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US Virgin Islands

If You are Underwater, Rain Doesn't Matter

BOSS (Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter) tour


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Celebrity Cruise 2010 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

15 January 2010- St Thomas

I had the BOSS (Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter) tour today.
My head in the BOSS.  I think it looks like a tiny face with Mickey Mouse ears

My head in the BOSS. I think it looks like a tiny face with Mickey Mouse ears

I want to see whether I can operate the camera to get good snorkeling photos. We were to meet on the pier at 9:15, so after breakfast I put on my bathing suit and gathered my stuff together. I asked about a beach towel and the front desk said they would be delivered to our rooms. I asked again the next day and got the same response. So when I got back to the room after breakfast and there was no towel I asked the room steward and he said they would be at the gangway. Got down to the gangway and they said they would be in my room.

So I used the phone there and called Bob and asked him to bring me one. Which he did. He said he had to go up to the pool to get one.

The people running the tour took my ticket and told me to walk to the stern of the ship and wait for the dive boat. But apparently the dive boat was not allowed to go in at the stern because there were divers down there, so we had to walk all the way back to the bow.

They made us take off our shoes and get on barefoot. There were about 30 of us. They gave us the safety lecture and then the boat went out to the St. Thomas Buck Island and picked up a mooring. There was a lighthouse on the island, and I took photos with my film camera,
4749825-Buck_Island_Lighthouse_St_Thomas.jpgBuck Island Light

Buck Island Light


but they can't develop it on the boat. Don't know where I will get it developed as Filmworks no longer does film.

They gave us wrist bands. I was in the green group. We were also organized by whether there were three of us, two or one. I was a solo person. Each group was to have half an hour on the scooter and then could snorkel or the rest of the time. They fed the fish cat food off the stern to make them come up to the boat.
Fish being fed catfood off the stern - St. Thomas

Fish being fed catfood off the stern - St. Thomas


I put on my dive skin, got a pair of fins, put on my mask and jumped in with my new camera. I found that it was pretty easy to use and I got about 18 pretty good photos.
Snorkelers

Snorkelers

4740423-snorkeling_with_fish_St_Thomas.jpgSnorkeling in the rain

Snorkeling in the rain

Snorkelers and fish

Snorkelers and fish


Just about the time for my scooter ride, the camera was out of memory, so I will have to buy a card for it. I erased a couple of pictures, handed in my fins and mask, and the guy on the boat gave me my glasses, and I went out and got onto the scooter.

One of the ladies in the first group was claustrophobic and spend all her time on the surface. It was strange to be submerged (to get your head into the bubble) and not have anything in your mouth to breathe with. They told us that it would be easy to operate the scooter, and that we should not have to press really hard on the accelerator button. I didn't find it easy to steer and I couldn't keep up with the others no matter how hard I pressed on the accelerator button with my thumb. I have a big purple bruise on my thumb (which they warned us about not pushing so hard)
Purple bruise on my thumb

Purple bruise on my thumb


One of the divers with us got behind me and pushed on my helmet so I could keep up with the others.

Then I gave the diver my camera and he took two photos,
Me on the BOSS scooter

Me on the BOSS scooter


and we went back to the boat. I said that I'd had trouble keeping up to Jim (the Captain) and he said it was because of my size. I said that I wasn't heavy in the water. He said it was weight but width. I said "Thanks".

He said he had the same problem and wait until I got to his age. I said I thought I was already past his age. He said he was 56. I said I was 72. He said "No Way". I guess that is a compliment.

It rained on the way out and on the way back and basically everything I had was wet.. Apparently the day was a bust for the people who did the St. Thomas tours especially the beach tours. I was really tired when we got back to the dock - they let us off on the pier. I couldn't find where I put my money to tip them, and I felt bad about that. I crawled back to the ship and when I put my cane through the magnetometer they grabbed it off the belt and put it through again. Why I don't know. They asked me if I wanted a wheelchair, and I said yes. So they wheeled me up to the room. I don't know if I was supposed to tip the lady or not.

I rinsed out my suit and skin and hung them up along with my skirt and T-shirt (which was wet), and rinsed off my mask. Then I put the camera in to soak in fresh water in the sink to get all the salt and sand off.

