Saturday, November 12, 2005
Caribbean and back
I took off for a cruise of the Eastern Caribbean the past week. On Holland America Line's ship Zuiderdam. First, Half Moon Cay is Holland America's private island in the Bahamas. Pretty nice. Mediocre snorkeling with dead-looking coral, but very safe for beginners and we had one with us. Holland America doesn't have a decent web page about it; only one selling land tours, which you don't need. But someone built this page. St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands. We loved the VIs - both US and British. The town of St. Thomas was crowded and voracious for tourist dollars. Then we got away by boat to St. John - the next island - to snorkel at Trunk Bay. Outstanding fish, coral and seeing conditions. Tortola is the main island of the British Virgin Islands. We took off to Virgin Gorda (yes, it means "fat virgin") to see the unique Baths - a beach area of huge boulders. More excellent snorkeling. Wow. Nassau, Bahamas was the lower point, not "low," but lower. Commercial times 3. We visited a unique small zoo - Ardastra Gardens - that features marching flamingos; that's right, marching flamingos. And the first Starbucks that we found in four ports. (Funny moment: We saw the Starbucks sign and went inside... a liquor store. Back outside and checked the sign... the standard green circle with the strange mermaid. Went inside... a liquore store. Strange city, this Nassau. Not until we went across town and back did we discover the Starbucks was upstairs.) Others complained of poor beaches and poor snorkeling at Nassau.