I have been doing some buddy boating with Ronnie & Monica aboard Eos, who were dock mates of mine back in Kemah, TX. They arrived last week from Puerto Rico on their way to Trinidad. Together we took a $14 tour starting at Hotel 1829 and it was fantastic. Hotel 1829 is one of the largest residences in St Thomas and has been turned into a hotel and bar. Two fascinating facts about the hotel are the roof is made from the ship hauling the rest of the building material to the site and the kitchen was built inside the house (not common back in the day due to fire) and it is now the bar. I found the old brick oven in the corner appealing. The next stop was upstairs to the Amber Museum, where I learn some fascinating things about this semi precious gem. The top one being that amber comes in more colors than just amber. They have built a waterfall out of amber (1st photo) and is valued at over $1 million (kind of wished I brought a screw driver 😉 ). From the museum we walked through three other historic homes, with the first two beautifully decorated with period pieces. The last house was a disappointment because all it housed was a jewelry store. At the end of the walk, which happens to be the top of a hill, is Blackbeard’s Castle (2nd photo). This was one of two towers built to protect the main fort from a land attack. All around the tower there are life size bronze statues and would you believe Anne Bonnie made a pass at me (3rd photo). To finish off the tour you get a tour of a small rum factory and free samples. The mango rum and pineapple rum were the best. We did not participate, but if you bring swimsuits there are three pools provided as part of the tour.
Another thing we did while in Charlotte Amalie harbor was a tour of Hassel Island, which I wrote about on 2/19/12. I showed Ronnie the fortifications on the southern end of the island, took a dinghy tour through Careening Cove which use to be a coaling station, walked around the shipyard reading all the NPS signs, and finishing the trip with a hike to the fortification at the top of the north hill. From here I continued along the trail to the middle of the island where I found the British Officer Quarters and the Hazzell family cemetery, which is one of the nicest family cemeteries I have ever seen. I did have to take a completely inappropriate photo in one of the empty crypts (enjoy!). The trail continued on to the southern part of the island making this a great hike if you were dropped off at the north end and picked up on the south side after you walked to all the sites.
We finally decided to get out of the harbor and made snorkel stops at Flat Cays near Saba Island (it has some nice spots), Buck Island (one of my favorites) where we spend a very peaceful night with no other boats, the Stragglers on the south side of Christmas Cove, and Cow & Calf. Cow & Calf is amazing and is one of the top three snorkel sites in my opinion, but it is wide open and you can only go in calm conditions.
What I find funny is a lot of people say there is nothing to do on St Thomas and here we spent a wonderful week doing some fascinating things on the that same island (including the surrounding islands) with lots of relaxation time and never made it to St John (that is next week) much less the BVI.
PS – I have loaded the first part of the New York City travel video and this time I loaded it in a MPG format instead of a WAV format, so the picture quality should be much better. If I get positive comments about the download speed of the larger file then I will use the MPG format with all future videos and reload all the past videos. So let me know in the comment section of this post!