February 6, 2011

Winter Blues and the memory of a Caribbean Cruise

The deep chill we find ourselves in right now across the Northeast makes me remember with fondness the Eastern Caribbean cruise my wife and I took. It was well over a year ago but the images recorded in my sketchbook somehow make the cold a little easier to deal with.

A week aboard the Emerald Princess. We left from Ft. Lauderdale and visited the Bahamas, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.

Our first day we were treated to an island BBQ provided by the ship whose staff brought all the food and supplies needed for a great party. Sitting on the beach in the warm sun and occasionally taking a dip in the cold clear waters put us in the right frame of mind for a week of relaxation.
After a full day at sea, the following day we arrived at St. Maarten. Coincidentally that day was St. Maarten’s Day and there were plenty of island festivities to take in. Earlier in the day, the two governments of the island met at the border, each presenting a floral wreath to the other in a show of peaceful coexistence on this split island. My sketchbook pages are done one for the Dutch side and the other for the French side. Notice the two ways the island’s name is spelled.
Our arrival on St. Thomas occurred fairy early in the morning and I was able to sketch this scene from our room’s porthole.
We climbed to the elevation where this tower stands to take in the view of the harbor. It was very easy to see why old Blackbeard would have chosen this spot to keep a watchful eye on the sailing traffic. This is the enormous bronze statue in the courtyard with the tower just behind.
The ship provided lots of things to do as we traveled. The art auction was filled with what I expected in framed posters and giclees but a tiny Erte original painted for a Vanity Fair cover in the 30s caught my eye and was probably the most impressive piece on the ship (at least in my opinion).
People sat and ate and relaxed and I sketched.
Grand Turk was our last stop before beginning for home. There was really no view except of our ship in the distance. Despite the lack of scenery it was a very quiet day and very relaxing since we were the only boat that had docked.
Our last day was a full day at sea. A day to sit at the pool and soak up the last rays of sunshine. A 300 foot screen played movies all day. WALL-E was playing when I sketched this.