Day 7 - St. Kitt's
|Thursday, December 17, 2015: We approached the island of St. Kitts, passing the ...
... Windstar Wind Surf, the same ship we had seen near Soper's Hole and the same ship we'd see the next day in St. Bart's.
|We tried having omelettes cooked to order, and they were delicious, so we continued to do that the rest of the trip. Some mornings, we grabbed our Diet Cokes on our way down to breakfast, which was pure luxury.
|There was a lot going on this morning, but our main interests were the beach visit and the hotel virtual tour later on in the day.
|We dropped anchor off of Basseterre to allow people to go ashore and then meet the ship later. With several hours before we made it to the beach part of the day, we opted to spend some time up on deck, reading in the shade.
|After the passengers were offloaded, the music started up ...
|... along with the sails once again.
|Looking back at Basseterre, which we had previously visited in 2008, we saw several additional cruise ships, ...
|... including the AIDAluna, which we had last seen in Bonaire in 2014, and the Crystal Symphony, last seen in Shanghai in 2008.
|The star of the show, however, was the Thomson Celebration.
|Why? Because once we looked it up, we discovered that it used to be the Holland America Noordam. Not the current Noordam, but the previous one -- the one that we sailed in the Baltic in 2002.
|We continued sailing south along the St. Kitts coast.
|See the pretty landscape, ...
|... with the occasional building very precariously perched on its steep slopes.
|We got near our final destination. Here's the view looking back north toward Basseterre, ...
|... and the view toward the beach where we were heading - Friar's Bay Beach.
|Let's go there.
|The water sports board looked very encouraging today.
|So we boarded the first tender in to shore.
|We passed a glass-bottom boat on the way in. All these years, and we've never actually been in one like this.
|In this photo, you can see the artificial breakwater created from large boulders. That was our snorkeling destination.
|Once on shore, we claimed this perfect spot: secluded, shaded, and furnished with exactly two lounge chairs.
|We took a closer look at the layout. We ended up snorkeling around the entire breakwater to this point and back.
|Then we immediately got in the water because we had some snorkeling to do.
|Things weren't looking so great at first. All we saw was murkiness and lots of leather star urchins, ...
|... then we got around the corner where it was sunnier and shallower.
|Here are some horse-eye jacks, ...
|... and, as always, plenty of sergeant major damselfish.
|Trumpetfish are always fun to spot. They are a little shy though.
|Tom's sharp eyes spotted this ray buried in the sand below, probably 15 feet down. We could see air vents as he flapped parts of his wings slightly so we could tell that it was an actual creature down there. His tail was also clearly visible.
|A little further out in the deeper water, we spotted another stingray, even larger than the previous one. He was also buried in the sand, having a little nap. Right behind him was a ray-shaped indentation in the sand where someone else had previously been resting.
|Here's an ocean surgeonfish.
|We don't know what this is but it sure was pretty.
|French grunts travel in large groups and have no fear of visitors.
|This was one of four or five sandperches we saw. Debbie continued to photograph each one but we aren't sharing every single photo here because we don't want to bore you.
|Here's a larger trumpetfish who was shy but let us get this shot. At this point, we had snorkeled completely around the breakwater to the inner bay where the boat ramp was.
|We snorkeled our way back and this time, we got a photo of an elusive boxfish. We also passed the first stingray's napping place and he wasn't there anymore.
|Here's another peacock flounder blending into the side of a boulder. This one was a little darker than the one we had seen the day before.
|When we had snorkeled back to the beach, we got out, set our stuff out to dry, and did some relaxing.
|The next tender brought Boris and Natasha, and we made some guesses as to where they would end up. Obviously, it would be one of the canopy sun beds, and sure enough, they headed straight there and started their photo shoot. Then Boris went off to photograph strangers and drink at the bar while Natasha continued to strike artificial poses on the bed.
|After a while, we had a look at the restaurant to see if we wanted to eat there, but it looked more like a real restaurant and less like a beach spot, so we decided to pass.
|So, it's back on the tender, ...
|... and back off the tender, ...
|... and into the Tropical Bar, ...
|... where lunch was being served.
|Back inside, a fresh sign up sheet had been posted for the map raffle, making it seem like almost no one had signed up and your chances of winning were really good.
|In the late afternoon, we had the opportunity to board a tender to see the Star Clipper under full sail.
|Two tenders were filled with passengers and off we went, alternately motoring and drifting in the water, taking in the views of St. Kitts while we waited.
|We watched as the sails on the ship went up, one or two at a time.
|This is the ship after about 15 minutes.
|Another 15 minutes later, she was under full sail.
|We continued to circle in the tenders, alternating sides ...
|... so that everyone could get great photos.
|After we all had taken dozens of photos, the crew had to take the sails back down again so that we could reboard the ship. While we waited, we got a good look at St. Kitts' sister island, Nevis, just beyond the southern tip of St. Kitts.
|Back onboard, we headed to the tiny library for the ship virtual tour, a slide show presented by hotel manager Steve. It was fascinating and fun to learn about the special challenges of a small ship. He told us that the night before, they only had six portions of the turkey steak, so when they put out the fake entree display, they deliberately tried to make it look as unappealing as possible. Of course, that was the night that we hadn't seen the fake display before dinner and that's exactly what Debbie had ordered.
|Sunset was beautiful, ...
|... as was twinkly Basseterre in the fading light.
|This time, we remembered to visit the fake entree display before dinner.
|This was the captain's dinner, so the napkins were especially fancy.
|Debbie opted for the half lobster tail and was glad she did.
|By this time, we had found our ideal table in the back corner of the restaurant.
|We had a lovely porthole view but since dinner was well after sunset every day, it was always dark out.
|After dinner, the captain addressed the room.
|To our great surprise, he introduced the company founder, Mikael Krafft, who had been on the ship with us all week. Mr. Krafft then spoke to us for a few minutes, ...
|... and raised a champagne toast with all the passengers.
|Then it was time for the best part of any cruise: ...
|... the March of the Baked Alaska!
|Yes, even on a tiny cruise ship like this, the Baked Alaska tradition is still respected. Look at those beauties.
|Here's a beautifully-plated slice of heaven.
|Back in our cabin, our nightly chocolates were waiting for us on our pillows.
|The tiny nightstand next to our bed had been dubbed the Jammy Locker, as the storage was just large enough to hold our pajamas.
Tom finally cracked open the Brandon Sanderson book he had brought along to do some reading in bed.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy