Caribbean Cruise 2008:
Day 3 - St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands


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Caribbean Cruise 2008: [Day 1 - Fajardo] [Day 2 - San Juan] [Day 3 - St. Thomas] [Day 4 - Dominica] [Day 5 - Barbados] [Day 6 - St. Lucia] [Day 7 - Antigua] [Day 8 - St. Kitts] [Day 9 - San Juan]

Monday, July 28, 2008: We arrived at St. Thomas in the United States Virgin Islands on a bright, sunny day.

Straight ahead of the ship is the town of Charlotte Amalie. We never made it into town so we can't tell you anything about it, other than we were told it had more shopping.
However, there was shopping a-plenty right in the malls along the pier, so we felt no need to explore further. We were here for one reason only: snorkeling.
A Royal Caribbean ship was also in port this day.
We had some time before our snorkeling tour, so we wandered through the shopping area. This little mermaid statue looks awfully familiar. She's a replica of the original in Denmark.
We picked up some tiny bottles of fruit rum, a couple packages of seasoning, a can of local ginger beer, and some ice cold Diet Cokes in the pierside mall.
After a quick snack onboard, we departed for our tour, which involved a short drive across the island. We climbed up and down steep hills, with the occasional view of the sea.
Finally, we boarded a catamaran and we were off for a sail to the island of St. John.
We passed a stand of mangroves, ...
... and various tiny islands, ...
... until St. John came into view.
Here's the far right side of the island that we could see. It looked nearly as populated as St. Thomas.
But straight ahead of us, it looked much less inhabited. Our destination was toward the center of this photo.
As we approached the area where we'd be tying up, we prepared for snorkeling.
There was one other boat anchored here at Caneel Bay, but otherwise we had the small reef to ourselves.
Within a few seconds of hitting the water, we spotted this hawksbill turtle swimming far below us. It was the first time we'd ever seen a turtle underwater while snorkeling on our own. It wasn't the last.
Our snorkeling adventure started out slowly and we just saw a few fish, including this sand diver, ...
... and this parrotfish.
But once we hit the reef, they were everywhere and we had a terrific time.
For a change, Tom did all of the photography while Debbie looked and enjoyed. Here's Debbie looking and enjoying while Tom takes the photo.
Here's a parrotfish we couldn't identify ...
... and here's a spotlight parrotfish.
Here's an initial phase stoplight parrotfish, which I'm guessing means that he's not a juvenile but he's not fully grown yet either. He'll look like the parrotfish above some day, believe it or not.
Here's a gray angelfish. We saw several of these large beauties.
Here's a mama blue-striped grunt and her adorable blue-striped babies. Lots of them. Poor woman.
Here's a yellowtail snapper.
Here was a school of hundreds of freshly hatched fish of some sort. The very scary long-spined urchins make a nice backdrop visually, wouldn't you say?
We saw many of these purple sea fans, mostly in a pleasing round shape, but this lacy thing was one of the prettiest.
This elkhorn coral is beautiful.
Here's a yellowtail damselfish.
Here's a fish. Two, actually. These are the ubiquitous sergeant majors.
Here's a fish, possibly a beaugregory or three spot damselfish.
Tom turned the camera on himself for this pensive, thoughtful self-portrait.
We left the reef and started to swim back to our boat when we happened across another turtle -- a green turtle this time. This big guy had a two-feet-long green moray eel hiding underneath him. The eel's tail is just visible in this photo between our guy's back legs.

Tom's sharp eyes spotted this southern ray gliding leisurely through the water.

Back onboard, our hosts had put out a spread of fruit, crackers, and cheese, and we all know how Tom feels about cheese. Rum punch was also served, of course.
We got one last shot of our snorkeling location (it probably had a name, but we didn't catch it). In this photo, the reef is located near the house on the right.
Black-capped petrels followed our catamaran for much of the sail back to St. Thomas.
Back on solid ground, we searched for the perfect location to photograph our friend, Orchy, and knew instantly that we had found it when we encountered The Enterprise.
Back up and down the narrow, winding roads, ...
... into the long line of traffic leading back to the pier, ...
... and past Al Cohen's Discount Liquors, where we had purchased most of our souvenirs, and we were back to our ship.
The mighty Royal Caribbean ship left port before we did, and glided past our cabin.
That night, the turndown service and towel animals started, courtesy of our cabin steward, Gusti. We didn't photograph all of the towel animals, so enjoy this one while you can.

We snapped the sunset from our balcony as our ship sped off to our next destination.

Day 4 >


Caribbean Cruise 2008: [Day 1 - Fajardo] [Day 2 - San Juan] [Day 3 - St. Thomas] [Day 4 - Dominica] [Day 5 - Barbados] [Day 6 - St. Lucia] [Day 7 - Antigua] [Day 8 - St. Kitts] [Day 9 - San Juan]

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