Saturday, May 28, 2016

Day 2 a Historic Tour of St. Croix

     The second day was one that proved to be very informative and a lot of fun.   We started the day out at The Palms Resort where we boarded the safari and we were off to the "Easternmost" point of the United States.  As a resident of the "Southernmost" part, this was a lot f fun and quite beautiful.

     They have a Millennium Monument there that doubles as a sundial that tells time, or at least when it is noon anyway.   The view out over the ocean in combination with the statue it is a great place top stop and learn then follow it up with a nice sip of rum.

Looking toward the battery from the court yard of the fort
     From there we were off to Christiansted to see Fort Christiansted and the Scale House.  These are both a part of the  National Park Service of the United States.   The fort was built in 1749 and additions were made from 1835 to 1841.  This fort has the distinction of never having to fire a cannon in combat through its entire 267 year history.  It was place where it was because there are natural barriers to ship traffic in other directions and from the position on the point has the only entrance into the bay.  The privateers.and pirates were smart enough to avoid taking the forts artillery on.  It was also a strong deterrent for slave uprisings in the area as well.

The Scale House built in 1856 replacing the wooden one built in 1840
The shape of the ocean floor just off of Salt River Bay

     In the same area is the "Scale House" where all of the goods that were brought on to the island.  All items would be weighed before exportation of goods like sugar and rum.


Salt River Bay Entrance
    It is back on the Safari again and off to Salt River Bay.  This is another of the National Historic Sites that the National Park Service maintains.  The significance of this bay is that Christopher Columbus and local Indian tribe encountered each other just off shore.  Both sides had one loss of life each.  As a result of the dangerous coast with its shoals and reefs, Columbus' group lost the "Santa Maria, their largest ship.  In all, Columbus made 9 voyages to the area and was very much a part of the colonization  of the area.
Fermentation Tanks Bubbling out soon to be rum

The Rum full drinkable and very good as well
     Our Final stop on the tour was at the Cruzan Rum Distillery with a tour of the facilities.  We were taken through the area where the molasses is prepared and the yeast added before being placed into the very large fermentation tanks.  At the end of 8 hours the fermentation is complete and there is approximately 15% of the volume being alcohol.  It is taken to the stills next where the distillation process leaves the out put at 93% alcohol.  This reduces the rum to being a "neutral spirit".  

     The final out put of the stills is then filtered and put into use whiskey oak barrels for finishing.  The remain in the barrels from 4 to 12 years depending on which expression is being made from that barrel.  We got to visit the aging warehouse and see some of the barrels being emptied for final filtering and bottling.  We got the opportunity to taste the rum as it came out of the barrel as well.  Across the way barrels were being fill and sent back into the warehouse to begin the process again.

Pyrat XO at Christiansted
     It was a very interesting day here getting to know a bit more about St. Croix and Cruzan Rum as well.  This has to be the most historic of the Virgin Islands and a really beautiful place as well.  Each stop we got to taste a nice rum before moving on to the next stop, making the trip even more fun.  This is a Rum Festival after all.
Botran 18 Year Old Solera at Sal River Bay
Mount Gay XO at Millennium