Catamaran Tour on St. Lucia


We docked in St. Lucia which is a gem of an island.  It is by far the most beautiful of the islands in the Caribbean.  We had originally planned not to do any shore excursions but decided to go on a catamaran with the Clarks, Dick and Mary.  Our boarding time for the catamaran was 1:00pm which gave us time to have a leisurely morning and get ready.

We met our host and our group at the gangway and our hosts for the day.  We had a short walk to the catamaran where it was being tied to the dock.  All aboard and we were off.  Right out of the bay was anchored a large 3-mast sailing boat.  As we sailed south to Marigot Bay there was a huge 5-mast sailing ship anchored off the coast.  I had never seen one so large.


5-Mast Huge Sailing Ship

The catamaran tour took us down the coast to Marigot Bay where the film Dr. Doolittle was shot.  We arrived at another inlet shore where other catamarans were anchored.  Most of our fellow tourists got in the water as did Mary Alice.  The crew was charming and attentive to their guests.  I think Mary Alice had a great time from the smiles I kept seeing.  We stayed at the swimming hole for 40 minutes and everyone got on board and we were once again headed back to the Regal Princess.


MA’s Swimming Buddy


Regal Princess Docked in St. Lucia




St. Lucia’s Twin Peaks


See you later.


Photography Tour in Barbados, where Camouflage is Illegal

12242017_Barbados_Camo_Illegal_750_0078_resizeWe were notified by the ship’s billboards that it was illegal to wear any kind of camouflage.  It seems that the military’s drug interdiction units wear cameo and they don’t want the public confused with non-military civilians, aka: tourists.

We were up and going at 6:30 with a quick breakfast and long walk to the port entrance. We met our tour guide and small bus and began a photography tour of Barbados.  Our drive took us across the island to the Atlantic coast.  After three stops for photos and one for rum punch we headed back to the ship just in time for lunch.  I’ll attach an array of photos for you to look at.  It is what today was all about.  First photo is a silhouette of another couple on the tour with us.12242017_Barbados_Silhouettes_on_The_Beach_Cropped_750_0036_resize


“A Patch of Green”


I am not a fan of seaweed, but I liked the colors here.


That’s one big rock.

Our guide:  Ron Carrington fixing “rum punch”



“Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in St. Kitts



That’s what our tour guide, Junie, would keep saying throughout our 4-hour tour of St. Kitts today. Before boarding the open-air bus with 10 other passengers this morning we did wonder what we were in store for! But the price was $25 ea. and to get to see the entire 68 mile island I thought it was a decent deal. We left the port area and immediately ran into a traffic jam. “Don’t worry, be happy” as Junie would say!

He drove us on a bus tour of downtown and the government buildings. We learned that Africans were brought to the island in the 1600’s to work the sugar cane fields.  The British controlled the island until recently when St. Kitts was given its independence.

Our tour also included a drive-by visit to an old sugar plantation where the sugar cane was boiled and sugar extracted. The sugar cane industry here is now a thing of the past. We then headed to the island’s rain forest.  Junie served rum punches but we stuck with our bottled water.  The noise and singing of the rest of the group got considerably louder on the bus after the rum punches!


A 102 year old Dallas Cowboy fan?

One stop we made was in front of an old house where we wished the oldest man on St. Kitts a happy birthday. He will be 102 tomorrow.  Our last stop was on the east end of the island at an overlook where you could see the Atlantic Ocean on the left and the Caribbean Sea on the right. 750_2215ac_resize

The bus ride to say the least was an experience, somewhat jolting, sometimes careening around mountain roads, and did I mention they drive on the left side of the road.  The island had two sides, the poorer neighbors were prevalent, the richer side much smaller but quite beautiful including the 600 room Marriott Hotel.  They have several medical schools here and one veterinarian university. I couldn’t help wishing they would work on their trash services  and help the people with decent housing, although we did see one neighborhood of small government homes, beautifully painted in island colors.

