Dateline St Thomas, USVI
Today I woke shortly before six thirty in stateroom 10*** of the Norwegian Dawn, and channel 14 showed a lovely view of St Thomas ahead. I feel good, excited, happy and at the same time calm and controlled. I barefooted up to the garden café and back with a small cup of coffee to hold me till the room service pot arrived at seven, and by then I had the identifier for Tortola airport plugged into my gps, had taken a photo of the police boat AND the bow wake together, a welcome to st Thomas sign on the deck together with Xmas ornaments which still strike me as incongruous given the 78 temp and 74% humidity.
Sky is scattered with apparent wind from the east, so flying is DEFINITELY on my mind for the day, and my hope is that Ad*** and/or Ag** will be a part of the occasion. I have filled out an embarkation card for Tortola (have sorta memorized my passport info – issued 8 Dec and no****. Next stop is the auditorium on deck six in exactly a half hour for US customs clearance, which will speed things up in NYC, unless we have to do it all over again because we are supposed to be going to the British Virgin Islands tomorrow. We shall see… mox nix.
Flew N***CH from St Thomas to Tortola for a touch and go and a low pass over Virgin Gorda where single engine planes are not allowed. The taxi driver took me for an hour ride first, so I got yet another pic of the cruise ship in a harbor, and lots more shots of pretty islands in the sun. We found Ace Aviation, and the CFI, F****, was nearly my age, looked and sounded just like Wilfred Brimley and we took another brand new fledgling CFI along for a ride in the back seat.
Nice long pre flight briefing, and I got a chart for the ride, and then we took off to the east ahead of a citation in its way to Palm Beach. We saw where Bill Gates lives, and Sir Richard Branson, and did a touch and go on 07 at Tortola. The entire flight was 1500 feet and though the winds were strong, it was not too turbulent and I enjoyed very Aspect of it. My log book was filled out and signed, and by the time I had finished the visa bill for the trip, the taxi was here to take me back to the ship.
I walked to an internet place and it was a virtual tower of Babel, as Orientals, Spanish, Turkish, polish, Korean all were jabbering at once on the phones. I found a cable car and took it up and back without getting off to ‘shop’ at the top, and got some nice views of the harbor and the two ships therein.
Thence to an internet which was five bucks an hour, and there I stayed for two hours, content.
I found R** in the internet café and together we sent off to Mr. V** a copy of my praise to NCL which I posted (as promised) on cruisecritic. I said a long hello to C*** and told her that I was going to leave it to her to find me and let me know when she has time to look at the pix. She seemed to genuinely hope that we could chat.
I dined alone and rather rapidly by the window in Impressions on sirloin steak, and then later had ham, mashed potatoes and pineapple up on deck 12, and two things of popcorn and two bowls of strawberry ice cream. The day was really a huge success if you count the two new airports, a new island, a beautiful flight with two good landings etc. The wx was just fine, the plane ran well and I didn’t fuss or cringe over the price.
The ship has now allowed itself eleven hours to go thirty miles, so I have no idea how it is going to spend the time. I do not remember a great deal about what J*** and I did on our first visit to St Thomas, but I vividly remember going over on the Grumman goose belonging to Antilles Airboats.
More food from R*** which I haven’t even looked at yet, as I am quite full. One of the taxi drivers said they have had as many as 13 cruise ships in the harbor at once. I have seen no seagulls or any other evidence of wildlife in the harbor at all, and in fact, seagulls have been notably absent from most of our ports of call,tho I think I saw a pelican at Antigua, which now seems a long time ago.
There was a bunch of perhaps Japanese enjoying karaoke while I was internetting, and they were quite good and I enjoyed listening to them. First time I ever saw it up close and personal.