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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Shore Day 2! St Thomas!

Of all the places we were seeing on this cruise, the one place I was looking forward to was St Thomas! It’s just the most beautiful place!

We were off the ship by 9am to meet with our guide out on the pier --- today’s adventure? The Water Island Bike Adventure!

We hadn’t done much research before leaving for this cruise – there just wasn’t time. So we had a couple days on board before we started reaching ports to decide what we wanted to do – and there on the St Thomas day, was the listing for the Water Island Bike tour --- however, it never said anything about Water Island being a completely separate island from St Thomas! Adventure indeed!

We left port with our guide….only FOUR participants in this group! I guess you could say we got very personalized attention! A Van took us to the ferry dock, a ferry took us out to Water Island, which is a 3 mile by 5 mile stretch of land not far from St Thomas. There are only about 200 residents at “peak” season on the island, it’s very remote --- very beautiful, and VERY MOUNTAINOUS!

Much to my alarm, we did NOT have Granny bikes with comfy cushy seats as we did in Puerto Rico the day before --- we had Cannondale Mountain bikes! With GEARS! LOTS of them!

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After the ferry dropped us off, we were trucked up to the highest spot on Water Island ….here we are looking over toward St Barts --- I just love seeing the mountainsides dotted with the white buildings!

Water Island has an interesting history. During WWII It was a strategic place for defence from U Boats….there is an underground fort at the top of the mountain, and that is where we are standing to take these pictures!

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The underground bunker was literally abandoned around 1950 --- and today the residents use it as a hurricane shelter. There are lots of rooms and things underground, but if you want the best spots, you have to show up early --- oh, and bring lots of food and beverages of the adult variety and any other kind, it’s a huge party down there!

When Hurricane Hugo came through in 1989, it completely wiped out a BEAUTIFUL resort on Water Island --- it’s never been replaced.

More history can be found HERE! You know I love history, and it was all so interesting to me…

A little instruction on the changing of gears, and using which brake for what..and we were off! Climb climb climb…..down hill down hill, NOT TOO FAST!! ((Oh, I’m afraid of out of control speed, I don’t like speed at ALL!)) The roads were mostly unpaved, the vegetation was very very jungle like!

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We had a GREAT time, burn baby burn! We crossed muddy areas, and even saw where the remains of the resort stood….we found we were there standing on all that was left…tennis court concrete. And off we went again, winding our way down toward the beach…..

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This little guy was curious as to what we were doing --- crazy tourists! From what our guide told me, this one is a male, because his cheeks are rosy red. He didn’t stay long, decided he’d had enough of us, and dove right into the water ---

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There ARE a few businesses on the island, but you know how laid back island life can be? I got a huge kick out of the “Hours of operation” sign:

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LOL!! I love that last line! “On some days we’re not here at all, but lately we’ve been here a lot, unless we’re not.” Works for me!

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A glimpse of a US flag, and a St Thomas flag…..and the water beyond!

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Would we do this again? In a heartbeat with helmet hair and sweaty dirty gritty everything!

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Ahhhhh! Swim suit on, feet in the sand!

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A lazy cove with aqua turquoise water, blue skies, but enough cloud-shade to keep the glare away….we swam here until it was time to meet our ferry to get back to the ship!

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On the ferry back to the dock…..

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Pretty enough for a calendar? I think so! This was just standing at the dock waiting for the ferry ---

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That evening, as our ship left port…we sat on our balcony deck and watched the sun sinking low into the west….stopping to pause a minute on top of Water Island, where we had spent our day. The sunset was magnificent! It was definitely a moment to stop and appreciate all that we had been gifted with this fantastic trip ---

And then to pop a couple ibuprophen, drink some more water --- and realize that there is yet ANOTHER bike tour the NEXT morning! ((OY!!))

We are on our way to the Samana in the Dominican Replubic! The trifecta of terror --- a bike, hike AND kayak tour!

9 comments:

  1. Oh my, good thing you keep yourself in shape! Sounds like it was lots of fun!

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  2. Gorgeous pics Bonnie! I can't wait to get back to the islands! :o)

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  3. Anonymous10:55 AM EST

    We always hop over to St. John and spend the day at Trunk Bay when we're down there. Out of all the places we've been it is my favorite. It is beautiful down there and it looks like you are having a great time.

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  4. Oh my goodness, you know how to relax!! Three bike tours? Hahaha! So glad you had a wonderful time.
    One day...

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  5. I loved St Thomas. The favorite saying in the
    Virgin Islands is "Just Limin' No one gets in a hurry. My husband worked on St Croix for Hess Refinery for 6 months. He is not a laid back kinda guy so he had a lot of adjusting. lol. I got to go over twice. Hope you enjoyed some cruzan rum punch. It sneaks up on ya.

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  6. I actually stayed at that Water Island resort in 1987 on my honeymoon. It was called Sea Cliff and it was truly paradise. Imagine our surprise when we decided to celebrate our 5th anniversary by going back there. Our travel agent had to track someone down who knew what happened. It literally blew away in the hurricane. So sad.

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  7. Anonymous1:32 PM EST

    Wonderful memories for you and great reading for us. Thanks Bonnie again and again.
    Maryella in Maine

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  8. you are the MOST active Quilter I know! Go go go!

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  9. I didn't realize that hubster went on the quilt cruise with you. Nice! It would take a lot of convincing for mine to come with me. Way to go Dave! Looks fantastic and thanks for sharing the memories with us.

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