Saturday, March 30, 2013

Caribbean Catamaran Cruise - Day 9

Sadly, we were nearing the end of our time on the VIP ONE.  Friday would be our last full day on the boat.  
We wanted to do one more dive so David arranged for a diving company to come pick us up from our boat.  A speed boat pulled up next to the catamaran and we climbed aboard.  As we sped away from the catamaran we made the realization of how different this second dive was from the first.  The crew - 4 French men - did not ask to see our dive cards or didn't have us fill out a waiver form like the last company did.  We realized that we had no idea where we were going - what exactly we were seeing - and that we were on a boat with a bunch of strangers without our passports!  It made us a little nervous but we knew David wouldn't put us in any compromising situations. 

It was interesting.  We ended up back at Ile Fourchue.  We had taken 2 days to sail from Ile Fourchue to our last anchoring in Gouverneurs bay.  On the speedboat it took us 30 minutes to make the return trip.  It just goes to show how close together things in this area are.  We suited up and prepared for our one tank dive.

Even though the experience was different in many ways from our first dive at the beginning of the trip (steel tanks, different water entries, etc.) - this turned out to be my favorite dive.  The dive masters were great and the wildlife was abundant.  It was like being in another world.

This is a video of the dive master sneaking up on a ray. 

And finally!!  Dreams really do come true.  Jason caught a lobster with his bare (gloved) hands.  Too bad we were in a protected area so he couldn't take it home for dinner!  Wes was filming but also got his chance to grab the lobster.

Our new diving friends returned us to the VIP ONE safe and sound.  Next on the docket - David wanted to take us to his favorite bay in St. Barths - St. Jean's Bay.
It was paradise.  Crystal clear turquoise water, white sandy beaches.  It's no wonder it is considered one of the most beautiful and elite beaches in the Caribbean.  
This is Eden Rock - one of the top 100 hotels in the world.  It costs several hundreds to thousands of dollars just to stay one night.
Side note:  After we returned home, we received the new J. Crew catalog in the mail and guess what was on the front cover?!  Click here to see an entire feature on this exact area where we spent the afternoon.
The landing strip on St. Barths - even more scary than the one on St. Martin.  Only small planes can land here and the pilots have to be specially licensed.  We were in the perfect position to watch the planes land and take off all afternoon.
No wonder this is David's favorite bay!

We had a yummy pasta lunch and then headed to shore.  We landed on Nikki beach and decided to wander around.  Once again - we found ourselves among nudists. 

Our time in St. Jean's bay had come to an end.  We pulled up anchor and sailed back to Ile Fourchue for the night.  As the sun was setting - we decided to take some group photos.
The entire goup:
Alena kept jumping on the trampoline.  Fortunately she held still long enough to get at least one photo.
We decided to take a turn jumping too!
And my monkey husband couldn't keep from climbing.
Then Wes and Matt decided to toss a sandal.

Wait...time out...
...time for stretches.
More pictures.  The ladies:

The guys:
Wes and David took this picture together because they thought they kind of looked like each other.  I thought that same thing when we boarded the boat - they are both small, lean, athletic with short hair and defined facial features.
David climbed the lines (he told us on a sailboat - they are not called "ropes," they are called "lines").
So Wes climbed the lines.

Reid climbed the lines and his sunglasses accidentally fell into the water.  We all started screaming and yelling for someone to dive in to retrieve them.  All of a sudden David did a swan dive over the edge of the boat and emerged from the water with the glasses!

The guys climbed up into sails.

We relaxed on the boat and played around while the sun slowly set in the West.

We enjoyed our last dinner and played one last dice game.  After dinner David presented us each with a gift.  To each woman he gave a shell necklace or pair of earrings with the shape of  St. Barths carved into it.  To the guys he gave clever cigarette lighters (a funny lobster for Wes, a flip flop for Jason and a sporty lighter for Reid).  To Matt - his sailor apprentice - he gave a piece of line from the catamaran.  In order for him to practice his knots.  This note was attached to the end of the line.
He also included a hand-written thank you note for each couple.  We felt that this was a very kind gesture and very thoughtful.  It was obvious he had kept each person's personality in mind when choosing these gifts.  It was very impressive.
We were pretty worn out but didn't want it all to end.   We did some star gazing and reflected on the week and the amazing experiences we had.  It was surreal!
We settled in for the night and began packing for our disembarkment the next day.

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