Picking up from Part 1. Feel free to review it first.
Change day. We move out of our Westin villa and over to Coral Livin’ in Coral Bay. Up early, packed and out by 10. We couldnt check in until 3, but the manager was nice enough to let us put perishables in the fridge. Headed to Saltwell Bottom. The jeep was full of all our stuff so we wanted to have it able to be watched. They have done a good job there with tables and umbrellas, and Ash is a friendly host. It does cost a little to use the stuff, but that’s fine in my book. We snorkeled Pelican Rock. Some nice coral, also some queen angelfish. We stopped at Skinnys for late lunch/early dinner. I’ve seen different reviews of Skinny’s, some of them a little negative on the food, service, no fries, etc. But to me, it’s an institution. It’s proudly stuck in 60s/70s. Some of the music as we ate: American Pie, Imagine, Rocketman, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, The night they Drove Old Dixie Down, Fleetwood Mac, Cat Stevens. Great vibe. Also, it’s one of the few places that still does a Coral Bay pour. The world needs more Skinnys. Back to Villa for the evening. Great view of Coral Bay, very nice villa.
A little overcast – the first of about 3 similar days. It’s also Mother’s Day. Our daughter wanted to take Karen to STT and the Easterly for brunch. Excellent, non-traditional brunch. Mussels are excellent. Check it out for lunch or dinner – it’s owned and run by the same people as the Longboard. Back to STJ and a quick drink at Joes, followed by a visit with our daughter at her house, followed by drive back to villa and some (probably not needed) burgers for dinner.
Overcast again. We made a snap decision at 7:30 to go to Salt Pond. Arrived 8:15. Hiked Ram Head, back around 10. I, for one was glad it was overcast. But I was thinking that if my retirement plan of Views and Brews over in Cruz Bay doesn’t work out, I could use the same concept by opening a cold beer stand on Ram Head. I bet I’d make a killing. We snorkeled the east side of Salt Pond. It was an OK snorkel. Saw turtle, porcupinefish, couple of Nassau groupers, red hinds, cowfish, Spanish hogfish and a small permit. Back to the beach around noon. It was getting busy – 80-100 people on beach/water, 4 tents, 1 umbrella. Decided to go to Grootpan, but it was too rough to snorkel, at least for us. Had a beer then back to villa. Went to dinner at Rhumb lines. It was very good. Sesame tuna in Schezuan sauce really good.
Overcast again. We had a little later start, leaving around 9. We went to the Haulovers. North Haulover was full of sargassum and pretty rough. Not snorkelable for us. South Haulover was pretty calm. Went snorkeling and it was very good. We were lucky enough to have a nurse shark swimming near to us. Usually they just cruise on by, but his one found something under a rock and spent about 30 seconds trying to get it out before heading out. That’s the longest we’ve seen a shark. Also saw some squid, queen angelfish, French angelfish and a trumpetfish. Also, theres some really nice soft coral. Stopped for a drink at the Salty Mongoose, then back to villa for dinner
Decided to do Waterlemon. Out early and on the beach by 9. Nobody else on the beach until at least 10. We did a 2 hour snorkel, including the Cay. It was a little windy but doable. We saw a couple of huge barracuda (one around 4 feet, the other closer to 5), turtle, angelfish, cowfish, blennies, trunkfish. Also saw a porcupinefish from the beach, and also a 4 foot nurse shark took a couple of passes very close to the beach. Met up with friends and went to the Salty Mongoose for trivia and pizza. There’s a trivia competition every Wednesday to benefit a local charity. It’s a lot of fun. We won the contest, and the pizza was good. Give it a shot if you have the time.
Time getting short. Our daughter had stayed with us in Coral Bay, and we decided on Lameshure again. My wife and daughter had a beach day, I went snorkeling Great Lameshure. I made the entry from half way down Yawzi Point. There’s a little cove there that you can get entry. It’s pretty tricky enter and exit, and there are some sea urchins around, so be careful if you do it. I mostly snorkeled the East side. Saw some turtles on the way over. Also saw barracuda, porcupinefish, French angelfish, queen trigger, and a Hawksbill turtle – first I’ve seen in years. Really nice snorkel – even although I only went half way out. Went back to the villa and cleaned up, then met friends at the Windmill for sunset. Arrived in plenty of time. If you’re gonna go, I’d say don’t leave it much later than 5. The sunset was very nice, but no green flash, which I had been hoping for. Then went to Longboard for dinner – excellent as always.
Last full day. We cooked breakfast – gotta get rid of the food. Since Karen hadn’t done the Great Lameshure snorkel, and I wanted to go all the way out, we decided to go back. We were the only people on the beach all day until 2. Very good snorkeling – we saw scrawled cowfish, 3 queen triggers, Spanish hogfish, porcupinefish, huge barracuda (again 4-5 feet) with school of smaller ones (well over 100 fish). Very cool. Since we were in the area, we decided to go to Grootpan. It wasnt nearly as good as last year, although a hawksbill turtle was there (maybe the same one I saw in Lameshure yesterday?). Then back to villa to pack. Got dinner from Dave’s Homemade Meals to go next to Salty Mongoose. Very good food and excellent value. I’d go back in a heartbeat. Then packing – booked the 8am ferry for tomorrow
Out by 7, and over to the car barge. Got there a little before 7:30, and there were already about 20 cars in line. Easily got on to the ferry though – didn’t need our reservation, although I remain glad I got it. Over to Red Hook by 8:45. We had an early flight at 1:15, so still plenty of time. We got breakfast at Hook’d in Red Hook, nicely bookending our vacation. It was pretty good. Off to airport. They say give yourself 3 hours, but I suspected that 10 might be early. It was – we were through everything in 30 mins. Better safe than sorry, though. So now I’m sitting in 31D at 38000 feet typing his report while heading for Atlanta and on to Rochester. In keeping with the Skinny’s theme, my arms and legs are reminding me of Procol Harum from applying 2 weeks worth of zinc-based reef safe sunscreen. But as always, had a great time on the rock, and looking forward to returning next year. I will post pictures once I’ve processed them – I’ll post a link. Hope this entertained and helped. Let me know any questions