The rays of the Caribbean sun first greeted my family as we stepped off the plane. I looked around at the mountains surrounding the airport’s runway, as I climbed down the shaky, metal staircase. We found our way to the inside of the airport that sounded of school children playing steel drums. Large posters and workers at the airport had one universal message: “Welcome to the Virgin Islands.” My sister and I glided through the airport, eager to board the ferry that would take us to St. John. I was ready for this adventure, as it was the first of the summer after finishing the school year.
The ocean beckoned me, but my parents insisted that we take an island tour first. We climbed aboard a red, open-air taxi that drove us to the most-visited locations in the isle: Annaberg Sugar Plantation, Trunk Bay, Cinnamon Bay, Hawksnest Bay, and through the termites’ nests of Virgin Islands National Park. The sights and views of the island on the tour excited me because they presented the array of beautiful subjects available on the island to photograph and video. Once we returned to our hotel, I spent the following days capturing moments through the lens of a camera – 485 captured photos and videos – of the bays, beaches, and wildlife of the island.
One of my favorite spots on the island was Trunk Bay, with ocean the hue of a newly-cleaned pool, an assortment of tropical fish, long coastline, and various types of coral. Snorkeling gear on and waterproof camera in hand, I ventured around the rocky coast, recording my journey. Small, light-gray fish swam in schools by the thousands; they swam by almost invisibly until the sun reflected on their scales. If I stopped long enough, the fish would peck my skin, tickling me. Past these fish, black sea urchins with long spines sent chills up my spine, so I quickly swam away from them. Small bubbles flowed from a mini-waterfall that streamed off a rocky island near the shore. Once completing my snorkeling journey, I sat on the warm sand, waiting for the sunset. When tourists began to file out of the beach as the sun was setting, the beach grew more peaceful. The sky turned into a warm orange – yellow tint. It was time well-spent.
We almost stayed at the beach until the sun fully set… until we realized we had no way of going back to the hotel. Losing track of time, we realized that the last taxi left at 6:30 pm; we were too late. We pounded the keys on our cell phones to call the taxi service, but we lost connection. I started to pace around the beach looking for a glimpse of a taxi. The sunshine faded quickly, and the waves sounded more violent than before. The beach was nearly vacant, except for a father and his children at the other end of the beach. My mom spotted the boy holding a familiar towel: the signature striped towel of the hotel we stayed at. We ran over to the family and asked if they were planning to catch a taxi, as well. The father shook his head, but he pointed to his rental car. We frantically explained our situation, and they gladly offered us a ride back to the hotel. The time on the island reminded me that, like Trunk Bay, life has some beautiful coasts but some unexpected rocky areas. We should follow the current and go with the flow – while making sure we are prepared to do so!
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