Caribbean 2015:
Day 8 - St. Barthélemy


Bundlings.com: [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Rett Syndrome] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Caribbean 2015: [Day 1 - St. Maarten] [Day 2 - Saba] [Day 3 - Anguilla] [Day 4 - Virgin Gorda] [Day 5 - Norman Island/Soper's Hole] [Day 6 - Jost Van Dyke] [Day 7 - St. Kitts] [Day 8 - St. Barthélemy] [Day 9 - St. Martin] [Day 10 - St. Martin]

Friday, December 18, 2015: It was a very short journey from St. Kitts to St. Bart's, which is just one island north. The water was a little choppy though, so we tried again to get the elusive underwater porthole photo.

Nailed it! After dozens of tries, we finally got it. It was definitely worth the effort.
Here are today's activities. As usual, we didn't know where we'd be landing on St. Bart's, and as usual, this information wasn't on the board. Today, we wouldn't actually be tendering to a beach, but you couldn't tell that from the board.
There were quite a few cruise ships visiting today, including the SeaDream Wind Surf again.
We went to Peter's story time, because we had finally figured out that it was the only way to find out anything about our upcoming stop. Company owner Mikael Krafft was in the front row.
This talk included a discussion on historical coins used in the region.
Peter passed around examples of coins he was discussing.
We ended up anchoring offshore not far from Shell Beach on the right. The main town is just on the other side of these cliffs.
While the passengers are playing during the day, other ship tasks have to be performed. One of the crew got out this giant sewing machine to get some work done.
Meanwhile, everyone who had purchased a shore excursion for the day boarded a tender and headed into town.
Our tender destination was a dock in town shared by the many other ships who were in port that day.
We pulled in just as the Yellow Submarine was returning from its previous tour.
We disembarked, waited just a couple of minutes, ...
... and then boarded the submarine for our tour. We got a photo of Orchy as we waited for the tour to start.
Here's the submarine's comfortable deck.
A few minutes later, we were off. We looked at the hill and decided we'd walk up to get a closer look after we returned.
Our hottie French-accented tour guide explained what was going to happen and what we would be seeing for the next 45 minutes.
Then we headed down into the underwater portion of the boat, ...
... and crouched on tiny, fold-down seats. We were the last ones to go down and there was plenty of room left, so we were able to spread out a bit.
Each seat had fish identification cards nearby, so we got a picture of both sides for later use.
It was helpful that corals were identified as well.
We immediately started to see turtles. Our guide pointed them out as she saw them, as did the passengers. Here are a pair of hawksbill turtles.
We saw several stingrays too, but never got a decent photo of them since they tended to stick to the ocean floor, at least 20 feet below use. There are two in this photo.
Here's Tom in the back of the boat, ...
... and here's his view. The visibility was much better than these pictures indicate.
We saw a nurse shark on the ocean floor but couldn't get a better photo than this.
Of course, we saw a bunch of sergeant major damselfish.
Here, they were congregating over the shipwreck of the Marignan which sunk in a hurricane in 1995.
Here's another view of the shipwreck.
The shipwreck site attracts huge numbers of yellowtail snapper and sergeant major damselfish and we were surrounded by them several times.
We continued to see turtles and take bad photos of them, including this one ...
... and this one. These were both hawksbill turtles.
The experience was much more fun than we had expected and we were well pleased. We topped it off with cups of ice cold water.
After our tour, we were free to sightsee on our own.
It took a little figuring out how to get up that hill, so we found a map to consult. We found that we could get there by taking the pedestrian-only Rue du Port, shown here as a short pink road linking Rue de la République and Rue August Nyman near the bottom of the map.
Here's Rue du Port, flanked by upscale stores and restaurants, ...
... including this shoe store featuring styles that only very wealthy women can wear without being mocked.
St. Bart's (or St. Barth's, if you prefer), used to be ruled by Sweden, so street names are given in both French and Swedish. The St. Bart's coat of arms includes three Swedish crowns.
At the top of Rue du Port, we turned left and walked up the narrow street.
Here's a St. Bart's license plate, ...
... and here's an ornate hillside garden. For a resort? Hotel? Private home? We don't know.
After being careful to stay out of the way of cars, we made it to our first destination on the hill: the Gustavia Cross, built in 1951. If it has a more official name, we couldn't find it.
Right next to the steps leading up is a lovely welcome sign, ...
... so we had to photograph Orchy there.
We took a look at the plaque at the base of the cross, ...
... and also at the bagworms and ...
... Saint Andrew's Cross spider attached to the walls. Creepy but fascinating.
From there, we followed a path along the hill ...
... toward the lighthouse at Fort Gustav. It was about a thousand degrees out and this last bit was really steep, ...
... but this view was definitely worth it.
This handy map showed us what we were seeing. St. Kitts was on the horizon to the left. St. Eustatius was on the horizon just behind our ship, which itself was just behind the town across the water from us in the center of this photo.
From here, the tiny island of Saba was clearly visible as well.
Looking north, we could easily see St. Maarten.
Tom got a panorama of all of it.
By now, we were no longer surprised by seeing cactus on tropical islands.
We got a closeup of the little yellow bird dining on the cactus above.
As cool as these are, every single one of them was home to many spiders, with their webs stretched between cactus spires.
By now, we were tired and hungry, so we headed back down the hill, ...
