Saturday, August 1, 2015

going home

I should say, home already.  I got pretty burned despite pretty diligent use of sunscreen...  It limited my enjoyment of the outdoors a little bit on our last day.  I didn't go out swimming in the AM.  Sam, Em, and Connie went out that AM.

The last night of our trip, we went to Baci Ristorante.  It was our favorite place to eat of this trip.  I realize that I omitted a mention of this place earlier, since we went there on Saturday too.  

And actually, this was a mistake on my part.  Big mistake.  I wanted to go to Coco Bistro (no cut on Baci, which is great).  CB is touted as a fine place to eat (many say the best on the island).  But the restaurants we had gone to have been all empty.  This was the low time of the year for the island.  I thought I would just call the afternoon of our dinner for reservations.  I tried before several days before, but the line was always busy, as it was this day...  So, after a gazillion tries, I get through, but they were full for that day, and the next available was the next day at 9 PM, when we would be at ATL waiting for our flight to SFO.  Boo!  My bad.

Anyway, that last Saturday, we had pizza (no cheese for Em), Conch Ravioli for Sam, and Connie and I both got the Linguini with Seafood.

This is a nice Italian place on the wharf in Turtle Cove, about two blocks from our "villa."

Anyway, we ate there again our last night. Everyone there recognized us.  Maybe because there were very few Asians on the island.  Maybe because I took both the merchant copy and customer copy of the credit card slip. Who knows? Geico knows.

Connie had the same dish, and Emily also had the same cheese-less Pizza.

I had Prawn Fettuccine Alfredo.

Sammie had a pizza with cheese.  Sam only ate half, but Em ate the whole thing both nights!

Always time for dessert, Tiramisu.

So, we got to the airport the AM of departure pretty early.  Sam was hungry and got Cracked Conch at Gilly's, the main only restaurant at PLS.  We went to the upstairs (beyond security), and they have a Gilly's bar, but you could order food, and they'll deliver take out to the upstairs.

The Conch was quite good! 

For a small airport, it was very comfortable!

One other note.  On the 5 hour leg from ATL to SFO, there was a minor medical emergency on the plane; they asked for any doc to come to assist.  So, my nap was interrupted...  Hopefully, the lady is ok.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Em and I went out early on Tuesday.  Early = ~ 830 AM.  Went to the area East of our "villa."  To the three posts, and the abandoned building.  Very close to shore.  Then to the area right by our three kayaks.  About a hundred or so yards out.

We saw:

A Lobster

A Barracuda

I was startled because I was looking at Em, and then I looked the other way, and it was swimming away from me. Here, Dale is pointing at it.

An eel?  Not sure what this is.

Cute little fish.

Dale swimming with a school of little ones.

We were swimming about an hour or a little more, and then got out and we see horses on the beach.

After lunch, Dale went out to snorkel, while Em took a long walk. The others rested in the "villa."  Here is a video of the little stick fish that I found.

After they came out to join us, there was a stingray in the water very close to shore.  Here is a "mistake" video of the shadow moving along the surf. It's just a couple of seconds.

A video of another stingray. I got a little bit too close, I think.

Getting bored with stingrays?

Here is Em jumping.

Penultimate Day

Today is our last full day here.  A quick wrap up of yesterdays events. After a quick breakfast, we got to Taylor Bay (the medium sized, very, very shallow beach) at about 10 AM.  Spent about 2 hours there, doing nothing.  But that is what they wanted.  The ocean is like a huge swimming pool, 3 feet deep for hundreds of feet all around.  Nothing else to do.  

Here is a selfie video @ Taylor Bay:

The beach has fine sand, but there is a rocky surf that one needs to watch for,

There is a pretty narrow beach, not the expansive type,

Rocky cliffs on one side,

Expensive villas with docks on the other,

There are some smaller beachfront villas (by the way, a huge chunk of this beachfront was once owned by Dick Clark),

Basically, nothing to do but this:

We came back to our "villa," had lunch, and then everyone got sleepy.  Except me.  I had a date with the ocean.

A funny shaped fish,

I found a cousin of Kink's.  Cheek is his name.

I saw a tiny turtle.

Later, we went to Garam Masala, Indian cuisine at the Regent, in "town."  Connie's Fish Tandoori.

Em's mixed vegetables

Sam's Prawn Tikka Masala.

My Mixed Grill.

