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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | In Paradise

In Paradise

Sorry I didn’t get around to any blogs last week. My family and I were vacationing on the remote, paradise island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

St. Croix

St. Croix, photo by Gina Salerni

On arrival, we learned that the drinking age in the Virgin Islands is 18, so my daughter Gabbey (age 19) was old enough to join my husband and me in a celebratory rum punch.

Gabbey Rum Punch

People drive on the left in the Virgin Islands, although the steering wheel in the cars is on the right. There are a lot of precarious switchback curves along the coast with a speed limit of 35, but experience proved that 15 or 10 mph Β is more appropriate.

Switchback Roads

My husband found the numerous potholes aggravating at first. Then he realized how much traction they offered in the rain. Our Ford Fiesta rental would never have made it up some of the hills without those potholes. (Although we did think the pothole that had its own waterfall was getting a bit silly.)

Driving in the daytime, we had to look out for chickens crossing the road. And mongooses. At night, we were confronted by crabs. Yes, crabs, scuttling sideways across the highway. The very first one we saw was as big as a dinner plate. It faced off against our Ford Fiesta, threatening us with its claws. “Dinner!” exclaimed Gabbey.

“You go get it,” replied Bob.

Nobody left the car.

On our first full day on the island, Gabbey, Gina, and I signed up for a Discovery Dive program with the Sweet Bottom Dive Center. (Bob is already a certified diver.) After a brief skills lesson in the pool (brief, because we were familiar with the equipment from snuba and comfortable in the water), we moved to the ocean for our first dive. 45 minutes at a depth of 40 feet.

Gabbey and Gina Diving

Gabbey and Gina, Photo by Bob Salerni


Dianne Diving

Me, Photo by Bob Salerni


Gabbey leaving water

Gabbey Wading Out, Photo by Bob Salerni

The next day, we hiked out to the Carambola Tide Pools, literally uphill both ways. We climbed up and over this 1,200 ft peak (through the rain forest) to get to the pools — and then, after a lovely swim, turned around and climbed back over it again.


The Peak We Climbed

The Peak We Climbed (The Beach was Our Starting Point)


View from the Peak

View From the Peak, Photo by Gina Salerni


Tide Pools

Tide Pools, Photo by Gina Salerni

According to Bob’s workout app, this excursion was 6 miles round trip. My Garmin-brand fitbit said it was 10,000 steps. Neither app accounted for the 1,200 foot incline coming and going. When I got back to the hotel and collapsed, it seemed like no time at all before my bracelet started beeping. Apparently, I’d been inactive for an hour, and it suggested I get up and move around.

I would’ve smashed the fitbit with a rock, except for the energy it would have taken to find a rock and also perform the smashing.

Clearly, we needed a day of rest after that, lounging by the pool and the beach. We could still make ourselves useful because the island was infested with Pokemon, especially Zubats.


Unfortunately, there was only one PokeStop on the whole resort: The Captain Morgan Libation Hut. There wasn’t anything to do but hang out there all afternoon, collecting Poke Balls every 10-15 minutes. And what to do while we waited? What to do?

Poke Stop

If the resort looks deserted, it’s because it was. We shared the beach with about four other people. It was almost like having our own private island.

On our final day on St. Croix, we booked a second dive trip with Sweet Bottom, diving off the pier at Fredericksted, St. Croix. This one was 65 minutes, 25 feet in depth, and colorful.

Diving the Reef

Photo by Mark, of Sweet Bottom Dive Center



Photo by Bob Salerni



Photo by Bob Salerni

Both my daughters are gung-ho about getting fully certified now (and woo-hoo! it would count toward Gabbey’s college phys ed credits!). I am seriously considering joining them. It’s only taken my husband 10 years to inch me toward this. I think the snuba adventure in Key West this April was the breaking point when I realized I was no longer afraid of being under water.

Meanwhile, I’ve returned home with my creative energy restored and regenerated. Let the writing begin!









15 Responses to In Paradise

  1. Hilary says:

    Hi Dianne – looks amazing … and how wonderful that you had that family holiday … great diving – something I’ve never done.

    You need to see this post – for two reasons … she grew up in the Virgin Islands … and then her word of the day – talk about co-incidence …


    Cheers and am glad you’re refreshed and rarin’ to go – more writing days ahead … Hilary

  2. Wow, what a fun adventure! And cool you had the resort mostly to yourself.
    I would’ve smashed that Fitbit as well.
    And yes, go visit Bish. She grew up there.

  3. mshatch says:

    Love all the pics and how cool you had the island practically to yourself! Can’t wait for the writing to begin πŸ˜‰

  4. Bish Denham says:

    How cool is this! Even though I grew up in the VI I’ve only been to St. Croix like 3 times. Those crabs you saw were probably land crabs. They are very tasty, though I think there may be bans on hunting them. So glad you had a good time. St. Croix is special, it’s history unique.

  5. Well, I’m not sure we should allow you to take a week off blogging unless you take us with you on your fabulous trip. Ha! Ha! Loved the pictures and it looks like a great family vacation.

  6. What an AWESOME getaway! Talk about creating memories that will last a lifetime. Your girls will never forget it.

    “Snuba” diving. At first, I thought it was a typo, but then I saw it again. That’s a new one on me, but it’s a really cool word.

  7. J E Oneil says:

    If I was there, I wouldn’t blog either! I’d be too busy enjoying it! I love how delighted your daughter looks with her drink. That looks like it was an awesome vacation. I’m glad you had a great time.

  8. That looks/sounds amazing! Thanks for all the fantastic pictures. You have me day dreaming now. So glad that you got to have a great time. And a resort almost all to yourself…perfect!

  9. Anna says:

    Thanks. It felt as if I was there and I really did need a vacay. πŸ™‚

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. Wow, what a gorgeous vacation!! I don’t know about scuba diving though. I’d be terrified every second that a shark was going to swim into view. =)

  11. Lexa Cain says:

    It all looks absolutely fabulous!! Although Gabbey looks way too happy with that alcoholic punch! I’m glad you recharged your batteries. Good luck with the writing! I’m waiting for fall and reasonable temperatures…

  12. Sherry Ellis says:

    Wow! What a beautiful place! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  13. earroyo5 says:

    Looks like fun! Your daughter looks way happy with that drink! lol

  14. RO says:

    Wow! I haven’t blogged for a while, but your reason sounds a lot more fun than mine! As I read your post, I can’t help feeling like I got off the plane with you and your family to experience all your adventures. Pics are totally awesome! hugs…RO

  15. Oh my goodness…paradise πŸ™‚ it is on my bucket list!!