December 13: Saint Thomas, US Virgin Islands

We arrived at Havensight on Saint Thomas in the US Virgin Islands about 8:00 AM on Thursday, December 13, 2012.

Approaching St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands Shops in Havensight West Indian Company dock.

The first photo shows us approaching St. Thomas, one of the US Virgin Islands. We moored at the West Indian Company dock in Havensight. There is a shopping area adjacent to the dock for the convenience of cruise passengers.

Bibliana Willie, our taxi driver. This is obviously part of the US View of the ship from Skyline Drive

We joined a group going on a tour of the island. Our taxi driver was Bibliana Willie. As we drove through town it was obvious that this was a US territory with all the familiar US companies such as Wendy’s and CocaCola here. We stopped briefly at a viewpoint on Skyline Drive where we could look back and see the Norwegian Sun moored at the West Indian Company’s dock in Havensight.

View of downtown Charlotte Amalie from Skyline Drive Beacon Point viewpoint Bibliana Willie points out the sights from the balcony at Beacon Point.

From Skyline Drive we could look down on the downtown core of Charlotte Amalie, the capital city of the US Virgin Islands. Our next stop was at Beacon Point where we could walk through the gift shop and out onto a rear balcony where Bibliana Willie pointed out the sights.

The view across Magans Bay. The north shore of St. Thomas Texaco gas station

From the balcony at Beacon Point you could see across Magans Bay. Some of the other US Virgin Islands we visible to the North. Our next stop was down at the shore along the north coast of the island. We passed a Texaco gas station where regular gasoline was selling for $4.739 a US gallon. That seems high in comparison to continental USA where regular sells for about $3.89 a gallon. Mind you, that is about $1.22 per liter – just a bit higher than the price in Canada.

As we drove around the island we noticed a lot of trash lying around, abandoned vehicles, unkempt properties and broken pavement. It seemed to be much more dirty and run down than any other places we visited.

One-lane traffic ahead Trenching down the roadway Traffic jam coming down into Charlotte Amalie.

Traffic was slow. In one area there was one-lane traffic because they were trenching and laying a pipe down the center of one of the traffic lanes. Even where there was two-way traffic, there were occasional traffic jams. Note that the U.S. Virgin Islands are the only United States territory which drives on the left. This was inherited from what was then-current practice on the islands at the time of the 1917 transfer. However, as most cars being imported from the mainland United States are left-hand drive, the driver sits to the outside of the road, raising traffic safety issues.

A supermarket in Charlotte Amalie Nancy buying jewelery in Havensight A welcome glass of juice as we re-board the ship.

We passed a supermarket as we drove through Charlotte Amalie oen route to the ship. Nancy stopped at one of the jewelery stores in Havensight and purchased a Larimar bracelet and ear rings. Larimar is a rare blue variety of pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue. When we got back to the ship there was a glass of cool orange juice waiting for us at the end of the gangway.

Some of the fancy yachts moored at St Thomas. Dropping off our pilot as we depart.title= Melissa and Mary Ann decide what to have for dinner.

As we cast off and sailed away we passed some fancy private yachts moored in the harbor. Once we were clear of the harbor a boat came alongside to take off the harbor pilot. Then it was time for supper and Melissa and Mary Ann seem to be taking tonight’s menu very seriously.