destination, sea
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Island Hopping: U.S. Virgin Islands

My best friend Morgan just moved to St. Thomas. From Chicago. Big change.

Her and boyfriend are blessed with the ability to uproot at whim and transplant wherever their hearts desire (in some sense of the phrase) because their jobs are computer/internet based. Of course not everything has the glamorous appeal that it may seem, they definitely face similar job related struggles that many independent contractors do. But for the next year, they get to experience the Caribbean in the U.S. Virgin Islands. So naturally, after just giving them about a week to settle in, I had to island hop over to pay a visit.

At the same time that Tropical Storm Erika was making her devastatingly drunken path up the Antilles.

So as we prepped for her demise of the USVI, we watched from their balcony overlooking Red Hook bay and St. John to see….. pretty  much nothing. No rain, just lots of wind. Lots of scary wind, but that’s all. St. Croix and Dominica seemed to take the brute of the hit, while we confined ourselves indoors, afraid to venture too far from home on foot and get caught in the torrential downpour that was expected.
But alas, the sun came out and all was well and good for St. Thomas. So we explored the area, soaking up the sun and shade at a couple different beaches, trying some of the specialty cuisine nearby and certainly not passing up the chance to eat a funnel cake — something I cannot seem to find ANYWHERE in Puerto Rico, despite the fact that it would pair well with all the other fried food that locals cannot get enough of.
We also ventured over to St. John, a quick and cheap ferry ride to explore the less touristy, more residential island. We hiked a couple trails in the national park route, ending up at two relatively deserted beaches where we spent the whole morning and afternoon. Snorkeling the shoreline, I saw so many large parrotfish that seem to not exist in PR. We laid in the white sand and clear, beautiful reflecting waves of turquoise waters. We watched sailboats pass, and shared hours of pure joy at the life we are blessed with. Being present.
Hiking back to the ferry landing, we grabbed some lunch and made our short boat ride back to their home at the top of the hills. Four days had quickly passed, but we were all able to see a little bit more of an area we had never been. Sunday morning brought me a 15 minute flight back to San Juan, and brought them another week of settling into their new home. I’m so thankful we live close again, something Morgan and I haven’t experienced since we graduated from high school about 10 years ago. Wow, does time fly. Memories have been made over those years, but I’m very excited about all the ones that lie ahead of us in the Caribbean.
This entry was posted in: destination, sea


Chelsea is a marine scientist in Puerto Rico. Her interests include invasive species ecology, fish biology and ecology and marine protected area management. She is a co-founder of the only field course coordination company in Puerto Rico - Isla Mar Research Expeditions.

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