There are snorkeling and SCUBA-diving tours at most Caribbean ports of
call, and plenty of marine life to view.
In St Thomas yesterday, we went one better, and explored beneath the
waves in a submarine.
Reef sharks, stingrays and countless colourful fish swam bay as we
travelled 90 metres down to the sea bed off Buck Island, a 20-minute
boat ride from the island’s capital, Charlotte Amalie.
It was like visiting an aquarium, only 10 times better, because we
were travelling through a living coral reef, never knowing what would
appear next in the porthole viewing windows.
Atlantis submarines operate in 12 locations throughout the Caribbean,
Hawaii and Guam, and this tour was a welcome escape from the endless
shops on shore.
There was a small retail complex at Crown Harbour, where Eurodam was
berthed; hundreds more shops in downtown Charlotte Amalie, and
countless more at the Havensight Mall, where two more cruise ships,
the Carnival Triumph and the Disney Magic, were tied up.
I don’t know what the profit margin is on diamond jewellery and
precious stones on display in almost every shop window, but it must be
enormous. Even with the thousands of cruise passengers who arrive
every day, not to mention the hotel guests from around the island, the
competition for business is intense, and some stores must survive on a
handful of sales each week.
Corny joke corner, courtesy of the swashbuckling pirates operating a
shuttle boat service from the Eurodam into town. “How much does it
cost to get your ears pierced in the pirate capital? A buck an ear.”
Ho ho ho.