Published: November 16th 2011
November 16th 2011
Tuesday, November 8 - St Marten's
As Ger is into another good book, he has let me do the blog update on my iPad. Forgot to mention in last blog that on one of our "busy" days at sea, I scaled the rock climbing wall at the stern of the ship. A good feeling of satisfaction to ring the bell at the top and enjoy the free fall (being rappelled down)!
A very hot day ( low 30's with high humidity) for our 1st Caribbean port of call at St. Marten. Ger opted not to go with us on a local bus ride over to the French side of the island to Marigot. The outing for the 5 of us (Maureen, Fred, Barney, Anna and Jill) began with a water taxi ride from the ship terminal over to the town pier. This convenient transport costs $6US for unlimited rides and is a fun way to escape the heat of a 20 minute walk to Philipsburg. Caught the local bus about 2 blocks in from the town pier, which has a $2 fare. The roads are very congested on this island, so the ride took around 45 minutes to Marigot,
on the French half of the island. Walked around this small, picturesque port and it's market by the marina, trying to stay in the shade of the tented stalls. After about 1 1/2 hours, I was suffering from the heat, so took the bus and water taxi back solo to recuperate on air conditioned ship. The rest decided to catch another bus to Orient Beach for a swim before returning.
I found Gerry in the Windjammer about 12:30, so we lunched together. He'd walked to town in the morning and found an Internet place, then returned to the ship to read in cooler quarters. Mid-afternoon, I donned my bathing suit, took the water taxi over and enjoyed the lovely beach - walking the shore and swimming away from crowds (water is so warm it is not really refreshing). Also did a little shopping- lots of good duty-free stores behind beach area on shaded street, and put my negotiating skills to work at a fine jewellery store.
Enjoyed the twilight sail away from St Marten at 6pm, complete with a lightening show in the distance.
Wednesday, November 10 - Antigua
Awoke to St John's, Antigua at 7am
this morning. All 6 of us met at 8am in the dining room for breakfast, a very civilized way to start the day! Most wanted a beach day, so I recommended Runaway Beach, which we'd enjoyed on our last visit here. Ger visited ship Dr as has sinusitis. I decided to do an island tour in order to see historic Nelson's Dockyard, which had been recommended by a Nova Scotian that I met in the ship's hot tub, who moors his sailboat there. They have a good system on the harbour quay, where they will team people up for the $25US per person island tour. Left at 10am for what was to be a 2 1/2 hour tour, but ended up being a leisurely 3 1/2 hrs. Glad to be in air-conditioned van and grateful not quite as hot today as some cloud cover. Rode shotgun so had best view, but felt strange entering car on left, as they drive on left side of the road here. Had a great taxi van driver/tour guide named Dwight.
The Falmouth Harbour area is beautiful and the Dockyard, Blockhouse Ruins and Shirley Heights areas in the National Park are well worth a
visit- very scenic. Eric Clapton apparently owns the entire peninsula that you can see across the bay from the Blockhouse ruins and has quite a villa complex atop a cliff area.
Saw a mongoose for the first time! Apparently it is the only island wildlife of note. The Brits imported them to get rid of the snakes, but then they went on to eat the local chickens too, so are not popular. Left port at 3pm to head to Barbados.
Tackled the climbing wall again and after I demo'd for Gerry, he gave it a go. He said it was more of a workout than he expected. I progressed to a more difficult climb with smaller handholds.
As Thai prawns and pad thai were on the menu tonight, Ger was a well contented diner, as were the rest of us. Fabulous Tango Buenos Aires show this evening - the Argentinean dancers were incredible, especially given the movement of the ship!
Friday, November 11 - Remembrance Day
Another hot (over 30 again) sunny day at sea - perfect for more R & R. Nice that the captain called for A Minute's silence at 11am after explaining
the significance to all the guests and staff from so many countries. Didn't do much but read in our lounge chairs on the upper deck in the shade all day. Had a Turkish steam bath before dressing up for last formal night and had a lovely dinner followed by a fun Beatle Maniacs show.
Saturday, November 12 - Last day at sea before Colon
Sunny and hot again. Had not expected that the weather would be so gorgeous on this transatlantic crossing - had whetted our appetites to do again in future. The Royal Caribbean staff have been so friendly and provided excellent service. Took in Nidia's last dance class doing Meringue, watched pool side entertainment of staff flag parade, ice carving, volleyball etc, while reading in shade. Then got to packing our suitcases in late afternoon before our final dinner and show. Had another lightening show when we did a last lap on the promenade deck at 10pm in the very warm evening air.
Sunday, November 13 - Colon, Panama
Arrived at this busy port at 6:30am under cloudy skies. Heard last night that it has rained hard here the last couple of days.
There are more photos below