Two for one

It’s been over a week since a cruise ship was tied up to the quay in Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas. I haven’t figured out how the shop owners know about the pending arrival of a cruise ship…but they definitely know. A few hours before a ship’s arrival, doors are unlocked, banners are unfurled, jewelry overflows in the display cases and there’s a buzz about town. It’s kind of fun. Soon they’ll be queued up five or more deep in a buying frenzy at almost every shop in town, especially jewelry!

In a display of titanic oneupsmanship the Disney cruise ship came in, do-si-doed and backed into the outer slot. Good looking boats, those Disney boats. Great colors, design, and very cool roller coaster in a see through tube on the top deck.

Next up, Carnival something-or-other. Less style, less color, many more people packed in. A lot more smoke too.

Last but definitely not least, a Freedom of the Seas monster. No style, no color, looks like a Soviet era apartment block, and I mean the whole block. Gargantuan monsters maneuvering and backing down within feet of other yachts and cruise ships without any tugs or assistance of any kind. Awesome.


Just the other day I discovered one of the treasures of Charlotte Amalie. Ok, the Carousel is no longer here but in its place I would humbly nominate The Greenhouse. I admit I passed on this place thinking that it was a little “shiny pants” for our budget but after climbing the mountains of St Thomas I felt a little parched and thought that a little pain killer was appropriate. HA! Two for one starting at four o’clock. I’ve noticed other sailors from out in the anchorage have found it too.


Thirst quenched, just as I was contemplating a dinghy ride back to Escape Velocity, I heard the most powerful, if not the loudest sound I’ve ever heard in my life. At first I thought those pain killers are powerful stuff, only to realize that it was melodic, like something from Close Encounters but played by Jimi Hendrix only with thousands of Marshal Amps turned up to eleven! No, not Purple Haze but…something like the first seven notes of When You Wish Upon A Star! It’s how the Disney boat calls its peeps back to the boat. They add another phrase as departure nears so that by end you better be on the boat. Cool.

Of course as twilight approaches, one by one, they do the dance of the hippos, gracefully backing out and leaving for the next port of call, of course with the Disney boat self-accompanied, lit-up twinkling like a city, all in line like elephants in a circus parade. I wonder where they’re headed next but I bet the store owners are already preparing for them.

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