Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St John U.S. Virgin Islands - Happy 50th Birthday DUG

Full Set of Picture at the bottom of the post!!
Where to start, most of the puzzle was solved before we got on Margarite’s Aunt and Uncle's jet, though Margarite still had several surprises up her sleeve six great months of surprises and now a week of even more surprises. I wish I could turn 50 every year.

On the jet as I thought was Mobe, Testa Rossa, Margarite, The Rock and Bebe. There was one change Bebe alerted me that Bebe was not her real name, only a name she had used when undercover with The Rock. Her real name was Pate’.

Once on the jet Margarite gave me a shirt to change into. On the front was DUG on the sleeve was LifeOfDUG.com. As I put the shirt on I realized that everybody had shirts with LifeOfDUG.com and their names underneath.

The biggest surprise or should I say unbelievable surprise was everybody had gotten LifeOfDUG tattoos.

There is no airport in St. John so we flew to St. Thomas an island just to the west of St. John. When we arrived in St. Thomas Chuata and Mom were waiting. They had signs saying happy birthday with a picture of one of the kids from our village on it.

Chuata explained he flew over early to pick up C’Girl; yes Mom has changed her name. From St. Thomas we took the ferry to St. John. C’Girl was sitting in front of me on the ferry, with the sun right over head she put on a baseball cap. To my surprise on the back of the hat was LifeOfDUG.com. Everybody had these hats and Margarite gave me one, and I thought I had this puzzle solved, but more pieces were coming together.

On the dock waiting for us was G d’B and his wife “The Unknown Women”. If Dandy Dan had not opened his big mouth I would have never known G d’B and his wife were joining us. One exciting thing, I would now find out “The Unknown Women's” name. All I had to do was look on her shirt. What I saw was a huge disappointment. Where her name should have been was a big "?".

The group had rented three cars for the week. We headed to Margarite’s estate. A better description might be villa or even compound.

We all settled in some of us used the pool, most just vegged out. Even in a private jet 15 hours of flying is 15 hours of flying. I think Margarite must really like me to plan a week long surprise birthday party. She even arranged a catered dinner for our first night on the island.

As a gift the group got Margarite and I a helicopter ride for Monday. We can take the helicopter any where we want for 30 minutes.

Sunday morning I went for the hardest and slowest 4.5 mile run of my life. The last mile had an elevation change of 10% if it went straight up, but the road went up and down some parts had a 20% grade.

After the run and breakfast, the group went to Salt Pond, which is a beach on the south east corner of the island. We hung in the sun and did some snorkeling. The fish and coral were spectacular.

Monday Margarite, Testa Rossa, and I did a 6.5 mile run up and over the island. Pure HELL! But the views were great. Actually Margarite did 8.5 miles she run an extra 2 miles straight up, got the car and picked Testa Rossa and I up.

After the run, Chuata and I went to town looking for a sail boat for Tuesday. We had 8 that would be sailing, so we needed a decent size sail boat 40 foot or larger.

Russ Kerr the Mayor of Cruz Bay and President of St. John Concierge Service hooked us up. Russ has lived in St. John for 20 years and controls most of the commerce on the island. Someone told me if you live on St John you better not fart without getting Russ’s approval.

Russ introduced us to this salty dog of a gentleman, Neil Newhard. Neil is a famous sailing captain who has one more Americas Cup Trophies then any other captain. Neil currently lives on and sails a 50 foot Columbia. This was starting look like a perfect trip in the making Neil, negotiated himself to $600 a day plus tip for his crew. He started at $900 and before we could say a word he kept lowering the price until he stopped at $600. I never saw a guy negotiate with himself. The plan was set for Tuesday.

Margarite and I had to catch the 11:15 AM ferry to St Thomas to take the helicopter ride the group had given us. Chuata and I headed over to the ferry dock to meet up with Margarite. It was 11:00 and Margarite had not shown up yet. My cell phone rang it was Margarite she said they were stuck in traffic. This was hard to believe I thought maybe another birthday surprise. We later found out due to excess stimulus money St. John was re-paving all its perfectly good roads. I told Margarite just get out and run. A few minutes later she showed up barefoot carrying her shoes and breathing very hard. We made the ferry.

The helicopter ride was just out of this world. Our pilot Maria buzzed our Villa so the gang got to see us. Then we hit the north coast of St. John, some private island and then back to St. Thomas. What a great experience and now Margarite loves helicopters so expect to see a few more events like this.

Back on St John we headed to the town of Cruz Bay and had dinner at the Hide Tide there was live music and everybody had a great time.

Tuesday AM; back in England Testa Rossa had been studying levitation skills she learned to lift objects with her mind. Of course I did not believe that hocus pocus stuff. Boy did she prove me wrong not only did she lift me she spun me around.

