Happy bunny birthday!

Woke up this morning in the lovely Cruz Bay Boutique Hotel to see the news that Hurricane Iselle has pretty much spared Oahu, but the Big Island has a lot of flooding.  And there are still flood watches on Oahu, not to mention the other islands.  We are waiting to see what happens with Julio, which is now a Category 3 hurricane currently looking like it will be heading north of the islands.  Volcano, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea seemed to take some of the wind out the sails of Iselle, which was reduced to tropical storm level by the time it hit Hilo and Kona.

That doesn’t mean it wasn’t bad, it just means it was less than expected.  Yay!

Today was Wayne’s birthday, and we were originally going to get up before the sunrise to go hike a little bit and then come back for breakfast.  Well, he got up before the sun rose, and I continued to sleep.  I woke up briefly, just as he was beginning to fall back asleep.  We did not get up until about 6:30 am, far later than we had expected.  Oh well, sleeping in on vacation is a good thing.

We joined Matt and Jodi for our continental breakfast at close to 7:30, and then we geared up for the day.  First stop was the post office, where we mailed back a lot of unnecessary clothing.  Our bags are significantly lighter. 

From there we went to the National Park Visitor Center (fully 2/3 of St. John is a national park), where we got some options for hiking today.  The Park Ranger was really pushing an easy, exposed hike on the far side of the island (you get there by bus), but the word exposed sort of made me think it wasn’t a hike for mid to late morning.  Instead we headed out on the Lind Point trail, touted as a 1.1 mile trail connecting Cruz Bay with Honeymoon Beach at Caneel Bay.  Ostensibly, there was a scenic overlook at slightly less than 1/2 mile (obscured by overgrowth), and then down to Salomon beach.  From there we continued on the trail to Honeymoon beach, winding up at the Caneel Bay resort.  Allow me to say that the trail was slightly rocky, and there was a nearly 200 foot change in elevation, and there were cacti along the trail.  Just guess how I figured that one out.  We got to see deer, deer spoor, what may have been donkey spoor, and lots of lizards and loud birds.  While we were on route, my phone picked up the cell signal from the British Virgin Islands.  Looks like we can activate those SIM cards that we bought from Mr. Sim Card (online, of course).  I will tell you during the course of the next week whether it was a worthwhile investment or not.  We took a brief break at the resort, and then headed out towards the Caneel Hill and Caneel Hill Spur Trails.  In combination, those were about 2.2 miles long.  The Ranger trail guide listed the Caneel Hill Trail at 2.4 miles, and the Caneel Hill Spur Trail (which joins the Caneel Hill trail at about the 1/2 mile marker) as .8 miles.  We had a roughly 850 foot change in elevation, a lot of rocks, and steep ups and downs.  The views, again, when we reached them were spectacular, but it was HOT!!  We ran into two couples from Texas, one of which live very close to Matt and Jodi.  We had experienced a few sprinkles during the hike up, but as we looked out over the other Virgin Islands, we saw a squall coming our way, obscuring islands one at a time.

I will say that we got wet. Very wet.  And the trail got slick.  Wayne spent the better part of 1.5 miles being my brace as we walked down the hill.

Post rain and hike (which overall was between 5 and 5 1/2 miles), we went back and cleaned up and headed to Woody’s for lunch.  Conch fritters, and lots of other goodies abounded, but the menu itself was more than a little overwhelming.  

Shortly after lunch, Matt & Jodi went out shopping (and reserved stools for happy hour) and we went back to rest.  Wayne (power) napped for over an hour, and I read, catching up on email and other things.  

When birthday bunny was recovered sufficiently, we went to join Jodi & Matt at Lime Inn for happy hour - another set of yummy limein’ coconut drinks with oysters on the half shell.  As happy hour ended, we headed over to the Fish Trap (literally a fish market that supplies most of the fish to other restaurants on the island, as well as a restaurant), where we had more lovely, fresh seafood for dinner.  The staff brought out a slice of birthday cake and a candle for Wayne, and then we headed back.  On our way home, we heard familiar night sounds, reminiscent of Palau.  It sounded like a bunch of fruit bats (although not quite so many as Palau) having a good time.

Both sets of couples opted to not walk any further today, having reached a significant number of steps during the day today!

We shall see what the knee and ankle bring in the morning, but I think tomorrow may be a kayaking day for the Batzers.

Good night to all!  And happy birthday to Wayne!