Seeing is Believing.
Pictures of palm trees. The bright blue caribbean sea, as the backdrop. Send us off dreaming of being in this tropical paradise.
But the smell of the salty air. The sounds of the incoming waves. And the feel of the ocean. Forges a place in our memory bank.
St. Croix with Friends
This past week, with two great friends visiting. It was evident. Before their arrival, we shared pictures and even videos. But when they arrived. Their faces. Revealed their happiness.
We envisioned a fun week. Stand up paddle surfing in fun, playful waves. Downwinders in a tropical setting. And agenda-less adventures. It was St. Croix with friends.
And Mother Nature provided just what we needed. Wind, waves and sunshine.
Stand Up Paddle Surfing Fun
With gentle rolling waves greeting us at the beach. Helen, Susie and I headed out for their first salt water experience of the trip.
A stand up paddleboard surf session.
One with lots of laughs. Big smiles. And fun rides. All the excitement on the water became contagious. As a couple of beach goers of Chenay Bay soon joined us. All new to SUP Surfing. But all sharing the enjoyment that the ocean provided for the day.
As I paddled back out, I witnessed the stand up paddle community doing its thing. The girls, encouraging another paddler into a wave. The air was filled with cheers and the faces all dressed with ear to ear smiles.
Paddling with the Wind and Waves.
It is hard to top a fun day of surfing. Especially one with great friends. But we were going to try our best to do so.
The second water adventure of the trip brought us out on the water for a downwinder. This time we added a few more friends to the adventure. Isabelle Picard and Bill Kraft, the owners and visionaries behind Kite and Paddle St. Croix. Came out as local tour guides. Sharing their vast knowledge of downwinding and paddling with us all.
Setting out, we had a nice 18 mph east wind. Our escort down the rugged coast of St. Croix. The wind running at parallel to shore and the waves slightly perpendicular. We had to be a bit methodical with our paddling. Teaching us how to navigate through wind swell and ground swell.
But before we knew it. We arrived at the best part.
The swells lined up. And the girls, just like the day before. Surfed their way into the beach. Those same smiles back on their faces. And the excitement in their voices.
We repeated this two more times. Adding a few other friendly faces to the mix. The outcome. Stayed the same. Smiling faces.
We were surfing our way down the St. Croix coastline with great friends.
Buck Island Hike.
With the week of fun about to conclude. Bill and Isabelle put together an adventure of all adventures.
We headed out to Buck Island. A National Park and sanctuary. About a mile off shore. Our transportation a small boat. Captained by Bill.
This adventure we were joined by another friend. Paula Aire, the nutrition guru and international nomad. Came along for the journey.
The first stop brought us on the Island. Where we meandered up a narrow cut foot path. Winding around cactus and tree tunnels. And upon each turn the ocean re-appearing. The vibrant colors of the Caribbean Sea stopping us in our tracks. The reef begin to appear. And the stark differences in the ocean depth revealing itself.
As we arrived at summit. A deck platform provided a panoramic view of the ocean. Off in the distance the faint outline of St. Thomas appeared. As we glanced around the island in awe. Very few words were said. As they were not needed.
We took another path down the mountain. Ending back on the beach. Walked barefoot through the sand. With the water filling in and slowly receding back.
Boats anchored. People snorkeling. Swimming and enjoying the day. Just like we had.
We loaded back up on the boat. Headed out to the reef. Where we would explore Buck Island and the beautiful features we saw from our hike. From a fishes perspective. Below the surface of the water.
We swam with fish. Around the reef. Peered into the vast depth of the ocean. All with visibility. Just like that of our hike. Endless.
Below the surface of the ocean. The fish were playful. Dancing around their coral homes. Flashing their bright colors. As if they were showcasing them. Like actors and actresses of Hollywood on the red carpet.
We all made our way back to the boat. And with clown like smiles. The ones that almost look fake. Due to their sheer size. We headed on our way.
Going with the Flow.
The past week. It was something I never would have been able to outline in an itinerary. And if I would have tried, some minor details that made the trip. Would have been left out.
Leaving me with the valuable lesson. Somethings are better left unplanned.
Thank you to Susie and Helen for visiting us. To Bill and Isabelle for being amazing tour guides and a host. And Paula for her wealth of knowledge of life’s journeys.
Another reason. Why I love the community that surrounds stand up paddling.