St. Croix is the largest of the U.S. Virgin islands. It is a quaint, picturesque island with historical forts, churches, old Danish government buildings, and plantations. We decided to rent a car and explore the island’s tropical rainforest where the famous Mt Pellier drinking pigs are, stroll around Christiansted and visit the excellent Ft Christiansted, step foot at Point Udall (the most eastern part of the United States), chill at Cane Bay and stop by the Whim Plantation, before returning our rental back at Frederiksted.
16 Mar: Despite our best efforts, when the alarm sounded at 0630, we hit the snooze button for a bit more shut eye instead of attending the free “morning stretch” class. Today’s port of call was St Croix, the largest of the US Virgin Islands. We grabbed breakfast (omelet, yogurt, juice and hot chocolate) on the 10th floor (self serve), and took a few photos from the top deck before getting ready to head out for the day. Disembarkation was allowed from 0800 onward, and we were in our Budget rental by 0830 (they are conveniently located straight off the pier in Frederiksted), driving on the left hand side of the road up towards the rain forest in search of Mt Pellier’s drinking pigs. It started raining and we never saw the sign for the pigs, so we drove onward to Cane Bay where we saw bus loads of tourists assaulting the beach. Since we had plenty of time, we decided to head straight towards Christiansted where we found a place to park before walking the streets trying to orient ourselves. The Christiansted Fort was worth the $3 entrance fee, as we found it to be a well preserved fort with an interesting and easy to follow historical pamphlet. We later read that it is one of the best preserved of 5 Danish forts in the West Indies and can attest to its magnificent restoration. Christiansted is definitely the touristy town of St Croix, as Frederiksted was more sleepy in contrast. We saw dozens of interesting buildings and took quite a few photos in this scenic part of the island before tearing ourselves away for a drive to Point Udall, the easternmost geographic point in US territory.
After taking a few commemorative photos of us at Udall Point, we headed back towards the rainforest, and this time were successful in our quest to find the Domino Club’s drinking pigs of Mount Pellier. We each donated 2 beers to our pig of choice, and boy were they ready to quench their thirst. One of the pigs would spray us in beer foam by crushing the can between its powerful teeth and the other would meekly suckle all the beer down without making any mess. Talk about ying and yang! We thought the whole thing was hilarious and thanked the owners for a neat experience. A short visit to Cane Bay was next on our itinerary, but the water was rather frigid, and it seemed that everyone was sitting around ordering drinks and eating pricey fare, so we hopped back in the car and drove onward to Frederiksted. On our way back, we saw the Whim Plantation, a restored sugar plantation and ruins of a distillery. However, the pricey entrance fee (US $10) put us off, so we opted to skip this site even though it did look interesting. Instead, we zoomed back to Ft Frederick after filling up on gas, and were back way before our agreed upon 1600 return time. So we wandered around the town and met some friendly locals who chatted us up. It was an enjoyable experience, and a very nice vibe, unlike our experience on other islands in the Caribbean. We liked St Croix and felt that the locals had done a nice job touching up Frederiksted. However, Fort Frederick was in mediocre shape, and could definitely use some TLC to bring it to the sparkling condition of its sister fort at Christiansted. At around 1520, we ran into the Budget folks, and returned the car keys. While trying to head back towards the Millennium, we notice a line of folks queuing up for some free rum and punch. The lady pouring it appeared to have consumed too much rum, as she was making each drink about 90% rum and 10% punch! It was a strong kick and a nice goodbye send off from St Croix. We noticed a large turtle swimming off the side of the jetty on our way back, but it was a bit camera shy. Reboarding the Millennium was a breeze, and we attended our not so mandatory muster drill (having missed it the day before). Our muster section was at the “Rendezvouz Bar” in case we heard the 6 long 1 short beeps. Wanting to cool off, we changed to our bathing suits and headed straight to the Thalassotherapy pool, a salt water therapeutic station. After walking two laps around the jogging track, we took quick showers before heading directly to dinner, where our evening meal partners, Bartley, Lynn, Jim and Eerie (all from the UK…Scotland and Northern Ireland) were awaiting us. Becky enjoyed cod fritters, duck wanton soup, and black angus steak, while Robby opted for the antipasta, Caesar salad and salmon combo. An evening show by Antonio Salci in the Celebrity theatre was packed well before the advertised time of 2100, and we were hard pressed to find seats. Becky especially enjoyed the “Man of La Manca” songs.