December 15th, 2010


Miami, St. John and St. Barth

We took on our new passengers in Miami on Dec. 11, and on that day I had to stay on board ship, so I ended up using much of the day to make a lot of phone calls.

After two sea days, we arrived in St. John on Dec 14. I went ashore with the intent of getting Nina some souvenirs and sending them home. Since it was a US territory, it was easy to do, since there was a US Post Office. I also had normal phone service (including internet). Nina had asked for a shell necklace, but I didn't see any in the various shops, so I got her a pink "Island Girl - St. John, USVI" T-shirt, and sent that out. Very soon after, however, I found shell necklaces in another shop, so it was time for another trip back to the Post Office. As I sat on a bench in the town square, drinking a Pepsi, I was struck by the surreality of the scene: A Christmas tree in the square on a very hot day, with various chickens wandering around, and an iguana on a nearby tree. Sounds like something from a very random dream.

In the evening, the "Rock The Boat" show was scheduled on the Pool Deck, and I was assigned to play on the stage before the show. I played from 6-8:30pm, and did my entire show standing up, the better to project a rock-n-roll vibe. It was great fun, and I was well received and got many compliments. One downside - I'd helped the AV Manager carry some gear to the stage, and afterwards I noticed a small blurry spot right in the center of vision in my left eye. My entire show, I was worrying about it - it was making it hard to read the song list on my computer screen, and I was a bit terrified that I was going blind. I resolved to see the doctor the next day.

This morning, we were in St. Barth once again, and the last time we were there, I noticed the "Yellow Submarine", which turned out to be a tour boat with underwater windows. It was 40 euros (not cheap) for an hour's excursion around the bay, but I decided to go on it. The boat does in fact look a lot like a submarine, and it is in fact yellow. As we climbed aboard, Beatles music was playing (coincidentally, I was wearing my Abbey Road Studios t-shirt). We sat on benches on the deck until we were under way, then we climbed down inside the "submarine". It reminded me of the old "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" ride in Disney World - We sat on small fold-down seats, next to rows of large underwater windows on the sides. Although the boat itself does not submerge, a great deal of it is below the waterline - sitting down, your head is about 2 feet below the surface. We drove slowly around the bay, seeing various fish, sharks, and sea turtles. We passed over a 15-year-old wreck of a fishing boat, lying on its side in 30 feet of water, and a popular spot for fish to congregate. We also saw a lot of volcanic rock underwater, with bits of coral and other sea life clinging to it.

When I got back to the ship, the Infirmary was closed for non-emergency visits, so I had to wait until after 4pm. By that time, the blurry spot had completely disappeared, but I did go see the doctor once they were open again. Although he didn't see anything obviously wrong, he said he'd get me an opthamologist appointment in one of our upcoming ports.

Next: Dominica