Crabby’s Coral Bay ~ St. John USVI

Crabby’s Watersports

Coral Bay, St. John USVI

If you want to snorkel around St. John and are looking for some equipment to rent…..

Crabby’s is the place to get your gear from. There is no need to look anywhere else.

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out front of Crabby’s in Coral Bay, St. John

For just $25 bucks for the week. You can rent yourself some snorkeling gear so you are able to snorkel to your heart’s content on all of the gorgeous beaches around the fabulous island. Including, Waterlemon Cay, which is my favorite. Hey, if you aren’t the adventurous type. Why not snorkel in your villa’s pool? Haha!

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One of the fabulous St. John beaches

Crabby’s also rents kayaks and other water-sporting gear. Did you forget to bring your underwater camera? Well… You can purchase one here! You will definitely want to take pictures of your snorkelicious journey with all the amazing water wildlife around you on your island adventure.

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Crabby sign

Also, you can book a charter boat to tour around the island, a sunset cruise, or go island hopping to the British Virgin Islands and see German men in their speedos. Yuck (I did see them in Jost Van Dyke though).

It was hot! Not!

Crabby’s has a lot of unique offerings. Definitely check it out of you are staying in St. John.

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Love Coral Bay’s sense of humor. It is all over the place!

As the sign says above, “Have a Crabby Day.”

There’s really nothing crabby about these folks. They are actually pretty nice. However, I appreciate the Coral Bay humor.

As you can see… They “maybe” will be open at these times, haha.

Francis Bay is where I want to spend the day :)

Francis Bay

St. John USVI

I enjoy Francis Bay, in St. John because it is a little farther out of the way and off the main “beach road” of the National Park. Which means.. Ding! Ding! Ding! Less of a crowd.

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See no people….hear no people my friends

The best parking is at the beginning of the Francis Bay Trail entrance. It’s a short hike down to the beach and a definite to see. The trail is pretty shaded so it’s not too hot.

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Ruins at Francis Bay

Continue walking the trail, you’ll soon end up seeing these ruins to your right. Only look, don’t touch. They aren’t that stable to hold your skinny butt. It is awesome to see a bit of history amongst your short hike to Francis Bay.

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More ruins along the Francis Bay Trail with use of the native stone bluebitch. Yes, it is the true name of the stone my friends.

As you stroll down further to your left, you will notice an old salt pond that they used back in the day as a ways to dry the precious mineral. Salt was a huge commodity since it was used to preserve meat before refrigeration… Kind of crazy how far we’ve come along in such a short time, eh?

You are getting close my friends…

Eventually, you will come out along this clearing with a few picnic tables to sit at for your pleasure.

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My manly Mangroves.

These picnic tables are about the only facilities here. Make sure you pack accordingly. Snorkeling to the right is probably the best spot here. Near the rocks.

Francis Bay is a bit rockier than the others. However, it’s EXTREMELY calm and sheltered well on each side. Making this an AWESOME snorkel location. It’s a pretty long beach which makes it ideal because you can almost always find a great spot to sit at.

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Francis Bay

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A friend I met at Francis Bay

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My sailboat out there in the distance

This is a great kid friendly beach. A lot of fun and pure St. John tranquility at it’s best.

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My Francis Bay Artwork. It is worth a Million Dollars, fyi.

This is “Jane” and I putting our trademark on Francis Bay. I used rocks from the bay for this masterpiece.

It seems like a common artistic occurrence here. Leave your “mark” when you are here!

Definitely put it on your list for something off the beaten path for your exploration of the beloved island.

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A man swimming or twiddling his thumbs, not sure.

This is probably one of the lesser crowded beaches of all of St. John’s north shore, but just as beautiful.

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True Splendor

If you really take a look at my photos and other blogs I have posted. You can really see how unique each beach is in St. John. Every single beach you see, the more and more you will fall in love with the island. It’s pretty much how it goes.

There will also be many other beaches featured on my site in the next few weeks.

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See you again soon my little buddy!

St. John has my heart forever.

She will capture yours with love at first sight. I can bet you on that!

“BREATH” of St. John~ A ship that has captivated the soul of it’s people.

The sailing ship, “BREATH” of St. John USVI

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The beauty of St. John~ Breath

If anyone has ever seen this ship, it is one word. Breathtaking. “Breath is life. It is very important to us all. This boat was going to be our life.” As said by Dorothy Muilenberg. Captain Peter Muilenberg’s 1st mate and soul mate. Dorothy incorporated the yoga style of breathing which was an influence to where the ship received its name.

