20 days in paradise, part 2

Travel discussion for St. John
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20 days in paradise, part 2

Post by liamsaunt »

Day 3, continued

We stopped at Starfish to provision up for the villa. Overall, prices are not that bad here (EXCEPT for the bag of terra chips that I threw in the cart without checking: I later noticed that they were $9!!!! $9 for potato chips!! ACK!!) I was so excited because they had tons of Josephine's greens in stock. We bought four bags, I think.

I had arranged in advance to have mixology deliver four cases of water and some wine and beer to Tarn. That turned out to be a very convenient decision, and I would recommend this highly. The owner of mixology was actually at the villa when we arrived. I asked him about his contest for the business, but he seemed kind of sensitive about it, I'm not sure why.

Walking in to Cinnamon Tarn felt like coming home. It was just as amazing as last year. I laughed when I noticed that all of the books I left here last year were gone, except for "Love by the Glass." The views here are amazing:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544914687/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1080/544 ... 784020.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="tarn rail view"></a>

After unpacking we headed down to Francis for a snorkel:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543360327/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1382/543 ... db29e0.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="francis bay view"></a>

There was a large group by the entrance to the beach getting their groove on, so we walked further down and headed in to the water. It was a little murky, so visibility was not the greatest, but we found a small barracuda right away. After that, it was a whole lot of nothing until we found a medium sea turtle. He was not too interested in sticking around though, so we decided to head in. (no picture of the turtle-it was too murky). Getting out of the water was interesting-the no see ums were out in force!!

Back to the Tarn for dinner: Grilled pepper-jack stuffed chicken with chipotle BBQ sauce, corn on the cob, mac and cheese, and josephine's salad greens. Then star gazing, booktime, and bed.

Day 4

BIRD OF DOOM (pearly eyed thrasher) woke me up at 4:30 AM, but I was able to get back to sleep. We slept until about 8 AM, then had breakfast on the screened terrace:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544914673/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1011/544 ... bb544e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="tarn gallery"></a>

The landscapers showed up with their buzzy saws so we raced to get the jeep loaded and get out of there. Off to Hawksnest:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543263410/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1432/543 ... ccfdec.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="hawksnest"></a>

It was not too crowded when we arrived (though someone set up right next to us, GRRR!!!). Guess who we saw at the beach? It's my St. John celebrity sighting! Look:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543351229/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1439/543 ... 9ce40e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="bongo boys"></a>

They were filming so we did not talk to them. However, John spent the rest of the morning talking like them! Hi guys! Love your website! I'm sure everyone already reads it, but just in case not, here is a link: http://www.on-stjohn.com

Snorkeling is pretty good at Hawksnest. We found some elkhorns in good shape, and brain corals. A ray with a jack:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/547390416/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1180/547 ... 19bd87.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="hawknestjack"></a>

Best spotting was two lobsters: one in the open, one hiding under a big elkhorn:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544766346/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1235/544 ... 669ef4.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="hawksnest lobster 2"></a>

Lunch today was at Miss Lucys:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544769620/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1321/544 ... 18df0c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="miss lucys"></a>

I love their crunchy fish. It came with all the sides: rice and peas, sweet potatoes, fried plantains, fungi, saut&eacute;ed summer squash. John had the Friis Bay platter, which is all of that plus a conch fritter and a coconut shrimp:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/547390444/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1169/547 ... 7d4964.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="miss lucys"></a>

After lunch we went to Cinnamon Bay:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543353899/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1195/543 ... c81fb1.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="cinnamon bay 2"></a>

We snorkeled out to the Cay-wow, the current was strong! Best sighting: a large spotted drum! John wanted to take the picture so I gave him the camera, but he took too long and it went back under a ledge. Boo!! No more camera for John. We hung around but it did not come out. Other sightings included mackerel, huge amounts of fry, and coral in good shape. By the time we got back to shore I was pretty tired from the current, so we just hung out in the water a while and then headed back to Tarn for dinner. Grilled shrimp:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543261894/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1145/543 ... c14c9c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="grilled shrimp"></a>

on a bed of Josephine's arugula:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544766476/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1010/544 ... c7635e.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="josephines greens"></a>

with grape tomatoes, pecans, and a balsamic dressing. Another early bedtime.

Day 5

Today we slept in and got a slow start, leaving the villa around 10 AM. Today was Waterlemon day. The Annaberg lot was full when we arrived, but everyone must have been up at the ruins, because there weren't many people on the hike out or in the water.
Leinster Bay:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544766492/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1305/544 ... 17b5c8.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="leinster"></a>

Approaching the cay, we found a small turtle:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544917513/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1255/544 ... e3771a.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="waterlemon turtle"></a>

We hung with it for a while until a group came up to see it and a woman in the party body checked John to get a better picture. O-kay. For the rest of the trip we referred to the incident as "turtle rage." We started around the cay but that group showed up again, splashing everywhere and shouting to each other, so we pulled back and treaded water for 10 minutes to let them go out of our range. After that, the snorkel was great. Unlike last year, there was no current, so the snorkel was easy and very enjoyable. The coral looked great.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544914801/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1220/544 ... 9e830c.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="waterlemon coral"></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544914897/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1018/544 ... 1a8417.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="waterlemon coral and fish"></a>

