USA Here We Come

13/11/16. We are almost there. The bags are packed. The bikes are back together. We dock in Fort Lauderdale early tomorrow morning and we have to be off the ship by 10.00 am.

It has been a wonderful two weeks of luxury. We are not looking forward to getting back in our little tent and cooking one pot meals after a large, comfortable bed, en suite loo and humongous amounts of food! But our waistlines will be better for the exercise!

The ports of call on the islands have been an interesting and varied selection. On St Maarten we went round the island (including the French half) by a series of three local buses. Christine was delighted when, on a “wifi visit” to McDonald’s, she was given change in euro coins from four different countries including, amazingly, Finland.

St Kitts was lovely. We wandered round the town of Basseterre and loved it. The buildings were interesting and there seemed to be a sense of civic pride with several people working on keeping a park tidy and weeding around the base of trees in the main square. The cricket ground, which does sometimes host test matches, was very picturesque and well kept.

We didn’t get to see much of St Thomas (US Virgin Isles) as we didn’t complete Immigration checks on board until 2.30 – there were 6 officials to process 3,600 passengers and 1,200 crew all of whom had to be checked even if they were not going ashore. When we did get off the ship we were surprised to discover that they drive on the left even though most vehicles are left hand drive. The town was largely devoted to jewellery shops because there are larger duty free allowances from the islands when entering the US but we did hear that there were nice beaches a short taxi ride away.

The next stop was San Juan in Puerto Rico. We were not expecting much but were blown away by the old town which was full of narrow streets with lovely buildings from the Spanish colonial period (it only transferred to the US after the Spanish-American war of 1898). There were also two large forts and the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. It is definitely worth a visit.

The last stop was at a resort owned by the cruise line on Haiti. It felt a bit “Disney” and not the “real” Haiti but was a pleasant enough place to go for a swim and a snooze on the beach. We arrived later than planned as two hours out of San Juan on the previous evening we turned round and went back to Puerto Rico because of a medical emergency for one of the passengers. The captain tried to get a US Coastguard helicopter to take the person off but apparently the wind was too strong, although to us, experienced mariners as we are (!), it didn’t appear so.

7 thoughts on “USA Here We Come”

  1. Lucky find on the Euro front. Who’d have thought it. And worth more by the day, tho sadly ditto the $. Look forward to hearing about your travels, we are living in interesting times.

    1. Hi Glynnis & Richard,

      Christine promptly spent the euro coins received in change as she didn’t want to carry them around the States & Coata Rica for the next 5 months!

      Steve

  2. Fascinating reflections. Thank you for sharing.

    We must try to persuade skipper Peter to include St Kitts in our sail from Antigua to BVI in March. It makes for a natural stopover!

    Good luck getting back in the saddle.

    1. It’s definitely worth a visit – but we did read that there can be 5 or 6 cruise ships in harbour at Basseterre which could make a small town very crowded (during the day but not at night).

  3. Your trombone performed well in the Lord Mayor’s show. It also got a merit at grade 4. Good luck with America. Looks like you’ll need to keep schtumm. Also good luck with the waist line. You are in America after all.

    1. Yes. On a trip round the grocery store today the pack sizes were LARGE and when we went out for dinner last night we shared one dish between us. But that’s one of the beauties of cycling all day – you can eat as much as you like!

      Glad the tromboning is continuing to go well.

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