Wednesday July 28th

“Damage Report! All stations report in!”

“NoGoodDaddy reporting, sir. I’ve got a bitch of a blister on my right big toe from the fins and minor sunburn on my lower back. Of course, I should have known better than to have gone out on a boat for the day without putting any on. I am somewhat of a dumbass.”

“Agreed, sailor.”

“I also think I ate a 16-oz steak last night. I’m not sure that was a good idea”

“Agreed sailor. You can go back to the head now”

“JewelrySlut reporting in, sir. Captain Asshole (points to me as I carefully walk/run towards the nearest bathroom) over there did his usual piss poor job applying my sunscreen. (Turns around and lifts shirt) Do you see this? Do you fucking see this?”

“Sailor, I see it. That’s quite a pattern”

“Oh no…let me show you my ass!”

“That’s enough. If we paint the other cheek green, we’d have channel markers”

(I giggle from the other room)

“Yessir. As I was saying, I’m burnt all over my lower back. I have a mark from my weight belt, strap marks, and my ass cheeks are burnt. I am NOT happy, Captain.”

“Settle down and have some tea. It will be better in a few days”

“ChurchBomber reporting, sir (she does that silly British salute that they do…all with the palm of the hand facing outward and all). My ass is burnt sir. ”

“That seems to be going around, sailor”

“It does, sir. My eyes are also swollen shut. I’m tired and waterlogged. Requesting permission to take today off”

“Permission granted”

“MerlotMan reporting in, sir. I’m mostly OK but this may be a problem. (Takes off shirt and exposes back)”

“Whoa, sailor…put that away. That’s bright enough to land a plane. What the hell is wrong with you? Have you never seen the sun?”

“I understand, Captain. And the really red burns around my PFD don’t help much, do they? They’re gonna hurt, aren’t they?”

“Yes, sailor. They will. Is that everyone? Shmuppie? Shmuppie? SHMUPPIE!!!!!”

“Wha?”

“Will you please look up from the TV and answer me? Damage report, please.”

“Wha?”

“Never mind then. Go about your business”

Yes, good folks, the day after “excursion Day” always starts out a little on the rough side. 8 hours out in the sun will do that. We’d planned a relaxing day.

Naturally, that held until about 10:00. By then, both Shmuppie and I were fidgeting. We forced JewelrySlut to get dressed and set out on an adventure. If nothing else, I wanted to go to Peace Hill and show the ladies the ruins and view.

Off we went…I chose to take the very long way around so Shmuppie could see more of the island. Naturally, she got in the Jeep and started reading (log this away for future use). I took us up Gifft Hill Road (my least favorite road). Luckily for us, they were paving it and had intermittent lane closures. Sounds fine? Ever have to stop on the side of a hill that would make a mountain goat slip and then try to restart and squeeze between workers and a road grader? It’s not fun.

But, we made it, passed the fork in the road and hit Centerline. Unfortunately, Mr. Moses’ cows were nowhere to be found and there were no donkeys milling along the road. Mostly Shmuppie was bored. I was impressed that Centerline was coming back to me and that it looked somewhat familiar. I like recognizing the roads on St John. Makes me feel more local. Shmuppie was surprisingly quiet and was watching the trees go by.

“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing”
“Really”
“Yes”
“Liar”

Trying to cheer her up, we pulled up to the Smoothie Stand and got her a Berry Blast or something. She seemed to perk up as we went down the hill towards the North Shore. Since the goal was Peace Hill, way the hell on the other side of Trunk, I settled in for a nice drive.

There goes the Annaburg turn…there goes Maho…up a hill…down a hill…here comes Cinnamon.

Then it hit me…I’d never stopped to see the Cinnamon Bay ruins. What better time than now? We parked and crossed over to see what was going on. It was an easy walk and would probably entertain Shmuppie. It took some explaining on our part why the buildings were so old-looking. Finally, she understood and we explained where all the parts of the old sugar mill were. She was actually quite interested. Along the way, I picked up a little green thing off the ground, split it in half and handed it to Shmuppie.