After the excitement of being spun in mid-air we met Russ and Neil at the town dock. Neil Newhard’s business is Timeless Classics Yacht Charters 340-626-8845

Neil had his dingy all ready for us. He took us out to his immaculate Colombia 50. The name of the boat is Flying Circus. While the boat was built in 1968 it looked like it was custom built just the day before. Every part of the boat had been spit and polished. We were greeted by Neil’s first mate Alex (Alexandria) Alex had been in St. John for 2 years and prior to that had worked as a mercenary in different hot spots throughout the world. I have a feeling “The Rock” and Alex had met before.

We sailed right off the mooring, with “The Unknown Women” at the helm. Clearly “The Unknown Women” grew up near or on the water. We spent about 3 hours sailing through the Sir Francis Drake Channel. G d’B caught a Spanish Mackerel about 24 inches long. Neil cleaned it for us to take home. At noon we picked up a mooring off a small spit of land. Alex served us a 4 course gourmet meal. While on the mooring we took the opportunity to do some snorkeling. G d’B, Chuata and I got caught up in the current. Neil came to our rescue with his dingy. He had a tow line. Chuata, G d’B, and I grabbed on and Neil towed us back to the Flying Circus.

The afternoon was 3 more hours of great sailing. We headed back to Cruz Bay about 4:00 pm. Alex and Neil popped open a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne and we toasted a great day of sailing.

For years I had been looking for a white linen outfit to wear out on special occasion when I am in warmer climate. We had heard that Sally's Coulture, LLC in St. John was the place. I found the perfect outfit plus got to meet Sally.

Sally is named after Sally from the Dick and Jane series.

Today the group is going kayaking we are using Arawak Expeditions. Our guides are Jena and Thomas. Jena was a famous teenage model but gave it all up to follow her ski bum boyfriend to St. John. Thomas was headed to Harvard when his older sister talked him into taking a few years off before college to find himself.

Both are great guides. Jena taught a couple secret moves when kayaking. Thomas made us an unbelievable tasty lunch made up of assorted sandwiches and gourmet salads.

We made three different stops and snorkeled at each.

After kayaking on our drive back to the villa we did some exploring down this dead end road at the end 2.5 mile later was a women painting a sign "you are here".

For dinner we ate at Rhumb Lines. Everybody had excellent dinners I highly recommend it.

My birthday keeps getting better and better.

Most of the group just relaxed in the AM. Chuata and C’Girl headed back home, C’Girl to the U.S. and Chuata to Botswana.

In the afternoon the boys did some swimming and snorkeling (and drinking beer) at Cinnamon Bay. What a beautiful beach. We hit the beach at about 2:00 PM what a perfect time, the sun was not as hot and the snorkeling was just perfect.

Thursday night another birthday surprise from Margarite took me to Le Chateau de Bordeaux Café a French restaurant which looks over Coral Bay located on one of the highest peaks in St. John. What a great romantic dinner.

Friday, last full day on the island, the ladies wanted to do some shopping in town so “The Rock”, Mobe, and I joined them. The guys sat and drank beers on the beach while the ladies did their shopping. Then we had lunch at some hole in the wall Sun Dog Café at Mongoose Junction, which had great food and service.

In the afternoon we all went to Cinnamon Bay for our last late afternoon of sun and snorkeling. Testa Rossa had a huge breakthrough, she went snorkeling, and did not melt.

Now for the final and best surprise; Chuata had left me his rental car to return, he gave me very specific instructions to fill the car up before I returned it. Friday, before we went to Cinnamon Bay I filled the car up. Maybe we drove 20 or 30 miles after the fill up. Saturday morning before I returned the car I dropped Margarite and Pate’ off at the ferry dock with our bags. I then drove the 2 blocks to Denzil Clyne Rental Car. The check in lady started screaming at me that I had to fill the car up before I returned it. I explained I did, but she just kept yelling at me like I was the Gas Guzzling Devil. I offered to give her a few bucks for gas and that made her freak out more. I knew this had to be another surprise for my birthday, so I decided to just walk away. The wacky lady said she was going to call the police. I walked the 2 blocks back to the ferry dock. When I arrived I saw a police car go zooming by. I relayed my story to the group and no one believed me. A few minutes later a police officer arrived with the possessed lady.

The police officer asked me to come with him. I asked if I could just walk back to the rental car place, there was no way I was going to get in the car with that wacky lady; I was starting to think this was not something Margarite had planned.

When I arrived back at the rental car place, there was another police car with a police woman. She asked me if I had called the police. Both police officers looked at the gas gage and saw the car was full. The wacky lady disappeared and the police said I could go. This was very strange. Margarite swears she had nothing to do with it.

I am happily heading to the states for a half marathon in D.C with my brother, and then one final spring ski trip in Colorado. I figured I flew 1/3 the way around the world on Margarite’s dime I should take advantage of it.


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