Wednesday, May 9
Fresh pineapple for breakfast as sunburn forced us to a wonderful morning tour of Drake's Seat, Mountain Top and Magens Bay, as we covered the island by bus for three hours. Lovely shots from above as crystal clear waters lapped against white beaches. Hibiscus still in bloom and bougainvillea dots the roads. Beautiful night with heavenly moon and piña coladas.
Tours are still big business on St. Thomas – it's not uncommon to see open-air vans (locally called "safaris") shuffling dozens of visitors from one attraction to the next – but we prefer going it alone in the Jeep. Our first stop is Magens Bay, where we find find the half-mile crescent packed with day-trippers. When I asked my mother about Magens, she'd said there were a handful of people on the day of her tour, surely less than a dozen. For us, romance requires at least a modicum of privacy, so after an irresistible dip in the crystalline sea, Joy and I hop back in the Jeep. We're not far from Drake's Seat, the hilltop lookout from which 16th-century explorer Sir Francis Drake supposedly watched his fleet. It's a stunning down-island view and yet another popular spot on the safari trail. We're hoping the next stop on the honeymoon map brings a measure of tranquility, but we're suspect when we pull up to the colorful hand-painted mural that says, "Welcome to the World Famous Mountain Top Home of the Banana Daiquiri." This being St. Thomas' highest point at 1,500 feet, the place sees plenty of action.
Fortunately, however, it's well after 4 p.m., and since most cruise-ship passengers have long returned to their motherships, we've got the place all to ourselves. Two potent banana daiquiris later, Joy and I sit and admire the sweeping panorama: We can see uninhabited islets like Hans Lollick and Great Tobago, the British Virgin Islands, including Jost Van Dyke and Tortola, plus St. Thomas' sister island of St. John. We steal the moment to smooch like newlyweds. The glow lasts as we tick off the last item of my parents' itinerary with a beautiful evening on the Lady Lynsey. The 53-foot catamaran is owned and operated by the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas – the island's grand-dame hotel and spa – and we're thrilled to be greeted aboard with guava coladas. Under clear skies and on smooth seas, we watch the sun dip into the horizon. The mystical green flash eludes us yet again, but when the pinks turn to purples and the purples fade to black, we count shooting stars until we reach the shore.