Our beach in Cinnamon Bay!
We checked into our campground, and they gave us towels, linens, and a map of the grounds. They also let us use a large aluminum wheeled cat to carry our luggage and gear to our tent, as you cannot actually drive to the sites. It didn't take us long to get everything to our site. There were four cots in the tent, and since we only needed two, we used the others as shelves for our stuff. There was also a small cooler for our use, but it was not very big, so I'm glad Laura had lent us hers. We used the larger one for milk, juice, sodas, meats, eggs, and anything else that had to be kept on ice. (bags of ice were available in the camp grocery store for $2). The smaller cooler was perfect for our dry goods- bread, cookies, crackers, candy, etc.
This view was 50 paces from our tent
-just in case any varmints found their way into the tent, our food, at least, would be protected. Laura and Keith had gone to the beach while we unpacked, and as soon as we had settled in, Tyler and I went to join them. The water here is so warm, crystal clear, and beautiful! While Laura and Keith laid out to get some sun, Tyler and I couldn't wait to get in the water. We donned our snorkeling gear and headed right out into the bay! (we had both packed our masks, snorkles, and swim fins for this trip- but there are several places where you can rent these items if you don't have your own) The beach sand here is very white and soft, not like the gritty, grainy sand back home. This is because it is formed by fish that take bites out of coral, in order to gain nutriants from both the coral itself and the alge that grows on it.
....looking to our left
The fish eventually "poop out" the sand that comes from nibbling on the bits of coral. We were to see this process take place many times while snorkeling- very interesting to think that these beautiful, soft white sand beaches are basically nothing more than thousands of years of accumulated fish poop! Sand back home is formed by waves pounding the rocks to pieces..but there is very little wave action here. In fact, I could barely tell the difference between high and low tides, because the differential is so slight!
Tyler and I snorkeled for over an hour, swimming out to a small island just offshore. The water wasnt too deep, no more than 15 or 20 feet in most places. We saw many tropical fish, and they weren't afraid to get too close to us.
looking to our right.....
When we started walking onto the island, several seagulls started screeching at us and flying around... we realized that they were nesting there, and probably had eggs or babies nearby, so we respected their wishes and got back into the water! In the course of swimming around the island, we did see several small chicks walking around on the cliffs. When we snorkled around the island, our intentions were to go completely around it... but once we were on the other side, the waves and currents grew exponentially, and the water dropped off much deeper, and the visibility dropped as well, due to the strong current there. When we saw a fish almost as big as Tyler, we decided to turn back and return the way we came! It was like swimming from a clear, shallow bathtub to a deep, hazy, moving ocean.
...Bikini, straight ahead!
Quite a difference on the ocean side!
We worked our way back to the beach, and swam with Laura and Keith for awhile. Soon, they had to be heading back, so we gave them a ride back into town so they could catch the passenger ferry back to St Thomas. When Tyler and I returned to camp, we started a charcoal fire in the grill stand. The grate was too dirty and rusty to cook food on, and we hadn't thought to bring a grill grate with us- so we cooked our hamburgers and hot dogs in a frying pan on our camp stove, and used the grill to make corn on the cob, wrapped in tin foil. Yum! Our first meal here was a good one!
We were fortunate that our site, for some reason, was the only one that actually had two propane lights- one over the picnic table, and another over the grill.
Land crab that waved his claw at me and scurried away
Tyler and I had also packed two flashlights apiece, and this provided us sufficient lighting. Otherwise, it was pretty dark at night! The good thing was, you could see plenty of stars, and the milky way... especially from the beach! While walking back from the beach, after dark, I could hear a kind of "clicking" noise coming from the woods. I shined my flashlight, and found a few land crabs, that we had been warned would come out at night! They looked just like regular sea crabs, but they lived in the numerous small holes in the ground that could be seen in various parts of the campground. They come out at night to hunt for food, and are harmless. One little guy waved his claw menacingly at me when I shined my light on him, then he scurried off backwards into the woods, backing into small plants and trees as he made his escape, as he never took his eyes off my light! With not much else to do, we turned in shortly after dinner. Lots to do tomorrow!