The sailing ship Breath has had a long colorful history. The ship has been in existence in St. John for over 30 years. At 50 feet, it is the longest ship ever made on the island. The Breath was completely handcrafted, by a local resident, Peter Muilenberg. And assisted by the dedicated people of St. John.

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The Captain hard at work on the ship.

In 1968 at only 23 years old, Captain Peter Muilenberg and his wife, Dorothy, arrived on St. John. Looking forward to starting their new life together-they chose St. John as their home, “Because it was beautiful. The snorkeling was great in many places. We both found teaching jobs in the public school,” said Dorothy. If they only knew what great things the future would hold and the profound impact they would bestow on their fellow St. Johnians!

Prior to building Breath, Peter had only built a dinghy. Dorothy says, “He loved to do wood work.”

His inspiration came from the design of the boat of a Venus designed ketch. “These boat standards were very high and shipyards would have cost too much. It was the only way we could get it.” Dorothy said. One influence was the ship named the Moon. It was built and owned by John and Gillene Frith of Bermuda. They sailed her for years with their three children. Also another inspiration, the designer, Paul Johnson, built and sailed Venus Ketches of several sizes. In the mid 1960’s, Paul created quite a ruckus in Bermuda and everywhere he went with his small ship. Dorothy says, “The Venus Ketches are inspired by Colin Archers, A Norwegian double ended rescue boat.”

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Picture of Breath construction.

Peter began to seek out his master plan. He mapped out how he was going to build the ship. He obtained the site at the East End of St. John and arranged for the transport of materials and the shipping of those materials. Captain Muilenberg received two masts of pine trees by navigating the St. John crew on an early barge which came from Jacksonville, Florida. The hull is made out of fiberglass. The boat is made out several different varieties of wood. Including; Yellow pine, teak, purple heart, angelique and lignum vitae.

It took over 3 and 1/2 years to complete this gorgeous vessel. Upon it’s completion, over 200 St. John volunteers assisted in placing the ship in the bay.

Breath has sailed all over the world with the whole family in tow. Including, two boys and a belgian dog called a Schipperke which is referred to as, “the Tasmanian black devil.”

Breath was instrumental in the shipment of antibiotics to Haiti during the 94′ embargo. To aid children suffering from serious hunger and death because of an extremist military rule on the island.

She has sailed to such places as the Mediterranean, Africa, and South America.

In 2001, she had a little accident on the north shore reef off the coast of the little island of Inagua, Bahamas. This area houses a large reef extending almost a mile in all directions of the island. Breath got caught in this reef and it nearly destroyed the ship. It was extremely expensive in trying to get the ship back home. Not only could the owners afford to transport the ship back to St. John. They had no idea how to rescue her. The folks of St. John all banded together to bring this girl home. Fundraising efforts were held and the money raised enabled the citizens to bring the ship back to its original condition again.

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The accident in Inagua, Bahamas.

It was estimated that it cost over $30,000 to repair Breath. The total interior of the ship was completely rehabilitated.

Once again, the citizens of St. John worked diligently together and were able to restore the Breath back to her original pristine condition.

A St. John resident and one of the captains of Breath, Jared Warren, has aided in the maintenance of the ship for the last decade. Jared started working for Peter in late 1999 just before New Year’s Eve. One day the ship got caught in a nasty squall which resulted in the breakage of the gaff boom. Thus, Captain Jared learned how to build spars. The technique is the same for all spars of wood.

The technique to rebuild and maintain “Breath” was passed onto Jared by Captain Muilenberg himself. He helped in the replacement of the gaff boom. The technique included first making a square, then octagonal, and ending with rounding it off and tapering it. “If you don’t do that, it will never be straight”, says Jared.

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The rebuilding of the ship.

“When it was time to rebuild the masts, I had a lot of experience repairing the masts on Breath. We used a combination of the classic techniques and I also adapted my own experience in the design. Getting the right material (wood) was part of what dictated my design. Once we knew what we were getting, I drew a plan and we built it. Peter oversaw the build”, says Jared. Using these particular techniques they have perfected the art of rebuilding the masts.

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Picture of Jared, left. The guy in the middle is current captain, Colin Hanson. The man in the back is Roy Proctor. Hard at work building the masts.