We were happy to get back to the ship, and had quick sandwiches for lunch.  Staying away from the buffet once in a while is sometimes a good idea.  So many choices:  Oriental, Mexican, roast beef, seafood, chicken, ribs, salads, and way too many desserts.  The problem with all that is that dinner is just another few hours away!!

All in all, a pretty interesting day.  I hope you had one too.  Wayne and Mary Alice


St. Thomas, U. S. Virgin Islands


Photo of yesterday’s sunset


This morning’s rainbow welcoming us into the St. Thomas harbor

As we entered St. Thomas a rainbow appeared over the harbor.  A good sign? Well it was good enough for the Lord! We went to breakfast and met two couples from Canada. One couple delivers sailboats from the manufacturer to the customer by sailing it to them, in one case from Eastern Canada to Australia! Nice work if you can get it!

We decided to go ashore to look for some new sandals for Mary Alice.  As we exited the gangway there were local dancers entertaining the passengers.  This one guy looked great on 8 ft. stilts and wearing a mask.

We went in and out various shops looking for the right sandal and finally going back to the first one and getting some she first liked. It was back on board for lunch and a nap.  Tonight we are going to a show called “Fiero.” She doesn’t remember but we’ve seen it before.  Here are some more photos from today.  See you later.


Kinda Tall!


Harbor Life!



Princess Cays Beach Resort

The first stop of our cruise was Princess Cays in the Bahamas.  It is owned and operated by Princess Cruises so your cruise card would get you lunch, drinks and whatever amenities you wanted.  We caught one of the first shuttle boats ashore. I wanted to see if I could find some beach photos.  Some of the better ones are pictured.  We returned back to the Regal Princess and had lunch with our friends from Colorado.  I ran into an old Vidor High graduate, Jean Barry, in the Piazza.  I agreed to photographer hee and Becky on Christmas eve, dress us night. FB_750_0002a_resizeFB_750_0006a_resizeFB_750_0008a_resize



Christmas in the Caribbean


Last year we went on a Christmas cruise and it was so much fun we decided to do it again. We made our way to Houston Intercontinental Airport and Terminal C gate 7.  I looked over and there sat my old partner, Waymon Allen with his wife Corrie.  Needless to say we had a warm reunion. As it turns out they were going on a cruise also, but on another ship.  We talked and talked before boarding the ship.  I also want to mention we also ran into Jean Barry and her friend Becky. They were also going on a cruise and on the same ship as us, the Regal Princess.  So all of us traveled to Ft Lauderdale and now we are on the ship waiting to sail-away to the Caribbean. 

We boarded our ship around 11am and got settled into our room on the 12th deck. We have a patio.  We have 12 days to relax and enjoy the cruise.  I’ll try and write if I don’t get too lazy.

What’s in my camera bag?  Nikon D750, Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5, Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 lens, Nikkor 50mm f/2.8E lens (very sharp very cheap), Tamron 100mm f/2.8 Macro.










The Canary Islands…We are still in Spain!

