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Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Dave » 27 Dec 2018 19:49

Today we're at Tortola (BVI). Before I report on the fabulous trip we did earlier, here's something for Braemar fans (like us!)...
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Braemar was our first ship - and our second, fourth and fifth too - so we've a soft spot for her and it was great to look down on her and reminisce. :-)

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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Dave » 27 Dec 2018 20:08

We had yet another brilliant time today. We're at Tortola in the British Virgin Islands but our excursion was to another BV island called Virgin Gorda. It involved a 40 minute fast catamaran ferry followed by an open sided truck-bus ride. Then we walked for about 20 minutes down a twisting, rocky track...

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...to a truly amazing beach where we stayed for about an hour. The snorkelling was excellent and I took lots of photos!

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Then we followed a spectacular trail between and under massive boulders, often wading and navigating rocky obstacles. It was fun and very picturesque:

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We emerged at a second beach where we had 40 minutes more time to sunbathe, swim and snorkel.

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A trip to Virgin Gorda is highly recommended! :-)

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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby rdw123 » 28 Dec 2018 08:35

Lovely photos Dave. I went on Braemar last Jan and we were one of the first cruise ships to go back to Tortola after the hurricane so trips were very limited. I did go to a lovely beach though that had just reopened. The devastation on the journey there though was all too apparent. Don’t think there was a building left without some sort of damage. A beautiful island. One to revisit in the future perhaps. Happy sailing. Bring some sun back!
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Dave » 28 Dec 2018 13:01

...only occasional sun in Antigua today I'm afraid.

Our tour - a day on Crusoe Island - has been cancelled due to possible high winds and rain. We were really looking forward to that one. :-(

However, we've booked a 4x4 tour with a beach stop for this afternoon instead. :-)

In port with us in St John's is Oceania Riviera...

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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Camela » 28 Dec 2018 19:46

I think Tortola and Virgin Gorda are very evocative names. Ports we haven't visited.
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Dave » 28 Dec 2018 21:36

We've had another excellent tour today - a '4x4 Safari Adventure' - which was perfect for a day with such changeable weather. :-)

We went off-road along some very tough tracks to see the heart of Antigua - agricultural land with unusual and exotic fruit, rainforest, small villages, and a fabulous beach!

A narrow track seen from over the Land Rover's roof:

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A view of Antigua's Valley:

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Me posing while the guides prepare rum punch:

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And the beach! :-)

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We've just picked up a Marella cruise brochure and are browsing for next year's winter Caribbean cruise... :-)

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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Dave » 29 Dec 2018 01:45

I began this topic saying that this will probably be the last cruise we'll do - at least for the foreseeable future.

However... we're enjoying it so much that we've just booked a cruise for next December. :-)

It's on Marella Explorer 2 and the itinerary includes two Caribbean islands that we haven't visited before - Aruba and Bonaire.

Now that my wife can take holidays during school term time, we've booked the cruise for just before Christmas. And because prices are less during term time, we've booked an Executive Suite for not much more than the price of this year's balcony cabin! :-)

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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby rdw123 » 29 Dec 2018 08:30

You weakened then Dave! Good on you, do it whilst you can.
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Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Gillzajoker » 29 Dec 2018 12:11

Well done, Dave - guessed you wouldn't be able to resist at least one more time! Not
been to Bonaire, but Aruba is lovely - quite small, so you can see most of it in a day
and still have beach/snorkelling time! :D
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Re: Dave's digital postcards from Paradise Islands on Marella Explorer

Postby Dave » 29 Dec 2018 19:42

We're in St Kitts today, and the weather has been alternating between heavy rain and sunny spells. The view at breakfast time - we're docked at the commercial port and Something of the Seas and Celebration (behind) are in the cruise port...

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Undeterred by the weather, we decided to go to our special beach at Cockleshell Bay - for the fourth time. :-)

The first problem was finding a taxi driver who would take us because so few people wanted to go to the beach. We eventually acquired the services of Sam the Man, paying double to be his sole customers. The beach was almost deserted...

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We hired a pair of sunbeds for a very reasonable $10 and had free shelter during the regular torrential downpours!

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The sun did come out occasionally though and we made the most of it - swimming, sunbathing, and even a spot of snorkelling. Here's Fred in the sea...

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And here's the beach during a 30 minute period of blue sky...

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Sadly, the weather quickly got quite bad again and the sunbeds were put away and places closed for the day, so we had no choice but to head back. Three taxis declined to stop and we were just beginning to wonder how we'd get back when we saw Sam drive up. He'd come to collect some other people but was happy to take us too. :-)

Another fab day!

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Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Remaining land-based holidays 2019: July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands, October - Brecon Beacons
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