Boats in Red Hook in the rain

Boats in Red Hook in the rain

I had given Bob an assignment - to go out to Red Hook and look for the Independence - a boat made by CSY - the same company as ours. Bob took a taxi out to Red Hook and looked for Independence (which is a boat that does snorkeling tours), but she wasn't in her slip. He took a photo of a pilot house on a mooring but couldn't read the name. (Green stripe which I think a lot of the pilot houses have)

CSY Pilothouse at Red Hook

CSY Pilothouse at Red Hook

4740420-CSY_Pilothouse_at_Red_Hook_St_Thomas.jpgCan't quite read the name

Can't quite read the name


We went up to lunch about 1300.
Looking out the window to the dock from the buffet - St. Thomas

Looking out the window to the dock from the buffet - St. Thomas


My back hurt so I told Bob to go get lunch and I would rest at the table. He came back with a Tuna salad sandwich

Tuna salad sandwich


which he said he had trouble getting. I then went and got a little Shepard's pie (which the crust was tough and I don't understand that) and BBQ meat loaf

BBQ meat loaf


plus some salad
From the salad bar

From the salad bar


Then Bob got some ice cream, and I went to get my dessert and got blueberry (which was grainy), and pina colada which was good. They do not clear the tables in the buffet in a timely manner.

Then I downloaded photos and charged the underwater camera up. There was one photo that I deleted because it was out of focus, but I ended up with 17 pretty good ones. I saw brain coral, fire coral, some sponges and a lot of little fish (sergeant majors etc)
4733801-Snorkeling_photo_St_Thomas.jpgSnorkeling

Snorkeling

Coral

Coral


Baracuda about 10 feet down

Baracuda about 10 feet down

4735061-Sea_urhin_and_fish_St_Thomas.jpgTwo kinds of Sea urchins

Two kinds of Sea urchins

Sea Cucumber and coral

Sea Cucumber and coral


Parrot fish on left

Parrot fish on left

I went down to get the sale on computer minutes, and because I had logged off with four minutes left, I had to use them up. First I did a Google search on what flag Celebrity sails under and apparently it is a Greek company chartered out of Malta (according to wikipedia). I logged off after 4 minutes, but I had to log back on again because I still had 4 seconds left!! After that I could get the next package, and that includes 20 extra minutes.

The boat left St. T at 6 p.m. even though the trip to St X is only 42 miles. I don't know what they are going to be doing as they certainly didn't need that much time. We went and sat in the lounge and listened to the band (the guitar player appeared to be faking it) and watched couples dancing while we waited for the dining room to be open for dinner.
100_3443.JPGSitting in the lounge and Dining room opened

Sitting in the lounge and Dining room opened


I had
Chicken curry salad

Chicken curry salad


cream of broccoli soup and
BBQ short ribs

BBQ short ribs


Bob had his two shrimp cocktails, black cherry soup and his usual salmon. We both had ice cream for dessert.
Bob and me in the elevator after dinner

Bob and me in the elevator after dinner

Floor

Floor


There were no mild activity tours for our next stop - St. Croix, and the tickets said that there would be a 10 minute walk to the tour buses. A 10 minute walk for most people is probably half an hour for me and I was not looking forward to it. Since we have to be out on the pier at 8:30 tomorrow, I tried the automatic wake-up call again for 0645.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 07:36 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged snorkeling st_thomas boss Comments (0)

All Around the Island

The Biggest US Virgin


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & Celebrity Cruise 2010 & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

16 January 2010

large_n100_3455.JPG
The automatic wake-up call didn't work. When I woke up it was 0700. If we want to eat in the dining room, and still get out on the dock by 8:30, we need to be in the dining room when it opens at 0730, because morning service in the dining room isn't that quick.

So we dressed, picked up what we needed for the day and hustled down to the dining room. But they didn't come to take our order. I signaled a waiter and it was the coffee man, but he took our orders (Bob wanted raisin bran and V8 juice, and I wanted the Express Breakfast (scrambled eggs, bacon and toast)),and we actually were done by 0800. As we went down, we got to see the cabin stewards.
Instruction Posters

Instruction Posters


This time they had the towels at the gangway. And also all the little tour buses were out on the dock next to the ship, so we did not have to walk all the way down the dock. We are doing something called the Scenic Island Tour which doesn't stop at any of the big destinations like Whim Plantation or the Rum Factory. I had to chose between that and doing just one city or the other - plus I thought there would be too much walking on the other excursions.

