Mark and Denise ...

All I can say is...
WOOOOOO HOO!!!
Our first day was amazing!

The airplane over from St Maarten's was pretty hot inside, but the view made us forget all about it...here is the harbor at Gustavia as we are coming in...

The airport was teeny, y'all!

I have NEVER gotten through customs that fast ANYwhere though!

We went on over to Europcar, and before we even got finished getting the Jeep, our guy had arrived to show us up to the villa...wow! Service!
Our bags didn't make it with us, so after he got us up to the villa, he went back and got them for us...again, WOW! Super sweet guy, Aurelian.

Anyway, here is our first view from the upper deck...and this photo doesn't do it justice. I'll get some better ones.

After we got unpacked and settled in, we zipped down to Gustavia for dinner at sunset at Le Repaire, which was fabulous. So was watching the sunset over the harbor, and drinking "Le Pirate" which is, I guess, the house drink. It's got rhum and passionfruit and cognac...YUM!

Here's us eating (and DRINKING!) at Le Repaire:

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Then we went home, played in the hot tub, and slept for almost FIFTEEN HOURS

Yesterday, we got up late, ate breakfast, and checked out Flamands, just down the hill from us. Have you ever seen a beach THIS crowded? HA!!

We went back in to town and got groceries, and found me a charger for the camera. I left the battery charger at home!
That took some work, but we found one at Caribe Electronics. Very nice guy there too!
Really, everyone has been just marvelous! You hear stories about how awful French people can be to visitors, but everyone here has been so sweet and so charming!!!
They all seem to like to hear us talk, for some reason...

Last night, we went to Le Select and had our "Cheeseburger in Paradise", which really was good, and Caribe beers with a lime.
Better than Burger King, by a good bit! LOL!

We got up early this morning, and drove up to Le Petite Columbier for some baked stuff...YUMMY!!!
We got croissants and tarts and pastries and bread... why do these people not weigh 500 pounds??? The food here ROCKS!

After breakfast, we went down to Petite Anse and went snorkeling, and then up to Flamands to swim and sun on the beach. The water is SO BLUE!!! And SO CLEAR!!!

Sigh. We are in love with this place.

We are back at the villa now, cleaning up before we head back down to Gustavia to pick up a few things, and then over to Saline for the last sun of the day.

Aah... Island time.

(and once again, lots of thanks to Jeff for making our vacation here smooth as glass so far!!!)

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Yesterday was mostly wonderful, except for the surf monster that ate my sunglasses at Saline. Things to not do again: get in the surf wearing nice sunglasses. Grrrr! 8 foot waves will sneak up on you.

Anyhow, we went to Saline, and St. Jean. Here's the sign...love that airplane over the beach on the sign...

We ate lunch at La Plage...

And looked out at St. Jean...

Then walked down and checked out Eden Rock...and I got the coolest swimsuit at The Black Swan!!!
I LOVE that shop...now I know why you ladies love it!!!

And we thought this was cool...
Scarlett Johansson's yacht! LOL!!!!

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Then, last night, we went to Eddies to eat...and it was FABULOUS!!!
Us at Eddies:

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Inside of Eddies...

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We LOVED the food, and Eddie was very very sweet.
I had red snapper with passionfruit sauce and julienne veggies, and he had pork tenderloin crusted with coconut and pineapple. For dessert, we shared a passionfruit creme with sauteed raspberries and coconut ice cream...YUMMY!!!!
Then Eddie saw us off with a shot of vanilla rhum...which has become my favorite drink in the world...as a matter of fact, I just sucked down a vanilla rhum and coke while we were writing this, LOL!!!!

I have had to go running every morning so I can eat all this good stuff every night!!!

Anyway, we went back to Saline this morning to try and find my sunglasses...hoping they'd washed up at high tide. No such luck....but we got some good photos...including this one of us, which was taken by a very nice French gentleman who was buck nekkid, LOL!

This one, I took holding the camera out at arm's length...I'm getting good at this photography stuff, y'all!

OK...enough playing on the computer...

There is a beach chair with my name on it!!!

We are off to fry in the sun!!!

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A wonderful day in St. Barth's!!!

We started by going down to Corossol. The village is just so quaint and cute! The beach was small, but incredibly picturesque.

From above Corossol:

Corossol beach:

I bought baskets from this sweet little lady...

The baskets and weaving are AMAZING!!! Such detail!!!

