My husband was dreaming of going to the beautiful beaches of the Island of St. John. But we couldn’t afford the hotels and all the campgrounds were booked. Then I found out about a camp in the Rainforest on St. Croix… It sounded like heaven to me…and it was, even with the night crowing roosters.
We spent the first four days exploring the Island, learning to drive on the wrong side of the road, dodging free range farm animals, and trying out the local food. I would not eat the bull hoof stew, but Josh did. We quickly learned that we were on an island ruled by wild chickens. I quickly discovered that in Saint Croix people don’t build fences to keep their animals in… they only build fences if they want to keep their neighbor’s free range animals out.
The campground was peaceful, until night fell and I heard some strange sounds outside our cabin. It was a loud chomping, stomping, snorting sound. I woke up my sleeping husband “There’s a critter outside, can you please go scare it away, and I can’t sleep.” He unwillingly rolled out of bed and went to the window. Then I heard him chuckle “It’s just a couple of big cows grazing.” It turned out that the camp gate was left open that night. Since the neighbors free-range their cows at night, we got a visit.
Well, by day five I was worn out and ready to relax and put “adventuring” on hold. After all I was turning thirty, time to stop and smell the roses. My husband still had all kinds of ideas about sailing, snorkeling and finding a way to St John, so we could explore that Island too. All Iwanted was a cup of coffee. As we sat in Paradise Cafe I explained to my sweet husband that I really just need to sit on the side of the mountain, take walks on the near beach, watch the sky, read a book, and eat papaya for the rest of the vacation. So he put away his Island Adventure magazine, because he loved me more than snorkeling.
At that moment a sailor with a wild look in his eye plopped a pamphlet down on the table in front of us. Jason owns a sail boat. He takes people out for romantic little evening on the calm and dreamy seas. We couldn’t get out of there before he was offering us a deal on an evening of sailing into the sunset. I saw a twinkle in my husband’s eyes and a glow in his heart.
Sometimes when you love someone you just need to do what brings them joy, even when you don’t feel like it. The sailor made it all sound so lovely, romantic and relaxing. So we took his card and said we might give him a call.
A couple hours later we were packing up ALL of our luggage and boarding the sailboat for the adventure of a lifetime. Why sail into the sunset when you can sail to St John for just a few dollars more? We would sail all night to the St John Island. Then spend the next day sailing around the island exploring coves and cays. Then at sunset we would sail back to St Croix. There was a cabin for us down below the deck, where we could sleep. Jason gave us a great deal, and off we sailed into the sunset.
As my husband helped raise the sails I looked out over the gentle waters, colors of sunset filled the sky. We began to drift away from the land. All was quiet except for the wind in the sails and the lapping of the waves.
Then the Captain broke the silence with warning about seasickness and falling overboard. Then he went on to tell stories of sea storms and pirates. I was glad when he got busy with the boat again and stopped talking.
As the full moon rose over the water I cuddled up to my husband and looked out to the silvery sea. The land we left behind began to fade in the distance. The sky and ocean seemed so vast, I felt so small. My mind drifted to the generations that had come before me, who bravely crossed this mighty ocean. Past, present and future seemed to happen all at once as the boat rose and fell with each wave.
All was well with my soul… until the sea sickness came over me. I won’t share the details. It wasn’t long before I knew I just needed to lay down in my cabin and try to sleep away the nausea. So I laid down to sleep, in the company of the captain’s cat, and all was peaceful once again.
And all was well with my soul… until the sea storm hit. Rain was pouring in my windows, and the little boat was tossed about, like a child’s toy. My husband was on the deck trying to help secure the boat, but the storm came up to quickly and they didn’t have time to get the sails down. The captain was worried, that the strong winds would badly damage the boat. My husband didn’t have time to comfort me, he simply told me that things look bad and I had better pray. I was too scared to pray… I worried that we would disappear into the sea, I worried about my orphaned children, I worried about what I would do with the boat if the men got washed over board. And the rain kept pouring in.
Then I remembered the story of Jesus on the Sea of Galilee. He was asleep on a pillow, and the great storm came. He slept right through it, until his disciples woke him up to tell him that they were all going to die. So Jesus got up and said to the wind and waves “Peace be still”. The wind and the waves obeyed his voice and all was calm. But our storm raged on, but my fears became a song, and then before long the sea was calm again. And all was well with my soul, but I was quite wet, and still a little sea sick.
The storm had driven us quickly to our destination and by 2 am we dropped the anchor at St John. The rain continued to fall through out the morning, and we sat, soaking wet, eating oatmeal on the deck. I wanted off the boat.
When the clouds cleared we hopped into the little boat and rode to shore. We found a place for coffee, but I was to dizzy to enjoy it. I told my husband that I wasn’t getting back on the boat, I simply couldn’t do it. We would have to find some other way back.
So we spent the day enjoying the most beautiful beaches on earth, did our share of hitch hiking, then camped for the night on Cinnamon Bay. It was the Island of Wild Donkeys, and I did enjoy it. When morning came we had to quickly to catch a ferry to another island, then we would catch a second ferry to St Croix.
We’ll we didn’t catch that second ferry, it left an hour early. So there we stood gazing out to sea wondering what to do next. Then we watched a sea plane land on the water. I had another adventure in mind. Yes, this time it was my idea. Fifteen minutes later we were boarding that little sea plane, and we were back to St Croix in time for lunch.
After that we spent our last days sitting on the side of the mountain, taking walks, building sand castles, watching the sky, reading books, and eating papaya…
Then we met a guy with a couple horses… but that’s another adventure.