There were two vans for our excursion. Ours was the first one.
Looking out the back window as we drive off

Looking out the back window as we drive off


The front seats on our the little tour bus were taken so I went to the back and that was about as good as could be, because I could take pictures out of the back window of the other van following us. The van drove us out
6988907-Clock_Tower_Plaza.jpgClock Tower Plaza at the dock

Clock Tower Plaza at the dock


past the
Red fort

Red fort


red fort at Frederiksted and out past the Post Office to Emancipation Drive. Frederiksted was the site of the emancipation of slaves on July 3, 1848 in the then-Danish West Indies. Slaves were freed at Fort Frederik on the waterfront at the northern edge of Frederiksted by Governor-General Peter von Scholten
Gen. Buddhoes statue (from the car) in front of the Fort

Gen. Buddhoes statue (from the car) in front of the Fort


St Croix celebrates July 3rd as Emancipation Day, and Frederiksted may be referred to locally as "Freedom City"

We took the
"Scenic Drive"

"Scenic Drive"


stopping once at
an overlook of a golf course

an overlook of a golf course


6845941-Around_a_curve_St_Croix.jpgAround a curve on North Shore Rd

Around a curve on North Shore Rd


Then we went down a hill which the driver/guide called "The Beast" which he said the ironman biked UP.
82589826845940-Down_a_hill_..w_St_Croix.jpgExcursion van, out the back window driving on the left

Excursion van, out the back window driving on the left

00b50030-bcc6-11ea-bab2-3f230f69913e.JPGShoreline

Shoreline

Second van following us

Second van following us


We stopped at Cane Bay for photos of the beach.
4744300-Photo_Op.jpgFellow cruisers

Fellow cruisers

Cane Bay sign

Cane Bay sign


Bob's picture of Cane Bay

Bob's picture of Cane Bay


This is on St. Croix's north shore. When we were here the waters were gentle along the palm-tree-lined beach, but I have heard that this isn't always true.
4744367-Cane_Bay_beach_St_Croix.jpgBeach with a dog

Beach with a dog

Napping dog

Napping dog


4744298-Photo_Op.jpgPicnic

Picnic

Respect the Beach

Respect the Beach


I saw a lighthouse far down the coast. I asked Bob if he saw it and he said no.
Hams Bluff Light Station from Cane Bay 2010

Hams Bluff Light Station from Cane Bay 2010


But the lighthouse is in his picture on the very top end of the bluff on the right. It is a white speck in the picture. There was a restaurant there, but we didn't stop to eat
4744332-Food_Uneaten.jpg4744337-Food_Uneaten.jpg4744335-Food_Uneaten.jpgOur van beside the Restaurant

Our van beside the Restaurant

I took pictures of something that looked like a motel type place right near the beach. It was Cane Bay Reef Club. Nine rooms directly on the shore and there is also a pool
4744366-Waves_St_Croix.jpgReef Club

Reef Club


Old house

Old house


We went past the last
Old sugar mill

Old sugar mill


and saw a house built on the brow of a hill that looked like it had a ship's prow sticking out of it.
Pool  or prow of a ship?

Pool or prow of a ship?


Our thought was that it was really a pool built out over the edge. Then we stopped at the site of Columbus's Landing in 1493. which is located on the North Shore of the island, near Salt River.
Salt River Area

Salt River Area

Columbus Landing

Columbus Landing


As the name states, this is where Columbus and his men landed when on their voyage to the new world in 1493.

Besides history, it offers snorkeling, and fishing. It is quiet.
Columbus Landing Sign

Columbus Landing Sign


The first sign says:
"NATIVE AMERICAN VILLAGE AND CEREMONIAL SITE
COLUMBUS LANDING SITE
NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK
This site marks the only point on the United States Territory where members of the crew of Christopher Columbus came ashore on his second voyage to the New World in November 1493. It also relates to the first recorded altercation between Europeans and the native people of the Western Hemisphere, at a point on the other side of the bay known as "Cape of Arrows.". The site on which you stand was a Native American village and ceremonial site, and includes the site of the only known ball court (or batey) in the Lesser Antilles. Later after the demise of the native population on St. Croix, an earthen fort was erected, the remains of which can be seen, and was successfully occupied by European powers, including the English (1641-1645-50), Dutch (1642-1645), and French (1650-51, 1665-1733). In 1788 a Danish customs house was built nearby to thwart smuggling, and during the 1920's, Danish archaeologists carried out extensive excavations on the prehistoric village.
447920896845931-Tourists_fro..h_St_Croix.jpgTourists and ATON from the beach

Tourists and ATON from the beach


The park service on St. Croix tries hard to keep the park at Columbus Landing clean and has posted this sign. - which says
Warning Sign at Columbus Landing

Warning Sign at Columbus Landing


WARNING - PLEASE READ
This five-acre parcel on which this site sits, is managed by the Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources, and is part of the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, to be co-managed by the National Park Service and the Government of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Due to the sensitive nature of the significant archeological and historic cultural resource, recreational activities will be limited to day-use only, and no vehicular access is allowed. Digging, littering or construction of temporary structures is prohibited, according to the Antiquities and Cultural Properties Act of 1998 (Title 29, Chapter 17, of the V.I. Code) Any violations of this act is punishable by a fine of up to $500 to $10,000 per Day.*
6845936-Beach_tree_St_Croix.jpgBeach tree and flower

Beach tree and flower

100_3501.JPGSeed pods

Seed pods

crab hole

crab hole

dirt road leading away from the beach

dirt road leading away from the beach


But it's a losing battle.

