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SeaLetter Cruise Quiz
Cruise Quiz


by Alan Walker

Once again our SeaLetter readers have proved that they have above-average IQ's as well as being personable and attractive-looking. We've had to build a whole new wing on our SeaLetter Hall of Fame because of all the brilliant answers we've received to last month's quiz. Inducted into the Hall of Fame are these readers with close-to-perfect answers: Dale Stevens of Pocomoke City MD, Denise Doyle of Spring Hill FL, Sharen Wiltshire of Arlington TX (and yes, Sharen, you beat your husband by two points!), Alicia Langrell of Hampton VA, Elaine Sapp of Sicklerville NJ, Hondu Wiltshire (Sharen's husband) of Arlington TX, Gail Lynch of Houston TX and Janice Barkley of Fairfax VA.

Also joining the SeaLetter Hall of Fame are Marty Mateer of Baltimore MD, the legendary Brian Forrester of Scottsdale AZ, Steve Sykes of Fort Lauderdale FL, Lorin Hunt of Kansas MO, Dr. Dave Beers of Athens AL, Carolyn Boyle of Starkville MS, John Coan of Raleigh NC, Cindy Cloutier of Nashua NH, Judy Schmidt of Auburn MI, James Tagliani of San Francisco CA, Pat Rinehart of Willow Grove PA, Angelo Swanhart of Indiana PA, Debra Bokulic of Oakton VA, Frank Bushakra of La Grande OR, Theresa of Stroudsburg PA, Leigh Ann Waltman of Charlotte NC, Jacques Latour of Brossard, Quebec, Joan Carrick of Saugus MA, Stephanie Duncan of Calgary AB, Phil Parker of Sarasota FL, Maury & Theresa Gruben of Plano TX, Jill Humbert of Euclid OH, James Mayes of Kernersville NC, Jim Gerberding of Mercersburg PA, Marge of Ponchatoula LA, Chris Chila of Norwalk CT, Linda Tillery of Kennesaw GA, S. Richardson of Wilson NC, Diana Petisca of Houston TX, Karen Franklin of Cleveland OH, Nancy of Cincinnati OH, Teresa of Healy AK, Celeste Pasquariello of Conshocken PA, Dirk van Heiningen of Watsontown PA, Lil Del Ponte of Campbellsport WI, and Len Murry of Herndon VA.

Moving into the new wing of our Hall of Fame are Dennis Guy of Toronto ON, Hal Wilson of Spokane WA, Jane of Atlanta GA, Marc Sigal of Yardley PA, Shaundra Evans of Sacamento CA, Eric Robin of Helmshore, England, Art Kurrasch of Almeda CA, Nancy Jones of Towaco NJ, William Clinton of Washington DC, Jeannine O'Hagan of Greeley CO, Professor David Herschler of Silver Spring MD, Joyce Interrante of Boston MA, Patrick Murray of Austin TX, Jackie Rollins of West Fork AR, Jim McCann of Dubuque IA, Vickie White of West Monroe LA, Bob Hathaway of Tampa FL, Tracy McLaughlin of Columbus OH, Terri Lombardo of Jamesville MD, Paul Cannamela of Buffalo NY, Robin Starter of Jersey City NJ, Rob Mellen Jr of Rancho Cordova CA, Ross Miller of Miami FL, Mike Wesley of Newark OH, Jose Cruz (!) of Hillside NJ, Joyce of Orlando FL, Pete Witheril of Seattle WA, Janet Dunlap of Clarion PA, Pete of Budd Lake NJ, Andy of Claremont NH and Bill Gates of Redmond WA.

And Beryl from Colorado Springs, were you having trouble finding your name? Well, that's because YOU had the most correct answers and are entitled to book TWO Caribbean cruises!

Alan and Iguana

Nobody rated as "dumb as an iguana", but check out my photo above. See that iguana on my shoulders? Do you think an iguana would be dumb enough to let me sit on his shoulders?

