Thursday, December 18, 2014
At 8:00 this morning we docked at St Thomas of the Virgin Islands. Too early to find anything open or any reason to explore Charlotte Amalia. The last time I was here it rained heavily nearly the entire time. The town is at the bottom of some seriously steep hills. The water ran down the hills and flooded the streets at the coast line. I sought shelter in a store, and within fifteen minutes there was an inch of water in the store, and when a car went by through the water, the waves made it all the a mess in the stores. This time, no rain!
I slept through that Abs thing today. What a shame. The ribbon makers made wine cork key chains today. That event is sound more and more like summer camp or a Boyer Cousin reunion with Mari in charge. I did get off to accompany the lady off the ship who lost her husband on Monday. With no rain this time, I took more time to explore the little city. This island was named by Columbus who stopped here in his second voyage on the feast of St Thomas which is why it bears that name. At the time it was covered with Mahogany trees. The Danes owned the island in the 18th and 19th century. They cut down all the trees and made a mess of things. President Wilson bought the island from the Danes to keep Germans from getting territory this close to the American Continent believing that the Germans were sure to invade Denmark which would have given them St Thomas.
The oldest and longest in-use Synagogue is here, but the present building is not the original. At some point in the mid 1800s the entire town burned down, but the present Synagogue was one of the first building rebuilt out of the mahogany. It is a “killer” walk up to see it because it is high on “Synagogue Hill.” The Jewish people came here late in the 1700s after being expelled from Rhode Island. I always find these historical details fascinating. There was never much early development here because it was a Pirate hangout in the 18th century. Most of the early inhabitants were slaves and those not slaves were share croppers which amounted to the same thing. Sugar Cane was the product and the reason they were here. Twenty years before slavery ended in the United States, it ended here at St Thomas, and the building where its end was proclaimed is a center piece of the island.
We sailed at 4:30. Mass was at 5:00 with a nice group of about 40. “Dolphin Tale 2” was the film I did not see today. There was a “Cocktail Sampling” at 8:00, and a Pub Crawl at 9:30. I suspect that by the time that was over, we should have been on “man overboard” alert. There was a Vocalist entertaining on the Main Stage tonight. She did vocal imitations of many female vocalists, and was quite good. Yesterday was a 6 miles walking day, and today 5.2 but I suspect I should have done more. The belt is tight.
We are sailing at 18 knots tonight with a 31 mph wind blowing straight at the starboard side of the ship, so we’re doing a little rock and roll. The lights of San Juan are lighting up the southern horizon as we pass Puerto Rico heading back toward Florida. The humidity is at 70%. We have sailed 1106 nm so far with 639 nm to sail tonight and tomorrow heading toward Half Moon Key (Bahama chain). At this spot on the earth the seas is 3,090 meters deep. it’s overcast and 79 degrees. We will be sailing all day tomorrow which means Mass is at 8:00 just when I would like to sleep in.
Here is a look at the little Cathedral on St Thomas where Sean Cardinal O’Malley of Boston was once Bishop, and a look at the Harbor as we sailed away.