Showing posts with label Caribbean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Caribbean. Show all posts

29 February 2012

Tortola and Virgin Gorda

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We visited the islands of Tortola and Virgin Gorda today. We enjoyed the morning exploring the capital, Road Town. In the afternoon we visited an unusual beach scattered with big granite boulders.

The coastline of TortolaWe arrived in the British Virgin Islands and docked at Road Town on the south of Tortola.

We spent the morning in the town, walking along the main road from the harbour and then Waterfront Drive, Main Street and Pickenin Street up to St George's Episcopal Church.

Retracing our steps we stopped at the bakery for a cookie and some water, fed cookie crumbs to a hen and her three chicks, visited the museum, and bought and posted a card for Megan and our Tuesday evening Small Group.

The bakery in Pickinin Road, Road TownWe strolled back to the ship for a light lunch, then on to the harbour and a powerful catamaran for an afternoon trip to Virgin Gorda. Richard Branson's private island of Necker is not far from here. Once on the island we were taken by local bus to 'The Baths' a swimming beach and national park.

The area is littered with granite boulders, small, large and enormous (up to the size of a small house). These were ejected by a volcano long ago, enclosed in lava, and then as the lava eroded they were released. These boulders lie all over this part of the island - on the hilly ground inland, on the beach itself, and partially or totally submerged just offshore.

Beach and boulders on Virgin GordaA jumbled pile of these boulders forms a 'cave' network through which the next beach can be reached. It proved to be quite a scramble and there was little in the way of guidance. We made several false turns and had to retrace our steps to a familiar point and try again. While amongst the boulders Donna swam in the sea before we returned by a different route to catch the bus home.

In the boat we chatted with a Canadian couple who reminded us of of our old friends, Geoff and Dawn. We didn't learn their names, but began to think of him as 'Canadian Geoff'!

Back at the ship we went to the theatre to hear Jeri Sager sing some of her Broadway and other songs before dinner in the Aqua Restaurant and a relaxed evening. Cruising is most enjoyable, I could get used to it!

See also - More photos from our day

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28 February 2012

Dominican Republic

< Day at sea | Index | Tortola and Virgin Gorda >

We were ferried by tender boats to a small island near Samana in the Dominican Republic. We also spent some time relaxing on the ship. Having been ashore today, we're looking forward to some interesting visits to other islands during the rest of the cruise.

Several of the ship's lifeboats were used
Today was our first landfall in the Caribbean, at Samana on the south coast of a long peninsula in the north-east of the island.

After breakfast we decided to visit the town of Samana and then transfer later to Cayo Levantado where there's a tourist beach. But we changed our minds, instead staying aboard the ship and relaxing with a good read, having a light lunch in the Garden Restaurant, and then getting the tender to the Cayo.

By all accounts there wouldn't have been much to see in Samana and the crossing was longer in quite choppy conditions. The tender boats are the ship's lifeboats and it was interesting to travel in one. There is no deep water harbour at Cayo Levantado, and the ship has a deployable landing stage to make it really easy to board small boats.

The stalls on Cayo LevantadoThe lifeboat dropped us at a jetty right by the sandy beach. We found ourselves in an area of public parkland with shady trees, paved walkways, and a range of stalls and open air bars and little restaurants. We stopped for a refreshing drink and checked out the stalls, some selling artwork, others with T-shirts or hats, and some with gifts and local crafts.

A local bandThere was a band playing local Dominican music, they were very willing to pose for a photo in exchange for a small gift in their collecting box. The Dominican Republic is mostly quite poor and I think the band members and the stallholders are much better off than the folk on the mainland, particularly away from resort areas.

After exploring, we found a shady spot on a grassy bank right by the sandy beach and spent some more time reading.

I'm going through Jonathan Aitken's excellent book 'John Newton' on Donna's Kindle, while she's reading Jim Palmer's 'Divine Nobodies' on mine.

Back on board the ship in the late afternoon we headed out of the bay and Donna got a good look at some humpback whales as we passed from bay to open ocean. This is the same population we saw on our trip to Boston a few years ago. All I saw were waterspouts, but Donna might have caught a glimpse of a whale or two as well.

We've decided we really like the freestyle dining experience, and I'm enjoying the informal dress.

< Day at sea | Index | Tortola and Virgin Gorda >

23 February 2012

Caribbean/Florida 2012 - INDEX

< Cornwall 2011 | Index | No later items >

Sailing ship off St KittsWe flew from Heathrow to Miami, Florida. We then boarded a cruise and island-hopped in the Caribbean for ten days, returning to Miami.

From there we caught a train to Lake Worth and spent nearly a week with our friends Steph and Earl.

This index will take you to the individual daily posts.


  • Friday 24th February - St Neots to Heathrow
  • Saturday 25th February - Fly to Miami
  • Sunday 26th February - Join the cruise and sail
  • Monday 27th February - Day at sea
  • Tuesday 28th February - Dominican Republic
  • Wednesday 29th February -Tortola and Virgin Gorda
  • Thursday 1st March - St Martin's
  • Friday 2nd March - Antigua
  • Saturday 3rd March - Barbados
  • Sunday 4th March - St Kitts
  • Monday 5th March - Day at sea
  • Tuesday 6th March - Day at sea
  • Wednesday 7th March - Dock in Miami, train to Lake Worth
  • Thursday 8th March - 
  • Friday 9th March - 
  • Saturday 10th March - 
  • Sunday 11th March - 
  • Monday 12th March - Train to Miami and fly out
  • Tuesday 13th March - Arrive at Heathrow and drive home

< Cornwall 2011 | Index | No later items >

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