Our apologies to those whose names weren't mentioned because of our publishing deadline.

Before we get to the answers: don't you find that everybody who asks trivia questions - whether it be your spouse or Alex Trebeck - has a bit of a smug look as though they're smart and you're just a little bit stupid? Well, let me make it clear that I couldn't have answered a lot of these questions if I didn't have my books on the Caribbean open in front of me.

To those of you who elected to pick some of the goofier answers instead of trying for the big score, let me say "thank you" for brightening my day. And now, the envelopes please:

1. The name "Caribbean" comes from:

(a) a Caribbean Indian tribe, the "Caribes"
(b) a corruption of "Carolina" and "being in" (nothin' could be finer)
(c) an English comedian whose first name is "Carib"
(d) the word "cannibal"

The Caribes (also called the "Caribs") were the source of the "Caribbean" name, but "cannibal" wouldn't have been a bad choice because that word is also derived from the "Caribe" name. No points for Mr Bean (grin).

2. Which of these Caribbean islands is furthest east?

(a) Bermuda
(b) Bahamas
(c) Barbados
(d) Barranquilla

Barbados is the furthest east of all the Caribbean islands. If the shape of the Caribbean islands of the Lesser Antilles is the same as a woman's breast, then Barbados is the nipple. Oops, I forgot, this is a family website. Bermuda was not a good answer because it's not as far east as Barbados and it's not in the Caribbean. Barranquilla is a port in Columbia.

3. How do you pronounce "Antigua"?

(a) An tee ga
(b) An tee gwa
(c) Anti gwa
(d) An tig wa
(e) An tig you ah
(f) Ah do knot no

The pronunciation in (a) is correct although I do have to admit that I pronounced as in (d) until a recent visit, even though I had already visited Antigua on my first Caribbean cruise in 1983.

4. What three islands in the Caribbean are often called the "ABC islands"?

(a) Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao
(b) Antigua, Barbados, Cuba
(c) Anguilla, Bequia, Cozumel
(d) Xiangtan, Yalta, Zanzibar

Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are the ABC islands, all being part of the Netherlands Antilles near South America. If you want some real trivia, "Curacao" can also be spelt "Curacoa" - a name given to four British Navy ships. Unfortunately, the last one, a 4400 ton light cruiser, was cut in half by the Queen Mary in a 1942 WWII accident.

5. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, you drive:

(a) on the same side of the road as they drive in the British Virgin Islands
(b) on the opposite side of the road from how they drive in the British Virgin Islands
(c) on the left if you're driving a car, and on the right if you're driving a bus or a truck

Both the U.S. Virgins and the British Virgins drive on the left (so look to the right instead of the left when crossing a street!)

6. The name "Virgin Gorda" (one of the islands of the British Virgin Islands), means:

(a) Gordon the Virgin, the legendary saint of parasailing
(b) fat virgin
(c) a gourd that's never been used
(d) marmite

If you picked Gordon, you crashed. "Fat" virgin is the correct answer. Why does "Gorda" mean "fat". I dunno. Why does Mardi Gras mean "fat Tuesday"?

7. Which Caribbean island is said to have as many beaches as there are days in a year (but not in a leap year)?

(a) Aruba
(b) Antigua
(c) Anguilla
(d) Anchovy

Antigua alleges it has 365 beaches, but many travel writers question this number. For sure, Antigua has lots of great beaches. Aruba and Anguilla also have some fine beaches but those on Anchovy are kind of smelly.

8. What is the former name of San Juan?

(a) Szechwan
(b) Sand Wand
(c) St. John
(d) Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico was the former name.

9. What is the former name of Puerto Rico?

(a) San Juan (b) Rico Puerto (c) Isle des Elephantes (d) Porthole Rico (e) San Margarita de Pizza

San Juan was the former name. Hey, that means that San Juan and Puerto Rico swapped names! How did that happen? Too much rum? My thanks to those who picked San Margarita de Pizza, my favorite pizza (grin).