There weren't as many fish as prior snorkels here, but we still found a good variety, including princess parrotfish, some grouper, damselfish, more mackerel, etc. At the end of the snorkel we found the starfish forest:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544917473/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1019/544 ... f13c19.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="waterlemon stars"></a>

This was the first time all of the starfish were around for us. It was really cool. Cooler still, however, was the spotted eagle ray we found while snorkeling back to the beach!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/544917433/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1349/544 ... 3c1340.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="waterlemon eagle ray 2"></a>

We had planned to shower and change at Cinnamon but there was no parking so we just used the changing stalls at Hawsknest (NOT the bathrooms, those bathrooms are sooo ooky!). Lunch was at the Balcony. Balcony view:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543351209/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1405/543 ... d3eefd.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="balcony view"></a>

The waitress was really unfriendly, and the wine was totally overpriced, but the view was good. The food was good too. We both had sandwiches; John had jerked chicken and I had an open faced chicken with brie, apples, and honey mustard. (John's was better). After lunch we stopped into St. John Spice to buy some bug spray and say hi to Ruth but she was not around.

PSA for the Women of the Forum: Do NOT, whatever you do, use Jergen's natural glow face moisturizer before or during your trip!! I used this stuff and the mosquitoes loved me! They bit me all over my face, only on my face. I swear I looked like I was back in high school and needing the stri-dex! Take it from me, don't use this stuff. Ruth had bug patches that helped, FYI (John said they made me smell like gerbil food, but that was a trade off I was willing to make).

Back to Tarn for dinner, and the first fufu drink of the trip: amaretto margaritas!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543351183/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1133/543 ... 7bb55f.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="amaretto margarita"></a>

Dinner was mini crab cakes with chipotle aioli on a bed of Josephine's arugula:

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/28539958@N00/543353923/" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1420/543 ... 5a11a7.jpg" width="500" height="375" alt="crab cakes"></a>

Next installment: The Tainos ate my camera!
It's like looking in your soup and finding a whole different alphabet.
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Post by PA Girl »

John said they made me smell like gerbil food - too funny.

Your villa cooking rocks! Did you take the crab and shrimp along with you or was it available at Starfish?

I can relate to the chip prices. My husband used to run through the store without looking at the prices and would come back with tons of stuff that we didn't eat - like $8 boxes of water crackers. He is no longer allowed to go unsupervised.
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Post by mbw1024 »

I'm soooooooooo hungry now! Great report and pictures!

Turtle rage..... too funny! What is wrong with people?

Post by obsessedmuch »

Great, great installment! Can you please come on my next trip and cook?! I'm SO impressed and it makes the big packing totally seem logical! :)
Your pics are great, too. Thanks!
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Post by SusanNJ »

Terrific trip report so far!! Cannot wait for the rest. Thank you sooooo much for the advise about the Jergen's face moisturizer. I use that all the time - I guess I won't use it when I go back to St. John!

Thanks again :D
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Post by Ksea »

All the food scenery was amazing...as well as the nature pics. Thanks again!
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Post by flip-flop »

Great report! Great looking food! Yum.
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Post by AnyTing »

I am really enjoying this so far! The photos, the descriptions, the FOOD!
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Post by waterguy »

Great report do you need a cabana boy for your next trip I won't eat to much.
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Post by Teresa_Rae »

I've looked into staying at Cinnamon Tarn but I've always found that I need a/c (at least in the bedrooms)...do you do ok without a/c anywhere you stay on STJ, or is Cinnamon Tarn actually more tolerable than other places?
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Post by robncindi »

Great report and pictures!! And the villa dinners....yummy yummy!! Cinnamon Tarn is one of the villas we have on our list for future possibilities. It looks absolutely lovely. Thanks for sharing, can't wait for more!
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Post by liamsaunt »

Teresa_Rae wrote:I've looked into staying at Cinnamon Tarn but I've always found that I need a/c (at least in the bedrooms)...do you do ok without a/c anywhere you stay on STJ, or is Cinnamon Tarn actually more tolerable than other places?
I think I would definitely need AC almost anywhere on St. John, except Catherineberg. It is about 10 degrees cooler up there. Plus, the house is really well designed for airflow, there are tons of ceiling fans, and all the windows are louvered so you can leave them open all night. Last year we bought a couple of table top fans for the house, and we place those on opposite sides of the bed for extra air circulation. It really was cool enough--so much so that we slept with a comforter on. We actually thought it was cooler inside Tarn without AC than it was in Argonauta (Contant Point) with the central air operating. It's an awesome house, you should try it (unless you are going down the same time as me--then it is a terrible house and you definitely should not stay there! :wink: )

I don't know how to do multiple quotes so...

PA Girl, we brought the shrimp and crab with us, along with some other stuff. I did see shrimp for sale at Starfish, but I don't remember seeing crab. I was really skeptical about bringing the cooler with us, but it ended up working out well, and the empty cooler was great for bringing back duty free! :D

waterguy, cabana boy, heh heh! John might agree if you offered to help with the dishes too. :wink:
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Post by Maggy »

Great report and wonderful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

I love the picture of the Eagle Ray - aren't they just beautiful?
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Post by lpowmacback »

Fantastic photos!!!!!! :D

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Post by Kentuckygirl »

I love your reports and pics! I'm looking forward to more! I'd like to stay at Cinnamon Tarn too. I have it saved in my favorites. I love those views!
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