I will, I promise Donna!
It's St. Thomas today! We pull in about 11am and a great day to get on deck and watch us pull in to port! Well, everyone but me! I woke around 10am and my alone, quiet time after I awake is very important to me so I watched the docking on the TV's webcam. It was pretty cool. I won't bore you with the details of breakfast and getting the gang together to actually disembark. Let's just say it happened and we made it outside the ship. No tendering this time, we stepped right out onto the pier. Looking around, what a beautiful island. We passed the gates and we were BOMBARDED with taxi drivers! "Where do you want to go!?" "Taxi here!!". It was pretty overwhelming since I have never been here before, I have no clue where I want or need to be, I just know, we need to get to a water ferry to catch a ride to Tortola because we bought an excursion to "Swim with the dolphins" (yes, I know some people are against these things. Please spare me!) Well, I told a few of the taxi drivers what I wanted and that we need to go to a water ferry service. They looked at me like I was crazy! Finally, one driver, his name is FITZ, gave me a smile and said "Get in! We'll take care of you Mon!" So, we got in.
Now, This is St. Thomas and it's in the midst of other Caribbean islands. I can actually see the Island that we had to be on. I thought hell, we could almost swim to it it looked so close. I am sure some of you know where I will be going with all of this soon.
Things to keep in mind: 1. We booked this through DolphinDiscovery.com, not the cruise. 2. I checked and rechecked everything, including transportation with the dolphin company. I specifically asked, "Is there transportation from the ships port area to Tortola?" I was answered by the representative, "Yes, you can get a water ferry there, it's about $40 per person 'round trip." She made it sound like they were going out by the hour, every hour. We had to be in Tortola by 2pm. The excursion lasts 1 hour and we are supposed to be back at the ship by 6pm. PLENTY OF TIME! I think you know where I am going with this now.
Fitz drives us to the water ferry company that seemed to be across the island. We finally get there and are told the last ferry left at 8:30AM! The next one would not leave for Tortola until 3:30pm! I checked and rechecked, I explained to the man that the dolphin company said that the ferry's were going out all day and maybe they had a "special" ferry that worked for the company. He sympathized with me but said no. FITZ saw my dilemma and quickly was on his phone. He said he knows where they go out on water "taxi's". He said it might be a bit more but there's a good chance we can catch one. Well, time is running out so we all boarded back into FITZ'S taxi. Back across the island now and we get to the water taxi service. The taxi's are there and they have an older woman working the desk. She says yea, we have taxi's but no available Captains right now. We're sunk. FITZ during this time is on his phone talking to someone. He says, there's another ferry service and they have a 1:30 leaving. Not enough time to make the 2pm and the service is across the island but we could make it. This might work if we could move our swim time back an hour! We all get back in the taxi (8 of us) and head for that part! I am on the phone with the dolphin company trying to move our time back and FITZ is on the phone for some reason. The company moves our time back, we have a ride there! Only 1 problem! A ride back by 4-5pm. That ferry isn't going to just wait there for us. Times getting tight, we're on the move and looking for a ride back from Tortola! FITZ happened to re call the water taxi service and was able to get a number for a water taxi Captain. I spoke on the phone with him and he WAS AVAILABLE! This is going to work I am thinking! We line everything up and now one last hurdle. HOW MUCH FOR 8 PEOPLE MR. WATER TAXI CAPTAIN? He said $120.00 per person. Wow! No can do! The whole excursion cost me for 2 $240.00 total. Now I'm looking at $90 for 2 for the ferry there on top of the $240.00 and then another $240.00 for 2 for the ride back and that's not mentioning the money for a land cab on Tortola to get to and from the dolphin company and then, who knows how reliable this water taxi Captain is? He could be late, not in the spot we need him to be and we are cutting it tight. I got him down to $100 per person but it was too much, too late. We decided to scrub the whole dolphin thing (happy crazy dolphin lovers? ) I'd rather be out $240 than miss the ship and be stranded on foreign soil. Also in the back of my mind, there's a Discovery Cove in Orlando that does the same and we have to spend a couple more days there after the cruise so it's not like we can't do it then.
Well, there really is no Plan B except the obvious. Find a beach and play in the water for the rest of the day. We're all getting pretty water-logged and was looking for something more. We have been riding around for 2 hours in a frantic and were pretty down. FITZ TO THE RESCUE! ANY cabby in the states would have already charged us a ton of money for the ride so far. FITZ turns to me and says, "No worries Mon! I give you the FITZ tour of the island! I charge you $25 per person! We'll all have fun Mon!" Let me just say, I have never kissed a Jamaican Taxi Driver smack dab on the lips but I was tempted from relief! We accepted FITZ'S generous offer and off we went.
to be continued,,,