10. Oranjestad is the capital of:

(a) Aruba
(b) St. Eustatius
(c) Orange County
(d) United Fruit
(e) Both (a) and (b)

Well, Oranjestad (meaning "Orange City") is definitely the capital of Aruba, but a town of the same name is also the capital of St. Eustatius (often called just "Statia"), a small island in the Netherlands Antilles that you can reach on a day trip from St. Maarten, so (e) was the best answer. Statia is only eight square miles, but its ownership changed 22 times between 1650 and 1816! That was a tough question, designed to separate the truly brilliant from those who know TOO much.

11. Which Caribbean island has a place called "Hell"?

(a) Grand Banks
(b) Grand Bahama
(c) Grand Cayman
(d) Grand Mother

To Hell with Grand Bahama 'cause Grand Cayman is the correct answer.

12. When Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos (from whose name we get the word "camping"), discovered Barbados in the 17th century, it was:

(a) uninhabited
(b) occupied by the aggressive Arawak tribe
(c) occupied by the peaceful Caribe tribe
(d) over-run with passengers from the Carnival Destiny

Unlike most Caribbean islands, Barbados was uninhabited when Pedro's ship anchored off shore and tender tickets were handed out. And by the way, "camping" was not named after Pedro (I just made that up). And, lest I mess up your historical knowledge, the Arawaks were the peaceful race who were exterminated on many Caribbean islands by the aggressive Caribes. The Caribes, in turn, bit the bullet as a result of exploitation by the European explorers and settlers.

13. The most famous drink of the Caribbean is:

(a) rum
(b) overproof rum
(c) rum with mix
(d) rum with small colorful umbrellas
(e) sherry with a dash of Vichy water
(f) all except (e)

Rum a dumb dumb, three drunks in a tub. The Caribbean is famous for its sugar cane, and rum is made from sugar cane. (f) was probably the best answer. I'm sure many of you will have done one of the tours of a rum distillery such as they offer in San Juan. Or perhaps you've done one of those "Jolly Roger" excursions where everybody comes back three-quarters pickled with photos of themselves trying to do the limbo.

14. What is known as the "lushest" island in the Caribbean, famous for its spices (but not the Spice Girls)?

(a) Grenadines
(b) Grenada
(c) Guadeloupe
(d) Granada
(e) Guadalajara

Grenada is the "lushest" of the Caribbean islands and was once known as the "Spice Island". Spices are still exported, but tourism is becoming the mainstay of Grenada as with most Caribbean islands.

15. Which of the following is correct?

(a) Calypso is from Trinidad; reggae is from Jamaica
(b) Salsa is a type of music from Puerto Rico
(c) Ska and soca are both forms of Jamaican music
(d) The Pork Chops Rhumba Box Band was from Montego Bay
(e) all of the above

I can't say that I remember the Pork Chops Rhumba Box Band, and the only salsa I knew of is the one that I put on my tortilla chips....but, (e) was the correct answer. I salute all you music fans who picked the correct answer.

16. The three most popular cruising destinations, in order, are:

(a) Caribbean, Alaska, Mexican Riviera
(b) Mediterranean, Caribbean, Alaska
(c) Minneapolis/St. Paul, Bakersfield, El Centro
(d) Caribbean, Mediterranean, Alaska

This turned out to be a tough question for most of our readers. (d) is correct. I, myself, would have guessed that Alaska was the second-most popular cruising destination. I think those of us living in North America see less advertising of European cruises than, say, Mexican Riviera ones. There are some major cruise lines who do Med cruises that we don't hear a lot about in North America including Royal Olympic, Costa, P&O and Orient Lines. Also, the Med cruise season can be a large part of the year while the Alaska season is only for five months.

17. What volcano erupted near what town in what country in 1902, killing all the inhabitants except one prisoner in jail?

