Barbados is my favorite Caribbean island (although not for diving), but St. Lucia is one of the most beautiful with its lush landscape and volcanic peaks. We have been here before, but not since I had gotten a digital camera so I wanted to try to get some photographs that I could easily download to the computer. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make it to some of the most picturesque places I remember, but we did have a good day touring with Albert, our taxi driver. He had some of the darkest skin and the bluest eyes I had ever seen.We didn’t have time to book an excursion, so we talked to the local hospitality host that Silversea had invited on board the ship and got his recommendations.
We visited the oldest church on the island, a Roman Catholic Church, with its colorful walls. Around the corner on the square was a 400-year-old tree that Albert pointed out. Next we traveled uphill to the governor’s home. The current governor is a woman, their first female governor, and a former schoolteacher. Albert liked to pull off on the side of the road just to show us the island flowers and plants and tell us about their uses. There was an aromatic tealeaf that is added to warm water and given to a crying baby to ease their pain or placed on their skin to remove a rash.
At the top of the hill we passed through the community college and visited a monument where a local man guided you around for tips. We saw an interesting plant that grows as a vine along the ground. They call it a poinsettia, but it is nothing like the Christmas plant we have at home. When touched, the leaves shrivel up in self-defense. There is a flower on the vine, but it is tiny, circular, and pale pink. We were able to see the pitons, the cone-shaped volcanic peaks, in the distance. There is a wonderful fishing village on St. Lucia that we didn’t make it to, but visitors with more time should give it a try.
We passed through the banana plantations that used to be at the center of St. Lucia’s economy. Now, like so many of the Caribbean islands, tourism is their primary source of income. Albert and I walked into the banana groves and he showed me the navel of the plant that has to be cut off to grow tastier fruit. I learned that they use blue bags to cover a bunch of growing bananas to protect the fruit from insects that eat it or animals that will scar it (reducing the price for which it can be sold). Albert also showed me the ropes and ties that protect the plants in strong winds. It is definitely labor intensive farming.
The lush rainforests give St. Lucia a romantic feel, but my favorite spot was a wonderful bay that we had not visited before. Marigot Bay has apparently been featured in many movies like Pirates of Caribbean. The scenery around the island is breathtaking and not to be missed. We met an Irish family at Marigot Bay that was staying on the island for a week. They had been there six days and this was the first time they were venturing away from their hotel and the nearby beach.
Albert later drove us over to that area, Rodney Bay near Pigeon Island. Reduit Beach has beautiful white sand and the water was very clear and calm. You could rent colorful umbrellas and chairs and there were beachside restaurants. I recommend some water shoes or sandals that you don’t mind getting wet. The sand is much too hot to walk on in bare feet.
Then it was back to the ship for a late lunch and drama on the dock. Our balcony was on the pier side, so I decided to watch them pulling in the gangway and leave the dock. At time for “all aboard” the gangway was still out and several of the officers and staff were out on the pier. Boris guessed it right, some of the passengers that had missed the boat in Barbados (there were quite a few due to a cancelled British Airways flight) had still not made it on board. We saw several butlers in tails leave the ship and next thing we knew two couples were coming aboard with the butlers behind bringing their luggage. Boris recognized our butler and he told us later that the passengers had called from the airport to say they were on their way. The captain made the decision to hold the ship.
Once the gangway was pulled in, I watched the pilot come aboard and the dock workers and crew on the pilot boat release the six lines holding us on the dock. We had the perfect view with one of lines directly below our cabin.
Now a tip for all you cruise ship passengers. The reality is that unless they are cleaning the windows or you are leaning over, no one can see you on your balcony when you are at sea. In port, you can pretty much see anyone who can see you with your greatest concern being viewers from another ship that is docked directly across the pier from you. Otherwise you are in the clear, or so I thought.
Because I hate to iron, I had slipped off the crop pants I had worn during the day and hung them up. I was still wearing my tunic. It is really like a swimsuit cover-up, only I didn’t have the swimsuit underneath. So I am out on the balcony watching the goings on, when I realize that there is an overhang one cabin forward and one floor up from mine. This is how I got to meet the captain of the ship. The overhang was connected to the bridge and the captain, in full uniform, was there to oversee our departure. I decided to play it cool and asked him if he was ready for the next five days (at sea). His response was “are you?” I can only imagine what he was thinking.