On the way in to Christiansted,
Post office where the red van is parked

Post office where the red van is parked


we passed the King Christian Hotel
74261714740155-Street_side_..istiansted.jpgMain entrance of the hotel 2010

Main entrance of the hotel 2010

For Lease sign on the side of the hotel

For Lease sign on the side of the hotel


We went on from here to Christiansted Harbor. Christiansted is the former capital of the Danish West Indies. It is one of the two main towns on St. Croix (the largest one and least touristed of the U.S. Virgin Islands) and home to the Christiansted National Historic Site.
5317344740498-West_Indies_..istiansted.jpgPark Ranger's car, and Our van letting us off

Park Ranger's car, and Our van letting us off

Taxi license to look for

Taxi license to look for


Here Bob used the public bathroom and then took pictures of the fort and harbor.
Ship in Christiansted harbor

Ship in Christiansted harbor

Gazebo

Gazebo


Chicken trying to cross the road

Chicken trying to cross the road


I watched a chicken cross the road.

I didn't know that there were NPS sites because the ship information on the port had absolutely NO information about it so I didn't have my NPS Passport book with me - it was back on the ship - and also we could have gotten into the fort for free) with three NPS stamps. This park consists of seven acres on the Christiansted waterfront. Most of the buildings included in the Historic Site are painted yellow. There are five historic structures which are tasked with interpreting the Danish economy and way of life in existence there from 1733 to 1917:
National Historic Site Visits

National Historic Site Visits

  • 1) Fort Christiansvaern (1738), (admission without the Golden Passport is $3 for adults).

Fort past the Danish Custom House

Fort past the Danish Custom House


We didn't visit the fort on this visit. According to information on the Historic Site, the fort was constructed between 1738 and 1749
Fort ramparts

Fort ramparts


from yellow Danish brick - it is the oldest structure in the group of five that constitute the Historic Site. It was called Fort Christiansvaern meaning Christian's Defences.
Fort entrance

Fort entrance

Sentry box

Sentry box


This is the best preserved of the five Danish forts in the West Indies, and includes cannoned ramparts surrounding a central courtyard, prison cells, dungeons, a kitchen and soldiers quarters furnished in period d├ęcor. There is also a small military museum. The fort was built to protect the colony from the onslaught of pirates, hurricanes and slave revolts, but the cannons have never been fired in armed conflict. Danish soldiers were stationed here until 1878. After 1878 the fort served as an island courthouse and prison.

  • 2) The Danish West India & Guinea Company Warehouse (1749),

1749 Warehouse is now the U.S.Post Office

1749 Warehouse is now the U.S.Post Office


This building is on Company Street and is the current U.S. Post Office and Customs House. Slave auctions used to be held in the courtyard here.

  • 3) Danish Custom House (1844) which is now a library

Danish Custom House

Danish Custom House

Outside Danish Custom House

Outside Danish Custom House

  • 4) Scale House (1856) which houses the Visitor's Center and bookstore.

4740278-Scale_House.jpgEntrance to the Scale House bookstore

Entrance to the Scale House bookstore


I went over to look and got 3 stamps - stamped a piece of paper. I didn't buy any books, but I did look at the exhibits Like the other buildings at the site, this one was built from yellow-masonry. The two-story hipped-roof Old Danish Scale House was built in 1856 as a Danish weighing station for sugar exports, as well as imports that arrived in St Croix. In addition to being the Visitor's Center, the scales and the weigh-master's office can be seen.
4740325-Scale_House.jpgDisplay of books

Display of books

Scale House exhibit

Scale House exhibit


The building is listed on the National Registry of Historic Landmarks.
Beside the Scale House

Beside the Scale House

  • 5) The Steeple Building (1753) which was a Lutheran Church originally. Before we left, I visited the Steeple Building across from the fort. It was free. When the steeple became unsafe due to hurricanes, the Dutch Reformed Church offered their building because the Dutch were leaving St. Croix and the Lutherans moved from this building.

