Thursday, August 17, 2017

Escaping Insanity: A Cruising Trip Report. Day 4: Swimming in (the) Trunk (of the) Bay, Part 1

Just starting to read this?  The previous day starts HERE.


They say that a picture is worth a thousand words…this is one of those days where my initial intent was to let the pictures speak for themselves and not provide much narration.  Then I remembered that I'm long-winded and boring and that I had to drone on about stuff that nobody cares about to keep my reputation intact.

With that, let's begin our first port day in beautiful St. Thomas!

I was wide awake early on (5:30), mainly because I wanted to get a time lapse of the sunrise and our arrival into St. Thomas.  I got the GoPro set up and started, and I then started going over the itinerary for the day…again…and again…and again…

The game plan for the day was to do our own thing and head to Trunk Bay.  This would involve a little bit of logistics and a bit of luck on the timing.  We were going to try to get off the ship early and then grab a taxi to Red Hook.  From there, we hoped to catch the 9:00 ferry over to Cruz Bay and then grab another taxi to Trunk Bay.   To get back, we had to reverse it.

The first order of business, though was sustenance!  We headed up to Garden Café, and it was markedly busier than we anticipated.  We decided to forego anything that would take a while (omelets were out), so Sheri and I opted for Eggs Benedict while the boys went with the quick pancake and/or cereal fare.  I’ll admit, I had my doubts with the eggs, but this morning’s offering was remarkably good!

There weren’t any 4-tops available (even singing Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch didn’t help), (wow…that was bad, even by my relatively low standards), so we split up and grabbed a couple of 2-tops.  I ended up sitting next to a Korean War veteran from the Chicago area who was dining with his granddaughter.  We enjoyed a brief conversation as we ate.  We couldn’t stay too long, however, because we were on a mission to get off the ship early.  We bid them adieu and headed back to the stateroom for final preparation.

Swimming attire and rash guards…Check!
Lots of cash (many places do not accept credit/debit cards…taxis, ferry, etc)…Check!
Day Bag…Check!
Phones in recently-purchased waterproof cases…Check!  (the money fit in there well…FYI)

I wanted to test things out a bit, so I did bring our passports with us, but I also had photos of the passports on our phone.  I know – there is often a little controversy with taking passports with you vs keeping them on the ship.  This was a fact-finding mission for me as a travel planner to see what all would fly.

We had a little time, so I did a quick download of the time-lapse shots from earlier.  As I did that, the other three questioned why I didn’t shoot the arrival into port.  I wanted to do it, but logistics wouldn’t really let me – I had enough storage space, but the battery would have been the potential issue.  The Hero Session 4 has a rechargeable battery that can’t be swapped out.  While the camera recharged and downloaded, the others started shooting pictures on the verandah.

Around 7:45-7:50, we started to make our way down to the lower decks, and we were rewarded with being off the ship at around 8:01!  We made it to the taxis by 8:10 and were on our way soon afterward.  All of us were heading to either Red Hook (us) or Sapphire Beach or Coki Beach (everyone else).  When the driver turned into Secret Harbour resort, we all kind of looked around, wondering what was going on.  The driver hopped out and seemed a bit perturbed that nobody got out.  He hopped back in and headed towards Red Hook – he pulled into a strip mall by Ocean Surfari Charters and said that this was the stop for Red Hook.  We hopped out, lost and not sure which way to go.  We figured it out after about five minutes and, as two other taxis flew by us, made it to the terminal.

Though we had the stop at Secret Harbour and then got dropped off around twelve miles from the terminal, we still had about 20 minutes to spare before the 9:00 ferry.  I hopped in line and got four round-trip tickets.  I then put my phone into working mode and started working on emails (stupidly, I (and Sheri) might add).  We boarded and raced an auto ferry over to Cruz Bay (we won).  This wasn’t a rough ride at all, luckily.  We deboarded and found a taxi to get on in about three minutes.

Coming Into Cruz Bay

The taxi ride to Trunk Bay was beautiful, and I was really looking forward to seeing Sheri’s face when we got to the overlook.  I did what I could to keep her from seeing it early online; it was going to be perfect!

Of course, we flew by the overlook, and we only had about a 2-second glimpse of one of the most-photographed spots in all of the Caribbean.

Taken at about 25-30 mph

I was having bad luck with taxis today.

We pulled into Trunk Bay, and it looked like things were quiet.  We paid our admission fee (yes, they take credit card) and then rented some snorkeling gear before making our way to the beauty of the beach.

From here, I’ll let the video take over until we get back to Charlotte Amalie.


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