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Geocache Hike (Geocaching)

We’re back in St Croix and noticed there are at least 10 new geocaches this year. For those that don’t know, a geocache is sort of a treasure hunt using a GPS. You get a GPS location and get there any way you can to find the treasure. Then you take something from the treasure box, and leave something of your own. It’s great fun.

One of the new geocaches is not that far from the house we rent. Or at least, not when measured in a direct line. Walking it is quite a different matter, as it includes two very steep hills that are pretty difficult to walk in the full sun. But we decided to do it anyways, and had a very nice afternoon. It took us three hours to complete the hike, find the cache, and walk back, but it was well worth it as the views during this hike are spectacular. Now on to the next cache!

Read on for some images..

Sailing (Photography)

We don’t need another hobby, but I must admit I like sailing a lot. We went out for a nice trip to Buck Island, a small nature reserve island just off the N/E shore of St. Croix. Thanks to our friends Marjo and Scott, who have a nice sail boat just perfect for these trips!

Sailing between St. Croix and Buck Island

Geocaching (Geocaching)

As if we didn’t have enough hobbies, Julie and I have started to do geo caching. It’s actually a great way to get some exercise and see areas you otherwise probably wouldn’t visit. The object is to find a treasure that’s been hidden. You find it by following GPS coordinates towards a location. Sometimes the caches are easy to find, somethings quite difficult. You then take something out of the cache, and put something back in yourself.

You can do geocaching all over the world. Probably within a few miles of everyone reading this post there is at least 1 cache. Here on St Croix there are about 10 caches, and we’ve found 5 so far. One turned out to be unreachable as the area it’s in was flooded after the last hurricane. Maybe if I take my dive gear out!

Finding the caches turned out to be a lot of fun. One was right near our dive shop. Literally a few steps from it. We never knew it was there. Another was on the highest peak of St. Croix and was pretty hard to reach as there was no real path. We had to hike through dense forest. The photo was taken during our last hike. We had to walk about 2 miles over hills, past deserted beaches, through dense grass, and finally we found it near a beautiful little lagoon with several pelicans flying around. Just perfect.

Mating Hamlets (Diving, Photography)

hamlet.jpgIn the last few years, images of mating Hamlets have turned up in several publications. Julie and I love watching natural behavior, but we’ve never really taken the time to go out and photograph Hamlets. St Croix is actually a very good place to do this, as there are different species of Hamlets here, and lots of them. So we finally went out last night to see what all the hubhub is about.

We didn’t really know what to expect. We’ve photographed mating behavior of other species before, and some species, like for instances Dragonets can be really difficult to approach. So we were ready to stalk our prey and stop breathing. None of this turned out to be necessary. The Hamlets were completely oblivious to our presence and at times would actually swim within two feet of us by themselves. Their mating session lasted for about 30 minutes, during which they went up into the water column about a dozen times to mate. It was quite interesting to watch.

So here it is, my very first image, shot when they went up the first time.

On the Beach (Horses)

We had a great day on the beach today taking some horses into the ocean. The horses seemed to enjoy it as much as we did. Click on “More” for some more pictures.

pirate1.jpg More »

Sunset in the caribbean (Horses, Photography)

 In the winter Julie and I head to the US Virgin Islands to visit Julie’s mother. In the past we did a lot of diving during those weeks, but in the last two years we’ve started horse riding. It’s a nice change from riding at home in an arena. Here we can ride freely, on the beach and through the hills. Today we went to the top of a small hill to watch the sunset over the North Shore of St Croix. It doesn’t get much better.

This is Julie’s favorite horse named Pirate. It’s a stallion, that most people that ride here can’t handle, but somehow Julie manages with her soft touch.

Back home to the Virgin Islands (Diving, Horses, Photography)

Every year Julie and I go to the Virgin Islands for about three months to visit Julie’s mother. Unfortunately it’s really warm there as well, while here in Amsterdam it’s cold, rainy and gloomy. But we’ll just have to sacrifice ourselves. We’ll be on the island of St Croix, which is by far the nicest of the US Virgin Islands. Ok, maybe St John is nicer, but just too small for us.

We normally do some diving there, but last year we actually got into horse riding as well. We know a local cowboy there who we helped out taking care of about 15 horses. We had a blast, so hopefully we can do that again this year. We started to take more advanced riding lessons here in Amsterdam just for that occasion.

VI, see you in January!