After a lunch of tuna salad on croissants from Le Petite Columbier, we trekked over to Gouverneur. We got lost. How do you get lost on a teeny little island? Simple. Take a wrong turn and end up at the top of a mountain in someone's driveway.
I can now say "Beware of the Dogs" in French...

We finally found the beach...

And it was GORGEOUS!!!!

Just enough surf, and the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks...

Do we look relaxed yet???

So many shades of blue!

And THEN....

We got a very special invitation.

Patrick, the Deputy Commander of the Gendarmes invited us up to see Fort Oscar!!!

They were all SO very sweet, especially Patrick.
He showed us around, and introduced us to everyone, including the Fort Commander.
ALthough there is almost no crime on St. Barth's, the ratio of Gendarmes to citizens is much higher than in France. The St. Barthians like it that way...and Patrick says everyone there is very kind and very sweet to 'blue people', LOL! He said they get offended if the Gendarmes don't stop in and chat with them.
He explained a lot about St. Barth, about how green everyone lives here, and how all the waste is burned to power the water plant, and about the sense of community. He told us about the last hurricane, when everyone pitched in to help each other out. THere was even someone on vacation in Scotland and he flew home because he owned some piece of construction equipment and knew it would be needed. What an amazing, wonderful place.

The Gendarmes of Fort Oscar. I think there must be a rule that says Gendarmes must only be attractive men! I feel very safe!

Patrick the Deputy Commander of Fort Oscar:

The view from the fort:

Looking down at the French goverment office:

The view to the west of the fort.
Oh, look...it's raining on those people in St Martins... LOL!

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Us, above Gustavia Harbor
(Thank you, Patrick! Merci!!! Merci!!!):

And THEN...

It was sunset...

And we went out to dinner at K'Fe' Massai.
It was incredibly romantic!

Not te mention the food...which was beautiful as well as delicious! The staff was wonderful...MORE cute French guys. Ladies, this place is awash with eye candy!
And even the drinks were pretty!

Sigh. Another day in paradise.

I love this place.

Now... off to Shell Beach this morning and then a hike to Columbier this afternoon for some snorkeling!

Yay!

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Yesterday, we went to two wonderful beaches...probably my two favorite so far!!!

Early on, we got up and went down to Shell Beach.
WHen everyone was talking about Shell, I had just assumed that it ws a beach with lots of shells.
I had no IDEA it was a beach made mostly OF shells!
WOW!!!

The little kid in me came out immediately!!
I roamed all over the place, finding beautiful little tidbits.

Although the beach is pretty small, it is gorgeous and kind of rugged...

Hubby enjoying the view!

Do Brazil!

Us on Shell Beach. Notice the boat coming out of my ear?

Hubby wants to enter this one in the WIMCO photo contest. He wants to know what you think. (I know THIS bunch has an opinion, LOL!!!)

THEN, after lunch....

We hiked over to Colombier.

Here, my pack mule...uh...husband...looks ready to go doesn't he???

A little later... not so much, LOL!!!
"HOW far is this place? WHAT?!?!?!"

Watch thst first step! I was seriously having flashbacks to that Sylvester Stallone movie "Cliffhanger". It was already a little nauseating...then it started to rain...
Lovely. Walking on slippery wet rocks...

Happily, it didn't rain long. About 3/4ths of the way there, we ran into some SBHOnline folks, the Salem's!!! I guess they heard the Mississippi accent, because Mrs. Salem said: "Hey!!! Are you the Magnolias???"
I don't have a picture. I was busy clinging to the cliff.

Then... light at the end of the tunnel!
We came around the corner, and got our first glimpse of Colombier, on the other side of those rocks.

"HALLELUJAH!!!" says Mr. Mags.

First look down...

The view from Rockefeller's place...

The water was as calm as a pool, and SO clear. We went snorkeling for hours. We saw lots of fish, and a bunch of rays, including one that had to be 4 or 5 feet wide!!!
No sea turtles, though.
Some of the best snorkeling I've done, ever!!!

Us after hours of snorkeling: wet, tired and happy. And we still had that climb back to the Jeep!

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Some St. Barth's beach memories...

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Yesterday we hung around Flamands all day, sunning, beaching, and yes, a little drinking, LOL!

We have been staying at one of the prettiest beaches on the island, yet have spent relatively little time around here.

Well, we corrected THAT yesterday.

