Life, LIBERTY, and the Pursuit of a Sweet Vacation – St. Kitts.

I had goals for St. Kitts today. Monkeys, Nevis, and drinks with Franny, who was celebrating her birthday.

I got up pretty much same time as usual. After showering I headed upstairs to have breakfast. There was a “usual table” that some of us would gather at for breakfast or coffee. Some were already there and I figured I’d join them. I was asked if I had heard about what happened on the whale watch in St. Lucia… “Uhh, no. What happened?” I was in for a story. Apparently a person on the Facebook group page had decided to show the crew of the tour boat a “good time.” She supposedly wasn’t that shy about it either. People on the tour got more than they bargained for. It seemed odd, because I had seen her with another guy on the ship, but didn’t think much of it… Good grief. She must have been feeling the need that day, with guys she hadn’t really met and in front of others. I get that you make it your vacation, but there’s no need to share like that with others. I made a post on the Facebook page making a wise-crack about what had happened and got some laughs. She obviously didn’t respond.

After that interesting story, I went to get ready for the time I had ahead in port. I wanted to be off the ship early so I could get started on my list. Passing through the lido deck, I had found that the housekeeping staff had placed a towel animal on a large amount of the lido chairs. Cool. Wind kept blowing some over, but it was still a cool thing to see.

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I had a quick burrito at Blue Iguana. I glanced really quick at the Marine Traffic app on my phone and noticed that Carnival Triumph was also approaching from the East. I remembered we were supposed to share ports with the ship today and in St. Maarten. Looking out the side window by my table, I was able to see the ship as well. The iconic funnel looked like a red capitol T on the horizon.

Breakfast over! Time to grab my crap and jet down to deck 0. I wanted to be off the ship before Triumph made port and Liberty closed the gangway (temporarily).

I was the only person there at deck 0 waiting for it to open. A British girl who worked in entertainment, named Katherine. She initially stopped me and stated that the gangway wasn’t ready at the time. I don’t know how, but we got to talking about contracts and traveling. It really turned into a great conversation. Occasionally, others would come downstairs to try and access the gangway as well, only to be denied by her. We’d pick our conversation right back up where we left off after the people would head back up the stairs. I really enjoyed the conversation with her and she had great personality. I could see why she was in the entertainment department.

Once we were given approval, I shot down the gangway, ready to begin my day. I was probably the first passenger off the ship in port that day. I walked past the gate guard, past the tour vendors who weren’t ready and past the welcome desk. I wanted to pin-point where the grilled lobster was for Franny’s birthday. It would be too early, but I could show here where the guy was in 2013. The lobster was caught fresh and grilled right off to the side courtyard. I was honestly thinking about it, but it all depended on how much time I’d have in port after my excursion.

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The next thing I wanted to do was have my picture taken with some of the monkeys. I knew they’d want cash, so I reached into my pocket to get my wallet… uhhh… I reached into my backpack to get my wallet… uhhhhh S***!!!!.. I had left my damn wallet on the ship in the cabin! All that urgency to get off the ship and this is what happens. This is why you should never rush.

Feeling like a jackass, I obviously still had my ship card so I headed back past security. I was stopped at the pier gate though as now the Carnival Triumph was pulling along side. I had to wait as the ship pulled along side and secured it’s lines with the pier. Two others apparently needed to get back on the ship as well. A Puerto Rican passenger (whose name I forgot) saw my camera and we had a conversation about Nikon for a few minutes. There was also a girl who had to go back to get something out of her cabin as well. Eventually when we were given the ok, I darted back to the ship. The gangway security staff gave me a questionable look initially and I told them I forgot my wallet. “Ah, happens fairly often” one of them stated. Well, now I don’t feel THAT dumb I guess. I ran back through deck 0, past Katherine, acknowledging her, and then grabbed my stupid wallet before making my way back off the ship.

I had my photo taken with the monkeys and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. They were really tame. No humping my ears, or stealing stuff from my pockets, they just chilled. There were three guys with monkeys asking people if they wanted photos. The guy I had take my picture initially wanted $20, but settled for $15 when I said I didn’t have any extra cash (I did, but was saving it for the excursion).

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After the monkeying around, it was time for me to meet for the excursion. I arrived in the pier terminal were pretty much all the excursions meet. I had chosen the Catamaran Snorkel and Nevis Beach Break excursion for the simple fact it was going to Nevis. I had seen St. Kitts and wanted to see Nevis now. With me in line were not only guests from Carnival Liberty, but also Carnival Triumph. I didn’t know it then, but there were also ship staff as well.

After everyone had been accounted for, we took a short walk over to the harbor where the catamaran was waiting. Blue Water Safaris was the tour operator of this particular excursion. Their catamaran was also one of the nicer ones I had been on. Large in size, comfortable, and with a large netted area towards the front were many of us could enjoy the trip over to Nevis. Before setting off, we were given an introduction to all the crew and a safety briefing. No groans from anyone as well all still appreciate keeping safety first. Afterwards we set off.

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Sailing from St. Kitts to Nevis

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Liberty and Triumph

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VIDEO – Enjoying the catamaran to Nevis

In all my catamaran sailings have I ever been on one that used only the sail. It was in St. Croix, to Buck Island and back. This one was like the others though in that it used the sail and engines. It turned out for the better I suppose though as it’s further to Nevis than you think.

Before stopping at Nevis though, we’d stop to snorkel off the southern-most part of St. Kitts. There was a small cut with a shipwreck along the shoreline. There was occasional rain, but very little wind, so the water wasn’t too bad. The crew of the catamaran explained the snorkel gear, how long we’d have, and where we could/couldn’t go. They also said that after snorkeling, they would serve some food and drinks. Sweet!

