The trip from Grand Turk to St. John in the U.S. Virgin
islands was unpleasant. Strong winds created large waves and the sea was alive
with white caps everywhere. The vessel rolled and pitched as the waves hit her
from every angle. Our speed was reduced but it was still necessary to hold on
when walking. We were able to eat dinner and make it back to our room holding
on to the rails along the wall. Sleep was difficult and the ocean continued to
be rough right up to the time we anchored off St John about 7:00 am today Wednesday,
December 24th Christmas Eve day.

 St Thomas, St John and St. Croix are neighboring islands
about 40 miles Southeast of Puerto Rico. They are the U.S. Virgin Islands.
During World War I Secretary of State William Lansing convinced President Woodrow
Wilson that the islands were needed as a military base. Congress approved $25
million for the purchase, which was paid in gold to Denmark in 1917. Two thirds
of St John is a National Park thanks to Laurence Rockefeller. He had visited
the island and decided to open his Caneel Bay Resort here so he funded a
considerable part of the island making up
the park. The water here is a deep blue color with beautiful beaches. It is a
popular place for diving and Trunk Bay even has underwater signs that create
water “trail” for snorkeling visitors. Only 2,700 people live here. A barge,
passenger and car ferry service connects the island to Saint Thomas which is
the most developed of  the U. S.
Virgin islands.

I attended Mass in the cocktail lounge
where the priest used the top of the piano as an altar.  We stood around the piano and
celebrated Mass in a unique way. 
The priest gives thoughtful homilies and makes the service meaningful.  Lita and I had breakfast and got on the
small tender to take us to Cruz Bay. 
I had on running shoes and the steps down into the small boat were
slippery. I feel with my feet going out from under me, but was fortunate to not
be injured.

We anchored a good distance from shore. Once we got to shore we walked ten minutes to a small
shopping area with a dozen little stores selling clothing, jewelry and the
usual tourist goods. It took no time at all to walk through it. On the way back
to the dock a tropical rain hit and we were very wet by the time we got on the
tender back to the ship. There were few people on board the ship as most had gone on
shore excursions. We read by the pool, had lunch (which was excellent) and,
demonstrating we were on vacation, took a nap. White caps top the seas around
the ship and there is a breeze, but it is warm. We depart tonight at 5:00 and I hope our
Christmas Eve is much calmer then last night’s trip. Lita reminds me that at
least we won’t have dozens of phone calls like we did two years ago when we
were staying in a rented villa in San Miguel Mexico.  The phone was on an Internet hook up at this villa and the phone number the U.S. National Weather group publicized for children to call to track Santa’s progress was only one
number different then the one at the house. As a result we counted over 65
phone calls from children who had dialed the number wrong and were calling to ask about Santa’s progress. I remember telling Lita to just tell the next kid who called that his
parents had lied to him and there was no Santa so stop calling here, but she
rejected my idea and put the phone on message status. The message capacity was
quickly used up. 

We have pulled anchor and are on our way to a new destination. Winds are predicted so I don't know what to expect. There is a Christmas show tonight at 10:00 and we would like to stay awake to watch it and I hope the seas will not be rough. Have a great Christmas Eve.

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