Here we are in Albuquerque, NM. Our flight from Kansas City was VERY bumpy and a little bit scary, but we have arrived safe and sound. We scurry from our gate, down two gates and get on the flight to Denver.
Can it be? Are we really going to get home tonight?
We are in Kansas City, Missouri. Got to our hotel last night around 11 pm, pooped and ready to drop.
Happily the hotel’s shuttle driver was at the airport to pick us up right away and the Holiday Inn was maybe 5 minutes from the airport. When we checked in, Sydney, the young night clerk was making origami cats for all the drunk dart players hanging out in the lobby. Apparently there was a big state dart tournament today.
Sydney listens to our tale of woe and when I ask, she very nicely offers us a 1 pm checkout and free breakfast. Yippee! Our flight from Kansas City to Albuquerque isn’t until 4 pm, so that 1’o’clock checkout is great.
Pokey and Gumby are always up for an adventure and here they are hanging out in our room.
As I am writing this, Jeff has gone for a walk. This hotel is next door to a convention center and there is a train and toy conference going on. He returns with several matchbox cars for Zeph, our 3-year-old grandson.
Finally, time for the shuttle to the airport. We have about 90 minutes to wait and a flight announcement comes on telling those of us making a connecting flight in Denver not to worry. They have put a “legal hold” on our connecting flight and it won’t leave Albuquerque until we are on it! There are six of us not only in this same flight pattern having been shuttled from Fort Lauderdale to Kansas to Albuquerque, but all six of us are also from the same boat! Literally.
How did this happen? How can it already be the last day of our cruise?? We are sailing north to Fort Lauderdale between Haiti and Cuba and will follow the Cuban coast a lot of the way.
The winds are calm this morning; Jeff has set his alarm for 6:50 so we can watch the sun rise but it is too overcast. It is nice out on the balcony though. He goes to get us coffee and I crawl back in bed. We drink our coffee and dink around…deciding to walk our 5 miles around the Promenade deck. We don’t get started until 8-ish, but it is early enough that there aren’t a lot of others out walking yet. The deck and some of the stairs are wet from the spray of the ocean last night.
After the walk we shower and, feeling virtuous, have breakfast.
It’s a lazy day…Jeff reads while I nap. At 2 we wander down to the Princess Theater to see the movie ‘Philomena’ which I’ve seen before but Jeff hasn’t. It is a powerful movie.
At 3:40, after the movie, we are considering going to tea, but decide just to pop up to the buffet for our tea and scones. I am careful to put the clotted cream and strawberry jam on correctly as my dear friend Eve Measner has taught me. The tea and scones are a great pick-me-up.
We relax in our cabin…I am writing and Jeff is standing out at the balcony railing. He stands there for hours and loves to do so at night.
We open and share our last little bottle of champagne – there is just enough for two glasses. There is not quite a sunset as it is mostly overcast.
Jeff comes in to begin packing while I stand outside watching a seabird. It takes me a while to figure out what the bird is doing and I realize that when it swoops down and flies very close to the water it is pursuing a flying fish. I see the bird catch one of the small fish – then it settles on the water. A few minutes later it starts flying and swooping again. I know I’ll never get a photo of it…
We pack. On the last night of the cruise you pack and put your suitcases outside your door by 10pm. The crew takes them away and tomorrow when we disembark our luggage will already be on land. It requires some thought as you have to think about what you’ll need the next day. I put on the tank top and shorts that I’ll wear tomorrow. We are going to take a tour of the Everglades and that tour will take us on to the airport. I pack my blue jeans and jacket in the top of my suitcase – easy access as I’ll change into them at the airport for our flights. If we weren’t taking the tour we’d have to sit in one of the ship’s public areas for hours waiting our turn to disembark and then we’d be at the airport about 5 hours before our flight.
Everything is packed and out so we go have a very unhealthy dinner – pizza!! We did both have big salads with our pizza, but still…
We catch Phil Tag (the comedian)’s last show. The theater is packed and the show is very funny. It doesn’t feel like our vacation is ending.