Jared had lived on Australia and his visa was about to expire. This is his story of what brought him to the beloved St. John. He says, “I went back to the states and did not want to be there any more. I went into a bookstore (before the internet was really kicking) and went to the travel section. I was young and impatient and felt I could move anywhere. So after about 2 minutes, I chose a Caribbean book. A minute later I found St John; National Park, sailing. No visa required. I was in St John 2 weeks later.”

Reminiscent of Peter and Dorothy, Jared and wife Angie moved here as a young couple fresh out of college. Jared had been living on the island and Angie came to St. John on vacation. They fell in love at first sight. They later married and have set out on a new adventurous journey with one another. They worked hard to survive on the tough expensive island of St. John.

Captain Jared is a man of many talents. Not only is he a pineapple farmer, real estate agent, captain and gardener. He is also a member of the famous St. John band, called, The “Ish.” His wife Angie works as part of a production company on the island. She is also owner of one of the best eateries called Sam and Jack’s Deli. Jared and Angie co-own a fabulous villa on the island called, Starlit Escape. They enjoy renting out this villa to their special guests.

Jared and Peter have been great coworkers over the years. They have also formed a special bond and relationship with one another.

“After our first long cruise to the States, we decided we wanted to live in East End. The first charters were out of there.” The Muilenbergs stated. It has continued as a charter since then. It is currently based out of the Coral Bay area.

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The folks that made Breath possible.

I asked Captain Jared Warren to share some interesting stories about when he chartered and worked on Breath. This is a summary on what had to say, “We had intellectuals, rednecks, accountants you name it. I remember some good and some bad things. The good, we did a trip for a bachelorette party. 14 or 15 girls. The dinghy broke in the middle of the trip so when we went to shore at Peter Island, which is pretty fancy, some of the girls did not want to swim. So my mate Fletch and I had to put on fins and push the dinghy with 10 girls in it to shore. Of course the high end resort did not like this arrival. They still took our cash. I guess that is good and bad, but it is a memory for sure. Also remember a few times with some seriously overweight folks who we had to physically get in and out of the boat and dinghy. You have to dig deep for humility when you have most of your upper body in someones lower half lifting them on the boat from below. We had some circus performers once who went up the ratlines and did acrobatics in the rig. That was cool.”

Jared and Angie Warren still continue their legacy on St. John today.

In 2011, the Muilenberg family bid a final farewell to their beloved beauty. Captain Muilenberg has been battling Parkinson’s disease and they decided it was time to say goodbye to Breath.

They sold the ship to a family that is set on preserving the integrity and history of this beautiful sailing vessel.

It must have been extremely bittersweet to sell their baby, Breath. Many memories, adventures, and special moments in raising a family have occurred onboard of the Breath, the last few decades. It was the family’s entire livelihood.

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Construction of Breath

Also, Dorothy has spent two full-term pregnancies onboard Breath. As a woman who has been through a pregnancy myself, I can’t imagine how she got around on the ship. She put total trust in her husband to get her ashore safely when she was in labor. All I have to say is God bless them both. Peter tells of a great story about the birth of their son Diego. This is included in many excerpts he has written.

Breath is a ship that is sacred to St. John. It holds a unique place in it’s history. If you go to St. John you’ll have to see this magnificent sailing creature. Take her out on an exciting sailing charter adventure! You’ll be glad you did.

Also, check out their books called, Adrift On A Sea Of Blue Light which has been a top seller and his new release as of June 30th, A Sea Dog’s Tale. Captain Peter Muilenberg offers extremely witty and heartfelt stories about his adventures at sea on Breath. He is a captivating storyteller. Best of all, Peter and Dorothy brought much inspiration to all they’ve encountered in both their travels at sea and their life at home on the most magnificent island of St. John.

The Muilenbergs recently moved to Florida to be closer to their grandchildren and to have better access to healthcare for the Captain. St. John will ALWAYS remain part of their legacy.

How the story came to be:

I reached out to Jared Warren (former captain of Breath) as you read about him in the story. He was kind enough to reach out to author and Captain Peter Muilenberg (Creator and Captain of Breath) and his wife Dorothy. I wanted to provide the most accurate information as possible and write about Breath because it is so very special to St. John. I want to thank everyone for their kindest cooperation in bringing this story to life and for providing the beautiful pictures.

Shipwreck Landing, St. John USVI just Coral Bay DeLicious!

Shipwreck Landing is Coral Bay Banging!