Steeple Building

Steeple Building


Inside there were volunteer docents to explain what I was seeing.
4740266-Steeple_Building.jpgInside Steeple Building

Inside Steeple Building

Storm shutters in the Steeple Building

Storm shutters in the Steeple Building

542637724740500-Shutter_may_..istiansted.jpgLooking out the window of the Steeple Building where the cemetery was

Looking out the window of the Steeple Building where the cemetery was

My first inkling that something was going on was seeing a whole bunch of baton twirling little girls all dressed in royal blue with white boots in the front of the fort.
large_4738197-Parade_lining_up_St_Croix.jpg
Then a stake body truck with huge speakers in the back playing at full volume came up the road. We have a parade!!!
Loudspeakers for the music

Loudspeakers for the music


The parade forumed up with four National Guard flag bearers directly behind the truck (being deafened),
National Guard carries the flag bearers

National Guard carries the flag bearers


and then the whole platoon of baton twirlers all the way from about 5 years old on up. Baton twirlers follow the flags

Baton twirlers follow the flags

Marchers

Marchers


After them came the Little League aged baseball teams.
Baseball teams in red

Baseball teams in red


When I asked, I was told that was to be a baseball tournament, and they were marching up to the ball fields.

After this we went to the 'industrial' side of the island
6845955-Excursion_van_behind_us_St_Croix.jpgLeaving town and Passing the National Guard headquarters

Leaving town and Passing the National Guard headquarters

ff663910-bcc5-11ea-b676-51996fa6ffe1.JPGIndustrial plant

Industrial plant


which has the 2nd largest oil refinery (no pictures allowed) which used to be a Hess refinery. We saw some goats,
Goats on the side of the road thru back window

Goats on the side of the road thru back window


and the University of the VI.
290578217273793-Bus_stop_out..s_St_Croix.jpgUniversity of the VI and Cruzan Rum sign

University of the VI and Cruzan Rum sign

Gas prices in 2010

Gas prices in 2010


We got back to the ship about noon.
124438086988937-Souveniers_d..ederiksted.jpgVendors along the waterfront

Vendors along the waterfront

Colorful clothing

Colorful clothing


4740107-Ship_from_the_waterfront_St_Croix.jpgShip at the dock from the van

Ship at the dock from the van

150198217273188-Excursion_va..p_St_Croix.jpgComing back on board

Coming back on board


We downloaded our photos and did a first edit. We came back with about 230 photos, of which 20 were Bob's. I've deleted the ones out of focus because the van was moving fast - and sometimes the camera
Focused on the dirt on the window

Focused on the dirt on the window


and now am down to about 190 pictures, of which 170 are good.

Then we went to lunch. Bob had split pea soup (his favorite) and ice cream. I didn't like the stuff at the buffet and after I'd eaten and had some dessert, we went back to the aft restaurant and I got a piece of pizza

We watched the football games on the TV while I edited photos, and we also napped. On the way to dinner, I took a photo of a
Concierge category room

Concierge category room


Concierge category room through an open door, and I also took a photo of one of the hall decorations which are so subtle that at first it looks like framed blank white paper.
Decorative art in the hall

Decorative art in the hall


There are impressions stamped into the paper, so it is kind of 3D - but hard to see in the dim light of the corridor.

For dinner, Bob had his
usual two shrimp cocktails.

usual two shrimp cocktails.


and I had a little
Spinach and Ricotta turnover

Spinach and Ricotta turnover


Bob had pumpkin soup and I had baked potato soup, and as an entree Bob departed from tradition and had
Turkey dinner

Turkey dinner


roast turkey, and I had a
Petit filet mignon with a curried potato cake and green pea flan

Petit filet mignon with a curried potato cake and green pea flan


Sample desserts

Sample desserts


For dessert, Bob had apple pie and I had pina colada ice cream.

Our big news for today is that we made reservations for back to back cruises out of Baltimore for next winter (2011). We had two choices

Doing Mercury again for the same itinerary and while I like the stateroom, I don't want to do the exact same itinerary again, or Enchantment of the Seas. I think EOTS has a laundry on board which would make the longer cruise more feasible, and we could pick our cabin to be nearer to the restaurants, and get early seating. Our cabin is 3619, under the restaurant and near the elevators.

Here's what we will be doing:
January 8th for 9 days (Port Canaveral, Key West, Nassau and Cococay)
January 17th for 12 nights (Labadee, Samana San Juan St. Thomas, St. Maartin & Tortola)

Posted by greatgrandmaR 07:38 Archived in US Virgin Islands Tagged st_croix frederiksted columbus_landing christiansted_national_historic Comments (0)

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