But back in our room, all the flowers are gone, no books are on the table, the closet is empty and Pokey and Gumby look sad in my backpack. It’s time to turn in and let “mother, mother ocean” rock us to sleep this one last night.
This is the first of our last two ‘at sea’ days. We did the cruises in this order because we knew how relaxing it would be on the boat here at the end. We’ve planned a full day. After our 5 mile walk around and around the Promenade deck, we go to the coffee bar to buy coffee. We’ve never done this before and it’s good that we did it now as the coffee is delicious! Very happy we didn’t discover that earlier in our cruise or we’d be broke by now.
We took our coffee and yogurt to the Princess Theater to hear a talk about the ship’s navigational systems. It sounds dull but it wasn’t. We learned a lot about the navigation systems used on board and they are not just duplicated but are triplicated including a manual work flow (doing things the old fashioned way with paper charts) in case of satellite failures or something catastrophic like that. There were a lot of facts given, tonnage, draft, stuff like that but what Jeff and I were most surprised at was how Princess has taken a huge environmental step while docked in some ports. In a few ports, LA and Seattle are two that I remember, the ship can plug into on-shore electricity! So, in those ports the ship’s engines can be turned off saving fuel and eliminating emissions. Princess is currently the only cruise line that has this capability, though you have to think the others cannot be far behind. The size of those couplings are HUGE!
We also learned that the ship gets .01 miles per gallon (about 50 feet per gallon).
Immediately after the Navigation talk there was another scheduled about the ship’s Technical aspects – motors and that sort of thing. We did learn during this presentation that the ship makes it’s own fresh water though it will sometimes have some brought on in port. Who knew?
At 1 pm we met the “Rs” in their cabin as the four of us are going to lunch together. What a nice time! Their stateroom is considerably smaller than our mini-suite but they have a deeper deck and 4 instead of 2 chairs. We had crudités and dip and shared a bottle of champagne. After chatting for about an hour we made our way to the Horizon Court buffet. We had a wonderful time and suddenly it was 3:30 and Rossana was heading off to make cards – one of the at sea shipboard activities this afternoon. They are such an interesting couple.
We do a couple of errand types of things – return library books, check our shipboard accounts, a little laundry to be hung on the line in the bathroom.
Tonight is formal night and we dither as to whether we want to make the effort or not. The special drink in the elite suite tonight is mojitos – I like those and decide it is worth getting dressed up for. I wear the gal abaya (I have no idea if that is spelled correctly) that I bought in Cairo. It is very unusual and always draws comments. We get up to Skywalkers about 1/2 hour before the end of the event, and share a table with a very interesting couple, Bernie and Rosemary. He lives in Arizona, she lives in Pennsylvania and they take at least 3 cruises a year together. She’ll go stay at his house for months and he stay at her house for months. He has done almost 200 cruises and she is not far behind him. They are fun to talk with, obviously VERY well off and are on first-name basis with George and Laura Bush. Nice to chat with though we’re pretty sure we would not get along with them long-term!
At dinner we were lucky enough to share a table with 2 other couples. Mary and David are British and Avis and Joe are from Virginia. Mary and David, quite a bit older, regaled us with wonderful stories of living on their sailboat for 12 years, being shot at on the beach in Turkey, Mary falling overboard while trying to untie a line. They were great! Avis talked mostly about her bad back but did tell us about their second home – an 1800s Victorian house on Chesapeake Bay. Joe talked about Avis’ bad back and her redecorating of their house. All in all it was a very nice evening.
The wind has picked up tonight and the boat is REALLY rocking! Jeff and I stepped out onto the balcony just as the boat lurched and we got hit with spray and wind. Yikes!! We decide it really isn’t safe out there and come in for the night. We stagger around the cabin as the boat rocks and rolls. Luckily neither of us is prone to motion-sickness and we enjoy the lurching and rolling. Better than an amusement park ride!
Aruba is one of our favorites places to snorkel – this is the third time we’ve been here; the last time was April, 2013, just 11 months ago. We left the ship around 10:45 and walked around the corner and across the street to catch the bus to Malmok Beach. Our timing was so good! The bus was right there – and it costs only $2.50 each.
This isn’t really a beach as there is very little sand. It is mostly big rocks (like Dominica), but we know of a sandy spot to get into the water. Malmok is not quite as far out as the California Lighthouse and if you didn’t know about it you’d be concerned with getting off the bus out in nowhere.
There were two excursion boats at the beach when we arrived. You can easily tell they are cruise ships boats because: 1) they are crowded; 2) they play loud music and 3) all of their snorkelers have to wear life vests.
We snorkel out north of the boats where it was much less crowded and quieter. The snorkeling was good – we saw a large school of cuttlefish; an ENORMOUS school of yellow jacks and when I say enormous, I mean thousands! I’ve never seen anything like it! Hoping that the short video Jeff took of them is clear. I was so excited when he spotted a starfish; unfortunately it was too deep for us to get a good photo. He also spotted a small flounder skimming along the bottom – those things are very difficult to spot!
We snorkeled for over an hour – one of the excursion boats left, another took its place. When we got out we sat on the rocks, dangling our feet over the edge and let the sun dry us.
Jeff surprised me by pulling two juice glasses that he had purloined from the ship out of our beach bag along with one of our little bottles of champagne. What a wonderful surprise!
We toasted our final snorkeling adventure. Celebration complete, we packed up and caught a bus back to town.
Once back in town, we went aboard, dumped our wet gear and slipped out of our swimsuits, washed off the sunscreen, then walked back into town and did some souvenir shopping. We got two very nice wooden pieces made locally. The craft is called “Mopa Mopa”. It is a process which includes combining the melted resin of the Mopa Mopa buds and leaves with mineral powder (for color) then stretching the resin (think taffy) to combine and make the resin easy to work with. It is hard to believe no painting or staining is involved as the pieces are very colorful.
Naturally while on shore we also sampled the local beer – Balashi. Pokey and Gumby enjoyed hanging out with us.
As we were sitting in the cafe, Rosanna and Reto from Switzerland went by. We called to them and they joined us. The four of us made plans to meet at their cabin at 1:00 for lunch tomorrow.
Back on board, we got cleaned up for real, stowed our treasures, and went to the early theater show, “Divas of the 60’s” starring Lexi Newman. She had a great voice and we enjoyed the show a lot. At dinner tonight we shared a table and had good conversations with two sisters, Sue and Belinda, from England – their first cruise- and Felix and Cristina, from Canada, their third.
There was a nice surprise waiting for us when we got back to our cabin. We got excursion tickets for an Ecotour of the Everglades prior to going to the airport on Saturday. When we went to book the excursion a couple of days ago there was only one seat left so we were wait listed (again). This will be great! Instead of sitting and waiting to disembark and then sitting in the airport for hours waiting for our flight on Saturday, we’ll get off the boat early, go to the Everglades and then be dropped at the airport in plenty of time for our flight.
We are taking a Princess excursion today – we’ve never been to Bonaire before and need to spend some of this cabin credit we’ve built up. Before our excursion, we walk our normal 5 miles then have a small breakfast.
Our excursion is to Klein Bonaire, a very very small slip of land adjacent to Bonaire and accessible only by water taxi. We’ve read and have been told that there are NO facilities and very little shade on Klein Bonaire so we were leery of taking the trip on our own and are happy about the excursion.
The water taxi is a family owned business that does a lot of cruise ship work and operates almost every day of the year.
During the short ride to the island, they tell us the best areas for snorkeling – since almost all of the waters around Bonaire are a marine park and heavily protected, it would be hard to go wrong. Also, the water taxi family has a very small shelter tent set up and we are free to leave our stuff there in the shade with them. They also have brought complimentary water, sodas and rum punch – perfect!
Following their directions we walked a ways up shore and then got in.
It was difficult to find a spot to get into deeper water because the coral reef is RIGHT there!
We held our breath, floated over a section of submerged reef and had the most fantastic, incredible snorkeling EVER!!
