We were up at 6am to prepare for our excursion in St. Thomas, but the ship wasn’t there yet. We got dressed, washed out our many yards in the shower, and put them in the closet. We had breakfast as we were arriving in port.
As instructed, we went down to the Osiris Theatre to gather for our excursion. They gave us numbered stickers, and we sat waiting for our group to be called so we could all leave together. We got off the ship and walked a short way to a waiting catamaran called the Dancing Dolphin. The captain introduced himself and his two assistants, and we were off.
We sat on the deck with our feet dangling over the water for our hour-long trip to the island where we’d be snorkeling. It was unbelievable. The skies had been overcast, but the sun came out right as we neared our destination. The girls on the boat were handing out snorkeling gear, and the captain announced that it was their intention that this excursion would be the most fun we’d have on our entire cruise. We were somewhat doubtful about that, primarily due to how early it was in the morning, and the fact that we weren’t swimming yet.
They gave us some basic instruction, taught us the sign for SOS, and then it was time to go. We had the option of jumping off the side of the boat or going down the steps into the water. We chose the steps.
One of the girls led us around the inlet, showing us where to find sea turtles, pointing out features of the reef, and feeding the fish so they’d swim around us. She told us that if we put our heads underwater, we’d be able to hear the sound of parrotfish biting pieces off the coral. They sounded exactly like Rice Krispies popping.
Wendy and I had both purchased cheap underwater camera cases that were little more than a thick ziplock bag with a plexiglas lens cover. Terrified of destroying my camera, I’d tested mine multiple times in the sink to make sure it didn’t leak. Though it was a little difficult to work the camera controls, it was one of the smartest purchases I’d made for the cruise. I’m so glad I had it for swimming with sea turtles.
the dancing dolphin
When it was time to head back, we got on the boat and were promptly handed glasses of rum punch. The second our glasses were half-empty, they’d hand us another glass of rum punch. Suddenly, we understood what they meant about this being the best time we’d have the whole cruise.
pouring some out for our absent homies
The girls working on the boat were awesome. They came around, applying temporary tattoos, and making sure our drinks were constantly full. We met some dudes who were passing out beer they’d found at the bar. One of them had a temporary tattoo on his forehead.
We quickly learned that they were Brad and Jamie, brothers-in-law from Tampa Bay. They were with their families, including a bunch of kids and grandpa. We loved them. By the time we got off the boat, we’d been invited back to their room for a party. Wendy and I had to split up the numbers of the cabin so we’d remember it: I took 72, and she took 92. We were drunk and sunburnt and it was only 10am. It was the best day ever.
We went back to our cabin to change quickly, then headed out again. We walked to the Skyride, for which we had pre-purchased tickets on the ship. We rode up to Paradise Point, taking pictures the whole way.
our ship, with charlotte amalie across the bay
There was shopping and a bar up at the top. I called Matt again while watching a lady wrangling a bunch of parrots and cockatoos. They kept yelling ‘hello!’ at me whenever I walked past. I’m not sure if he understood a lot of what I was saying, because it’d been a very long morning already. We bought souvenirs and sat in the shade at the overlook, because the sunburn was getting critical. We were all feeling kind of ill from the heat.
Once we started to feel better, we set off on a very important mission: our friends Bill and Katie had been there just a week earlier, and they’d left us a note under a rock at the top of the hill. We had specific directions from Bill on how to find it.
It was unbelievably hot and humid, and we were already dehydrated from the rum punch. As we climbed the nature trails and up above the gazebo, we were pretty sure we were going to die. Wendy and I split my entire bottle of water in just a few minutes. But we found the note, and left another one in case someone else should happen by. It read, “Hello, strangers! This is what happens when awesome worlds collide.” We included an email address.
We climbed back down to the shops and headed to the bar.
Why? Because we needed some limin’, a Bushwacker, and a Blowjob in Paradise, of course. They came with ugly souvenir glasses and everything!
On our way back down the skyride, we rode with a lady who was on our 44th cruise. She was a wedding planner from Boston, and showed us the bon voyage necklace she’d gotten for her first cruise at 21 years old. Holy crap. It would have been pretty awesome, but she also seemed kind of nuts.
We rushed back to the dock and got there right at cutoff time, but there were still several people arriving. We went to our cabin for the best meat locker time ever: TV turned to the boat-map channel, Italian opera playing quietly in the background (we liked to believe it was the captain singing as he steered the ship), us napping in our freezing-cold room. I have to confess, I do still crave meat locker time occasionally. As usual, we were asleep by the time the ship left port, and we didn’t feel it moving.
We awoke at 6:30pm and went up to the buffet for dinner. Wendy and I were both sick from sunburn (and possibly rum punch), so we had to force ourselves to eat and drink water. We went down to the card room and played canasta for a while, saw Rodrigo and Casanova, and were done by 10:30. We were exhausted. We showered off the smell of sea turtles and went to bed.