7am came way too early, despite our fairly early evening. It had been a week, and my seasickness was pretty much a permanent fixture at that point. It’s exhausting.
We’d at least planned ahead and ordered breakfast in the room, so we ate quickly, showered, and prepared. Our goal was to make the 9am water taxi at Red Hook, and we knew that would mean rushing off the ship. It was 8:15 by the time we disembarked, and Matt thought there was no way we should even bother hurrying at that point. I wanted to try, though, so we headed off in a hurry.
It had been pouring for a few minutes, and when the rain started to let up there was a huge double rainbow over the harbor in Charlotte Amalie. We left the port and headed through the duty-free shopping area, which was all closed since it was so early. We finally saw a parking lot full of really large taxi-shuttles, so I walked over and asked if we could get a ride to Red Hook. They put us in the backseat of the cab of a truck that had a penned-in bench area full of cruise people in the back, and headed off.
The lady driving the truck was in a HURRY. Which was awesome, because she knew we were in a huge hurry, too. I felt bad for the people in the back, though… we were seatbelted into an enclosed area, and they were sliding around on wooden benches in the back while she tore up and down hills, around tight curves, and slammed on the brakes repeatedly. But she got us to Red Hook in under 20 minutes, and we were just barely there in time for the ferry. I almost puked from seasickness and the ride, but that was fine.
We found Jessie (my former coworker) and her wife Kate in the ferry terminal. They were there on their honeymoon, so we’d planned to meet them and go over to St John. That worked out well!
We hopped on the ferry and were at the dock in Cruz Bay in 15 minutes. That was far preferable to the 45-minute ride from Charlotte Amalie, on the 10am ferry. (It runs hourly from Red Hook, and only a couple times a day from Charlotte Amalie.) We had plans to go pick up some beer and head to the beach, so we walked into town to find a grocery store. We couldn’t find one (despite the town being very tiny), but a local pointed us in the right direction. We picked up St John Brewers beer, plus some SPF 50 sunscreen so we didn’t fry again.
Kate said they’d been there the previous day to do some scouting, and found a beach that was a 5-minute walk. We figured we’d take a cab to Trunk Bay, but that sounded fine to us. We set off toward the entrance to the National Park (the island is almost entirely park) , and Kate led us to a trail head. It promptly turned into an actual dirt and gravel hiking trail.
We climbed up a hill over rocks, and at that point I was questioning this decision. I was so seasick that it was all I could do to stay upright, and we were both wearing flipflops. I figured it would only be five minutes, though, so that was fine.
Twenty minutes later, we got to the sign pointing down a steep hill to the beach. Our water was gone, but at least we had beer. We climbed down carefully and found Solomon Beach. It was nearly empty.
We set up in a shady spot under a tree, and sat there on the beach talking for a good long time with our beers. I started to feel less like throwing up as soon as I sat down. Seasickness is definitely NOT my favorite thing in the world.
After a while, Matt and I went to snorkel near the rocks. Then we all hung out in the ocean for a while, until we finally agreed it was time for lunch.
The hike back didn’t seem as arduous, but I still really wish we had water. We’re generally prepared, but the hike had been a surprise! Kate seemed fine, though:
We climbed back down to the visitor center, where I was perturbed to find a nonfunctioning drinking fountain. We headed into town for lunch, in search of St John Brewers. We found their brewpub on the second floor of a little mall.
I couldn’t decide if I was more excited for air conditioning or water, but I enjoyed the hell out of both (plus their beer). We had lunch there, then went downstairs to their gift shop for some souvenirs.
We still had a bit of time to kill before we had to be back on the ferry to St Thomas, so we went to a bar in Cruz Bay that they’d been to before. It was right on the beach, and we could see the ferry dock from there so we were unlikely to miss it. On the way there, we ran into our friends from Pittsburgh, who had come over on the ferry from Charlotte Amalie with the cruise excursion.
We had drinks there, watching people load up the ferry. Then we realized how late it was getting, and it was time to hurry. We said goodbye to Jessie and Kate, because they’d decided to stay til the next ferry. Matt and I boarded, and went up to the top to get the seats with a view. Probably not a great idea with the sunburn, but it was nice being up there.
Back at Red Hook, we piled into cabs back to port. I ended up in the back seat next to a couple from Georgia. The husband was hilarious, and kept wanting to talk about rum because he’d drank so many of them in St John. His wife kept shushing him, telling him he was bothering me. He wasn’t at all; it was good entertainment for the ride back.
We ran into traffic heading into town (the traffic we’d been warned about, that could make your ride to Red Hook take 45 minutes instead of 20). The driver dropped us at the duty-free shops, which were once again mostly closed because the ship was leaving soon. We walked back to the dock.
This is all I’ve seen of Charlotte Amalie in my two visits to St Thomas. I’m sure it’s a nice town, but there are way more awesome things in the USVI!
We boarded the ship with a six-pack of St John Brewers beers, figuring they’d probably take them from us and then we could bring them to Vieques. They didn’t even care, though, so we took them to the room and had one for sailaway.
It was a little sad leaving the Virgin Islands because it was our last night on the cruise. At the same time, I was sick to death of feeling like crap from the seasickness, so I was excited to be on land again. It helped that we had the post-trip planned, so we didn’t have to go home right away.
We showered and started packing our bags, because they had to be ready for the porters by 11pm. It was a long, involved process due to the many breakable souvenirs, including three bottles of rum. We took a break after a while and went to have snack in the buffet (I had a salad), then got a drink at the pool bar to take back to the room. We finished packing, then went up to Marlon’s bar to play dominoes.
After a while, we went down to dinner one last time in the main dining room. The meal was fine, but they seemed totally half-assed about everything since it was the last night. Our bread had no butter, Matt got the wrong entree, and service was slow. We didn’t really care, though. The food was mostly fine.
We stopped at our room to put our bags in the hall, then went to the martini bar for one last cocktail there. We sat around watching the awesome flair bartenders, and then headed to Michaels Club, where of course we found our Pittsburgh friends waiting.
Matt had been eyeing the Yamazaki the entire cruise, and he’d decided he was going to have it on the last night. (It was something like $45.) I had a Fin Du Monde while he had that, and we all got to taste it. When we went to close out, the bartender neglected to charge us for it. I’m not sure that was intentional, but it really seemed that way.
We exchanged contact info with our new pals, got a to-go Manhattan for the room, and headed to bed.