As we kicked toward shore we spotted a juvenile barracuda just hanging out obviously not bothered by boats or humans.
After snorkeling we sat in the sun on our towels enjoying the rum punch, listening to Jimmy Buffet on our little speaker and watching the city water taxi come and go. We note how frequently it runs and that you can buy beer from it!
I can’t even describe how wonderful the fish and coral are here.
Too soon it was time to head back to the cruise ship. What a truly wonderful day!!
Back in the cabin we’re unpacking our gear. Hmmm…where is my driver’s license? It isn’t in travel safe where we put it this morning, not in the snorkel bag, not in the beach bag, we both have empty pockets, it isn’t under the bed or in the room safe. Oops…I’ve lost my driver’s license (actually, Jeff has lost my driver’s license, but I’m not pointing fingers!)
Oh well, my passport is safely stowed away so I can prove my identity if necessary.
At dinner tonight we sit with a couple who had done a different excursion to Klein Bonaire this afternoon. He said it was really bad and really good. The really bad part was they were there in the afternoon (so were we) and got overrun with jellyfish while snorkeling. It was very bad and a lot of people had multiple stings and welts. The good part was that they were then overrun with turtles eating the jellyfish! He said it was incredible. I’m so happy that we didn’t go on that excursion, as much as I want to see turtles, I’ve been stung by jellyfish and it is not pleasant.
Another couple at our table, Roland and Nadine from Canada, had taken a luxury yacht excursion. Jeff and I had looked at that one, but since only 8 people could go we were a little leery of spending the whole afternoon in such small company. Nadine said it was absolutely wonderful, and had we known Roland and Nadine then, we definitely would have enjoyed their company for the afternoon.
Bonaire has been our very, very favorite for snorkeling and coral. We will definitely be vacationing here sometime…
We arrived in St. George’s, Grenada at 7 am this morning after traveling passed the Windward Islands of Martinique, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. The high today is supposed to be 82 degrees…yesterday it was (supposedly only 79 and it was HOT)
This is the Spice Island and you may recall that we were on the wait list for the tour of the nutmeg processing place, but are going to the rum distillery/tasting instead. I’m sure it will be fine.
We decide to have a healthy breakfast in our room and go upstairs to get coffee, etc.
There are tour tickets in our mailbox so it looks like we got into the tour we wanted on Bonaire tomorrow. Yeah!
Get back to our cabin with breakfast, check tomorrow’s tour tickets and Oh My God they are for this morning!! We have tickets to the spice tour we wanted and it’s leaving 5 minutes ago!! ACK!!! We dash around…sunglasses, sunscreen, cameras, hats and go running down the hall, off the boat and down the pier just in time! Wheee!
I told Jeff that Rico, our cabin steward, will probably report us as abducted. In our room are two breakfasts…one has cereal poured into the bowl, milk in a glass next to it, the other plate has a bagel with one bite out of it, coffee untouched…
The tour was perfect. We visited a spice plantation – we saw cocoa pods, nutmeg right off the tree, cinnamon bark, cloves, loofahs, bay leaves (humongous bay leaves!!), ginger, and were shown how each of those things are handled at the plantation. (This is no longer a working plantation, but is used for education). There were huge trays outside on which the spices were laid to dry, the trays were attached to the building on huge tracks and could be rolled under the building at night to keep the spices dry.
We saw that inside the nutmeg there is a red mantle. It is removed and also dried and is the spice, “mace”. So, nutmeg and mace both come from the nutmeg pod.
From here we went to the nutmeg processing plant. Fascinating!
The one part of the process that has been recently automated is the cracking of the nutmeg shell. Numegs look like giant walnuts and you have to crack them to get the mantle and nut out. Until somewhat recently they were cracked manually with hammers. The crackers all wore dust masks because nutmeg is a hallucinogen and too much of it can kill you. (Did you know that?)
Now though the plant has a cracker and 150 pounds of nutmegs are loaded into the cracker at a time. When it is running the noise is deafening.
