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The Virgin Islands were named by Christopher Columbus in 1493 as “St. Ursula and the 10,000 Virgins.” The U.S. brought the islands of St. Croix, St. Thomas & St. John, along with some smaller ones, in 1917 for $25 million in gold from the Danish to use as a navy base in the run up to WW 1. Thing is, if the Danish wouldn’t sell, the U.S. was going to invade rather than let them fall into enemy hands, so they quickly put a deal together before the U.S. Declared war on Germany. About 100,000 people live on the U.S. Islands, half of them on St. Thomas. Things are relatively modern; the only important distinction that makes them seem foreign is that they drive on the left, which makes crossing busy streets a bit disconcerting.
We visited the Pirates' Treasure Shipwreck Museum where I bought an actually salvaged 1808 copper 10 piece coin. That was exciting but more noteworthy; we boated by the infamous Jeffrey Epstein's private islands. Nothing special really; I couldn't see any buildings or even any development. However, the highlight of our visit was when the ferry operator pointed out an odd house built right into the ocean. Apparently, in the early 1960s, there was a NASA funded project there to teach dolphins to understand and even speak English. It gained a lot of notoriety when Hustler magazine did an article about one of the male dolphins pleasuring itself on one of the female staff. If that wasn't bizarre enough, this was before LSD was illegal and the staff tried injecting the dolphins with it to see if it improved their diction; then started taking LSD themselves. You can image how this cavalcade of information caused NASA to drop the program. Actually, I would have liked to known how it would have turned out?
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