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Saturday, 23 February 2013

St. Lucia and the Pitons

December 13 saw us stopping in St. Lucia, where we planned to see the Pitons. I'm not a details guy, but it's my understanding the Pitons are twin volcanic formations that rose from the sea bed, at the south end of the island. Sounds impressive!We determined that a catamaran excursion would be the best way to see them. Others planned to take snorkel trips, but we chose to go sailing for a couple reasons. First, 'someone' forgot the snorkel gear back home, which we won't dwell further on. Secondly, 'someone' had some deep water issues. So the thought of swimming around a volcanic formations seemed a little overwhelming. Right decision, or opportunity lost?? We could debate that for a long while!

I woke as the sun was just breaking the horizon, and peeked out to see where we were at. I could see the southern tip of island just off the starboard fore of the ship. That's front right to my wife, and others who have no interest of learning a new language. Included in that view was the Pitons rising high above the south west edge of the island like giants guarding the island passage. The sun was rising over the island just we sailed along side of the Pitons. It was a majestic sight to see such lushness contrasted by these huge dark, shadowed formations. It gave me a profound appreciation of how special a place the Caribbean truly is.

I went back in the room thinking I should rouse Leanne, to get an early start on our day. Remarkably, she was already well on her way to making herself even MORE beautiful than I ever could have imagined... again! We got to breakfast early, and had time to watch the scenery unfold as we sailed broadside to the island. Each bay we passed told a new story of island life. From the small exotic resorts, to populated villages, each story was exhilarating, exciting. We docked at Pointe Seraphine, Catries City. It was a large exotic harbour, full of life. There was a small airport near the entrance, and houses sprinkled densely up the surrounding hills. Along the shore a rainbow of brightly coloured dingys waited to taxi people to the moored sailboats spread throughout. By the time the ship landed we were waiting anxiously by the disembarkation point, .

After getting off the ship we went to our excursion meeting point on the dock, and met Chad Bousquet, our guide. He herded together our group of tourists and we walked the 200 yards, to our waiting catamaran. A minute's walk to an excursion is my idea of convenience!



Once on board we grabbed a cosy spot on the edge of the trapeze, did the SPF15 workout and stretched out in the sun. We sailed out of the harbour, past an anchored cruise ship, and south toward the Pitons.




We sailed into Marigot Bay, a small boot shaped bay, that offered shelter from the ocean. It was sprinkled with a handful of sailboats. Some were docked, and some were anchored in the bay. Ashore, there was a dive resort, a beach bar and a few other businesses catering to the passing tourists. We put a BIG check mark beside this spot on the map with future visits in mind.

Further south, we stopped in Anse Cochon, home of a remote little beach resort called Ti Kaye Village. The sand was dark, volcanic, making the water less clear than ideal. Not to be mistaken for undesirable, it was warm, and welcoming just the same. By now it was 5 o'clock somewhere, so I wandered up the shore to a hillside tiki bar. I was really looking for a bottle to gather sand in. Unfortunately the only option was a beer bottle, that needed the liquid removed. Oh darn! I was embarrassed by the fact the bar, technically, wasn't open for another 45 minutes. But not so much so as to not ask for the favour of an early serving. Since she wasn't subject to Ontario liquor control rules, As I was handed the beer, Leanne had caught up to me. Thankfully I had asked for two. As we walked back along the beach, we were approached by a local vendor. He offered to sell a few local handicrafts which we had little interest in. Next he asked if we wanted to buy some "smokie, smokie"!? Wanting to get through a day WITHOUT being arrested, we hustled on.

Back aboard the cat, we continued south, replaying the scenery in reverse, that we witnessed aboard the Victory earlier in the morning. We were a little disappointed when we turned around and headed back north, having come no closer than about a mile from the Pitons. By now the rum was flowing, and we were all dancing. So our disappointed faded quickly. Yes, the thoughts of one day being aboard our boat, tunes whistling, and wind pushing along became very real at this moment!




Once back ashore, we still had half the day left. We left the cruise terminal area, and found a waiting cabbie. He offered to take us on a quick tour up the hills over looking Castries, where we would visit an old fort. We jumped in, and off we went.

Half way up we stopped at a lookout over the city, where I made some new friends. Continuing on, our guide told us the history of St. Lucia, detailing how it had changed hands over the years. I could look up what he told us, but I certainly can't recite the details by memory. It was an interesting tale just the same. As we continued back down toward sea level, a comforting feeling came over both of us. We could see ourselves coming back here, and could even consider it as a new home.

With a couple hours left before we set sail again, we decided to stop for a late lunch, and a beer by the bay. We enjoyed some local fare right at the bottom of the harbour. To my amazement, we had actually uncovered some exotic foods that I was MORE willing to try than Leanne!

We walked back to the harbour, stopping to feed some stray dogs as we cut through a ship yard. The locals appeared to think us strange for sharing our water with the mangy beasts. It was a labour of love for us.

As we climbed back aboard, we left with good memories of a lush land, warm welcoming people, and lots to love in St. Lucia.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Shawn: Did you know someone named Andrea Miller 25-30 years ago? She was from Burlington, ON.

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