“Eat this. It’s good”. For some reason, she didn’t question me and popped her first genip into her mouth. We all remember our first genip, don’t we? Mine was on the Reef Bay Trail. We spent some time, wandering the ruins, getting mauled by mosquitoes and searching for genips. All in all, we had a great time and I was able to check a landmark off my list.

Back in the car…past the Cinnamon switchbacks (as I call them), “Oh look…there’s the house from The Real Housewives of NY”, up the hill to Trunk, past Jumbie (parking available) and, finally up the hill towards Peace Hill.

The last time I’d been here, in 2008, it was pouring. So, it was nice to see things in nice blazing sunlight. In fact, we’d been blessed, weather-wise all week. The week before our trip was one giant rain storm. The gods were giving us a break and we had nice weather.

Up the hill we went. As always, I had my trusty trail guide in hand and noticed that the trail to Denis Bay was nearby. Hmmm…I’d heard of Denis Bay. We got to the windmill ruin and enjoyed the views. It’s really a very short hike with a huge payoff. You have views across Hawksnest to the left and then Denis, Jumbie, Trunk and the rest of the North Shore to the right. In the distance, you can see Jost and Tortola. We snapped some pictures, explained a little history to Shmuppie and moved on.

On the way back, I diverted us to the Denis Bay Trail. My book described is as “not generally maintained”. That sounds like fun. While the descent is only about 100 vertical feet, it is a rocky trip. You have to climb over tree roots, dusk under other trees and dodge hermit crabs with nearly every step. Just as I thought this had been a VERY BAD IDEA, we could hear the surf. We’d arrived at Denis Bay. It’s a small, secluded beach and is worth a 5-10 minute walk to visit. We didn’t have suits or gear with us to sample the water, but it was a bit rough and rocky. It’s probably best that the fish didn’t have an opportunity to go in. I don’t think I wanted to scrape her off the reef. We hung out, took pictures, had a drink and went back up the hill.

I needed to make a few stops in town, so we managed, after some effort, to find a spot at the Lumberyard. (PS: There’s no wood for sale there…at all). We needed to stop at one of my favorite places on the whole island: St John Ice! I love the place. For $.50/gallon, I filled 2 jugs from a modified garden hose. JewelrySlut had never visited before and also fell in love. It’s such a silly little place that you can’t help but just love it. We went to the nearby bakery and inquired about hot dog buns. They had none, but did have some freshly baked rolls. We picked them up figuring they were better than the rolls we had at the house.

We went back to the house for lunch and a swim. It had been a fantastic morning. I took a nice little nap by the pool.

Poor JewelrySlut had other plans. It was homework time. Since Shmuppie started the 3rd grade on July 7, she was officially missing a week of school. Good parents that we are, we asked for a week’s worth of lessons.

Never again.

Poor JewelrySlut spent at least 3 hours per day working with Shmuppie on homework. No matter what enticement we used, it took forever and a half.

Do you want to sit on the deck while you work and look at the boats?
You don’t even have to wear a shirt if you don’t want (the invisible bikini was popular on this trip)
If you work quickly, I’ll buy you ice cream.
Please…for the love of God….pay attention.

This went on all week. We’ll not make the mistake of pulling her out of school any time soon.

We went to town later in the afternoon for a shopping trip to Mongoose Junction. The ladies didn’t get much; we basically have all the T-shirts one could ever own. MerlotMan and I had beer. We retired to JJ’s, and while the service was better, the bill was still evil. The shine had definitely worn off for us. Plus, it was sticky that night; no breeze, and there were 4 douches at the table next to us. They were all drinking light beer.

Assholes.

Dinner, at the house of course, was pulled pork. It thawed and reheated nicely and was a very pleasant treat. It’s also now firmly entrenched in the island menu. I think I was the first one to go to bed on Wednesday. I let the other adults stay up late and drink rum.

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