Southern Caribbean: St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

I woke up at 5:30 and got to the Explorations Café right when they opened at 6:00. “Oh, you are early today. The usual?” How do they remember everyone’s “usual”?

We ran out of hanging room service cards and forgot to ask our room steward for more, so we ate breakfast in the Lido this morning instead of having a room service breakfast. It was not as crowded as I thought it would be and the lines moved pretty fast.

It was a pretty day for a sail-in. At the dock, we were surrounded by both large and small boats; however, none as large as the yacht we saw on Sint Maarten.

St. Thomas, USVI, is the other port on this cruise that guests could take a HAL sponsored tour, an independent tour, or just wander around through the town. We have been here before and have taken an island tour and we have just wandered around.

For this time, we signed up to take a snorkel tour over to St. John’s Trunk Bay. Unfortunately, we got a notice that this tour had been cancelled. I was able to sign us up for another snorkel tour to Honeymoon Beach. Honeymoon Beach is also on St. John so I am not sure why we couldn’t go to Trunk Bay. Guess some mysteries aren’t meant to be solved.

Anyway, our tour was to meet on the pier at 9:30. Once we got to the gangway, we had to wait before going ashore because a stretcher was being brought into the ship from an ambulance. Always a sad sight. I hoped the guest who had to be put on the stretcher would be okay. We never heard what happened.

We had a long bumpy ride in an open-air taxi to the dock on the left side of the road. We passed by a number of boat lots. They seemed to be as common on St. Thomas as car lots are around here.

Our ride to St. John was a motorized sailboat called the Stars and Stripes. Took about an hour to get to our snorkeling spot off of Honeymoon Beach. Captain Max hoisted the sail, but it was just for show. However, the colorful sail did help us spot our boat among the several that were anchored in the same place as us.

The current was strong so if you didn’t want to snorkel, you could ride a zodiac to the beach. Chuck and I opted to snorkel. We swam toward the beach and then let the current take us to the coral area.

We saw some beautiful fish, but we were constantly kicking against the current so not to go past the boundary. Chuck was having issues with his mask not getting a good seal and fogging up. Aggravating when that happens.

Next, we swam over to the sea grass to find the sea turtles. We did find one. He paid no attention to us.

Once we returned to the boat, they offered small glasses of rum punch, champagne, soft drinks, or water as we sailed back to the dock. The rum punch tasted just like fruit juice. Sneaky. I had more than one. I should have had just one.

We ate lunch at the Dive-In Burger place on the Lido Deck when we got back. I then slept off the effects of those sneaky rum punches in the lounge chair on the balcony.

We were back in the main dining room for dinner tonight. I thought the Asian noodles would be a good choice for my dinner. They were not. Way too spicy.

After dinner, I had enough energy to listen to one set of the Rolling Stone Rock Band. I then drank some ginger ale, took some Tums, and called it a night.

Tonight’s towel animal – a dinosaur.

Tomorrow – St. Kitts

Travel Trivia*

St. Thomas / St. John, USVI

St. Thomas together with Saint John, and Saint Croix, form a county and constituent district of the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), located in the Caribbean Sea.

Christopher Columbus sighted the island in 1493 on his second voyage.

The Dutch West India Company established a post on Saint Thomas in 1657.

In 1917, Saint Thomas was purchased (along with Saint John and Saint Croix) by the United States from the Dutch for $25 million in gold, as part of a defensive strategy to maintain control over the Caribbean and the Panama Canal during the First World War.

The actor Kelsey Grammar was born in St. Thomas.

The U.S. Virgin Islands is the only location in the United States where you drive on the left side of the road.

St. Thomas has more than 40 pristine white sand beaches with turquoise waters.

At 31 miles, St. John is the smallest of the three main US Virgin Islands.

Since 1956, approximately 60% of St. John is protected as Virgin Islands National Park and administered by the US National Parks Service.

The main economic driver of Saint John used to be sugar cane. However, the island is now almost entirely reliant on tourism.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia and Holland America literature.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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