St. John USVI
Route 107

I love Shipwreck Landing. Just the drive getting here is just gorgeous along the south shores of St. John. It’s pristine untouched beauty. Absolutely stunning!

Well, I love this restaurant. This was probably the BEST meal I had on the island.

A great casual place with top-notch ingredients and a gorgeous view. Who could ask for anything more?

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The view at Shipwreck, gorgeous!

There’s also a house kitty cat. Don’t be frightened she’s been here since the 90s and is a sweetie. She may brush up on your leg as you are eating, but is harmless.

The gazpacho is to die for. Just enough spice and so refreshing after a nice long beach hopping day!

There are always specials from chef Jim. Like him on Facebook my friends for the daily offerings.

I had this pasta dish with elbow macaroni with cheddar cheese and beef. Holy cow. Was something different then what we even have back at home.

Huge portions, great atmosphere. Well priced food and a great selection of drinks. This is a definite place I will be going to for years to come.

This was my BEST meal on the island. Which is pretty tough considering the food is good!

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Another gorgeous shot of the Shipwreck Landing view

Thanks Chef Jim. For your hard work.

The service is friendly and excellent.

Folks, put this on your list for restaurants to eat at in St. John. You won’t be disappointed!

Salt Pond Bay, St. John

Salt Pond Bay
St. John, USVI

One of the south shore beaches that can compare to the north shore beaches.

Salt Pond Bay. A gem in the Coral Bay vicinity.

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Salt Pond is sexy.

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Salt Pond is a keeper.

A ton of winding roads to get here. Also, a bit of a hike to get to. This Bay is worth it. The views along the drive on the way are well worth coming here.

There are also a few restaurants in this vicinity if hungry and a nice little lunch truck that is at the entrance to the Bay.

Great spot for lunch is Shipwreck. You can never go wrong here.

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the trail to the bay

This is known as one of the best snorkeling locations in St. John.

I truly believe the name fits the bay. Salt was burning my eyes left and right to the point where I had to have my friend drive me back to the villa. I could hardly see.

This is also a popular mooring location since there is a pay station here.

It can get rough here on certain days making it difficult to snorkel.

A pretty convenient beach if staying in the Coral Bay vicinity.

Make sure you wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking uphill on your way back up the trail.

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Another beautiful picture

Or you will regret it my friends. Hahaha, evil laugh my friends….evil laugh.

Things to Do in St. John USVI

Things to Do in St. John USVI~ A Random List Of Ideas:

 

 

Make a reservation and dine at Zozo’s in Cruz Bay.

 

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View of neighboring St. John Islands

Dine in Coral Bay at Aqua Bistro.

After your beach hopping days, grab a fresh fruit smoothie or adult milkshake from Colombo’s (intersection of Route 10 and Route 20).

MUST TO TRY…THE FUNKY MONKEY, YUM.

Hike the Reef Bay Trail and see the waterfall and petroglyphs.

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Salt Pond Bay

Snorkel at Waterlemon Cay.

Unwind at Jumbie Beach (my favorite) which has the views and beauty of Trunk Bay. No admission price and no crowds because of lack of parking.

Rent parasailing equipment or a dingy to check out neighboring beaches at Cinnamon Bay.

Rent Snorkeling equipment for the week for only $25 from Crabby’s in Coral Bay (best deal on the island).

If staying in a villa, buy your groceries at Love City Market (cheapest alcohol and groceries on the island).

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Francis Bay

Pack a picnic lunch from Sam and Jack’s Deli in Cruz Bay for the beach. A great gourmet NY style deli.

Eat breakfast at the Donkey Diner in Coral Bay. Great prices and you will not leave hungry.

Hire a private charter to see the neighboring islands of Norman Island, Cooper Island, Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda (8th wonder of the world, The Baths).

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Maho Bay lookout

Great Charters that won’t break the bank and to see other islands: Bad Kitty & Palm Tree Charters. They both offer an open bar and best bang for your buck to see all the gorgeous sites.

Sail around St. John on the ship, “Breath” which is a St. John legend and was built on the island.

Go to Happy Hour at Woody’s in Cruz Bay in which they are famous for and best drink specials on the island.

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Jumbie Bay

Shop at Mongoose Junction & Wharfside Village.

Hike the Brown Bay Trail.

For Nightlife:

Go to the new sports bar, 420 to Center Bar, in Cruz Bay. It’s a baseball saying where the name is derived from.

