Monday, March 19, 2007

Sailing, Sailing............

We've been back for a couple of weeks now, but I thought I'd post a few pictures to tell you about our trip to the Virgins Islands on our week-long Wind Star Cruise.

Day 1 - St. Thomas
We stayed overnight in the Wyndham, Sugar Bay. It was quite expensive ($400 USD/night), and was not as nice as we had hoped. It took us an hour to check in (at 1 am) and our bathroom had water all over the floor from a leak that we couldn't fine the source of. We heard a lot of people complaining at the front desk about a number of things, and overall felt that the place was not as well-run as it should have been. It did have a nice beach and pool area, though. Here's a picture of Gary checking things out.

There were a lot of wildlife walking around the grounds here. Here's a picture of an Iguana that I took.

And a crane, I think.

Day two - Cruise begins from St. Thomas.
Here is a picture of me with our cruise ship, the Wind Star, in the background. It was a lovely ship and the crew were really friendly. We were really happy with everything, especially the great food and excellent service.

Day 3 - St. John
We took a fun excursion in the morning. It was a nature hike to the Rockefeller Resort, then we kayaked to a more secluded beach, and did some snorkeling. It was here that we ran into our first totally nude sunbathers. We were told that naked sunbathing is not allowed on St. John, but that didn't seem to matter to this middle-aged couple, who were quite friendly and kept asking us questions about our cruise. You can't see them, but they were lying right next to Gary as he snapped this picture.

Gary got this great shot of me snorkeling!

Day 4 - St. Martin/St. Maarten

Our excursion on this day was a bus tour around the Island. We got to see both the French and Dutch sides. It's amazing how different they were considering how small the island is. Here we are on the Dutch side. They have a beautiful wide beach here along a boardwalk where you can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas. We had fun here watching pelicans dive-bomb the fish alongside the dock.

One of the stops on our bus tour of St. Maarten, was this clothing optional beach. If you look closely you can see that the people behind Gary are not wearing any clothes. I snapped this picture before I realized that there was a sign on the beach prohibiting photos. This was a very interesting cultural experience, and all I can say is, it was very good for our self-esteem!

Day 5 - St. Barths
On this island, we decided to get a bit more adventurous and rent a jeep. Here's a picture of Gary, looking right at home in the driver's seat.

In the morning we stopped at one of the beautiful beaches on the island, Gouverneur Beach.

Sunscreen - a daily ritual.

There were spectacular views here.

We stopped at this seaside resort, called Eden Rock, to have a look around. I went into the little gift shop they had there to see if I could buy a beach towel. I found one, but the price was marked at 185 euros!! Needless to say, I went elsewhere! They did have a lovely little beach there, though.
Another highlight of St. Barths was the annual Mardis Gras parade, which happened to be on the day that we were there. It was another interesting cultural experience. People get all dressed up in silly costumes, like the ones below, and parade through the streets.

There was a lot of rum flowing, and a lot of people were dressed like pirates. I especially liked this little "baby pirate".

Even Gary managed to get into the parade!

Day 6 - Jost Van Dyke
This is a small island of about 150 people. We decided to do the ATV excursion here. It was fun, except that the guy leading it was so paranoid that someone was going to have an accident that he kept yelling at us if we looked around too much, or got out of line a little bit. Other than that, it was fun and we got to see more beautiful scenery.

Day 7 - Tortola
We decided to forgo an excursion of this day and just walked around the little port that they have there. A highlight, was to lie in a hammock on the beach that was tied to two palm trees, outside of Foxy's, sipping Pina Coladas. Yum! This is a view of Tortola from the ship just before we set sail.
Another highlight of our trip was the "sail away" ceremony that they had each night on the back deck. They played this fabulous orchestral music as the sails were unfurled. It was especially beautiful at sunset.
Day 8 - Virgin Gorda
Our last day was spent on Virgin Gorda, a very lovely island. One of the famous tourist attractions here is called The Baths, which is a really interesting series of rock formations along the beach that you can hike and climb in. Here is a picture of Gary on the beach by The Baths.

The snorkeling was much better here. I snapped this picture underwater of a beautiful blue fish. I also saw a flounder, but i didn't take a picture because it was so well camouflaged .

We had a wonderful time and would encourage anyone to go on a Windstar Cruise!