February 04, 2001
At 0800 Atlantic Standard Time, the Training Ship Empire State was located at 18 degrees 15 minutes N Latitude and 64 degrees and 50 minutes W Longitude, at anchor in the harbor at Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. The air temperature was 80 degrees and water temperature 78 degrees Fahrenheit; skies were cloudy; winds were from the East at 02 knots; barometric pressure was 1015 millibars and relative humidity was 68 percent.
The determination to outwit one's situation means that one has no models, only object lessons.
The US Virgin Islands are exceptionally beautiful and in my estimation, St Thomas is as charming as any. Most areas are lushly landscaped, bursting with bougainvillea and swaying palms, so nicely reflected in crystal blue-green waters. The sugary white beaches lay beneath the shade of old sea grape trees and coconut palms, and many are within the protective boundaries of the Virgin Islands National Park.
The colorful buildings, set in the hillsides surrounding the harbor, are quite similar to those in Curacao and continue to reflect the picturesque Dutch influence but the shopping, entertainment, and attractions are decidedly more upscale. The cash strapped cadets will find themselves quickly priced out of the market in many of the shops. But there are many other pursuits to keep them happy. We put 400 hundred of them ashore yesterday and I have yet to hear the first complaint.
Charlotte Amalie is a very active destination for the world's largest cruise-ships and rarely a day passes that one or more aren't fast to the dock or anchored just outside the harbor. We continue to sit in the shadow of their luxury but cruise ships are well down the splendor chain here. The real affluence is contained within the stunning, private mega-yachts. Sleek mono and multi-hulled sailing yachts sit among luxurious toys equipped with the latest gas turbine and diesel propulsion systems. The sheer numbers of them suggest that St Thomas is truly, home to the rich and famous, at least during the harsh northern winters. Maybe I am loosing touch, but these opulent yachts seem to grow bigger and bigger every year.
Thanks to our alumni connections in the ranks of local Harbor Pilots, we are anchored barely a football field from the port authority dock in downtown Charlotte Amalie...right in the heart of it all. The pier is just off Veterans Drive and adjacent to Fort Christian, which was built in 1671. Beretta, the shopping area, and the Frenchtown section, are beautifully visible from our main deck...Torturous indeed, for those with the dreaded duty.
This unplanned visit is special. The last time that an MMA training ship called on this Harbor was nearly thirty years ago, in 1972. We sailed aboard the T.S. Bay State and I was a second-class cadet. As I recall, we anchored just a short distance west of this exact spot, with our stern barely 100 yards off Hassel Island. Anyway, I remember diving off the stern to swim. Yes, it was against the rules, but it was tricky to see the after deck from the bridge. However, with all the vim and vigor of youth, we could not limit the adventure to a simple, refreshing dip. No, we had to swim to the island and climb an old stonewall. Of course, we were spotted immediately and Captain McNaughton was forced to "comment" upon our actions.
Today, five from the class of 1974 are Officers aboard Empire State. I wonder if Richard Bowen, Captain Craig Dalton, Captain Brad Lima, Commander Tim Stanton, and Commander Eric Eident from the class of 1975, remember that trip as I do?
Back then, the old West India Trading Company Wharf handled only a few freighters, and an occasional passenger liner on a Caribbean junket stopped by. My, how things have changed! Now the palace is overwhelmed with 1100 cruise ship landings per year! Seven or eight of them steam out at dawn only to be replaced at sunset, and the volume of freight traffic has increased proportionally as well. Do you suppose that the banking industry may have grown, too?
Well folks, my time is up. We are attempting to obtain repair parts for the AC Unit. I want follow that, and then hop the launch ashore for dinner. So, I'll catch you tomorrow.
QUESTIONS FOR MONDAY 05 FEBRUARY
Cooks were preparing salad for 105 people. The recipe card for green salad to feed 35 people calls for 9 heads of lettuce. How many heads of lettuce do the cooks need?
Cadets use the stars to navigate. Stars, gases, and dust in huge rotating aggregates are called what?
The zone or sphere in which we live on earth is called the ____________?
A period in earth's history when significant cooling of the atmosphere and ocean occurred is called ___________? When did the earth last enter such a period?