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US Virgin Islands Natl Park and Caribbean Cruise

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US Virgin Islands Natl Park and Caribbean Cruise - Page Text Content

S: Southern Caribbean Cruise - March 26 to April 6, 2012

BC: Another ToeJaM Production - 2012 | Arrived back in Port Everglades the morning of April 6, 2012. A quick taxi ride to FLL and we were back home in Las Vegas that afternoon. | EMERALD PRINCESS Port Everglades to Princess Cays 277nm / 18.0kts Princess Cays to St. Thomas 735nm / 19.0kts St. Thomas to Dominica 273nm / 18.5kts Dominica to Grenada 194nm / 17.0kts Grenada to Bonaire 393nm / 19.5kts Bonaire to Aruba 132nm / 12.5kts Aruba to Port Everglades 1096nm / 18.5kts Total Distance 3100nm = 3565 statute miles

FC: March 26 to April 6, 2012 Southern Caribbean Cruise on the Emerald Princess Needed to collect U.S. Virgin Island National Park located on St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands... so take a cruise !!!

1: We invited Mike & Joy Flor (Mike is Terry's brother) and they decided to join us to our delight. We met them at Ft. Lauderdale airport on March 26, 2012, a day before the Emerald Princess departed Port Everglades. | Waiting for the hotel shuttle. Caught Joy enjoying her "habit"

2: We spent our arrival evening driving down to Miami Beach and playing tourist on the A1A. | The next morning we were up and headed to Everglades National Park just west of Miami.

3: Had great view of the alligators and wildlife throughout the Everglades on March 27. This was the first visit for Mike & Joy | Nice kitty...

4: After visiting Everglades National Park, then a drive through town and a shuttle to our home for the next ten days. Departed the afternoon of March 27, 2012. | Port Everglades... waiting to depart aboard the Emerald Princess. We had chocolate covered strawberries waiting in our cabin from the art auctioneers. No art this trip.

5: Princess Cays March 28, 2012 A private beach located on the southern end of Eleuthera, Bahamas.

6: Sea Day March 29, 2012 Time to relax, enjoy some beverages, watch the staff create, book more cruises...

7: St Thomas, U.S Virgin Islands March 30, 2012 | Our plan today is to catch a ferry to the British Virgin Islands (to "collect"another country), then another ferry to St. John, USVI. | We anxiously watch the docking in Charlotte Amalie so we can quickly depart the ship and get our busy day started. | St. Thomas USVI is 31 sq mi with 51,634 population

8: We discover at the Charlotte Amalie ferry terminal the mid-day ferry is not running from Road Town, BVI to St. John, USVI. So we change plans. | We jump in a taxi and go across St. Thomas to Red Hook Bay to catch a different ferry to St. John. We will leave British Virgin Islands for another visit.

9: Arriving Cruz Bay, St. John and it is a beautiful island. Opposite page: the boat traffic between these islands is pretty amazing.

10: Found the U.S. Virgin Island National Park Visitor Center right in Cruz Bay. Got the "required" passport stamp. St. John is a beautiful island. I can see us coming back to spend more time someday. St. John is 19sq mi with 4,170 population. 60% is NP.

12: Back on the ferry from Cruz Bay, St. John to Redhook Bay, St. Thomas. Jump in a taxi, go across the island to the shopping district. Liked the firehouse. | We'd been to St. Thomas before, so we kinda knew our way around. On a previous visit here with grandpa Meyer we reminisced about when he "lost" his wallet.

13: Dominica March 31, 2012 An island nation that gained it's independence in 1978. A lot of rain and vegetation makes Dominica a very lush island with plenty of moisture. We docked in Roseau. | This was the small sign on the van. Do the math. I get 110# per person... Maybe grade school kids...

14: Dominica (NOT Dominican Republic) is 290 sq. mi. with a population of 71,293. The Chinese are investing in the island's infrastructure. Typical Caribbean scenery. Bright colors, eternal construction waiting for money, happy people, and great views from the hills.

15: Tim had to try coconut milk. (It was okay) The locals had plenty at $3 apiece. | Trafalgar Falls involved a bit of a slippery hike. Each stop always had trinkets for sale.

16: Trafalgar Falls and the Steam Vents were interesting. We also hiked in to see the Emerald Pool deep in the rain forest. It rained, we got soaked, was fun and refreshing. Stopped for fresh fruit drinks made from local fruits and the area had great flowers.

18: Our hike into the rain forest to see the Emerald Pool. Mike & Joy had a great time, even though Joy slipped a couple of times. We later discovered the motion sickness patches were not helping.

19: Grenada April 1, 2012 | Grenada is known as the Island of Spice. Many people remember the 1983 invasion of Grenada by US forces. Here's the quick short story: In 1983 the ruling party split, roughly half were executed by the others. The remaining rulers got cozy with Cuba (thus USSR) and were building an airstrip. Ronald Reagan ordered the rescue of about 1000 medical students on the island not publicly disclosing his intentions to oust the socialist party. The US forces left Grenada within six months of invasion.

21: We docked on the SW side of the island of Grenada at St. Georges, the capital. Off we went on a private tour of the island with Mike & Joy. Stopped at spice stores where we learned about spices. Opposite center: A breadfruit tree. Below: Joy with spice healing.