The food was all excellent! Would go there again.  This place would do well anywhere in the world.

Good night.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

More stuff!

Saturday PM after a quick lunch in our 'villa," we went out into surf.  I saw another stingray.  It was resting in the sand.

I looked away for a second, and then it was gone!  I actually saw it slithering about and it got sand over it.  So, it was hidden.  Would never have noticed it.  Can you see it in the picture below?  If you don't, then look at the grass pattern, and look at the corresponding areas. You can see the tail is the only part that is obviously visible.  Some sort of protection, I assume.  Neat!!!

Some blue fish feeding in the shallow reef.

Emily and Sammie doing a selfie. Connie photobombing them.

Emily doing a selfie.

Sunday AM we awoke with anticipation of our Snuba outing.  We met Jodi at the Coral Gardens on Grace Bay, and quickly went through the basics of Snuba.  The three of us were attached to air lines which kept us alive down below.  There were two five foot rafts on the surface which carried all our equipment. This allowed us to maneuver wherever we wanted to go.  The rafts just followed us as we swam underneath.  Jodi was self contained on her Scuba gear.

We saw a bunch of things. We saw three turtles, including two Hawksbills.  Here is a turtle "scratching her back" on an underwater "twig."  Click on any of the pictures to see full definition pics.

Here we are trying to keep up with Timmy the turtle.  Dale is having a really hard time keeping up.  Fast turtle.

Beautiful area.

Here is Emily trying to fly.  Not too bright.  We're underwater.

Sammie let some bubbles come out from her behind.  Emily does the smart thing and tries not to breathe while holding her nose.  Dale is even smarter, and stays away.

We saw a bunch of things.  My camera isn't rated for the depths that we went to, so I didn't bring it.  We saw a forearm sized sea urchin, a couple of huge lobsters inside a coral grotto, a barracuda (actually they saw it; I missed it), and a bunch of little shrimp. Probably a bunch more stuff that the kids will remind me about later (and I will edit this post).

A great experience!

After resting a bit, we went shopping for groceries and supplies at Graceway. Then lunch at Sharkbites, where we had our first meal here.  Connie had two salads, a Conch salad like we had the first day as well as a caesar salad.  Sammie had conch and chips, like I had the first day.  I had a Conch sandwich, below, while Em had the veggie wrap, also seen below in the background.  The conch sandwich was impossible to eat, so I ate the tomato and pickle first, then ate some conch, then put it together with the tarter sauce.  Mmmm.

Afterwards, we went out into Smith's reef again.  

I was in the reef about a hundred yards out from the kayaks at our complex.  A bunch of people were already on the beach, lounging under the umbrellas.  It was windier than the other days, which made for a bit rockier swim.  But it wasn't bad.  The others would join me later.  

I was circling the reef, when I saw a bigger-than-usual movement in my left field of vision. A cute turtle.  This was another Hawksbill, with two tags on her (his?) rear legs.  Toward the end of the video, you can see it going up for air.  This one also got bored with me and sped off, leaving me in the dust. The video quality is ok; just the operator is getting rocked about on the surface.

Here is another flock of blue fish engaging in some weird eating behavior. They would go and eat in a bunch of coral, like mad.  Then, they would swim gracefully to another spot and then repeat their frenzy.

I saw Kink again!

Then, while in the sea grass, I turn to my left, and gasped!  I see a four foot fish.  Barracuda.  Their teeth are pretty sharp and ugly.  Actually, they really aren't that vicious.  Attacks on snorkelers are rare.  Nonetheless, I did NOT try to get a picture of its teeth!  Sorry, but get your own picture.

Sorry for the poor, shaky, video.  Again, my excuse is that the water was very choppy from the wind.  

We were still full from Sharkbites, so we rested in our "villa," afterwards.  I was sleepy and nodded off on the computer, while reading about the dominant Giants!

Tomorrow, the kids want to go back to Taylor Bay.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Quick update on snorkeling Saturday, July 25, 2015

Some downtime in our "villa," so a quick update.

Connie didn't want to get up early, so Sam, Em and I took the 5 minute walk to the beach.  Sam wanted some acclimation to deeper water in preparation for Snuba tomorrow AM.  We went to a couple of the reefs to see the fish.

Wanted to post a pic of the turtle we saw.

Fast turtle.  Not an oxymoron.  In the time I switched to video mode on the camera, it was gone.  

Too bad.

More later.