Caribbean Cruise 2008:
Day 6 - St. Lucia


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Caribbean Cruise 2008: [Day 1 - Fajardo] [Day 2 - San Juan] [Day 3 - St. Thomas] [Day 4 - Dominica] [Day 5 - Barbados] [Day 6 - St. Lucia] [Day 7 - Antigua] [Day 8 - St. Kitts] [Day 9 - San Juan]

Thursday, July 31, 2008: St. Lucia is a beautiful island, especially when the Pitons are visible way off in the distance.

The capital city of Castries lies up ahead.
The sail in was lovely, passing islands and pretty homes perched on the hills.
Maersk! Tom took the lead with this catch.
After breakfast, we waited for our shore excursion on the dock next to our ship. We got this shot of our cabin. It's on the third deck from the top in the center of this photo. It was the width of one and a half standard cabins, and was adjacent to the double width cabin to the left.
After a short walk to our waiting tour van, we set off on a full day shore excursion broken into land and sea portions.
Our first stop was a scenic overlook at Morne Fortune to take in the port area and our ship.
Turn your head gently to the right and you'll see more of the town.
We passed through the countryside, ...
... and saw breadfruit trees, ...
... the Roseau banana plantation, ...
... and a goat.
We stopped in Anse La Raye, a small fishing town, for a bathroom break.
At a makeshift market set up on the street where we stopped, we sampled and purchased a bottle of delicious banana ketchup, manufactured by local company Baron Foods. It sounds strange, but it is really tasty -- a little spicy with a hint of banana, but the unmistakable taste of ketchup. This kitty is unimpressed.
This lovely little home was decorated with conch shells.
Here's the view of Anse La Raye from the hill as we left.
Twice we passed locals on the road with boa constrictors native to the island, presumably to pose with tourists for photos for a fee. We zoomed right on by.
We passed through the village of Canaries where we saw villagers fishing and doing their laundry in the river.
Our tour van climbed the hills once again and we got a nice view of the village behind us.
Here's the real star of our tour -- the town of Soufrière with the Pitons behind it. In this shot, the Pitons are to the right, and the volcanic area we'll visit later is in the hills to the left -- look for the steam rising in the hills.
Here's a closer shot for you. We'll go there later and show you what's up there.
Meanwhile, back to the Pitons. We were there!
We passed through the town of Soufrière on our way to the Diamond Botanical Gardens.
The gardens were filled with tropical wonders.
Here's a nutmeg tree with the nut visible inside the split fruit.
Here's a bush, ...
... and a white anthurium blossom, ...
... and a flower, ...
... and a flower, ...
... and hanging heliconia, without question one of the coolest plants in the tropics.
Our guide showed us a display of tropical fruits and foods and explained how they are used in cooking. We especially enjoyed smelling the sample of processed cocoa.
Our first clue that we were reaching the garden's waterfall was this river. The water is milky grey due to mineral deposits.
And here's the lovely Diamond mineral waterfall.
Here's a cocoa tree with the seed pods that contain the cocoa beans.
This is a star fruit tree. The fruits blend in with the leaves, so look closely to spot them.
Only Debbie would get excited about seeing the compost bins.
Or an aqueduct, for that matter, misspelled here as "aquaduct."
Our next stop was the "drive-in volcano," a region of volcanic activity similar to Yellowstone. There were a couple of goats hanging out by the drop-off point for our walking tour, so we had to take their picture.
We had a park tour guide lead us up to the main lookout point. Here's the main valley, looking back toward the point on the hills in the distance where we had first spotted Soufrière, the Pitons, and the steam rising here.
Turning our heads to the left, we see the most active parts of the valley.
Let's zoom in on that steam cloud toward the back. You can see bubbles of mud rising in the small pool in front.
Here it is even closer.
Much closer to our vantage point was this little bubbler, ...
... and this one.
We passed this tiny creek as we walked back to the main road.
Here's another view of the main field.
We followed the walkway back to the road where tour vans are required to wait.
The walkway parallels the small creek below. Some tours offer visitors the opportunity to "bathe" in the creek, but our guides told us that once here, many people pass on the opportunity, since the air temperature is already extremely warm, and the temperature of the water is uncomfortably hot.
Our land tour came to an end when we arrived at the waterfront in Soufrière, where we boarded a catamaran.
We were fortunate to arrive in the first van, so we snagged seats in the shade as we waited for the second van of passengers to join us. For reasons unknown, we didn't take a single photo of the catamaran, so just picture a large catamaran with seating for 40 or 50 people under a solid roof and around the edges, and room to sit on the front.
We took off and got one last shot of Soufrière.
Here are the beautiful Pitons again.
If the St. Lucia flag was fully unfurled in this shot, you'd see that it consists of three triangles, most likely inspired by the Pitons.
We headed back to Castries by water, covering the distance much quicker than we did by van. We enjoyed a buffet lunch of jerk chicken, rice, pasta salad, and some sort of pie that wasn't really pie at all but was really just a mashed root vegetable, and passionfruit juice.
We passed tidy little resorts and deserted beaches.
Here are some cool markings.
This might be Canaries again.
Another deserted tropical beach.
As we rounded this bend, we saw the bay where we'd be stopping to swim. We brought along our snorkeling gear just in case there was good snorkeling nearby, which there was. To one side of the bay there was a marine preserve. For those who hadn't thought to bring their gear, aggressive vendors in canoes circled the catamaran to sell or rent gear.
We jumped in and had a great time. This little group of fish included a spotted goatfish, some black and white striped juveile princess parrotfish, and a couple of yellow goatfish. The goatfish are sporting some fine chin whiskers and don't they know it.
Fish everywhere! We love marine preserves.
We followed this trumpetfish for a little while.
He didn't seem to mind a bit.
Here's an ocean surgeonfish. How's that for an impressive name? "Dr. Surgeonfish to the Marine Preserve, STAT!" He's joined by a tiny bi-color damselfish and an initial phase stoplight parrotfish.
Here's some cool coral, plants, and sponges.
Tom tried and tried and tried to get a decent photos of these extremely shy red fish. Here's the best one he got. We've tentatively identified it as a coney, bi-color phase.
Here's a doctorfish.