The water there was warm enough to encourage me to get in, instead of my usual “count to three and throw myself in” approach. I don’t know if a whale or someone had pee’d in the water, but it was the warmest after St. John. Once in, with my mask on, it was actually fairly clear as well. There were lots of large rocks and boulders along the bottom giving fish and sea urchins plenty of shelter. Things started off somewhat disappointing. I fair amount of the same Sergeant Majors that I had seen at St. John, and tons of that I had at Barbados. There were some fish also feeding on things that were on the rocks. Don’t know what, but the rocks didn’t look that appetizing. Things did get more interesting though once I swam to the other side of the boat. One man pointed out an octopus. What!! awesome!! It took me a minute before I saw it, but there it was, camouflaged well to match the rock on which it was perched. They truly are smaller than you think too. Not too much longer after I saw the octopus, did I hear someone mention they saw a spotted eel. Awesome! Another first! I liked seeing fish, but this snorkel excursion was already worth the money I paid.. and I hadn’t even been to Nevis yet.

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After the excitement of seeing (new to me) marine life, I headed back on the catamaran ready for some food and drink. They had just finished setting out the food when I got myself settled. Off the bat, I asked for a Carib Lager. This one on the catamaran was different from most I had, as the bottle was brown instead of clear… Interesting. It didn’t really seem to taste different. Next I ordered a Ting. Ting is a grapefruit soda from St. Kitts. I don’t usually like grapefruit (nor can I eat it now) or soda, but it was actually pretty good! If you have the chance, try some!

Food was next. There were hot dogs, seasoned/marinated chicken, rice and beans, coleslaw, and some fruit. I missed out on the hot dogs, and skipped the rice and beans per my diet. The chicken was awesome. It looked like something I’d regret eating, but was in no way hot or terribly spicy. Just very good. The coleslaw… I don’t know what it is about coleslaw in the Caribbean, but it is always delicious. The fruit, good as well.

After everyone had their fill of food, we pulled our ropes and set off for Nevis. It was at this point, just across a channel. On the way, the crew explained where we would be allowed and what was nearby. They also said that once everyone was on shore, they’d pull away from the shore a little ways and drop anchor a short distance away.

Nevis loomed before me. The peak of it’s mountain shrouded in clouds. Occasional rain. No big deal. I set my beach towel down on the shore and my less essential gear on it. Before boarding the catamaran, they had collected our shoes. I didn’t know they were available before we stepped off, thus my time on Nevis was spent barefoot. I wandered mostly. There was a very friendly dog on the beach who asked for a belly rub when I approached her (I obliged, of course, missing my dog back home). I walked the shore, taking photos. Near where we had been let off the boat, there were a few bars. One being Sunshine, another being Turtle Time. Turtle Time seemed to have a better view of mountains and shore, so I chose it as my afternoon haunt. With the rain coming and going, I wasn’t going to enjoy the beach that much. I figured this was as good a spot as I was going to find. Plus they had a good beer selection. The best part, they were playing my favorite bond movie on their T.V., You Only Live Twice. Seated at the bar were mostly locals. One of which was one of the crew from the boat. He had some water while I enjoyed some beer and we talked about life on the islands, commuting via boats, and how money was to be made. Occasionally some of the other locals would join in the conversation. Our discussion pierced by the sound of a shreek. A monkey had taken a plastic cup from one of the women from the catamaran and were acting aggressive, before retreating to the palms.

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After the monkey outburst, it was time to board the catamaran for the ride back to port in St. Kitts. They had already pulled up to shore and people were already starting to head aboard.

The way back to St. Kitts was basically a total party. Great music and an open bar. It was such a good time as a matter of fact that the coast guard pulled along side and paced us. People were getting frisky on the netting at the front. Others were trying to stand now that we were moving over rougher water than when we departed. We were all really having a good time though despite the occasional awkwardness.

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We arrived back in the harbor by the ships and our excursion done, I looked for Franny and her group to party with. It was her birthday and I promised I’d be around for some drinks. I don’t know how I was going to be up to more drinking after having such a good time on the catamaran, but I was set on it. The trouble was, we wound up getting back a little later than planned. The group had already headed back about Carnival Liberty. With only an hour and a half left in port, I decided I would too. More rain was supposedly on the way as well.

Back on the ship, I caught up with the gang after dropping stuff off in my cabin. Buckets of beer and buckets of beer. We had a good time talking crap and just hanging out. Before I new it horns were sounding… We had started to sail-away from St. Kitts. Since there was another Carnival ship next to us, we had a but of a horn sound-off with it while pulling away.

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VIDEO – Exchanging horns in St. Kitts

All the gang besides myself had decided to head in for dinner. With 8:15 dining, I ate later than most I was on the cruise with. They way I felt, I wanted to hang out a little bit more. I stopped by my cabin and found my roommates talking about dinner. They weren’t really feeling up to the main dining room that night, and I sort-of felt the same. Instead we decided to hit the buffet and talk crap about stuff. We joked about all kinds  of stuff.

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There wasn’t much to do tonight. The Piano Bar was closed with the pianist having the night off. There was no stage show. I walked around a little after the dinner with my roommates to nurse my buzz before going to bed too soon. Eventually, having been in the sun all day did wear on me. I had to go to bed… Tomorrow would be my second try to have a good time at Sunset Bar in St. Maarten. I was not sick this time. There was hint of doubt though as the forecast was for excessive wind and rain. People (including myself) were concerned we may not make port…

What would the morning bring?

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