Monthly Archives: July 2015

Short-timing, St Thomas Style

25 July 2015

SCV Logo 3inTime truly does fly when you’re having fun. We celebrated our 1-year anniversary here at Silk Cotton Villa back on 21 July 15. And we’re close to wrapping up our commitment to the owners as caretakers and hosts. Sadly, we depart 07 Aug and head back to Blue Ridge, GA.

Back in December ’14, after 5 months as caretakers, the owners asked us to stay on for another year. We were surprised they asked so soon but were grateful they liked us and our work. They wanted an answer by mid-Jan because if we did not accept, the next caretakers (runners-up to us last year) they were considering to hire needed some time to get their affairs in order. The renters of our home could not commit to another year back in January so Sharon and I decided it was best to decline the owner’s invitation and get back to Georgia to put our home on the real estate market. We want to continue this lifestyle into the future unencumbered with a home and all that goes with one.

In hindsight, we probably should have asked the owners if they would allow us August and September off-island to go back to Georgia and get the home on the market. Plus, we have a wedding to attend in late September we will not miss. Like the old saying goes, “Hindsight is 20/20.” But no regrets. Things usually work out for us in a good way.

We welcomed our last group of guests yesterday – a full villa here for a small wedding and reception that will take place next week in the villa. The owners return 31 July for their usual late summer stay and to also welcome the new caretakers who will arrive 01 Aug.

The owners asked us months ago if we would stay for a week after the arrival of the next caretakers and train them. The owners trained us. We are honored they think enough of us and our work to be in charge of training the newbies.

This has been one of the most exciting, interesting, and enjoyable years for Sharon and I. We were both a little nervous and apprehensive when we accepted the position. But it was nothing more than not knowing all the details of a new place and new job. And it all worked out perfectly. A great experience.

We met so many nice people here and made many life-long friends, too. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve seen some of these friends in photos we have posted. Below we posted a few more. We will truly miss these folks and hope to see them again soon. We made some great, lasting memories.

Scott and Carol, the owners, could not have been any more accommodating and welcoming from the first time we met them. We have met numerous other villa caretakers and property managers during our stay here on St Thomas and we know that every owner is not as nice, kind, and easy to work with as Carol and Scott. We definitely hooked up with one of the best villa owner teams on the island. Oh, and if you decide to book Silk Cotton Villa, remember to tell Carol that Richard and Sharon sent ya … you might get the “good buddy” discount.

They have become life-long friends, too. They are a lot like Sharon and I in many ways; they love each other greatly, they love working together, and they enjoy their down time together. They have been wonderful to work with and who knows, we may work with them again someday.

Two weeks from yesterday will be a sad moment but who knows what adventure is around the corner for Sharon and I. Stayed tuned. And keep smiling!

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

Goodbye, St John

23 July 2015

Last weekend, while the owners were here with their family for a week, they allowed us to get away for a long weekend of some R&R. We decided to spend it on St John Island USVI since Sharon hadn’t had the opportunity to see that beautiful island in it’s entirety.

We found a small cottage on AirBNB at the last minute and booked it. It was on the south side of STJ about 4 miles outside of Cruz Bay overlooking Fish Bay and near Reef Bay.

Coincidentally, some friends back on St Thomas had some of their friends from Florida visiting and they were coming to STJ on Friday to show them around and then hang out at Francis Bay for the day. They invited us to join them. This is our second time to Francis Bay. We went back in September with these same friends, who we had only recently met. This link should take you to some photos from that day – they are on our Facebook page. If you compare the first visit to this visit, look at how green it was last year and how dry this year. Only 5″ of rain since 01 Mar 15. Dry as a bone.

Here are a few photos from the latest visit to Francis Bay. Our friends had not arrived yet.

On Saturday, we decided to check out Coral Bay and the East End. For the record, STJ is 60% National Park and very mountainous. We were traveling in the villa’s 1993 Dodge Dakota – a 22 year old truck. It’s a great villa truck. But it is tired. So tired that by the time we got out to the East End and returned to Coral Bay and stopped to get some ice, the right front brake caliper over heated and froze up leaving us with a truck that would not roll. We’re looking at a bad day.

Luckily, a shopkeeper contacted her local mechanic and he came right away – Jack is his name. We were able to drive the truck to his home/shop less than a mile away. It’s about noon when we get to his shop. We are not in a very populated area with conveniences like an auto parts store. Jack determines it is a frozen caliper caused by all the braking and heat over the mountains. Suggest we replace both. We agree. So what do we do for the next 4-6 hours until the parts come and Jack can fix the issue? Jack volunteers to take us where we were headed – Salt Pond Bay.

Salt Pond at Salt Pond Bay, St John USVI

The Salt Pond

Jack drives us the 3.5 miles to the Bay and says just hitch a ride back when we’re done and let him know. We didn’t get any photos – we weren’t in a photo taking mood. But we did love the place and it was beautiful and interesting. There is a real salt pond there and folks haul salt out of there. In fact, Jack said he and his wife (a local catering chef in Coral Bay) brought out about 250 lbs a few weeks prior. But it isn’t easy – you probably have to walk a mile from the parking area to the salt pond. All uphill on the way out.  Learn more about Salt Pond Bay here. Learn more about harvesting salt at the salt pond here.

We were able to hitch a ride back to Coral Bay to the bar where Jack told us to wait and call him. The bar was called Aqua Bistro – appeared to be one of the nicest places in Coral Bay. We called Jack and he said he was still waiting on the parts. About an hour later he called and said he was coming to get us. When we got into the car, he said he had bad news and worse news. Not what we wanted to hear.

Bottom line, wrong parts came from St Thomas. Luckily, Jack was able to get the caliper open with some brut force and the truck was rolling fine. Jack said it may work forever or it could freeze again – but said just go easy on the brakes on the way back to Cruz Bay.  Because it was a Saturday + Jack had to pay someone to go to St Thomas, the bill for his work was $230. We gladly paid to get on the road again and back to the cottage. Thank you Jack!

Just another exciting day in paradise.

We had some excellent food in St John, both breakfast and dinners. Best breakfast place was Jake’s; right in the middle of Cruz Bay. Hint: they are big – so share. Best dinner was Virgin Fire; a relatively new restaurant in popular Mongoose Junction complex – highly recommend. Here are a few more photos.

Bye-bye, St John. We will miss you. You are lovely!