Tuesday, March 11, 2014
In St. Barts you don't have to be a scuba diver or even get wet to have a look at the beautiful fish and sea life. In Gustavia, the "Yellow Submarine" takes visitors out on short excursions so that they can enjoy the underwater world.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
What a great week Dan and I had at our home away from home on St. Barths. A special highlight of the week was a meetup of fellow fans of this special paradise from an on line forum that was held midweek. It was great to meet so many forum friends. Our second time being on island for Carnaval was also a special treat. We enjoyed so many wonderful dining experiences returning to some old favorites and discovering some new ones. I had a fantastic week of scuba diving visiting several new sites for me and seeing so many beautiful underwater vistas. At age 65 with the strong possibility of heart surgery looming I'm never sure when my last visit will occur to the underwater world that I love so much. So today we return to the cold north land with our photos and memories, and to our beloved pets, whose furry appreciation will sooth the longing for our special island.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
We returned to the Eden Rocks Hotel and its Jean Georges restaurant, known as On the Rocks, last night. This time we were joined by two new friends, Peter and Paul, from New York. We had met them while dining at La Table de Jules, in Lorient, where they are staying. They were interesting companions for dinner and the setting over the beach, from high up in the restaurant in St-Jean, is spectacular. Jim had a first rate lobster salad to start with, and that was a dish he had not tried previously on this vacation. I had a tomato, mango and avocado salad, which was not exceptional but healthy. For my main course I enjoyed a snapper with a side dish of asparagus, while Jim had home-made raviolis with tomato sauce. But the desserts were the best items on the menu. Jim had the Moelleux au chocolat, and I had an amazing banana soufflé, with bits of chocolat; it was smooth as could be, and probably the best dessert I’ve had on the island so far. Today we’re off to the beach of Grand Cul de Sac. –Dan
Friday, for my final day of diving for this trip, my dive operator John visited yet another wreck lying in the relatively shallow waters just offshore, the "Non-Stop" wreck. It appears to be a relatively intact twin screw powered barge that sits upside down in about 50 feet of water. John explained that it hit a rock, which is now marked with a special buoy, near Les Gros Islets, and sunk, spilling its cargo over a huge area of the sea floor. As with any wreck, the site is attracting a wide variety of sea life. Lobsters, in particular, seem attracted to wrecks with the many crevices into which they can go. In the photos are a blue tang, groupers, trunkfish, a beautiful queen angelfish, a delicate little arrow crab, a featherduster worm, a spotted moray eel, and a couple of lobsters.
Friday, March 7, 2014
Yesterday, as a spectacular follow-up to Jim’s swim on the windy beach of Flamands, we ate lunch at La Langouste (The Lobster.) Dan first ordered a lobster salad, with medallions in a mango-type sauce, accompanied by pieces of Japanese ginger and greens. Jim’s fish soup with aioli sauce was a typical French item, tasty and savory at the same time. We both enjoyed baked fishes for the second course, a sea bass flambé for Jim and a more delicate red snapper for Dan. Both ordered the ‘moelleux’ or chocolate cake with molten center for dessert, the best we’ve had on the island so far. After Dan enjoyed playing Chopin at the Anglican church, and Jim had a swim in our villa pool, we drove to Gouverneur Beach so Jim could do some snorkeling. Then we traveled to Lorient for dinner. We returned to a fairly unappreciated restaurant, in its second year, La Table de Jules, facetiously called a ‘bistrot gourmand.’ The Pomerol ‘Plaisir de Siaurac’ was the ideal red wine to accompany our meals. For starters, Jim had a delectable goat cheese salad, and Dan’s ‘bouchees d’escargot’ was a snail dish with mache salad and pureed beets. The escargot, dripping in butter, melted in the mouth. For the main course Jim ordered the ‘Armorcaine fruits de mer’ an assortment of sea foods on a bed of tagliatelle. Dan’s mahi-mahi with a red wine reduction was an explosion of flavors. This five-star meal ended with a rich mousse au chocolat and another fondant de chocolat for Jim.
Thus entry should really be called “A Nice Day On The Wreck.” This is because Wednesday was a day to see trumpetfish, pufferfish, a turtle, and a beautiful sea anemone, among other interesting sealife, while visiting thewreck of the Dakar. The Dakar sits upright in 50 feet of water just outside Gustavia harbor. As with the Marignan that I visited last year, the wreck sits in the regular harbor traffic lanes, which means that dive boats must anchor in a protected area, divers then submerge to depth and swim underwater until they reach the wreck. Divers must return the same way without surfacing in an area where they might be struck by a motorcraft. The wreck attracts thousands of fish and one large barracuda lorded over the wheelhouse when I was there. Did he eat the captain?
On Wednesday there was a happy hour get-together of people who are members of the sbhonline.com forum, a place to meet and discuss the island and our mutual love of all things St. Barths. It was fun to make some new friends and compare notes about our experiences on Barths. Photo by Rosemond.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
The focal point for the final Carnaval celebration is King Carnival, a giant colorful effigy known as Vaval, along with his alterego, Bwa-Bwa, who towers over the floats and dancing procession. By now, humorous death notices of King Carnival have been announced in local media. Festivities continue as his funeral pyre is built. Dusk falls, then flames light up the night sky. As Vaval’s effigy is consumed by the fire, dancing reaches its apogee. Only when the flames die down does a calm settle over the crowd. With the burial of Vaval, they chant “Vaval, pas quitte nous”, which translates into “Carnival don’t leave us.”