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Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial


mitsugirly
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The heavy downpour lasted for maybe 5 minutes, the rain subsided within 10 minutes and all was good. I ask the Spencer team if our tour included drinks and they did confirm that it did...free of charge. They had some yummy (not) water, soda (both regular and diet), rum punch, and beer of course. We helped ourselves and the caffeine gave me the energy I was looking for to head off into the water to explore.

 

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I geared up and headed for the water....OUCH!!!

 

This is what you have to walk over in order to get in the water.

 

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I immediately noticed how pretty is was under there and what the kids had been staring at was more than just a few fish hanging out at the shore line.

 

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See the hidden fish that blended in?

 

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A bunch of blue striped baby grunts

 

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Blue head Wrasse

 

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We were pulling up to this little village. I looked around and didn't see a beach. Could I have been wrong about where we are going or it was the place they drop you off at and you walk to the beach? Or maybe shuttle there? I noticed some smoke coming from there.

 

 

 

 

I believe they said this was the sulfer coming from the volcanos? Can anyone confirm it's located right there in that little village? I thought it was weird, but you could definitely smell it.

 

 

 

 

We pulled up to the dock and everyone was getting out. Everyone except us I guess. He told us we were going on to the beach. We were the ONLY ones that didn't take the tour everyone else was doing. At that point I had regrets. I had ask the hubby which tour he wanted to do. Just the beach or the tour to the volcanos and mud bath. I personally thought the mud bath would be so awesome to do and would make for some great pictures (and everyone knows when I go some place, I have taking pictures on my mind). But he said "no way" and I only booked the beach portion. Now I regretted listening to him. I mean he leaves things up to me and is always just along for the ride. He usually never knows what we are doing or where we are going. I should have just booked and not worried about it. He would have went anyhow. But I didn't. Had I known for sure that Kendra was coming on the cruise with us, I would have booked the mud bath tour for sure! We would have had so much fun with that! Next time!!!

 

Off we went on a boat with just the 5 of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes that village "Soufriere" is the place where the vans used to meet a boat at the dock there when Spencer Ambrose did a land tour portion (a year or so ago they quit that) then you would get on the water taxi and go around the Piton to the beach in between. Yes the Drive through Volcano is just up the road from that little town, as are the Mud Baths (since the two are next to each other) they also take you to a very pretty waterfall where you can get in the cool water. Worth the trip next time you are there. We did the mud baths the last time we were there (in 2015) with Spencer Ambrose. He is a great guide/guy. You can definitely smell the sulfur... which is actually a good thing. When you can't smell it the volcano is getting ready to erupt :eek::eek: Your review is bringing back so many great memories.

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I spotted some Christmas tree worms. These are the same as the feather dusters, just shaped like a Christmas tree and they come in all different colors. I just love them! They are so pretty.

 

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A red sea urchin

 

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Feather duster worm

 

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Ocean Surgeonfish

 

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I really was amazed at the snorkeling there. It just went on forever. I just kept going further and further out (and I thought I was alone).

 

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I will say that for the most part, in the beginning, you can go up and down the wall to the edge and it's not very deep. Of course the further you get out, along the wall, the deeper it would get.

 

However, if you went even a few feet away from the wall, it got deep quickly (as in the area between the wall and where the dock/boats were)...which is not a very big area to begin with. It's just a sorta-fast decline into the deep.

 

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GASP!! There's some squid!! Sakari corrects me and says "mom, they're cuddlefish". Cuddlefish, squid, whatever...all the same thing aren't they??

 

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There were quite a few and it was at this point that I noticed Kendra was behind me and discovered them also. I didn't even know she was in the water, let alone following me out while snorkeling.

 

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It was a trumpet fish. I find these in various places when we snorkel. There's usually one when I find them. However, this place was loaded with so many of them.

 

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I found an empty sea urchin. I would stick it in my top (of my bathing suit) for safe keeping so that I could show it to Sakari when I came back from snorkeling.

 

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This place had some of the biggest trumpet fish I had ever seen before. There were quite a few big ones that were probably at least 2 feet long. (This is not one of the big ones. The big ones kept darting into the rocks and coming out on the other side).

 

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We see the blue head wrasse every where we go. They are very easy to spot and easy to identify of course. But this would be the first time I seen a yellow head wrasse before.

 

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Then all of a sudden....EEEKKKKK!!!! I spotted an eel. A black striped moray eel? I was super excited! He was super quick and darted under a rock really fast. I took multiple pictures, but only ended up with one that showed him. We would act like we were leaving and turn around and he would be out again. He knew he was being stalked and would scurry back under the rocks again.

 

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Then all of a sudden I found a YELLOW trumpet fish!!! Wow!!! How cool is that? I have never seen one that is yellow.

 

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There was a couple of them.

 

One was really big too! If you look at the size of the rocks and I was floating on the surface of the water about a good 7-8 feet up, you can tell this one was pretty big. I wish I could have dove down and got a close up picture. But he was fine until we moved and he'd dart away and come back.

 

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This was the wall that after you went around it, there was a drop off and things got really deep. We didn't out too much after that and we were pretty far out (not all the way to the ropes yet) and the waves were a little more "wavy" out that way. So we would end up turning around and heading back shortly after this.