We shot some good photos around our villa, Flamands Blue, too.

Here's the view from the upper deck.
Carib, anyone?

Here is our living room. OK...well...JEFF'S living room, LOL!

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The kitchen. It's where we keep the vanilla rhum!

The lower deck. That farthest blue chair is where I lay out every morning!

The rear of the lower deck. These have great afternoon sun!

The St. Barth's sun! I found it!

The Jacuzzi, which also doubles as my plunge pool. They have it set at the perfect temperature...cool in the day, and warm at night. My favorite spot in the villa!

Jeff worked really hard on the lighting too. He had a friend do some blue stained glass covers for the deck lights and they are, as he says, "very romantique". Oui! Oui!

I LOVE the villa! The views of Flamands are perfect, and the decks are very private, for sunbathing au naturel. Mmmmmmmm!!!!!

Then, of course, there is the beach...a five minute (or less) stroll....

and Flamands is one gorgeous, huge beach!

If he gets any more relaxed I think he'll MELT.
Look at all that grill showing there, LOL!!!

Looking out at Isle Chevreaux ou Bonhomme (now THERE'S a mouthful!) from Flamands...

The point that juts out above Flamands. I don't know what villa that is, but they HAVE to have an unbelieveable view!!!

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This is MLI, a WIMCO villa right on Flamands beach. I lusted after it on my walk down the beach, and then looked it up when we got back. It's YUMMY!

Looking back toward the Hotel Isle de France. They have awesome pina coladas! Cute cabana boys too...

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The left end of the beach. The color of the water still blows us away.

Well, today is our anniversary, so we are going to just lounge around enjoying each others company, and then tonight...

Le Gaiac! Yay!

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We are sitting at the villa this morning drinking OJ and cafe' au lait.

Yesterday was pretty overcast, so we decided to visit the museums. We are both history nuts, and it's been on our to-do list.

First, we went down to Corossol. I wanted to see the shell museum. We wanted to eat at Regal too, but it was ferme'

The Interocean Museum sits right on the left end of Corossol Beach.

It was built and is still run by Monseur Ingenu Magras. He is now 88 years young. Even though he is blind in his right eye, and is deaf now, he is still sharp as a tack. He told us that he was born on St. Barth's in 1921, and can remember first following his father down the beach, picking up shells when he was a very little boy.

The museum was not air conditioned, was sweltering hot, and we got eaten by mosquitos...but we stayed for a long time because Mr. Magras kept us enthralled with his stories. He is a kind, sweet man.
He told us one story that was both hilarious and cruel. Apparently, an American couple came in, and she wanted to buy a nautilus shell. (He no longer collects shells, and is slowly selling off his duplicates in his little shop next to the museum.) He only had three left. The woman picked out the one she wanted, and then gave him a hundred dollar bill. When he went to make change, the worthless crooks scooped up the other two shells and stuck them in their bag. Grrr!
Well, a friend of his saw them do it and told him...so as they were leaving he said: "Wait! Don't go yet!" They looked puzzled, and asked why. He told them:"Because the Gendarmes are coming. They want to talk to you about those shells you just STOLE!" He said their eyes got as big as saucers and they ran away. Even though they got away with the shells, he still finds the story hilarious.
He also says he is very sad about 9/11...not because he is particularly political...but because the 5 biggest shell collectors he had have never come back after 9/11. He said times have been very hard since then. Strange how events half a world away can shatter the lives of people on a small tropical island.

Needless to say, we bought lots of shells...

Next, we drove up to Gustavia to see the Gustavia Municipal Library and Museum.

Out front, they have one of the traditional fishing boats. I don't think the trailer is traditional though...

Inside is a collection of all sorts of neat stuff from St. Barth's past...

An original Swedish flag...

Can you imagine WEARING this stuff in this HEAT??
Those were some TOUGH women!!!

Can you imagine going out on the ocean in one of these? The men were pretty tough too...

Here is the original well, in the courtyard.

Me with the curator. (We were the only people in there, in spite of the town crawling with tourists...They all looked American, and we wondered if they were of a cruise ship or something.)
He spent over an hour with us, and gave us a fascinating lesson on the history of St Barts, and all the different people who had lived here.

Pictures of the hurricanes that have hit St. Barths. At least all the ones they have satellite pictures of.

