Costa Magica - December 2006 travel blog

coastline

Costa Magica docked

dock area

Havensight Mall

Ken with ship line up

yacht at the end of the rainbow

yacht


St. Thomas is as picturesque as we remembered. The blue tarps covering the roofs damaged by hurricanes have all been repaired. We have been here often and have always had a great time. This small, arid island is limited in the amount of full time residents it can support, so the daily visits of cruise ships are a blessing. There are no rivers and rain is unreliable. Locals have cisterns and try to catch the moisture that falls on their roofs. There is only one high rise hotel and future construction is limited. We cruisers leave our dollars, but nothing else. Even our garbage is left on board and carried on down the road.

Just a short walk from our ship we boarded a catamaran for a sail out into the harbor. It was fun to compare the snorkeling here to what we had done recently in Hawaii. Sadly we forgot to bring the housing to use our camera underwater, so you will have to rely solely on my descriptions. A crew member swam with us at first and conscientiously swam down to point at fish and coral and then came back up to tell us what it was. The water was much clearer than in Hawaii and so warm we could have stayed in all day. The area featured sea turtles which behaved somewhat differently than the one we saw in Hawaii. There they mostly cruised around, but these reminded me of cows. They doggedly stayed near the bottom except when they had to breathe and much away at the sea grass that grew in lush fields. A crew member fed the fish and we were suddenly in the middle of a feeding frenzy. As always the fish were not concerned by our presence and we felt like we belonged to the school. We saw relatively little coral and much of the bottom was clean, white sand. Once we left the water the crew plied us with rum punch and we were ready for a nap by the time we returned to the mother ship.

However, there was no time to waste. St. Thomas is the shopping mecca of this cruise and we roamed all the alleys of Havensight Mall, the shopping area right next to the cruise ship dock. We were berthed next to two other larger ships and the passengers had been whipped into a frenzy by the shopping advisors on board. Most of the stores at Havensight duplicate the ones downtown that are a cab ride away. I was amazed to find that I already owned everything that I saw that caught my fancy. A retired girl who wears jeans and a T-shirt most of the time has no need for the diamonds and fancy jewelry that are a specialty here. Ken's electronic needs were also left unfulfilled. He wanted a solid state video camera; the salesmen had never heard of such a thing. It has only taken 25 years of visits, but we left St. Thomas without buying a thing! Maybe next time...

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