Ask for “Sharkmen” (nickname of owner) great local flavor here. Great cheap drinks. Awesome new bar. They just opened not even a month ago and fully renovated.
Already becoming a great place to hang out.

Island Blues in Coral Bay. Awesome bar right on the bay overlooking the water and great drinks. With Kat the best bartender ever.

Skinny Legs, also a great bar to relax with the locals and have some awesome cheap eats for nightlife.

For Brunch or Lunch: Driftwood Dave’s in Cruz Bay. Great specials and awesome owner and staff. Probably the best Bloody Mary I have ever had. The chef trained at the infamous Johnson and Wales University in Culinary Arts (one of the best cooking schools in the country. Usually ranked in the top 5 schools in the world).

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Plants on Cooper Island

Also on certain days of the week: Live Music at the Westin, Shipwreck Tavern, and Aqua Bistro.

For just drinks on the beach.. The Beach Bar in Cruz Bay.

Best Lunch-The Tourist Trap, Sam and Jack’s, and Miss Vie’s (on the east end)

Take a Virgin Island Eco Tour (kayaking)

Check out the visitor center in Cruz Bay.

Gambling at the Parrot Bay.

Sunset hike at Ram’s Head (the most gorgeous sunset, ever!)

And after all, just relax. There are many “private beaches” here on the island to explore that I am not ever giving away and will NEVER post on this blog.

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Coral Bay Valley

Aqua Bistro Coral Bay, St. John

 

Aqua Bistro~ True Island Yumminess

Located in Downtown Coral Bay, St. John USVI (the best place on earth)

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Coral Bay Harbor with a few ships in the harbor and the beautiful winding valleys behind

Our first night on the gorgeous island. We needed a place to eat and quickly. We’ve heard excellent things about Aqua Bistro and decided to give it a shot (from online reviews and from the villa owner). We headed into town to get our feast on. We were starved. Glad we did.

We arrived and were seated right away. The restaurant is all outdoors (al fresco, baby) with a french courtyard look with native stone and tropical plants. It’s beautiful.

Use of the native stone, bluebitch, yes that IS the name of the stone

 

I ordered a garden salad and the mahi mahi (and since on an island, you just have to have fish). Mahi is pretty much the local fish to eat. My friend ordered crab soup and chicken parmigiana. I can’t believe the portion sizes. Our eyes lit up because us girls were hungry after our long traveling day.  We couldn’t believe how great it was. Most of the time in the islands food is average at best. I can say this lives up to the great restaurants around my neighborhood back at home. (As we all know, I LOVE good food)

I enjoyed a glass of refreshing riesling wine and then had to try the native drink, “the buswhacker.” They make a pretty decent bushwacker, I must say. Also, check out my past bushwacker post.

(picture of some of the pretty plants)

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Awesome landscaped courtyard at Aqua Bistro

Service was great for island time. They use quality fresh ingredients in their food and it shows. We were quite pleased.

Give it a shot. It’s worth it. You won’t be disappointed.  Friendly staff, great food, awesome atmosphere and honestly to our surprise, A great gem in the heart of Coral Bay.

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My buddy enjoying sitting al fresco at aqua bistro in Coral Bay. As you can see from her smile, we had a wonderful time!

 

Trunk Bay, St. John

Trunk Bay, St. John USVI

A day trip is always fun if you are staying in St. Thomas. Grab your rental, hop on the ferry at red hook and paradise awaits you! Of any of the beaches to decide from, the one that always stands out, is infamous Trunk Bay.

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Sign to Trunk Bay, St. John USVI

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A non-busy day.

This is one of the most popular beaches. It resides in the national park. There is also an “entrance fee” to enjoy this beach.

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People snorkeling the underwater trail of Trunk Cay

It is also a great snorkel location for beginners as it has a snorkel trail that you can follow. Equipment is available for rent onsite. There is also a nice little snack stand that will not break the bank.

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Great picnic areas

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Pefection

If you are lucky, you may see some donkeys, and the various bird species mingling amongst us humans.

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Life is sweet.

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Paradise+Perfection= Awesome

The water color is surreal. True turquoise at it’s best. You could erupt in happiness and true bliss here. From the calm sounds of the waves, to the gentle breezes, you will feel like you have just died and gone to heaven. You may want to pinch yourself once or twice.

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Just look at the water!

Great for families, singles, old folks, anyone actually. Great parking and a must to see before you die.