Then, we walked around, and took pictures of the French consul, or whatever you call it.
I got a great photo of the St. Barthelemy flag blowing in the wind.

Then I took pictures of St. Bart's flowers...

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All of a sudden it was evening and time to go to dinner...

Us, dressed up to go out to Le Gaiac...

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Le Gaiac was AMAZING!!!

Our thanks to Jeff for making our reservations. We had a wonderful table, right next to the pool. We got there as the light was fading, and it was SOOOOO romantic!!!

We had a wonderful bottle of Pouilly Fousse, and the meal was fabulous. I had the grouper stuff with lobster, and he had the lobster and pasta.
WOW!!!!
For dessert, we had Crepes Suzette, which they make at the table. When they served it, they put a sparkler in it, and on it, in chocolate syrup, in calligraphy...

WONDERFUL!!!

And that wasn't even the best part....

My husband has been conspiring with Jeff...

My anniversary present was...

A TRIP BACK TO ST. BARTH'S, THIS WINTER!!!!

WOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!! !

Oh yes, I'm addicted to St. Barth's now...

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It was a marvelous Friday!

We started off in the morning by going to Lorient beach. We hadn't been there before, and everyone had told us that was the place to hunt for sea turtles.
ALthough the beach was very pretty, it was VERY rocky, and isn't very kind to your feet when you are wading out. Owww-eeeee!

The water was beautiful though.

About ten yards over and 15 feet down from this boat are THE BIGGEST LOBSTERS ON EARTH!!!!
Well...the biggest ones we had ever seen, anyway...

As you can see from the previous picture, the weather got overcast, and the visibility underwater went way down. We went WAY out past the reef, and I was getting a little scared. I don't like to snorkel when I can't see, and we could barely see the bottom. Brrr! We didn't get to see any turtles, but the reef was very very pretty, expecially on the shore side of it. Oh, well, I'll find the little boogers next time!

My husband neglected to tell me that snokeling had given me a MOHAWK!

That's OK... it didn't do much for HIS hairstyle either, LOL!!!

After we got done snorkeling, we were ravenous! We had planned on lunch at the Manapany, but we couldn't wait that long! (We are going today, though) We went down the street to Le Bouchon and had us a PIZZA!
YUM!!! The last one we had was a little strange...it had a cream sauce. This time, we got the 'Western' and it was GOOD!!

Went back and hung out at Flamands for a while, and I got to drift around the bay on a floatie. That was really nice. Wish I'd found it a week ago. I love sunning and floating on the water.

Last night, we wanted to go back to Le Select and have another one of their wonderful cheeseburgers. Those things DESERVE to have a song written about them, LOL!

The street scene in Gustavia on a Friday night...

My 'Cheeseburger in Paradise'! Yes, I ate the WHOLE THING...but I didn't eat all of them fries!!!

My husband having a Carib.
Right before he squirted mustard all over that shirt, LOL!!!

This morning, we got up early, and went up to Le Petite Columbier, and got quiche Lorraine for breakfast, and I had me a wonderful cafe' au lait.
Mmmmmmmmm!!!

OK...now I am going to go RUN all this rich food off!!! Flamands hill, here we come!

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After snorkeling, and being unable to find the sea turtles, we had a lunch planned at the Manapany.
Didn't go so well.
The place itself was gorgeous, and the restaurant is sort of octagonal and sits right on the beach, with the waves lapping right below the window by our table. The grounds were very pretty and well kept too.
Problem was, one of the chef's had fallen and broken an ankle, and they were having major issues getting the food out. We really wanted to eat there so we held out for a while, but after an hour, we had to go. We had the catamaran cruise that afternoon, and we needed to eat and get back to get ready, so we headed out to find some where else to eat.
(The manager was very apologetic. He actually sent Jeff a letter apologizing for our experience. Very classy. We still want to try them again on the next trip...)

ANYway, we ended up eating lunch at Les Bananiers, which Jeff had also recommended, and which is right next to Le Petite Columbier (attached to it, actually).
IT WAS AMAZING!!!!
It turned out to be one of the best meals we ate on the island!
I had the mahi-mahi, and he had tenderloin with bernaise, and they ROCKED! They also served these sweet potato chips, in a sweet potato puree/salad that was out of this world. YUM!!!!

So... after lunch, we zipped back to the villa, and got ready to go sailing!