After being cracked they are put into a GIANT circular hopper around which sit numerous women.
These women remove the nuts from the shells – put the whole nuts in one sack, broken pieces go into another sack and the shells are put into a third sack. I forget, but they may also be responsible for removing the mantles.
This entire process is done manually…women sit around this huge silo type structure manually sorting the nuts. It was one of the most labor intensive things I’ve ever seen. It was very reminiscent of a scene in one of our favorite Johnny Depp movies – the scene involved squirrels.
CONTEST: the first person to email me the name of that movie wins some Grenadian nutmeg!
Then the nuts are laid out on trays to dry for three months.
These trays are indoors, about 100 feet long, 4 feet wide and stacked 4 tall. The number of nuts was staggering. Every day someone takes a big wooden paddle rakes and turns all the nuts to help them dry evenly.
The whole process was so interesting to learn about. There are several grades of nutmegs and they are sorted by how they float in water which indicates how much oil is in the nut.
The best are used for the international spice market – the stuff we buy in the grocery store; the second are used in commercial kitchens and bakeries and for lotions/shampoos, stuff like that; the third are used medicinally (nut-meds). Apparently nutmeg oil is a good topical treatment for pain.
I am SOOO happy we got to take this tour!
After the tour of the processing plant (and after I spent WAY more on spices than I meant to!) our tour continued into the rain forest. Now that we had seen cocoa and nutmeg pods it is easy for us to spot them as we drive along. There are many trees along the roadside laden with these pods.
Our tour guide was great in pointing out all of the different vegetables and fruits growing wild: calabash, breadfruit, mangoes, papayas, Seville oranges, bananas (smaller varieties than we usually get at the grocery store);
a kiwi type of fruit that I don’t remember the name of; Callaloo (also called Elephants Ear because that’s what it look like and which tastes like spinach; gardens overflowing with cabbages, wild growing peas, a truly amazing variety of flora and fauna
Our next stop is at Grand Etang National Park where there is a short walk to see an extinct volcano’s crater lake. Here we are treated to a complimentary beverage – Jeff and I both have a rum punch – more rum than punch. Jeff buys an airplane-sized bag of peanuts/raisins for us to share – breakfast of champions!
Our next and final stop is at Annandale Falls.
The falls are in a lush grotto and the water cascades about 30 feet into a pool of water. It really is pretty.
Nice tour…we’re back to the boat just before final all aboard.
There was a majestic clipper ship in the harbor which looked very inviting and something to consider as a future trip.
A few days ago we met a very interesting couple in Skywalkers during the special hors du’voeres and drinks time. Bill and Stella are much older than us and they have great stories.
When we parted from them that afternoon, Stella hugged and kissed us and we exchanged cabin numbers. As a result we are meeting them for tea this afternoon. Tea is one of my favorite things to do on the cruise but I very rarely make time for it. So, win-win – tea and scones with Bill and Stella. Tea was just lovely, they regaled us with tales of the cruise they took last year – a 107 day around the world cruise! Bill also gave us advice about maintaining a happy marriage and telling the kids/grand kids that they needn’t worry about how much they would get when we die because we’re going to spend it all! It was a very nice afternoon.
After tea we weren’t hungry for dinner so decide to go to the early show in the theater. It is a new act, a comedian named Phil Tag and he is a riot! He has good cruise ship jokes that we haven’t heard before and we’re going to make sure to see him again on Friday.
The finale of our day was a burger and fries while we watched a big deck party going on. Lots of singing and dancing… What a great day!
Last night we sailed south of Saba Bank and on through the Caribbean. We passed the Leeward Islands of Montserrat and Guadeloupe before docking in Roseau.
The lore and lure of pirates is alive in Dominica; in fact, two of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies were filmed here.
Dominica is a volcanic island and it is the effects of those volcanoes we’re hoping to experience today as we hire a taxi driver, Julia, to take us to Champagne Reef. Jeff had emailed the department of tourism in Dominica before we left home asking the best way to get to the reef and they said to hire a taxi driver to take you, to stay until you were finished and to take you back, so that’s what we did.
