After breakfast at Geraud's, we packed out beach bags and headed for Shoal Bay East, a place that is as close to beach perfection as can be imagined: soft white sand, myriad shades of blue, uncrowded, and dotted with amiable beach bars. We love the location at Elodia's, which is the farthest east on the main part of Shoal Bay, close to the point. We were happy to see that we arrived early enough to claim one of the cabanas, too. (Elodia's rents a pair of chairs + one umbrella for $10 for the day, or a cabana with up to six chaises for $40.)
|Just another excellent book. NBD.|
I settled in immediately with my book while DH and Ava took a turn about the
Unfortunately, there weren't many rocks or bits of coral that were ideal for skipping, so Ava alternated between reading and just hanging out in the water. DH promptly fell asleep to the sound of the waves, while I read about half of my excellent book before it was time for lunch.
We ordered a hot dog (DH), the ribs platter (Ava) and a fish sandwich (me). All were perfectly good, standard beach bar fare, and the prices are very reasonable. I also supplemented my lunch with a passionfruit daiquiri, which I find to be the most generous pour on the entire length of the beach. Carol, the lovely woman who runs Elodia's by day and works at Cuisinart by night, always seems to know when a *little* extra rum might be welcomed, too.
After lunch, we took a walk along the beach and got a better look at the construction at Manoah. The units at Shoal Bay Villas looked better than ever, and once more, DH inquired why we've never stayed there. His heart really does belong to SBE!
Before long, however, our walk was starting to cut in to DH's busy napping schedule, so we turned back. I read for a little while before walking toward the point. Curious about the erosion and whether there was anything left of the old Gwen's location, I thought I might walk all the way down to the end of Upper Shoal Bay. But the waves were strong and I had my camera and there was no way I was going to attempt it.
We stayed at Elodia's until about 3:30, when a pretty big storm cloud blew across, before heading back to Caribella. We dumped our beach bags at home and all three of us walked west toward Arbron villas to go for a swim at our cove. It was ill-judged, however, as the waves were really choppy. Ava is much like a sure-footed little mountain goat traversing an Alpine trail, but I had a little trouble timing the waves with avoiding the rocks, and DH never should have tried it in the first place. We were lucky to get him out of the water without serious mishap. We lingered for a while to skip some more stones & coral before heading back to the room to clean up for dinner.
|Usually when we visit Barnes Bay, none of these rocks are exposed|
|Ditto for these|
|This is the first trip where Barnes Bay was good for shelling|
|Looking back toward Viceroy|
|Our balcony at the golden hour|
Before long it was time for dinner. We did Straw Hat, which was as fabulous as usual. Unfortunately we didn't get to see Peter, but Doris and the rest of the staff welcomed us back with great warmth! The new construction, post-Hurricane Gonzalo, looked great.
|Straw Hat at night|
|Curried goat slider appetizers|
|My shrimp appetizer|
Anyway, DH ordered the snapper saltimbocca, Ava tried a salad and a chicken dish, while I had a side salad and the shrimp skewer appetizer special. Mine was the only one that was slightly disappointing. Afterward, to celebrate Ava's birthday, they brought out our desserts with a lit sparkler and sang to her. I was so taken with the spectacle that, unbelievably, I forgot to take any photos. The warm coconut tart with rum raisin ice cream that I ordered was excellent, and Ava was absolutely over the moon with her molten chocolate lava cake.
With full bellies all around, we hoisted ourselves from the table and made it back to Caribella, ready to hit the sack and be ready for our last full day on the island. Stay tuned for breakfast at Straw Hat, lunch at Ocean Echo, and an afternoon of more stand up paddleboarding at Crocus Bay...