after sharing my experiences from traipsing around the island here are some helpful tips for St. Croix:

  • Bring reef safe sunscreen; yes, it’s a thing! Most sunscreen is not rated reef safe and we humans have eroded the planet enough, don’t you think? The least we can do is use sunscreen that’s not filled with harmful chemicals that could damage the coral. In all honesty the only reason we checked a piece of luggage is so I could bring my 6 bottles of sunscreen (#redheadproblems) and I’m so glad I chose to go that route instead of buying my lotion on the island because their tubes are triple the price!
  • Bring water shoes. Ours came in handy nearly every day we were on the island whether it was required to have closed toe shoes for an excursion, wading out in some of the rocky beaches or just sauntering down the rough sidewalks in downtown Christianstead. Having water shoes for this trip made our lives so much easier.
  • My number one wish when visiting St. Croix was to see and/or swim with a sea turtle and it almost didn’t happen even though we snorkeled nearly every day on our vacation. But we heard on good authority that there was a very high probability of seeing some at the pier in Frederiksted and sure enough on our last full day we went snorkeling at the pier and saw 3 sea turtles along with schools of fish well into the hundreds of thousands if not millions!

Visiting the U.S. Virgin Islands has been on my bucket list since I did a report on them for Geology while I was in college and discovered they have a large population of sea turtles. I’m so glad I was able to cross that off the ever growing list (as well as swim with a sea turtle), but it’s one of those places that I don’t see myself ever returning to. We made the most of our time and have some great memories, but there are thousands of other islands we have yet to explore and explore we will!

Domestic or International…

That was the question.

We woke up at our normal time for a Thursday morning, but instead of heading our separate ways to work, we loaded up the car and made the 2.5 hour drive down to Charlotte International Airport. Upon arrival we followed signs for departure, but had to take a moment to figure out: Are the U.S. Virgin Islands domestic or international?

After acquiring bagels and with negative COVID tests in hand, it was finally happening; we were flying to the island of St. Croix for a one week getaway. 

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B-B-B-B-Bad to the Bone

I went through many phases growing up. As far as my dress code went, my tom-boy adolescence transitioned rather rapidly to gothic once I hit middle school, then skater/punk (in large part due to this boy), then mellowed out quite dramatically into a wild hair, no makeup, tie dye wearing hippy once I was an established high schooler. I was a band geek, an athlete, a skater girl, and often times mistaken for a burnout. But one identity that remained throughout all of my metamorphoses was that I was a motorcycle chick. Continue reading

Pop Quiz

Paul over at The Captain’s Speech is a wannabe teacher who, instead of instilling terror in his students, delights his followers with pop quizzes, of which there is no set grading scale. He allots points based on gut feeling and is left with a winner. Here are my answers to this round of questions. T, consider this your challenge.


1. You and a stranger are stuck in an elevator for three hours. After how many minutes would you tell them your name?

Answer: Null. I’m not one to proffer my information to anyone, especially to strangers. I would not initiate such formalities, but if the stranger told me his/her name, I’m not about to respond with, “Oh that’s cool…” Would I give them my real name? Probably not. Usually I tell people that I’m interacting with on a temporary basis to call me Red since that’s the color of my hair and it’s easy for them to remember.

2. You’re the first person to enter the movie theatre. Which seat do you choose and why?

Answer: The movie theaters in my area have one main entrance/exit to the theater, so I choose to sit slightly off center away from the side closest to the entrance and 3-4 rows down from the back. I don’t like when people have to scoot by or even be around me in general and I find that most people will either a) sit in the exact middle or b) sit closest to the end with the entrance/exit because they either i) are too lazy to walk any further or ii) know they will likely need to step out of the theater for whatever reason. I can also easily move down to the center if no one else fills in without making too much commotion.

3. If you were to navigate a giant maze with one celebrity, who would it be and why do you think you’d work well together?

Answer: Mark Ruffalo. He’s silly and if we end up stuck in the maze forever, at least I couldn’t be upset about it; he’s an absolute schmuck! I’m also not physically attracted to him, so I wouldn’t get distracted from the matter at hand. Plus he’s an Avenger, so that means something, right?

4. Eggs can be cooked in many different ways. Pick one and build a meal around it. What is included in that meal?

Answer: Deviled Eggs (without the frills–just the egg and filling) with ribs dripping in sweet, tangy sauce, lightly salted sweet potato fries with marshmallow fluff to dip them in, Mexican street style corn on the cob, and some delectably tart lemon bars for dessert.

5. Select the task you’d be able to complete the fastest and explain why:
A) Blow up (with your mouth) and tie 3 balloons
B) Pop 150 balloons with a thumbtack

Answer: A. Early in my teen years my parents and I were in a motorcycle club. Every fall we would attend a mass gathering of other club chapters at an agreed upon location for a weekend of absolute havoc. In the pandemonium there would be scheduled events such as a talent shows, banquets, a massive scavenger hunt, and relay races. In one such relay race one of the tasks was to race down to one end of the room, blow up and tie a balloon, and then pop it by any means necessary before sprinting back to tag in your teammate to repeat the process. I was surprisingly quick with the blowing up and tying the balloon, but the popping part–not so much. I tried every method I could think of including sitting, stepping, and bear-hugging that damn balloon, but it was essentially impenetrable. I put on such a show for all in attendance that people were doubled over in laughter at my ineptitude at balloon bursting. I can only imagine my struggle with popping 150 of them suckers.

6. Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a talk show hosted by Jerry Seinfeld. Using the same format for the title (Ex. Poodles on Patios Getting Crumbs), what would be the name of your talk show?

Answer: Seahorses in Slippers Drinking Whiskey. The premise would be me interviewing Mr. Mom-type men discussing the changing gender ‘norms’ and their experiences as stay-at-home dads while getting progressively intoxicated, but in a sophisticated manor; think Nanny 911 mixed with Drunk History.

7. Arthur is an animated educational television series for children. What are 5 television shows you watched as a child?

Answer: Rocket Power; CatDog; Rugrats; The Wild Thornberrys; All That

8. Pillows provide support and help keep our upper body aligned during sleep. What is the strangest place you’ve ever fallen asleep? Tell the story, if there is one.

Answer: Inside of a closet inside of a camper. I was invited to go on an all girls camping weekend with my mom and her friends. One of the friends brought her 5th wheel camper and insisted that she would sleep on the sleeper sofa and mom and I can share the bedroom. This was my first experience sleeping with a lawn mower and I just couldn’t take it, so I grabbed as many pillows as I could find and an extra blanket and made myself a nest inside of the closet of the bedroom. Luckily I’m only 5ft 2in so I can fit into a myriad of tight spaces; a 5ftx2ft closet with the door shut is one of them.

9. “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” is a song by the band, Tears for Fears. If you could be in charge of anything, what would it be?

Answer: I would like to be the Chief Executive Inspector for the naming of all nail polishes. If you are uneducated, most nail polish colors are given names most of which are puns pertaining to the color they are. I’ve seen some really great names, but I’ve also seen many that I could have made better.

10. Your closet is a portal to a new “location” (think: wardrobe to Narnia), where does it lead to? What do you see?

Answer: Scene-as you make your way through winter coats and motorcycle gear you are greeted with the smell of a campfire just before you see a towering mountain with a waterfall crescendoing down into a pool of the clearest blue water you’ve ever seen. After taking in the sights, sounds, smells and feeling the slightest chill in the air, you make your way down a well trodden path to a cabin welcoming guests in for some hot chocolate and funnel cake.


1. Please enter the correct 6-digit passcode to successfully escape this quiz.

3-7-2-2-7-3 (escape spelled out T9 style of course)

In Record Time

I need to get something off my chest. I have a drafts folder that I have not peered into for over a year. I’m kind of ashamed, but as you all might have gathered from my previous post, I’ve been a little preoccupied. I typed up this post right after completing our project and only needed to add some pictures before hitting Publish, but that never happened and here we are. Hope you enjoy!

I’m a doer; I like to get things done. But I’m also a planner. I like to have a very detailed plan before I get started on a project, so from beginning to end, the timeline could drag out quite a bit depending on the task at hand–that’s just my style. For those that don’t know, one of my hobbies is flipping furniture and/or home improvement; anything I can do to add my touch to something, I’m all about it. And I think my passion has inspired Fella. Continue reading


Last Christmas 🎵 I gave you my heart 🎵… nope, not where I intended to go with this intro.

Last Christmas my husband gifted me an experience which I’m finding to be my love language. Some girls want sparkly things or shopping sprees. This girl wants adventure! And when it’s presented in a thoughtful way (like a poem!)–even better.

On Christmas morning after opening all my other gifts, my husband handed me my final present. It wasn’t much in terms of presentation as it was a giftwrapped pocket folder, but after ripping open the paper, the front of the folder read: Continue reading

ME Time

Well that was longer than I expected…

I’m referring to my hiatus–what were you thinking!?

It has been so long since I last posted that I didn’t even remember what my last update was. After doing a quick search, I had posted about my internal struggle with receiving my COVID vaccine before… well, before much of anyone else really (that’s what happens when you work for the health department during a pandemic; first dibs and all). So what have I been up to? What has been keeping me away from my blog for all this time? I’ll give you one guess… Continue reading

Moderna Vax: Why Me?

So I got shot… THE shot. The one people are currently demanding… the same people who refuse to wear a mask and think this virus is a hoax. Yes, I got my first dose of the two dose Moderna COVID vaccine and I’m struggling internally asking: why me?

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Quarantine Feast: Bloggers Edition

Welcome! And happy [American] Thanksgiving week!

I was graciously invited to participate this year in a blog-luck(?) by some pretty swell blogging friends. The informal invitation asked that I pick any dish to ‘bring’ to a digital blogger gathering and write a bit about it. I can not tell you how excited I got over the prospect of writing about food. Continue reading

The ‘How To’ No One Asked For

How To: Becoming the Health Department’s Greatest Pain in the Ass During a Pandemic. 

As you may or may not know I work for my local health department. Yes. We’ve been quite busy for the past, oh I don’t know, 9 months what with a global pandemic and all and we’ve had to deal with a lot of crazy. And I mean an absurd amount. Continue reading