Here's a big sponge.

Sadly, our brand new underwater camera fogs up after 15 minutes or so and can't take decent photos above water once this happens. Oh, well.
Once we were all done swimming, snorkeling, and buying souvenirs from the vendors-in-canoes, we were off.
More pretty, deserted beaches.
However, they just might be deserted because it was raining out. We may have to go back to do more research on this issue.
By the time we headed into Marigot Bay, it was pouring out. We'd all been served lots of rum punch and the crew was playing happy music (including the highly amusing "Big Bamboo" and the booty song), so we didn't mind.
At one point, the crew's music selections prompted us to ask our fellow passengers if they'd yet heard "Red Red Wine" on their vacation. We had a bet that we'd hear it at least twice at this point in our trip, but we hadn't heard it at all. They answered that they, too, had not yet heard it. When the opening bars of "Red Red Wine" wailed over the speakers a minute later, we roared with laughter.
By now, the rain was coming down in sheets, but that didn't deter these kids. If there's one thing we learned on this trip, rain can't bother you if you're already wet.
This is the only shot we got of Mr. Aimable, the appropriately named tour guide who was endlessly friendly. He was also efficient and prompt, which we appreciate in a guide.

We were dropped off just outside the shopping mall adjacent to the ship dock. This photo of some really cool hanging blossoms on a trellis overhead is the last one we got before we did a little shopping (a pressed penny, Piton beer, and ice-cold Coca-Cola Lights) and then collapsed until dinner. We'd definitely like to return to St. Lucia some day.

Day 7 >


Caribbean Cruise 2008: [Day 1 - Fajardo] [Day 2 - San Juan] [Day 3 - St. Thomas] [Day 4 - Dominica] [Day 5 - Barbados] [Day 6 - St. Lucia] [Day 7 - Antigua] [Day 8 - St. Kitts] [Day 9 - San Juan]

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