Magnificent 

Frigatebirds

<---Male (NMP)

​Female (NMP)-->

|
V

​Immature

Ground Doves

And now for the BIRDS!!

Spotted Sandpipers

​(winter plumage)

<---White-winged Dove


​Eurasian Collard Dove--->

Immature Yellow-crowned Night Heron

And, Finally, the famous Brown Booby

Fortaleza Street was no exception, and this "Restaurant Row" includes some of the best restaurants in town. We chose the rooftop deck of the Punto de Vista and had a delicious meal. Then we walked some more and even found a concert in progress.​

Excellent breakfast and beautiful rainbows. Took the tender to St. John with six birders and the tour organizer and friend.  Our birders are Allison Nist and her husband, Michael Lund, and Drs. Jerry and Bette Jackson. Visited the National Park Visitors Center for an orientation, then walked up and down to a small pond. Saw Pearly-eyed Thrashers, Zenaida Doves, White-cheeked Pintails, and an iguana-like lizard. Hired a taxi for an exciting ride to Cinnamon Beach. There we saw an American Kestral and a little lizard. Back to the ship for a good lunch, shower and nap, then another delicious dinner.

We walked around this very walkable old town for a couple of hours before dinner. Everything is decorated for Christmas and the streets were filled with families.

White-cheeked

​Pintails

We sailed overnight to White Bay in Jost Van Dyke, BVI. Twenty-nine years ago we visited Foxy's on this island as we sailed for a week to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Today we had a snorkeling adventure in the morning, visiting two different National Parks, Indian and Norman Island, aka Treasure Point Caves, where pirates long ago hid their treasure.

Brown Pelican

<--Bananaquit


​Puerto Rican Flycatcher-->

Zenaida Doves


Common

​Gallinule

Tuesday night we sailed to Sandy Ground, Anguilla, BWI. We tendered to shore and walked to a disused salt pond. Saw some wading birds, but I didn't make it very far. I returned to the boat and got lots and lots of pictures of Brown Boobies. Allison (a doctor) and Michael ( a dentist) decided they would move here and set up a practice for the 274 residents.

The Gustav III Airport is described and the "most dangerous" in the world and we spent some time watching planes (and ducking). The short airstrip is at the base of a gentle slope ending directly on the beach. The arrival descent is extremely steep over the hilltop traffic circle; departing planes fly right over the heads of sunbathers (although small signs advise sunbathers not to lie directly at the end of the runway). 

Greater

​Yellowlegs

Had a delightful and healthy breakfast at a little cafe across the street from the hotel, then set off to explore.
We walked along the walls with lots of other strollers to the Raices Fountain, completed in May 1992, and designed  to commemorate and celebrate the New Worlds 500th anniversary. This collection of bronze statues honoring Puerto Ricos mixed African, Spanish and Taino/Amerindian heritage, is represented as a ship being steered out into the open sea with leaping dolphins leading the way to a bright 21st century future. The picturesque San Juan Bay serves as a backdrop to the statue, adding an interesting dimension to the ship at sea concept
.

White-tailed Tropicbirds

(Center NMP)

American Kestral

In the afternoon, we had a final celebration, a Caviar Splash on the beach. What a spread! The crew went all out to give us a wonderful lunch, with caviar and champagne served from a surfboard in the water. It was a great trip.

We had to be off the boat by ten Saturday morning, and the plane didn't take off til 6 pm. Terrible airport--not one drinking fountain in the whole place. Had a rough time getting our rental car, and we didn't get home til almost 1 am. Slept well.

We walked a bit more, visiting the Cathedral and the tomb of Ponce de Leon, the first Governor of Puerto Rico who died while allegedly searching for the Fountain of Youth in Florida. Then we boarded the Sea Dream about two and settled in. The stateroom is very nice, if a bit dated, with a big window and lots of storage. We had a nice buffet lunch and introductory talk by the activities director.  After the mandatory lifeboat drill, we enjoyed cocktails and dinner in the Dining  Salon:  truffle cheese appetizer and duck, then a good nights' sleep while we sail to Cruz Bay in St. John, US Virgin Isles.

The End

Little Green Heron

Black-necked Stilts

Gail South

Sailed after lunch to Gustavia, St. Barts. Gustavia is the main town of the island of St. Barthelemy (also known as Saint Barts). It was named after King Gustav III of Sweden. There was never any hope of lucrative sugar plantations in St. Barths. It was too dry, too steep, too rocky, and, finally, too small. Unsuitable for agriculture, the island was never coveted as a prize during the colonial wars of the 18th century. The place did, however, have a serviceable harbor, and this allowed the town to grew around it. Today, the town has adjusted itself to satisfy the increasing number of visiting tourists. Restaurants, boutiques, and gift shops now line the busy streets. The promenade parallel to Rue de la Republique feels more like a collection of oversized dollhouses than an actual city. On Thursday morning we met our guide, Elene, and her brand-new van for our best day of birding.

Black

​Kingbird

Overnight we sailed to South Friars Bay, St. Kitts. After breakfast, we took the tender to land where we saw a Black Kingbird, more Zenaida Doves and some Ground Doves. There were also some goats climbing the rocky hillside. We negotiated for a taxi to take us to the Rainforest, where, as fate would have it, some of our shipmates were enjoying Zip lining session. It was kind of a hard walk and I rested on the steps of a tower while the others walked on and saw a Puerto Rican Flycatcher. Back to the ship for lunch and some pool time. Evening cocktail party. 

La Rogativa is a famous bronze statue. It represents a large procession of people making a plea to God for help. In  April, 1797,British troops took control of the city by naval blockade. Women, led by the bishop, marched through the streets that night singing hymns, carrying torches and bells, and praying for their city's deliverance. The British mistook the sights and sounds as evidence of the arrival of reinforcements and abandoned the city promptly.

Friday, Dec 13  we picked up the rental car at Punta Gorda Airport after a much delayed delivery of a new sleeper sofa. Went to Cafe Toscano in Ft Myers for our last truffle dinner (we thought) of 2019.
                           
Saturday, Dec 14  Dropped off the car at Miami Airport about 10 for a noon flight to San Juan, PR. Good flight; no baggage problems; caught a cab to the Hotel Plaza de Armas in Old San Juan.

The cab ride was treacherous and un-air-conditioned, but we had a tour of the walls and the fortress. The hotel is very centrally located, clean and basic. We had a balcony which overlooked the Plaza.

Viejo San Juan has an incredible 500 years of history, beautiful colonial architecture liberally splashed with tropical colors and timeless magic that makes it one of the most enchanting destinations in the Caribbean.

Pearly-eyed

​Thrasher

Sanderlings