Archive for June, 2013

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Virgin Islands

June 26, 2013

6/4 – We were supposed to leave Dayton at 9:30am.  When printing boarding passes I discovered that American Airlines had canceled our flight from San Juan to St Croix and did not inform us.  After four hours on the phone we had to totally redo our schedule and had to leave Dayton at 5:30am – that meant we had to get up at 3am!

After arriving in St Croix, we picked up our rental car (you drive on the left side of the road).  Our first stop was the Cruzan Rum Distillery near the airport.  We took the $5 tour and were rewarded with two drinks each at the end.

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Molasses from the sugar cane fields of Guatemala

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Fermenting Tank

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The longer it is aged, the darker the color, the higher the quality and the less alcohol content

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Enjoying the product

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Frederiksted fort on West side of island where cruise ships dock

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We had an outstanding room, view of Christiansted, pool, etc. at Carringtons Inn B & B

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There were five rooms but we had it all to ourselves

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View from our balcony

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Great breakfasts!

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6/5 – Drove to Point Udall, eastern-most point of U.S.

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View toward Buck Island Reef National Monument (island in distance).  Note small bandage on knee from arthroscopy three weeks earlier.

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Christiansted – Capital of Danish West Indies when Sugar Was King

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Fort Christiansvaern – built by Danish in 1749

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Hotel on the Cay – you get there by launch

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View from the Sea

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Steeple building (1753) was St Croix’s first Lutheran church.  It is now part of the historic site.

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Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.  Visitor Center on top of hill

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We climbed the tower to view Salt River Bay

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View of Bay – on his second voyage (1493) Columbus sent a boat ashore to meet with the natives.  The Spaniards met a canoe of Caribs (natives) and a fight took place.  One Carib was killed and the rest were captured.  Two Spaniards were wounded, one fatally.  It was the first documented skirmish between Europeans and New World natives.

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Crab cake and Calamari appetizers at Angry Nate’s on the boardwalk of Christiansted

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6/6 – Buck Island Reef National Monument full-day sailboat excursion

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Headed to Buck Island – it is one mile long

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Snorkeling off beach –

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Great day and colors –

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Snorkeling off sailboat at underwater trail –

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Buck Island was declared a National Monument by President Kennedy in 1961.  At that time, the reef was in pristine condition.  It currently shows the effects of both humans and nature (hurricanes).

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Rum punch on return trip

6/7 – Flew Cape Airlines to St Thomas, walked a mile to the main road pulling our suit cases and carrying our back packs to catch an open air truck (bus) into Charlotte Amalie.  The Charlotte Amalie ferry to St John wasn’t running, so we took another open air truck to Red Hook to catch a ferry.

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Ferry Captain’s chair, car ferry can be seen out window

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Our first stop was the Virgin Islands National Park Visitor Center

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Over half St John is national park land, with the bulk of it donated by Rockefeller interests in 1956.  We rented a jeep and started driving to Cinnamon Bay.

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View of Cruz Bay with the Gallows Point Resort out on the distant peninsula

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Trunk Bay (underwater trail)

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Arrived at Cinnamon Bay and checked into our campground beach cottage.  We had come here 45 years ago for our honeymoon but I had not made a reservation and no cottage or tent accommodations were available.  As a result we ended up sleeping on the beach until it rained and finished the night on a picnic table under a metal roof with the birds and hermit crabs.  This time I made the reservation one year in advance.  So, you could say this was a second honeymoon!

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No AC and restroom 100 yards away BUT we were right up from the beach!  Note deer in upper right of pic

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Our beach at Cinnamon Bay

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Local sand shark

6/8 – Our 45th wedding anniversary.  Each year I surprise Helen and only give her information on how to dress or pack if we are doing a trip.  She did not know we were going to the Virgin Islands or that we would be staying in a cottage at Cinnamon Bay.

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After breakfast, we rented beach chairs and snorkeling equipment and headed for Trunk Bay and the underwater trail

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Hawksnest Beach – our Cialis pic

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This is the beach we slept on 45 years ago!

The next six photos are from our 1968 honeymoon

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This was our beach towel bed until it started to rain!

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This is our picnic table bed with the birds and hermit crabs

The next four photos show that we really haven’t changed much – must be our healthy lifestyle!

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Ready for a night out on the town in Cruz Bay – 2013

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Drinks and Grouper dinner at Zozo’s restaurant in Gallows Point Resort

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Sunset chat

6/9 – We started the day by touring the ruins of a sugar plantation at Cinnamon Bay

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We then drove to the east side of the island.  This is a view of Coral Bay

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Iguana eating mango by road

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Round Bay

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This bay and beach gave us access to Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (entirely underwater).  We snorkeled around point into Elk Bay.  This was the best snorkeling on our trip.

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Sunset dinner at the Parrot Club in Cruz Bay

6/10 – Caneel Bay and rental jeep

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Ferry back to St Thomas

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We took a taxi to Charlotte Amalie.  This is a view from the harbor with the Vendor’s Plaza on the right, the Governor’s Mansion in the middle on the hill and Villa Santana, where we had a two story efficiency apartment, just below and to the left of the mansion.

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This is the first floor of our apartment at Villa Santana, with a view of downtown.  Our apartment was in one of the out-buildings of Exiled General Antonio Lopez Santa Anna’s Villa – the Mexican hero of the infamous slaughter at the Alamo!

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View from our second floor balcony.  Hassel Island, which has much historical significance, is at the entrance to the harbor and is an undeveloped part of Virgin Islands National Park.

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Nice little hike down to the city and back up to the Villa –

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Emancipation Gardens – smoothie from market on hot day

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Fort Christian – Charlotte Amalie was the islands capital under Denmark until 1917

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Harbor side of Fort and Legislature Building on right

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Waterfront cannon and Hassel Island

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Mojito special (also called Cuba Libre) at the Greenhouse Bar & Restaurant – light rum, carbonated water, lime juice, lime, mint and sugar syrup.  These were followed by fish tacos – yum!

6/11 – Had breakfast at Jen’s Gourmet Café’ and Deli and then Helen spent the morning shopping for her 45th wedding anniversary presents!

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First stop was the Vendor’s Plaza where a bluish stone called a Larimar, from the Dominican Republic, was a popular item.  Colorations vary from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue.

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Earrings, pendants, and stone were purchased at this stall

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Shopping alley catering to cruise ship passengers – this is a duty free port

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We also hit several stores on the main street called Dronningens Gade and Helen bought a gold bracelet with diamond solitaire and double hoop gold and white gold earrings.

Now broke, we headed for the airport where our plane departed for Atlanta at 2:35; we were home at 11pm