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Another Caribbean Vacation

Every Cruise has landed us at St. Thomas.  We wanted to get off the beaten Path, so we took a boat to St. John's and spent a few hours here at Caneel Bay Copyright  Andy Richards  2015

Every Cruise has landed us at St. Thomas. We wanted to get off the beaten Path, so we took a boat to St. John’s and spent a few hours here at Caneel Bay
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

In February, we took our 4th mid-winter Caribbean Cruise. The funny thing is, when my wife persuaded me to do my first cruise, I was pretty insistent on it being somewhere we could spend a lot of land-based time. Not that I have any aversion to ships and the sea. I have spent most of my life on small sailboats and watercraft on the Great Lakes and Michigan inland lakes. I have been out in all kinds of weather. No, the ship and the sea was not (and has not been) the issue.

Other than Canada, I spent my first 50+ years in the continental U.S.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone here that I like to make photographs. Other than a few shots on and around the cruise ship, there is just not much to photograph when you are cruising at open sea. And after a while, shooting the harbors as we approach and depart, acquires a kind of “sameness.” Cruising has given us a pretty neat way to see new places. And I wanted to make sure we had the chance to photograph some of those places.

This was our third time in San Juan.  I worked to try to find something new and interesting.  Not sure I was successful Copyright  Andy Richards  2015

This was our third time in San Juan. I worked to try to find something new and interesting. Not sure I was successful
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Other than Canada, I spent my first 50+ years without ever leaving the continental U.S. I have had the good fortune to do a fair amount of traveling, including parts of both coasts and some of the middle of our great country. But there is much I still have the urge to see. So – I have had a “bucket list” of travel destinations. I got to pick the first cruise and I chose Alaska. Lots of shore excursions. Busy days. Lots to see and shoot.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone here that I like to make photographs

So, when my wife chose the next cruise, her brother had been telling us how much we would love the Caribbean. I was skeptical. Neither of us are really “sun-worshipers.” So, like our prior experience, we went ashore and explored in every port. Because of some personal family circumstances, the first Caribbean Cruise was not well planned and we didn’t do “organized” excursions. We made up for that the second year. I did end up thoroughly enjoying the Caribbean. It is hard not to like sunny skies, warm temperatures, good food and drink, and that laid back atmosphere. But by the third year, we were back to unplanned.

In all of our cruises, this was the first time I saw a refueling operaton.  It was an hour-long production Copyright  Andy Richards  2015

In all of our cruises, this was the first time I saw a refueling operaton. It was an hour-long production
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

You see, although there are nuanced differences, for the most part, once you get past the cruise shops, each of the islands is pretty much more of the same. We still get off and explore. And we still take the occasional excursion. But we tend to be much more unplanned, sitting on the beach, or a restaurant or bar, or just on the ship.  This has become an annual thing for us.  Its February and its warm.  🙂

All of this creates some photographic challenges for me. The Caribbean cruises are more about family and friends and less about photography these day. I carry less equipment and tend to shoot more casually – mostly hand held and mostly on the move. Finding subjects and “working” them is more difficult. I have grown to really respect good travel shooters. They work hard and often long hours to get shots that they make look “easy.” They are not easy.

Caneel Bay, St. John's; USVI Copyright  Andy Richards  2015

Caneel Bay, St. John’s; USVI
Copyright Andy Richards 2015

Lately, I have hit a bit of a wall for this blog. You may have noticed that I have been MIA a couple of different weeks over the winter. Hopefully, that will ramp up again, as I find (and photograph) subjects of interest to me. The photos here are kind of “random.” I have a number of others, but they have my friends and travel companions in them and out of respect for their privacy, they won’t appear here. I do have some pretty aggressive travel scheduled later this year. Maybe some fodder from that. Until then, I’ll just keep plodding along as and when the spirit moves me.

Thanks for reading

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