In June of this year, I had the absolute pleasure of hanging out with and getting to know the REAL Shane Reynolds of Nat Geo Wild’s Shane Untamed and his beautiful wife and professional photographer Romona Robbins Reynolds. They had come down to chill out after a busy year of globe trotting and producing their new show and to celebrate the premier of the “Giants of the Sea” episode that featured their search for whale sharks in Djibouti and was filmed in part by their friend and mine – St Croix’s Jerry Merten of MJS Visions (Jerry also filmed and edited our debut video and has filmed several weddings for me with SunCelebrations). I have to say that my favorite part of watching the Shane Untamed season is that IS the real Shane Reynolds you see on screen, making him the perfect travel guide. And as you’ll see below, Romona is his perfect match illustrating their adventures through her stunning photography. I’m honored to now call them friends and to have them as guest bloggers giving their perspective on St Croix. Enjoy!
All Photos Courtesy Romona Robbins Reynolds
Shane: Man, it’s quite remarkable how much faster 5 hours of programming goes by on TV than it does in the field/edit bay. Shane Untamed season one has officially had its domestic run on Nat Geo Wild (yep, it went by that quick). It will be rerun in the states and continues to debut around the world, but I won’t be seeing any new episodes air in the coming weeks on my TV, so now’s the time to reflect. Technically it was a good run. Ratings were respectable, and demographics were spot on. Critics were impressed and feedback was virtually 100% positive, so I feel good about the possibility of a second season, but until that contract gets dropped on my desk I’ll assume I’ve been let loose on the world of freelance lifestyle once again. This time, however, I will make sure to appreciate the down time…soak it in, so to speak.
So what’s the best way to do that? Well, for me it’s not much different than clocking in for my regular job…but it’s nice to carry a bit less equipment with me. So the wife and I struck off for the Virgin Islands in search of a more “relaxing” adventure.
We began in St. Thomas, which basically served as a springboard to the other islands we really wanted to see. First was St. John, which is the quintessential island vibe. I expected more of a high-end resort style, but this little island was a pleasant surprise. Mostly undeveloped and entirely beautiful, this is the perfect one or two day getaway (if that’s all the time you have). We rented a car and drove every road we could. A lone turtle beckoned us onto a beach on the east side of the island that we had all to ourselves. On St. John, snorkeling, hiking and sunsets are a welcome cliché. The food is spectacular and I could even stand shopping for more than 5 minutes (but not MUCH more).
From there we did a day trip on the Stormy Petrol to Virgin Gorda, part of the British Virgin Islands. This beach looked like something you’d find on a pirate ride at Disney World…in a good way. Hiking through and snorkeling these unique stone structures was the real deal. But the best was yet to come.
After making our way back to St. Thomas we took a quick flight with Seaborne Airlines over to St. Croix, my favorite Virgin. This is a much larger island without the touristy vibe of St. Thomas but still has the conveniences that St. John lacks.
Romona: After a hectic, yet exciting, year of hard work and play, my husband and I were more than eager for some R&R. My most fond memories of this trip, however, are from St. Croix. From lush rainforests to gorgeous white sandy beaches, this island offers bountiful activities for tourists and locals alike. Tucked away on a hilltop overlooking the ocean, we settled ourselves into a cozy romantic room at the Villa Greenleaf. This was the perfect place to start our vacation. We never had to worry about a thing. We wanted to ride horses in the rainforest and on the beach, and our host took care of it. Our stay here was tremendous!
Shane: While adventure lies around every corner, it’s the diving that brought us. So after decompressing a few nights in the peaceful-picture-perfect villa, we moved closer to the water (Hotel Caravelle) for easier access to the dive boat.
Romona: Hotel Caravelle is located right on the bustling harbor filled with fantastic restaurants and laid back bars. Best of all, our dive boat awaited us each morning at the dock. All we had to do was go down to the first floor! Everyday was a new adventure out in the warm and inviting ocean. The water is teaming with life; we saw an abundance of sea turtles and fish…including an eight-foot hammerhead! Simply AMAZING!
Shane: The diving was better than we could’ve hoped for. While the visibility wasn’t reaching it’s full potential, the debris was bringing in some interesting marine life. While you’d think an 8 foot hammerhead would be the highlight, we couldn’t top having Capt. Ed renew our vows on an underwater shipwreck. St. Croix knows how to have a good time! Not only was it the perfect place to enjoy some downtime after a hectic production year, but this place would make a good adventure show on it’s own! Like I said, we never stop working.
Romona: My most memorable and cherished moment on this island is that my hubby and I renewed our vows…underwater! Captain Ed of St. Croix Ultimate Blue Water Adventures made all this possible. Thanks, Reverend Ed! If you are looking for adventure (on land or by sea) and/or a quite retreat in paradise… St Croix is the place to be!