When we get to Champagne Reef, it isn’t as remote as we had feared – there is even a little cafe/bar, restrooms and changing rooms.
We walk a LONG wooden boardwalk that was very picturesque over a rocky area TO a rocky area. In this rocky area there is a long rubber mat over some rocks and into the water; it looks like a giant slip n’ slide!
There’s a group of people snorkeling and, from the blue striped towels we see on the rocks, we realize it is one of the Princess excursion tours – look like we’re in the right place. Then we wonder if they’ll take the slip and slide with them when they leave…
As they are getting out, we get in. Thank goodness for that mat as the rocks are very slick.
We put on our fins and flip face down. HELLO…there are fish right here, lots of fish. It takes us only a moment to find the reason we picked this reef – the bubbles. Champagne Reef has this name because there are volcanic vents here that continually puff steam into the sea and the bubbles make you feel like you are swimming in warm champagne.
This is SO cool! The bubbles are lovely…in one area there is one stream, in another area, several. There are vents all over. Very cool. We take a lot of pictures including a video where Jeff is holding the camera above a stream of bubbles as they rise to the camera.
The area is teeming with fish. Jeff said this is where fish tour guides take fish tourists so they can see air. hahahaha!
A catamaran arrives as does another group on a Princess tour (the rubber mat appears to be a permanent fixture), we leave the bubbles to them and swim out quite a bit further, past the catamaran. Here is the reef and past the reef is the drop off. I read that within 1/2 mile of shore there are vertical drops of 800 to more than 1,500 feet. I believe it! It is straight down, and the visibility is incredible.
We feel that we are swimming in an aquarium
and the coral is outstanding.
In closer to the bubbles there is not a lot of coral; I wonder if it is because of the bubbles and the warmer water? What an amazing experience.
The second Princess tour is leaving. We snorkel a bit more then get out and sit on some rocks to dry out a little, eat our apples and enjoy the ocean view. After a bit we pack up, traverse the boardwalk and meet Julia back at the cafe. Time to head back.
Before we get out of her cab, Julia insists on giving us her email address and phone number. “I have Magic Jack” she tells us, “so it is a U.S. Phone number.”
Isn’t technology wonderful?! I guess she liked us.
We have plenty of time left in the day, so we drop our gear in the cabin, wash the salt water off our face and hands and decide to walk to the Botanical Gardens. It is a bit of a walk to this 40 acre park. We learn that Dominica’s Botanical Gardens were founded in 1891 as an annex of London’s Kew Gardens.
We had a great time exploring the Bamboo House, and
the “David the Goliath” tree, part of which was blown down in 2004 onto an (empty) tour bus squashing it flat.
We come upon a sign for “Jack’s Walk Trail” – it says 20 minutes so we set off. Well, it started out with 39 steep steps (yes, Jeff is a numbers person).
The sign should have said “20 minutes straight up – hope you have enough water”. It was a fun ‘walk’…with several switchbacks. Did I mention that it is HOT today?? This is an isolated, woodsy area and my mind wanders to modern day pirates… Just then I jump as Jeff says “Hi” to two camouflage clad soldiers hiding in the bushes directly above us. Yikes! Well, I guess we are protected from those pirates!
Finally we reach the end of the trail, the top of the mountain. Yes, it is 20 minutes one way and not, as we thought, a loop. We’ll have to traverse down what we just climbed up. But first we get photos of the wonderful view of Roseau and the Caribbean. There is also a ginormous Christ on the cross here, along with a cannon.
I realize the cross here is the tiny one I could see from town. Now I really am tired!
We walk back down. The trip down takes us less than 10 minutes. Walk back through the gardens, stopping to see the screeching parrots in the aviary and back through town to the ship.
Somewhere along the way today I’ve lost my baseball cap. Happily it was nothing special and now I have an excuse to buy a new one! I’m definitely going to buy a Dominica cap to honor this great day.
After all of our exercise we enjoy a local beer at a seaside cafe.
