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Sunday, 22 May 2011

Carribean conclusion!!

The worlds largest cruise liner,Allure Of The Seas.

The sunsets were staggering!!!!!!!!!

makes a change from the camo gear as I try to look posh!!!!

Giles and Harriet loved the beaches.

Very colurful!

Stunning views at St Kitts.

Lisa`s Diamond ring,what an escapade!!!

As we docked in St Maarten early morning ,the captain announced that the worlds biggest cruise liner was in berth,the Allure Of The Seas.She can carry 6000 passengers and has a crew of about 1500,she really was a delight to see and made our vessel look quite small in comparison.On this particular day there were 5 cruise liners that arrived simultaneously at St Maarten,no wonder the local shopkeepers and jewelers were rubbing their hands, as I guesstimated that would account to nearly 20,000 tourists visiting this tiny island.

Lisa was adament that she wanted a nice diamond ring to take home, and as this was the diamond capitol of the Carribean there was no better place to look.I was well prepared for this, so time was spent in a few jewelers looking for a bargain.The shopkeepers know every trick in the book, trying to ply you with free cocktails and spirits to loosen your wallet,of course I took full advantage,knowing that Lisa already knew the type and style of ring that she wanted!After a good couple of hours looking and bartering,a diamond ring was duly ordered and paid for,lisa was over the moon,I was broke!!Returning at 3.00pm to pick up the ring ,lisa noticed it had been set into the wrong mount..disaster....,the boat left promptly at 5.00pm, would they have it ready in time,they assured me it would be ready for 4.15.I sent the familly back to the boat and I stayed behind,3.45,4.00,4.30 and still no sign, panic set in, as it was a 15 min water taxi and 5 min walk to the ship,4.35 and it arrived,I didn`t even check it,grabbing the small box and making a mad dash for the quayside,now if youve ever tried running in a pair of flip flops after being plied with strong rum punch you can imagine the scene,I must have resembled some maniac tourist!!Anyway 4.55 and I`m back at the ship with lisa waiting at the bottom of the gangway,I was apparently the last one back but I made it.The ships don`t wait for anyone as a few unlucky passengers found to their cost,...phew what a day it had been ...get me a stiff drink please!!!!

We headed for St Kitts, were we took a ride on the local buses,they would only charge you a few dollars each and take you on a mini tour of the island, showing you some of the local landmarks and superb beaches!! The children wanted to take advantage of the local watersports on hand at the beaches, so they soon found a local centre and hired a jetski for half an hour.

Back on ship the facilities were second to none,it was like a floating 5 star hotel with live entertainment and numerous bars to choose from.There was so much to do,one could never get bored.Throughout the day, on seadays, there was talks on photography,cooking demos,dancing classes.painting classes,sports,quizz shows and a few celebrities were invited on board to give a couple of talks too, namelyFraser Hines (Joe Sugden)from Emmerdale and the retired chief detective from Scotland Yard who gave a talk about Jack the Ripper,and the worlds ten most evil serial killers,he`s uncovered new evidence to who Jack the Ripper actually was!!So to conclude, I`ve wandered off the subject of nature for once and spent a little time describing the places we visited and some of the sights of the Carribean Islands,all I can say is if ever you get the chance to go on a cruise, whether it be round the Med or up the River Nile, grab it with both hands, as its a fantastic experience and one you won`t forget!!Bye for now then,and I hope you enjoy my escapades!!!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

More of the Windward and Leeward islands and its fauna!!

Troupial Oriole,the national bird of Venezuela!!

Another of the many Lizards we encountered on the islands,this being one of the largest.

These Grackles were continually on the lookout for food,they patrolled the bar areas looking for any titbits!!!

Whilst sunbathing, some Turnstone appeared on the beach.

Magnificent Frigate birds patrolled the skies above.

This bird is called a Bananaquit,he was nest building.

Bananaquit were common too.

So it was onto a few more of the islands, mainly Tortola/Grenada/St Maarten and Aruba.Each island differed in character.Tortola/Grenada were very rainforesty and green,whereas St Maarten was the Diamond centre of the Caribbean and Aruba was very commercialised and geared up for the Americans so to speak.With only having limited time on each, it was difficult to see everything, so we relaxed by the beaches and strolled around the many shops.Lisa my wife had set her heart on a nice diamond ring, so one afternoon was spent haggling the local jewelers for a good deal.

There were a few opportunities to see some of the local wildlife,so the camera was never too far away.I`d managed to pack my 400 mm lens in the hand luggage so a few half decent images were obtained.It`s just a pity I couldn`t spend more time there, but after all it was a one off familly holiday,and I certainly wasn`t complaining to say the least.I do hope you enjoy looking at a few of my shots I obtained from the Carribean, as I certainly enjoyed the challenge of trying to capture the flavour of the islands.See you in my next blog..........

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Carribean Isles. St Kitts

Zenaida dove

Grey Kingbird

Green Vervette Monkey

The ship docked at St Kitts for the day,giving us ample time to stroll around the shopping area and take a taxi to one of the local beaches.There is a small colony of monkeys by this particular beach which had been introduced to keep the rodents down.They had been accustomed to being fed nuts by the local residents and bar owners and so would come right up to you looking for food.It seemed strange being there surrounded by these Green Vervette Monkeys!

A few pigeon type birds were foraging on the floor,these were in fact Zenaida Doves known locally as Turtle Doves, they seemed to be common on most of the islands we visited.I managed a quick shot of a Lizard scurrying across the footpath,not to sure on the correct name but it paused briefly in the warm sunshine before dis appearing into the undergrowth.You just didn`t know what was going to turn up next.Whilst sunbathing, I noticed a large raptor type bird directly in front of me,it started to hover over the water looking for fish, this turned out to be an Osprey, but I didn`t have my camera to hand as it drifted lazily overhead!!

One of the last interesting birds I spotted was a Grey Kingbird perched on some low bushes behind the beach.It resembled a large Shrike in appearance and let me get within distance to photograph it.I was to see more of these birds later on some of the other islands we visited as they are quite numerous throughout the Carribean Islands.