Jeff had arranged for us to go for a sunset cruise on one of his friend Bertrand's boats, out of Marine Services, in Gustavia harbor.
When we got there, we found that he had also arranged for us to get "Marine Services...Plaisirs Nautiques" T-shirts, too! How sweet!

Here is Mr. Mags in his t-shirt, and that's the catamaran in the background...

Here's the catamaran. It was brand spanking new, and just beautiful!

O Captain, our captain!

Our first mate/bartender/DJ/crew woman and boy was she a hoot! Anyone who can simultaneously dance, sing and mix a rum punch in 5 foot seas... I loved her!!!

Setting sail!!! (Why do I keep hearing the "Gilligan's Island" song in my head???)

Watching the captain weave his way out of the harbor...

So! THIS is where the Beatles left that thing....

Several Caribs and Rhum punches and we are ready for some SUNSET, y'all!

Here it comes....

Now, I am really proud of this photo y'all.
Do you have any idea how long I tried to get a damn bird framed with this sunset!?!?!?!?

My husband loves this one.
He'd better.
He had me up on my tippy-toes for 10 minutes till he got it right, LOL!!!

Just past sunset. I love the color of the sky at dusk.

I worked hard on this one too. It was hard getting the lights on the water to look right.
Gustavia Harbor at dusk.

THEN...

After the wonderful cruise, we had late dinner reservations at LE TI!!!

We had heard a lot about the place, and were really looking forward to it!

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Darn it, we didn't get a picture of the entrance.

The place is so hard to find, when we got there we were already 20 minutes late for dinner, and when we left...well... we were neither one in photography-able states, LOL!

It's decorated in sort of cat-house style. Lots of gilt and red velvet. It sounds trashy, but it's pretty sensual, really.
The girl's very very pretty, and (except for one little thing who seemed a little lost), had the catwalk attitude, and really strutted their stuff, LOL!
Here's the promised pics, boys!

Le Ti!!!

Belly dancers...

The fashion show... I MUST HAVE some of these outfits!!!

Our waitress... she was a lot of fun, too!!!

The sailor girls! I loved the sailor girls!

Me, about to dive into a sinful, scrumptious dessert.
This was right before the showgirls, and, of course, the dancing on the tables.
Sorry...no photos of that...
THIS time...

Then we wobbled home and dove into the Jacuzzi...

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WHen we finally got up on Sunday morning, and had time to ingest a couple of cafe au laits, we decided to make one more try to find the sea turtles.

Everyone had said the place was infested with them, but in spite of snorkeling on a different beach every single day, we had still come up empty. On the advice of several of you, we decided to attempt right off of Nikki Beach, just to the right of Eden Rock.

Here's the place...

Looking back at Nikki Beach...

Besides, it gave me one last time to wear the absolutely rocking bikini I got at Black Swan!
Yes!

We swam out from Eden Rock, and across the buoy line. We hadn't seen anything, and we'd been out for nearly an hour and a half. I was getting discouraged...then...it happened!!!!

He swam across right in front of us! He was HUGE!
I don't know what I'd expected...but I know I hadn't expected them to be so beautiful, and so graceful. Those aren't things you usually associate with turtles.

But he was. He was just magnificent. I followed him across the bay. When he surfaced for air, I came up, and when he went down, I went down.
It was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life... swimming with a sea turtle.
My only regret is LEAVING MY DAMN UNDERWATER CAMERA AT HOME!!! Aargh!!!

Where we found the turtles: in this photo, between that sailboat and the point.

VICTORY!!!!!

Do I look a little happy? LOL!

Then...

It was almost over.

Our last day in paradise.

After we got packed, and everything, we packed up a bottle of chilled rhum punch, and drove up to the point overlooking Columbier to watch our last St. Barth's sunset.
(Then we fought over who was going to use the camera, LOL! We both did...)

Looking down at Petite Anse and Flamands...

Sunset and clouds above Flamands beach

Our last sunset, from above Columbier beach.
Someone remind me to breathe....

Au revoir, beatiful island!
Au 'voir!!!
Til' next time!!!

We want to extend a special thanks to Jeff and Caroline, (and the villa staff) for opening their villa up to us, and for making our trip possible.

A very, very special thanks to Jeff, though, for going far above and beyond the call of duty, and making this trip the truly memorable, amazing event that it was.
He is a sweet, wonderful, special guy.
(I hope I just made him blush!)

Thanks, y'all.

Denise and Mark.