Swimming With Turtles: Trip To Saint Thomas and San Juan

Do you ever get into a funk and not realize you’re in one? Michigan is a beautiful place to live—and I expect I’ll die here someday—but we have some long ass winters. It didn’t occur to me how much of a toll the 20 and 30-degree weather we’ve been having for MONTHS now was getting me down. Cue my hubby calling and suggesting I fly down to see him in Saint Thomas for a couple of days. This would be my second visit in 6 years.

If ever a good time existed to head south before summer hits full swing, this is it. I landed wearing long pants and a sweatshirt. Hey, the plane was chilly. I ditched the shirt, he picked me up, and I enjoyed 3 days of island life on island time. That means everything progresses at a crawl. The temperature was a mild 80 degrees, we slept with a fan on, and a mosquito net over us. The mosquitoes aren’t like the ones in Michigan. You can’t see these little bastards unless you REALLY look for them, or you feel them bite you. I got bit.

We enjoyed martinis and seafood with his co-worker and longtime friend, Miss Kim, who also accompanied us to Brewer’s Beach one day. First, though, the seafood? Oh, my. Snow crab legs, lionfish, lobster bisque, and shrimp. I’ll say it again; oh, my. Now, the beach trips? I can count on one hand the number of times the hubby and I have spent time at the beach together. We did 2 days there this trip.

He bought some new underwater masks for us to try, which allow us to float just below the surface of the water and still breathe regularly through our mouth and nose. This allowed us to stay under for as long as we wanted and just float around. His cousin saw turtles swimming in the area a week and a half earlier, so we went looking for them. Between the fish, the turtles, and the stingrays, there were plenty of things to watch below. And it was all very, very relaxing.

Those were the first three days. The hubs also suggested a week earlier we take a side trip. He asked Wednesday night “Are you packed for Puerto Rico?” To which I informed him “I’m not sure who booked your flight, but I’m going to San Juan.” Now, I know what you’re thinking, but I didn’t realize until he told me “You realize San Juan is IN Puerto Rico?” No. No, I didn’t. Geography was never my thing.

So off we went to Puerto Rico by noisy seaplane and then a cab ride to Old San Juan. I picked up pretty quickly that Puerto Rico is mostly Spanish-speaking. Yes, I’m quick that way, much like I learned San Juan is IN Puerto Rico. Friendly people—they have no love for Trump and aren’t afraid to express their view of him, which we heard several times—the buildings are gorgeous, everything is well-maintained, and the food… Oh, the food.

There’s a reason I have a gut.

Between the waffles at Waffle-era, the Signature Orzo Paella at Aguaviva, or the Grilled Cheese con Chocolate at Casa Cortes, you have no idea how much walking we had to do after to burn it all off. But the food is so worth it! The weather too. And even the company.

We aren’t in the habit of taking relaxing trips together. When we go somewhere, we GO. We head out each and every day, it’s like a race, and it’s just not relaxing. This was. We didn’t have anywhere we needed to be, we kind of just wandered, poked around a bit, and made spur-of-the-moment decisions where we’d go next. It was downright pleasant.

I boarded the plane home Friday morning, doldrums gone, just as his mother was getting off her plane in San Juan to spend 5 days with him. 10 days with family. How did he luck out?

Have any of you taken a trip like this? And please tell me I’m not the only one who didn’t realize San Juan is IN Puerto Rico.

Views: 65

Comment by Terry McKenna on April 3, 2017 at 7:08am

Sorry, I knew San Juan was in PR.  And never taken a trip to the islands.  Wife and I have travelled to Maine and to Cape Cod in late October.  Oh well.

Comment by Kage Alan on April 3, 2017 at 7:14am

We've been talking about taking a trip to Maine during the fall and driving up and down the coast in search of decent lobster restaurants. 

Comment by Terry McKenna on April 3, 2017 at 9:25am

Years ago, wife and I spent a summer in Maine - housesitting for a professor. We were kids and could not afford much. We enjoyed eating at the "lobster pounds" outdoors getting a tray of steamers and a lobster for maybe $6. Ate outside on wooden tables. Never had a better summer.

Comment by Kage Alan on April 3, 2017 at 9:46am

That sounds awesome!

Comment by nanatehay on April 3, 2017 at 11:20am

Sounds/looks like it was a great trip!  I've only been to the Caribbean one time, when a couple years back I was lucky enough to be invited along as crew on a two month voyage with a friend who was sailing a yacht from Savannah, Georgia to Trinidad on the coast of South America. There was a period after passing through the Bahamas where we didn't see land or any sign of other human beings for several days - in hindsight, I think that was about as relaxed and truly free of worry as I've ever been in my life. 



Comment by Kage Alan on April 3, 2017 at 12:20pm

That sounds like an awesome trip, nanatehay. Of course, I'd probably freak myself out by bringing movies with me to watch at night like JAWS, or Dead Calm.

Comment by koshersalaami on April 3, 2017 at 1:31pm

Do you know West Side Story?

The secret is in America (the song)

never been to San Juan or the rest of Puerto Rico, though. Caribbean, yes, several times.

Comment by Kage Alan on April 3, 2017 at 2:14pm

I'm not as familiar with WSS as I should be.

Comment by James Hart on April 3, 2017 at 8:20pm

Are the beers bottled (or canned) with desalinated water?  Pleased to learn of your successful excursion, Kage. That horizon sun ----Tranquil, contemplative. Right there!

Comment by Kage Alan on April 3, 2017 at 9:03pm

Nooooooo idea about the beer bottles. I think I only had hot chocolate, a glass of wine, and some iced tea.

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