St. Thomas and St. John in 10 hours

Approaching Charlotte Amalie
Arriving at the St. Thomas cruise port near the capital, Charlotte Amalie, we boarded a public taxi ($10 p/p) to travel to the opposite side of the island to the ferry port at Red Hook.  For $7 each, the 20 minute ferry ride took us to Cruz Bay on Saint John.  At this point, we boarded the public bus ($1 each) to travel from the west side of the island to the southeast side.  Travel time is roughly 45-60 minutes, dependent on scheduled and requested stops, but also occasional road blockages due to wild donkeys or goats wandering into the roadway.  Our destination, Salt Pond, is a popular snorkeling spot for locals and tourists alike.  It is easily reached by public transportation or rental vehicles, unlike other spots which may require off-road vehicles or a long trek down steep National Park trails. 

Venturing out into the waters we were hoping to spot rays, but found a variety of tropical fish, lots of
sea urchins, a turtle and a few types of coral.  (We later learned the rays were located in nearby Lamesure Bay, but this wasn't a spot we would have been able to access from Salt Pond.)  Spending about an hour in the water, we headed back up the hill to the bus stop, to do our morning trip in reverse, just inserting a lunch at the Cruz Bay Landing Restaurant across from the ferry. 

After a shower at the cruise ship, we headed in to town.  (It's a 2 1/2 mile walk one-way or a $4 p/p taxi trip.)  I was wanting to revive some memories of the island as a young woman visiting to meet, and party, with the woman who was to become my future sister-in-law, even though at that point that eventuality wasn't anywhere on the radar.

Salt Pond on St. John
St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix (which we didn't visit) were purchased from Denmark for 25 million dollars in 1917, due to fears that Germany would try to capture the islands, and the Panama Canal.  St. Thomas is one of the Caribbean's the busiest cruise ship ports, not only due to the islands natural beauty, but as a popular shopping destination for duty-free shops featuring fine jewelry (especially diamonds), crystal, liquor and perfume.

Catching a taxi back to the port, we arrived in time for a slightly
rushed dinner, and then to the ship's special program for the night, Gladys Knight, yes that Gladys Knight.  The Pips weren't with her, but she was accompanied by 4 backup singers, a cadre of musicians, and her brother and tour manager Bubba Knight joined her on the stage as well.  Her voice was clear and strong, and she delivered a faultless performance.  It was a wonderful but somewhat exhausting day, but now we are at sea, so we have an opportunity to rest and prepare for our next stop, Barbados.
Path down to Salt Pond
Drive across St. John
On St. John
On St. John

Gladys and Bubba
View of the St. Thomas harbor
At Salt Pond
At Salt Pond --We've never seen this guy before-very strange
Looking back at St. John on departure

Sailboat in Cruz Bay

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