Our last two ports of call before crossing the Atlantic are in the Canary Islands; Tenerife and Arrecife.
Just two years after Columbus landed in the Americas, the Spanish Castilian, led by conquistador Alonso Fernandez de Lugo, landed on the shores of what is known as Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Today there are 207,000 residents making it Spain’s most populated island. It is known as the “Island of Eternal Spring,” because of its subtropical and semi-arid climate which is year round.
As the Royal Princess docked I opened the balcony door and was greeted with a warm gentle breeze. I noticed most of the city was at sea level but then it rose gradually because of the surrounding volcanic hills.
We had no tours but there was a Hop-On Hop-Off bus so that is what we elected to do. After breakfast we returned to the room and grabbed our stuff (camera, water, id, money) and headed to the gangway. What we will end up remembering about Tenerife is the 3 mile roundtrip walk to get out of the port and later back to the ship. We did find out (too late) that there was a shuttle bus but never saw it until we were all the way on foot.
We bought our tickets for the bus and settled down to see some of the modern and beautiful city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We decided to get off at Stop #11, the main market, Plaza de la Candelaria. The many shops were selling flowers, vegetables, souvenirs, fish, baked goods, wine, liquor, even parakeets. I’ll post the photos after I get home.
We got back on the next bus and rode it back to the port where we once again hiked the mile and half back to the ship. Both of us were worn out but Mary Alice was pleased that she got her 10,000 Fit-bit steps that day for sure. In fact she’s had three days of 10,000 steps during this first week of the cruise.
We had a late supper and called it a day. I set my alarm for 1:00am so I could watch the Dodgers-Astros game #3 on the ship’s satellite TV. I got up at 12:59 in time to watch the opening ceremony and the first three innings. The satellite reception went to zero and I had to log on the computer to find out the final score. Way to go Astros, win 2 more!
The next stop on Saturday was in Lanzarote on the island of Arrcife, also of the Canary Islands. We had a birding excursion booked with a private guide all arranged by Mary Alice. She even found another birding couple to join us.
Saturday: The ship docked in Lanzarote at 7:00 AM. The weather was sunshiny and warm. After breakfast we gathered our things and made our way down the gangplank. Our birding friends, Mitch and Pat were already off the ship waiting on us. Mitch is a long time birder from Ohio and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him without his binos around his neck. We had to walk to the port entrance to meet our guide but it was just a half mile this time.
Our guide was waiting and introduced himself as Adolpho. He was driving a late model Toyota Land Cruiser, four wheel drive! Our biggest fear was getting far away from the ship and breaking down being out of cell phone range. He assured us that we would get back to the ship by 3pm. Our next port isn’t for seven days (Ft Lauderdale) so we had to make it back on time. The ship does not wait for stragglers who book independent tours.
We piled into the Land Cruiser and Adolpho maneuvered the streets and headed in a northerly direction toward the “El Jable” Desert. The Island of Lanzarote was formed from multiple Volcanoes. There is no vegetation other that desert scrub brush. The landscape is dotted with small black pumice rocks which evidently came from the many volcanoes surrounding the desert.
As soon as the town faded into the distance, Adolpho turned the Land Cruiser off the main highway and onto volcanic dirt & sand roads. Some of it looked loose and I was glad we had a four wheel drive.
We began seeing birds almost immediately. Adolpho had his honey holes (favorite spots) and knew what birds would be in what fields. We had more fun locating the birds with the binoculars than in actually finding them. After going up and down and through the desert and finding numerous birds, some which are migrants from the European continent, Adolpho, took us to the small town of Soo, that’s right Soo, and he parked in from of the local community center.
He warned us about a local guy who is not “all together” and said “don’t mind him, he’s harmless.” The guy was a giant, 6-5 about 300lbs and he wanted to shake everyone’s hand and hug them. I’m not into hugging strangers and I ducked out of the way.
We had some refreshments at the local store/cafe, goat cheese, bread sticks, fried chicken croquettes, tomato wedges and a coke or coffee. Soon enough we were back on the road and continued looking for more birds. Adolpho took us all the way across the island to the northern shore and turned around and headed back. He had one more stop at a goat farm where we saw a very unusual bird called a Hoopoe.
We drove back across the desert and into town and to the ship. After paying Adolpho and taking the necessary photos we made our way up the gangplank and to our room. Both of were worn out from the bouncing and holding on to the four wheel drive SUV. But going forward we will not get off the ship until it docks in Ft Lauderdale, a week from tomorrow.
This is the last posting for this cruise because the next seven days are “sea days.” There’s not much to say other than it is a relaxing week of doing whatever you want to do….on the ship that is. Besides the internet is totally unreliable at sea.
Here is a bird list from the day’s outing:
1. Stone Curlew 2. Berthelots Pipit 3. Great Grey Shrike
4. Raven 5. Houbara Bustard 6. Kestrel 7. Cattle Egret
8. Cream Colored Courser 9. White Wagtail
10. Barbary Partridge 11. Northern Wheatear
12. Yellow Wagtail 13. Hoopoe 14. Common Lennate
All in all another great day for this trip!