Monday, May 25, 2009

Capture the Moment Monday

Dave Berry, Director of the Photography Department at Computer School for Seniors will be sharing his insightful Photo Tips with you every Monday for Capture the Moment Mondays.

St. Thomas – US Virgin Islands--Welcome Aboard
Can you believe we are on our last stop of the cruise already? We won’t let that sad reality affect the beautiful day that is just waiting for us ashore here in St. Thomas!

The Virgin Islands have lured more foreign nations over the centuries than any other territory in history. Settlements date back to 1500BC and there is evidence that people lived here even 1000 years earlier than that. The capital, Charlotte Amalie, today is a haven for shoppers but once was a pirate sanctuary. During WWI the United States feared that the perfect port area of St. Thomas might become a dangerous base for German forces. So, the United States bought the Virgin Islands for $25 million in gold! St. Thomas eventually became a tourist mecca and more than 1.7 million cruise ship guests visited here in 2008 alone to enjoy the duty free shopping, pristine beaches and friendly locals.

St. Thomas is just 40 miles east of Puerto Rico. The island is slightly smaller than Tortola with only 32 square miles of beautiful tropical paradise, but it has almost three times the population! We have been here many times, it seems like every cruise ship stops at St. Thomas at one point or another on their itinerary. We have been in port when there are 6 or 7 ships docked in the harbor and it can get very crowded in the downtown shopping area, with taxis and tourists. Today, the Caribbean Princess is one of only two ships docked…so a lucky day for us!
There is a beautiful tall masted sailing ship docked right across the channel from us. Both ships arrived about the same time so their passengers are disembarking too. There are many tours available for all kinds of activities...such as snorkeling, scuba diving, the famous “booze cruise” or “party boat”(you better be able to handle your rum for that one), tours to Blackbeard’s Castle, tours to Magen’s Bay Beach – voted one of the best beaches in the world by National Geographic, tours to the Paradise Point Tramway that will take you over 700 feet above the Charlotte Amalie harbor for breathtaking views, various island tours or just grab an openair taxibus for the short trip to town for some duty free shopping…from fine linens to jewelry to cameras to bottles of whatever alcohol suits your fancy. There are many historic sights and photographic gems you can walk to right in the downtown area, even the alleys can be an interesting and great photograph! Just be sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses and most important of course…your camera!

You can get married or have your vows renewed right on the beach if that has been one of your romantic fantasies, as you can at so many of the islands here in the Caribbean, thru one of the beautiful hotels on the islands. The beautiful beaches seem endless with crystal clear water teeming with tropical fish and there are colorful flowers and lush greenery all over the island. St.Thomas is a wonderland - whether you are a beach bum or a shopaholic or a camera addict, there is something for every kind of vacationer here.
I hope you have enjoyed coming along on the cruise with Patti and I, and that you have learned a little about all of the Caribbean islands that we visited. These pictures that I have shared with you from the islands are just the tip of the iceberg as they say (oh…but that is another cruise!)
Be sure to bring your camera along whenever you travel. Through your pictures you can relive the excitement and beauty of your journeys for many years to come!

Dave Berry shares his Photography Tips at Computer School for Seniors (

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