22: Learned about the cocoa fruit (shown on the left) and how the cocoa beans were converted to tasty chocolate. | Cocoa beans. | Locals and pictures ($1).

23: Grenada has plenty of rain forests. The waterfall above is Annandale Falls. The lake below is Lake Antoine; the pictures were taken from Belmont Estate in the NW corner of Grenada. Driving across the island we went through Grand Entang Forest Reserve. Grenada is 12 mi wide and 21 mi long with the highest peak at 2,757 feet. The population was 108,419 in 2011, with 75% African descent.

24: Grenada flag. Fruit trees and monkeys at Belmont Estate.

25: Driving across Grenada. Homes are still damaged from hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Emily (2005). The Grenadians are thankful for not becoming a socialist state. Part of the tour included a stop at a rum distillery. The RED BALL was NASTY! Tim tried many varieties.

26: Back to the SW part of Grenada at Grand Anse Bay, a mile-long section of beautiful sandy beach. This is just south of St. Georges and where the major resort hotels are located. The international airport is also located on this end of the island.

27: Above St. Georges are located Fort Matthew and Fort Frederick. They like most forts throughout the Caribbean have served many different purposes. | We bid a fond farewell to Grenada. We were pleasantly surprised by Grenada as it exceeded our expectations.

28: Bonaire April 2, 2012 | Bonaire is one of the ABC islands (Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire) formerly Dutch colonies. Bonaire gained its independence in October 2010. We docked at Kralendijk on the SW side of the island. Bonaire is ~5mi by 24mi and 50mi north of Venezula. The population is only 15,666. Tourism, scuba, snorkeling, and salt drive the economy.

29: Plenty of cactus and rocks. Not much rain in Bonaire. | The most powerful medium wave transmitter (half megawatt) in America is located just above the 1000 steps area. | Views down the 1000 steps on the western side of Bonaire. Great scuba in this area.

31: The drive to Rincon in the north. | When you have plenty of cactus, you use it to make a fence.

32: Views above Kralendijk. The tree is known as a tourist tree as its bark is always peeling. LR - some of the Arawak Indians are still unhappy with the Dutch.

33: Headed down the eastern side of the island. Going through the local Arawak Indian community. The flamingos have been part of Bonaire for years..

34: Lac Bay in the SE is famous for windsurfing. | Tim is enjoying the local beer. Our driver / guide is having a soda.

35: Rebuilt Roof

36: The south side of Bonaire is used for sea salt production. Sea water is pumped in with windmills. The water is allowed to evaporate and salt is collected and dried. Previous page shows slave huts used by 12 people before sea salt was mechanized. The pink is brine (remember pink flamingos) and the white at the edge is sea foam. The cones piled high are sea salt.

37: Flamingo International Airport was put into use in 1945. Taking a break after our tour, checking e-mail. | Back in Kralendijk after our tour. Always plenty of shopping available at our ports-of-call.

39: Local wildlife right at the dock. Yes, I'm including the good-looking redhead lounging. | Dutch influenced architecture all around.

40: Our home at the dock in downtown Kralendijk. Farmers market with good looking vegetables. | Bonaire was a surprise to us. We did not expect the arid, desert landscape.

41: Aruba April 3, 2012 We docked in Oranjestad on the western side of the island. Aruba is ~20mi long with 101,484 residents.

42: Our first stop on our Aruba tour was an Aloe Factory tour.

43: Aruba is also very arid and desert-like. We didn't expect the climate. Aruba is only 17 mi north of Venezuela and 80 mi east of Columbia.

45: In the middle of the island these rocks are growing. They're full of Iguanas. We did not see any of the Aruba Island Rattlesnakes as they are endangered and probably less than 230 adults survive only in the SE half of Aruba.

46: The Natural bridge located on the eastern (Atlantic) side of Aruba. The small inlet (upper left) is where the locals used to feed sharks goats and other livestock to keep the sharks on the east side of the island and away from the tourist area on the west side of Aruba.

47: Sights driving across the island.

48: California Lighthouse on the north shore.

49: The beaches on the west side of the island are fantastic. It's easy to see why so many people love this part of the island. But it is only a small part of the island. | Opposite page: We saw a sun-rainbow while at the California Lighthouse. Virga directly overhead created the circular rainbow. It was the first time for many of us to witness.

50: The beach resorts are all located on the western side of Aruba. They're lined up next to each other. It reminded us of Las Vegas and the strip with man-made attractions. Opposite: downtown shopping at the pier. Not really wowed by Aruba...

52: April 4 - 5, 2012 Two relaxing days at Sea. Top: Terry having more fun than you'll know. Headed back to Florida.

53: Our dinner table-mates: << Sam & Vivian from Oregon (they are different...) Hazel & Colin >> from England (a grand couple). | Our waiters: Rolando and Andreii Baked Alaska parade. | << Mike & Joy Flor (Terry's brother) It was our first vacation together and we had a great time! | Emerald Princess launched May 2007. (On that cruise.) Cabin R224. Ship 113,000 ton. 3080 pass, 1200 crew.

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