... and back down the road.
Christmas was a week away, but it sure didn't seem like it until something would remind us, like this 2016 decoration.
This building was probably very fancy in its day. It now looked abandoned, which was odd for fancy St. Bart's.
We walked through town looking for an outdoor restaurant that appealed to us. We found Bar Le Gustav on the waterfront ...
... and found a table.
We wanted to cool off in a hurry, so we ordered an Oreo milkshake and a strawberry smoothie.
That turned out to be an excellent decision.
Those were followed by the Caribbean burger for Tom, ...
... and Ceviche de Wahoo Coco Lime for Debbie. We enjoyed the ambience, the food, and the wi-fi.
After lunch, we walked along the waterfront looking at all the pretty boats.
It wasn't long before it started to get pretty serious, ...
... with a row of yachts, each worth more than our entire neighborhood.
This yacht had its own fold-out gangway, complete with a sign reminding the riff-raff to stay out.
While we were waiting for the next tender, we saw a tiny bit of rain just outside of town.
We thought we'd end up going through it on our short trip back to the ship but we didn't. Instead, we ended up ducking some pretty large splashes along the way (not shown here because we wanted to keep this camera dry).
There's our ship again.
And here's a closer view at some of the homes or resorts we could see from our ship. Yeah, those are infinity pools. So much envy.
When we returned to the ship, Tom joined the ship's tour of the engine room. It started with a brief talk by the engineering officer and his mate in the ship's library.  They gave the talk there because the engine room was going to be very loud and very hot.
After the talk, they led passengers through the labyrinth to get to the engineering spaces.
This is a view of the non-engine spaces, which contains tools and a complete machine shop in this tiny space.
They paraded through the confined quarters looking at all of the impressive machinery.
The entire engine room was spotlessly clean.
It was uncomfortably loud and incredibly hot.  The crew were all in jumpsuits and wearing ear protection.  There was a thermometer mounted to the floor that read between 90 and 100 degrees. 
Several passengers were very familiar with the diesel engine that powered the ship and asked lots of technical questions.  The officers were more than happy to answer them.
Fifteen minutes later, everyone was very happy to be back on deck where it was a much more comfortable temperature and a very nice breeze.  The tour group went back to the library for people to get answers to any of their outstanding questions.
This evening's hors d'oevres featured Belgian waffles.
There were three decadent toppings to choose from.
But why choose? Let's have all three!
Behold! Another pretty sunset.
We needed to get a photo of the Sloop Shop for our faithful readers, so here it is.
And here is one of several window displays around the ship of the merchandise available in the Sloop Shop.
The Internet connection prices on board the ship were the most reasonable that we've ever seen on a cruise line. We paid 18 Euros for four hours of connection time. The catch was the the wi-fi was only available in the lounge, but that was fine with us. There were always empty couches and chairs when we wanted to get online. Here is a typical setup for us with our laptop, and yes, that's still the pool visible through those portholes.
Here's the evening's display of fake entrees and dinner menu.
The dinner menu was very interesting. Because the cruise line had to cater to a variety of cultures, including the ones who have cheese as their dessert course, the menu had a variety of sections to choose from. You could indicate the order in which you wanted your food served, you could order both soup and salad, and you could opt for sorbet as an additional course. Unfortunately, we often didn't remember that we could order the sorbet because we were so used to ordering appetizer, soup or salad, and entree only, but Debbie did take advantage of the opportunity to skip soup/salad and order two appetizers instead.
This is exactly the type of appetizer Debbie loves most on a cruise: smoked salmon with all the trimmings including roe.
Earlier, we had heard the purser calling the chef to request an anniversary cake for a specific couple at Mrs. Krafft's request, and here is the commotion as the cake was presented to the couple by the waitstaff. This is pretty much exactly how Debbie's birthday cake presentation would have looked to the rest of the restaurant.
After dessert, we were encouraged by our waiter to stick around for the last evening's festivities. Here are the waiters parading through the dining room, ...
... followed by the chefs, cabin stewards, etc.
After a few words from the cruise director, the staff all sang "We Are The World," and waved international flags. It was all very touching, but wow, that song is really, really awful.
After dinner, we went up on deck to admire the ship at night one last time.
It's a beauty and we were really going to miss it.
Back at the Tropical Bar, Peter and Karl were raffling off the map. Sadly, we didn't win, but we have enough maps on the walls of our home as it is, so it's for the best.
Back up on deck, two short movies were going to be shown at 10:00. The crew stretched a canvas to make an impromptu screen, and a laptop and projector were set up on the other side of the pool to play the DVDs.
Across the water, we could see our archnemesis, Windstar Wind Surf. She was lit up too, but surely not as attractively as the Star Clipper was.

With one last sail photo, we headed to our cabin and packed our suitcases to disembark in the morning.

Day 9 >


Caribbean 2015: [Day 1 - St. Maarten] [Day 2 - Saba] [Day 3 - Anguilla] [Day 4 - Virgin Gorda] [Day 5 - Norman Island/Soper's Hole] [Day 6 - Jost Van Dyke] [Day 7 - St. Kitts] [Day 8 - St. Barthélemy] [Day 9 - St. Martin] [Day 10 - St. Martin]

Bundlings.com: [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Rett Syndrome] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy