Page 1

RoadTrip The Adventures of Alex Wilson - Winter 2011

Cruising in the


Contents Holland America’s

MS Westerdam PAGE 7

Grand Turk Island Turks and Caicos PAGE 11

Old San Juan Puerto Rico PAGE 23

Fort San Felipe Del Morro San Juan, Puerto Rico PAGE 45

One Island, Two Nations

French Saint-Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten PAGE 69

Half Moon Cay The Bahamas PAGE 87

Cruising in the


The following photography was made on Holland America Line’s Eastern Caribbean Cruise that visited ports in Grand Turk, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and Half Moon Cay. All photography Š Alex Wilson.

The Caribbean is comprised of

more than

7,000 islands

but roughly only 2% are inhabited


20 million Tourists cruise the Caribbean each year

USS Westerdam MS Westerdam is a cruise ship owned by Holland America Lines. She is the third ship owned by the line to bear the moniker Westerdam. It is sister to the MS Oosterdam, MS Zuiderdam, and the MS Noordam. The names of the four ships translate to the four directions of the compass in Dutch. The ship was christened on April 25, 2004 in Venice, Italy by Dutch actress RenĂŠe Soutendijk.

Caribbean Ports

Grand Turk Turks and Caicos

Grand Turk At only 7 sq miles, Grand Turk is the largest island in the Turks Islands, the smaller of the two archipelagos that make up Turks and Caicos. It contains the territory’s capital, Cockburn Town and the JAGS McCartney International Airport.

Turks and Caicos The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s-cap cactus (Melocactus communis), and the Lucayan term “caya hico,” meaning string of islands.

Some believe Grand Turk Island to be the location where Christopher Columbus first landed in his quest to discover the new world in 1492. San Salvador Island or Samana Cay in the Bahamas is traditionally considered the site of Columbus’ first landfall, but some believe that studies of Columbus’ journals show that his descriptions of Guanahani much more closely fit Grand Turk than they do other candidates.

Caribbean Ports

Old San Juan

Puerto Rico

San Juan City Walls The construction of the city walls started in 1630 and were completed around 1678. The walls surrounding Old San Juan have protected the city for over 320 years.

LaSanPerla Juan, Puerto Rico La Perla is a slum astride the northern historic city wall of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico established in the late 19th century. Because of its oceanfront, secluded location, La Perla, at one time, was known for its high rate of illegal activities. In recent years, a rebirth of interest in this neighborhood has attracted surfers, artists and Old San Juan workers as a place to live.,_San_Juan,_Puerto_Rico


Blue Cobblestones of Old San Juan

The streets of Old San Juan are paved with adonquines, small blue-gray glazed bricks cast from the residue of iron furnaces in Spain, and brought to the Americas as ballast in the Spanish galleons.

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista The cathedral of San Juan Bautista is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan, and is the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. The cathedral contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan Ponce de Le贸n.

Palacio de las Leyes The Palace of Laws

The Capitol of Puerto Rico. The building is home to the bicameral Legislative Assembly, composed of the House of Representatives and Senate.


San Felipe

Del Morro

San Juan, Puerto Rico

At its height there were

450 cannons mounted around Old San Juan. Many could fire at a distance of 1 to 3 miles

El Morro’s last active fight occurred during a naval bombardment by the United States Navy during the 1898 Spanish-American War. Spain ceded ownership of the islands of Puerto Rico to the U.S. with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1898.

The first fort on the site began in 1539 but most of the fort we see today was built from 17601780

In 1961, the U.S. Army officially turned over El Morro to the National Park Service to be preserved as museums. In 1983, the Castillo and the city walls were declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

El Morro

rises over 149 feet above the sea and its walls are 18 to 25 feet thick

The Garitas

Found along the walls of El Morro, the overhanging, wall-mounted turrets, have become the symbol of Puerto Rico itself.

Santa María Magdalena

de Pazzis Cemetery

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery is a colonial-era cemetery located in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is the final resting place of many of Puerto Rico’s most prominent natives and residents.

The chapel at

Santa MarĂ­a Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

The neoclassical red domed chapel is dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

One Island, French Saint-Martin


n March 23, 1648, France and the Dutch Republic agreed to divide the island between their two territories, with the signing of the Treaty of Concordia which states that “the island of Saint Martin was to be divided between the French Kingdom and the Dutch Republic and that the peoples of St.Martin shall coexist in a cooperative manner.� It is an open border with no checkpoints and no passport requirements.

Two Nations Dutch Sint Maarten

Caribbean Ports


Sint Maarten The first Dutch colony on what would become Sint Maarten was settled to collect and export salt in 1631.


Capital of Dutch Sint Maarten

While Christopher Columbus landed on Sint Maarten in 1493 at that site that would someday become the capitol, the city of Philipsburg wasn’t founded until 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy. It wasn’t long before Philipsburg became a bustling centre of international trade.

Caribbean Ports


Saint-Martin The first French came to Saint-Martin in 1624 to grow and export tobacco.

Marigot Capital of French Saint Martin Originally a fishing village on a swamp for which it was named, Marigot was made capital during the reign of King Louis XVI, who built Fort St. Louis on a hill near Marigot Bay. Today, that building is the most important in Marigot.


Lesser Antilles

Saint Martin is part of a long, partly volcanic island arc that form the eastern boundary of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean known as the Lesser Antilles.

Saint BarthĂŠlemy

Often abbreviated to Saint-Barth in French, or St. Barts in English

The collectivity is one of four territories among the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean that comprise the

French West Indies


This island is the smallest special municipality of the Netherlands It consists largely of the potentially active volcano

Mount Scenery (877 m), the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Caribbean Ports

The Bahamas

Half Moon Cay

Private Paradise Holland America Line purchased Half Moon Cay in 1996 for $6 million. Around 50 acres of the 2,400-acre island have been developed, with the stated goal of maintaining as much habitat as possible for wildlife. The island does not have deep water docking, requiring the use of tenders for cruise ship passengers to disembark and embark.

Cruising the Caribean  

Photography made in the eastern Caribean islands of Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, St Maarten and Half Moon Cay. All images © Alex Wilson....

Cruising the Caribean  

Photography made in the eastern Caribean islands of Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, St Maarten and Half Moon Cay. All images © Alex Wilson....