(a) Mt. Montserrat near Montezuma in Montserrat
(b) Mount Pele near St. Pierre in Martinique
(c) Mt. St. Helens in Oregon in the U.S.
(d) Mt. Krakatoa in Sumatra in Indonesia

The lucky prisoner was underground in the St. Pierre prison in Martinique when Mt. Pelee blew its top and killed the rest of the 30,000 inhabitants. There's an interesting if unsophisticated museum that you can visit in St. Pierre which has photos of the aftermath of the volcano eruption.

18. Which of these ports is not in the Tropics?

(a) Nassau
(b) Charlotte Amalie
(c) George Town
(d) San Juan
(e) Marigot

The Tropics is that area between the Tropic of Cancer to the north and the Tropic of Capricorn (which passes close to Rio de Janeiro) to the south. (a) was the correct answer because Nassau is just north of the Tropic of Cancer. Other parts of the Bahamas are in the tropics, however.

19. "Carribean" is spelt:

(a) with one b and two r's
(b) with two b's and one r
(c) with two b's and two r's
(d) something like that

Despite trying to fool you with the misspelling in the question, most knew that (b) was the correct answer.

20. "Hispaniola" is the name for the island comprising these two countries:

(a) Cuba and Libre
(b) Dominican Republic and Haiti
(c) Saante Maarten and St. Martin
(d) His and Paniola

(b) was the correct answer although I like (d) myself (grin).

21. Which of the following Caribbean tourist sights is in the wrong location:

(a) Harrison's cave in Barbados
(b) Nelson's Dockyard in Antigua
(c) El Morro Castle in San Juan
(d) Magen's Bay in St. Thomas
(e) Dunn's River Falls in Trinidad

Most people correctly picked (e) as incorrect because Dunn's River Falls is (are?) in Jamaica.

22. Christopher Columbus discovered which of these:

(a) Virginia
(b) Florida
(c) Barbados
(d) The Cayman Islands
(e) Columbus, Ohio

I always thought it was strange that we honor Columus as the European discoverer of "America" even though he never managed to set foot in any of the 50 states. Of course, he did discover Central America and South America and a large number of the Caribbean Islands including the Cayman Islands. He didn't discover (c) Barbados, however - but you knew that from question 12 where we let slip that Pedro the Camper discovered that island.

23. What is "plantain"?

(a) a reddish banana
(b) a greeny starch fruit cooked for meals
(c) an ice cream variety
(d) the informal name for IRS form 1098/B/X
(e) both (a) and (b)

Although a plantain is a reddish banana, is is not usually eaten raw but cooked as a vegetable - so (e) was the best answer.

24. What are dreadlocks?

(a) difficult to open locks
(b) what you see on a bad hair day
(c) things that lift ships in the Panama Canal
(d) narrow ropelike strands of hair formed by braiding
(e) the sideburns on our SeaLetter managing editor, Bob ("Marley") Jackson

Some might consider dreadlocks what you see on a bad hair day, but most correctly answered (d). You can get your hair braided in lots of Caribbean ports and you get a really big discount if you're significantly bald.

How do you think you did? Here are the ratings as published by the SeaLetter Caribbean Quiz Review Board:

16 - 24 Genius, or else you live or have lived in the Caribbean.

6 - 15 Excellent - you are now entitled to book a Caribbean cruise.

0 - 5 Dumb as an Iguana. You've been taking too many vacations in Peoria. Please take the quiz again, and see if you can do better.

Thanks to all those who joined in the quiz. I hope you had fun, and just maybe you might have learned an extra bit of trivia that you can inflict on your friends or relatives. We'll have more quizzes in SeaLetter in the future - right now I'm working on a quiz about "Cruising in the Antarctic", but I'm having trouble getting enough questions.


Alan WalkerOriginally from Australia, Alan has for some time been permanently settled in Vancouver where he is a practicing Attorney. He has been a SeaLetter columnist, reviewer and our resident humorist for some time now.

To find all of Alan's SeaLetter columns, featured and humorous articles, and cruise and port reviews, visit our SeaLetter COLUMNISTS Index.

Alan loves email, and can be reached at: Alan@sealetter.com.

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