Tonight we had dinner with a couple from Ohio. Their favorite cruise was up the Amazon river which sounded very exciting. The other table mates were a family with two teenage girls from Minnesota. They missed the ship in Fort Lauderdale because of engine trouble with their plane. Delta took care of their airfare to St.Thomas but they missed the first couple days of the cruise and were out the costs of the hotel, food, etc while waiting for the ship to make port. They had a great story and adventure and made the best of a bad situation. Now that they are on board, and had gone river tubing in Dominica, they were having a great time.
After dinner, even though it was a very full day, we went up to “Movies Under the Stars” to watch ‘Jobs’ which is the story of Steve Jobs from his college days and the founding of Apple Computers through his ouster from the company and later rehiring. We both liked the movie and think they should do a part 2 covering from after his re-hire to his death – the IPhone, IPad , etc.
Charlotte Amalie, Virgin Islands US
Saturday, March 22nd
Here we are back in St. Thomas and already, first thing this morning, it a better stop than last week because 1) the ship’s thrusters are working and we can walk off the boat and 2) the sun is shining! Wheee!
We have anchored in Crown Bay – which is not where we tendered in last week. Last week we went into Charlotte Amelia, but our ship is too large to dock there.
There are a lot of smaller boats in Crown Bay and it is one of the prettiest places we’ve been.
We left the ship around 9:30 and shared a taxi with a couple from Switzerland to Coki Beach to snorkel. The couple, Rossana and Reto, seem pretty cool – I think they are about our age. She is carrying a good camera and taking a LOT of photos from the taxi van.
Coki beach is crowded with locals (it’s Saturday) and plenty of tourists as well.
There are beach umbrellas, lounge chairs (both of which we rent for the day), loud music and a lot going on. A very vibrant, colorful beach. The “R’s” as we call Rossana and Reto (they call us the “Js”) walk down the beach but we know we’ll catch up to them later as the four of us arranged with Helen, the taxi driver, to come pick us up at 2:30.
Wow! The snorkeling here is good. On the right side of the beach there is an area filled with sergeant majors and similar sized fish.
One local tells us that if we swim further on there are often turtles feeding on the sea grass. Unfortunately we aren’t that lucky. We make our way to the other side of the beach. Two people have told us there are larger fish and nice corals on that side – and both of those people also told us that there was a strong current. The snorkeling is excellent and the coral is good – there are some beautiful stands of elk horn coral and a good variety of fish. Some large parrot fish.
And there is definitely a STRONG current as we try to get back to shore. We swim and kicked really hard. I grab Jeff’s elbow and guide us to a rocky spot so we can get into that area to rest. Unfortunately a surge pushes him right into the rocks cutting his hands and one of his shins. I feel terrible. I know that abrasions like that don’t feel very good in salt water.
We relax on our lounges – very happy to have the shade of the umbrellas.
Too soon, the Rs find us and we walk off the beach. There is Helen waiting for us. Jeff asks Rossana and Reto what they think of asking Helen to drive us around the island a bit instead of just going back to the ship. They think it’s a great idea – we’re liking them more and more!
Helen takes us around to Red Hook Bay where the ferries leave for St. John, then on to a wonderful overlook with a good view of Megan’s Bay
and later another area with a view of the city. Since we haven’t really arranged a “tour” with Helen, she doesn’t have a set price. The ride to the beach, sightseeing around the island with tip costs us only $50 and
since it was just the four of us the ride was comfy, uncrowded and the company was good.
Back on board we get cleaned up – washing off the salt water, rinsing our suits. It was a marvelous and relaxing day…and we might have made some friends.
Tonight we went to the early “Movie Under the Stars” which was showing ‘Gravity.’ We’ve seen that movie already but it seemed a good one to watch outdoors under the stars while munching popcorn. We picked the early movie so we could catch the show in the Princess Theater later. That show was the “Unexpected Boys- Oh, What a Night”, a tribute to the Four Seasons and it was quite enjoyable.
The stars tonight are bright and just beautiful…but we’re tired from our struggle against the current swim and head to bed…