 

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I would find this brown sea cucumber on the way back. I have never seen any other than the dark brown ones before.

 

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Yellowtail damselfish

 

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Another very pretty white stripped feather duster took up residence in this coral. I honestly don't think I have ever seen a feather duster that is striped like this.

 

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Another smooth trunkfish

 

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Love the Report!

 

Just thought I would give you some help with the ID's....

 

that is a chain moray eel

The red and pink coral, is rope sponge

The orange coral is another sponge, vase sponges come in various colors but brown-orange is most common. There are hot pink vase sponges that will take your breathe away.

 

that last striped feather duster inside the brown barrel sponge looks like a type of anemone, but can't be sure from the photo

 

Caribbean squid... not cuttlefish.

 

the stuff that is colorful on top of some coral, that looks like it has big openings on it is another type of sponge (sponges are very common), the round opening is a clue its a sponge

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This was the wall that after you went around it, there was a drop off and things got really deep. We didn't out too much after that and we were pretty far out (not all the way to the ropes yet) and the waves were a little more "wavy" out that way. So we would end up turning around and heading back shortly after this.

 

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the top group are a FANTASTIC find! Looks like Orange Cup Coral... which are not that exciting during daytime, but at night they extend their tentacles to feed. They look like this:

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Divers go nuts for these.... as they are so hard to find. Usually they are under piers or rocky areas in dark spots. They don't like sunshine.

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Those are WOW pictures Kim!

I LOVE the trunk fish...they look like they are wearing mascara and eyeliner. I saw a pair in Curacao and I swear one had red lips (like lipstick)!!!!! Must be the female! ;)

 

Waiting (im)patiently for more. :):p

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I was super tired and needed a break (and by break, we all know it means about a good 10 minutes). Along the way, we pass the kids in the water and Sakari yells out "Mommy, this is the best snorkeling in the world!!! I love this place!" (And to think she didn't even want to go to the beach today).

 

 

Kendra and I headed back to the chairs and I would be told by the hubby that Sakari had decided to pick up a pokey sea urchin (the black spiny ones that sting). And they had put her hand in ice cold water, but the stinger was still in there. I guess I had missed all the drama when I was snorkeling and she was back out in the water already. I still can't believe she would do that. She knows they are "bad" and pokey and has never tried that before. She is just getting more and more daring these days.

 

Eventually she got out of the water and came up to my chair to tell me about what happened. You could tell she was afraid to tell me. She started out saying that she got too close to it, but I knew better and said "Are you sure you didn't try to pick it up?" She hung her head down and said "Yea, I did". She got the whole "How could you not know that it wouldn't hurt you? You see the needles on it? Do they look friendly?" ...and so on. She showed me her finger and yep, you could still see the black needle in it. The guy from Spencer said not to worry about it. It would eventually work itself out and fall out. It must have not been hurting too bad because after showing me and getting a drink, she ran back out to the water and started snorkeling again.

 

I was busy loading up on more caffeine and figured I probably needed to find the restrooms.

 

They are located right behind the area with the chairs we were first going to sit in.

 

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They also had a little area that they sold things at. I would later buy my St Lucia tee shirt there so that I didn't have to look for one in port when we returned.

 

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Right beside the restroom was a shower...it didn't work and just dribbled.

 

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After returning from the restroom, I look out and see Sakari and B out in the water. They are about 10' away from the wall or so and I said to the hubby "Are you not watching them" He said "What? They aren't out far". I informed him that even though it appeared that they were not far out, it was very deep there and way way over their heads. Sigh.

 

Now Sakari is a pretty good swimmer these days. She amazes me at just how much better she gets each cruise. However, I would not really know just how good she is until this day, when she was out in the very deep water. It suddenly dawned on me just how good she is.

 

I hurried out to the water, ouchie owie across the rocks in the water to get to an area that I could put my flippers on and race out to where they were at. She was having a good old time. Swimming, snorkeling and diving down. I immediately started with the "Sakari, you know you are not to be out this deep unless we are with you". Of course I got the "Mom, I'm ok. I can swim". Sigh.

 

So we would spend a little bit of time out in the water and I would kind of sit back and watch her and reflect on what exactly was going on. I watched her dive down and explore. I watched her swim all over the place. I watched her tread water and talk to B above the water. I watched her go out over the REALLY deep end...and then fear took over me again and I motioned her back. She said she was watching the scuba divers.

 

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I can't believe this parrot fish didn't even run with her going down beside it. It just kept on eating like she didn't exist. Maybe she is a mermaid and they know it.

 

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During our discussion with the Spencer guy about Sakari's needle in her finger, I did remember to show Sakari the empty sea urchin I had found. It would not be until this very moment that I realized that this round smooth urchin is the same as the prickly looking white urchins you see all over the water. Why has this not dawned on me until now?? Then the Spencer guy tells us that it's ok to pick those white ones up. They wont hurt you. So of course that was one of Sakari's goals now. One that she could pick up and actually hold.

 

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It's funny that after you pick them up, their needles start to curl instead of poking out. He looks like he's having a bad hair day now.

 

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Kendra spotted a yellowtail damselfish and couldn't get over the brilliant colors of it. I guess she has never seen one before while snorkeling. I see them all the time.

 

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