An Impossible Shade of Blue (Trip Report, Day 8)

Travel discussion for St. John
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An Impossible Shade of Blue (Trip Report, Day 8)

Post by ifloat »


Posting a trip report is an act of finality. When you write those words, you are recalling moments of joy and wonder and perfect peace. The story unfolds, and passes, and has an ending because it is told in chronological order.

But what if we could hold on to those moments...refuse to follow linear time and acknowledge its passing? Perhaps by telling the story in reverse chronological order, we can develop a false sense of anterograde amnesia, like the main character in the Christopher Nolan film MEMENTO. At least on paper, we can remain in STJ forever...

This is the STJ image I will always keep in my mind. For one week, I was a leaf on the wind. Floating passively over a coral reef, letting the will of wind and water decide my direction.


She ignored us for the first few minutes and barked at our suitcases, as we knew she would. This was followed by a round of happy sniffs and wiggles. I missed my dog terribly and was glad to be back home with her.

The drive home from O'Hare was fairly uneventful, for all I know M was whispering "Keep right, keep right" somewhere deep in his head.

The whole flying and making the connection in Philly thing was fairly uneventful this time. The line for food in the STT airport was long and slow.

The taxi driver who picked us up from the CA ferry dock tried to kill us by crossing a double yellow line to pass and almost not making it. We tipped him, just to say thanks for that one last terrifying jolt of adrenaline.

On the ferry we met a girl who was drinking at the table next to us at Skinny's on St. Patricks Day. We compared painful memories of the Shamrock Bushwhackers.

Don't look back...don't look back....I looked back.


We gave our bags to the ferryman and he strongly suggested that we give him a tip. Nothing left for it but to get on the ferry.

Moments before it was time to board, the nice saleslady from Jewels showed up on the dock with M's watch. It was her day off, but she came in just to make sure my husband got his item before we left the island.


N wrote a message in the sand for her coworkers. I wrote WOW and a frowny face, to illustrate my Walk of Woe. The tides took it quickly, the curl and eddy, swirl and flow washing away my message as it has so many others before, and depositing it in some watery vault known only to the sea.

Here, A expresses her own personal remorse.


The ferryman kept urging us to give him our luggage by yelling CHARLOTTE AMALIE and pointing at the ferry, but we just weren't ready to admit it was time to go, and so we sat off to the side in the shade, looking out at the water.


We returned the Jeep to St. John Car Rental. They didn't say anything about the sand, but there was a charge because the gas tank was slightly less than full.

We arrived early in the morning at Jewels to meet the Manager, and knocked on the door, but there was no one inside. We sat and waited for about an hour. Time was running out. It was 9:45 and the store was supposed to open to the public in 15 minutes, but we couldn't wait any longer. We told the nice sales lady who had also arrived that we'd be at the ferry dock until 11:15 if they wanted to try and find us there with the merchandise.

The Centerline Road drive no longer elicited involuntary shrieks and gasps and other types of utterances. Instead, we amused ourselves by watching the terrified faces of the passengers in the cars going east, who must have been in the first few days of their vacation, and we tried not to laugh too hard, having been in their position just a few short days ago.

The lady who runs Keep Me Posted was late to open the shop, but eventually she arrived and even put a new print cartridge in so our boarding passes would look all spiffy.

One last trip down Seagrape Hill. The little death defying brindle-y dog gave us the day off. Goodbye donkies.


Goodbye goats.


The Jeep is packed, and I silently thank Mr. & Mrs. Saltydog for sharing their home with us.

We forage for food in the frig, and gather up the trash.

While I am collecting up the last of my things, I ask the girls how they are feeling this morning. The Wreck of the Sadie Sea was traumatic for both of them. N was seasick, and A was frightened jumping off the ship into the dinghy to transfer to the rescue boat. The explosion jarred their nerves a bit, too.

***Edited to assure everyone that it was just a bang and some engine trouble, all handled professionally and everyone was fine.***

While I brush my teeth, I take stock of my journey. I arrived here with some small hopes held gently in my mind, and reveled in the quiet satisfaction of days well spent.
Donkeys. Check.
Goats. Check.
Iguanas. Check.
Mongooses. Check.
Turtles. Check
Stingrays. Check
Lots and lots of different fish and marine life. Check.
New birds for my list. Check.
Drinking a girly drink. Check.
Becoming a better snorkeler. Check.
Being a speck on Trunk Bay beach, as seen from the overlook. Check.
Quality family time. Check.
Most important, seeing that impossible shade of blue. Double Check.

I'm awake, but I'm trying not to open my eyes. If I open my eyes, it will be an admission that the sun is rising and we'll be leaving Bo Atabey in an hour to creep across the spine of the Rock, on our way home. I reach out with all of my senses, melting into the amazing comfortable bed, timing my breath with the mild breezes that stir the twigs and quiver the leaves on the hillside, eavesdropping as the frogs bid each other good morning, smiling at the complaining of the bananaquits as they begin to peer in the windows to impatiently inquire why the table service is so slow today...and I open my eyes and gaze past the curve of my husband's neck to look past him, out to the water of Coral Bay Harbor. I could stay in this moment forever.


(Having failed to reverse the arrow of time, future installments of my trip report will be done in forward order.)
Last edited by ifloat on Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by pswlrw »

Just beautiful! Thanks.

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Post by bevm »

If you aren't a writer ifloat you should be...Fantastic reading. Glad you all had a great trip....Time to start planning the next one!
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Post by lprof »

:) This morning I had wondered if you were home, wondered when the trip report would be done...a few minutes ago I sat down, and there was the first...really the last...even better than I expected.
Your fix will be writing-for now...then maybe a new trip plan; I am very eagerly looking forward to the other days' reports because you don't disappoint with your style, and I am ever so glad that St John didn't disappoint you as we all knew it wouldn't.
Now...I am going to reread and enjoy again; thanks so much.!
... no longer a stranger to paradise
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Post by Joshie »

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Post by kjguye »

Great read I feel your pain and I havn't even been to STJ yet. Hurry and fill in the part about the boat craziness. I couldn't make much sense of it but my curiosity is peaked! Soon to be one of those freaked out faces in a rental jeep heading east,Karen
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Post by byado18 »

What lyrical writing! Thanks for sharing...can wait to read more! :)
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Post by Ali »

Awesome start erhh...end? :roll:

Looking forward to the rest in any order. Glad you "go it" and had a ball!
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Post by Wakey »

Wow, well done!

Another outstanding addition to this forum! :D
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Post by mindehankins »

Great reading! I'm worried about the boat story, though I shouldn't be because obviously you're home and fine. Glad you're all okay!

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Post by mickyb »

For those of us that have moved here, what a great read. We have felt those same things and it is good for us.
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Post by greyhoundmom »

The most expressive, poignant first time trip report I've read in a long time! Gives new meaning to the term, "I get it!" Looking forward to future installments........
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Post by msgcolleen »

Great first, uh I mean last day report! I so felt your pain having to get on the ferry with that last look back. . .

The good thing is more trip reports to come!

Thanks! :wink:
I've got 2 tickets to paradise~Pack your bags we'll leave tonight!

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Post by Pianogrl »

GREAT trip report & pics! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us!
Looking forward to "the rest of the story"!
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