December 2013 – St Thomas, USVI, is by far one of my favorite places on this planet. This was our first visit to the island, and I fell in love with the tropical feel, cool breezes, and gorgeous landscapes.
We arrived early on a December morning and enjoyed the views as we were pulling into port. There were sailboats anchored all around us, and the water was an incredible shade of blue. We disembarked the ship and met our tour guide on the pier. We were transported to trolleys, on which we were taken to a marine park called Coral World. The traffic was wild, typical of the Caribbean. We were driven along a very scenic path where we were able to see a lot of the island.
We arrived at the park (entrance fee was included in our excursion) and separated to explore. We were given a time to be back at the trolley, but we had several hours on our own.
Iguanas were free roaming in the park. We had a couple of hours to kill before our main event, so we ventured around the park. We explored the exhibits and watched an excellent show starring a sea lion. We had lunch at an outdoor cafeteria with iguanas underfoot.
After awhile, it was time to head down to meet our guide. We were briefed on safety, signed a few waivers, and were given snorkeling gear. We were then led to a pool and waded into it, among nurse sharks and lemon sharks. We were told different facts about sharks and told what to and not to do while in the pool with them. Then we were set free to explore the pool for about half an hour, snorkeling among the sharks. It was a fantastic experience, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in sharks! Our next shark-related activity in the future will be cage diving…
After our shark encounter, we changed into dry clothes via the locker room and browsed the gift shop. We then caught the trolley back to the shopping area of Charlotte Amalie.
We visited Magic Ice with pre-purchased tickets. Admission included a drink at the ice bar and a souvenir shot glass, as well as a tour throughout the museum. We were given thick parkas and gloves to wear. Coming in off the warm street with wet hair (from snorkeling) and flip flops, the coat and gloves really were not enough to keep me warm. I think my body was in shock long enough that the temperature didn’t register until we were nearly done, however.
The museum was pretty cool. There were a lot of elaborate ice sculptures, and the entire bar was carved into ice. We were given a drink, and the kids of the group were allowed to try out an ice slide. We were in and out in about twenty minutes.
After the museum, we walked around the shopping area for a short time. Most of the shops were closing up (seemed kind of early), so we ended up just catching a taxi back to the port. We visited the area around the port and sat on a bench to watch the sunset before reboarding the ship.
St Thomas is at the top of my list of a revisit and potential relocation (maybe when I retire…). I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves the beach life but not so much the heat and humidity. We were told that trade winds blow about 95% of the year. It was a pretty amazing place to visit.