Day 5, is brought to you by the awesome island of St. Lucia
St. Lucia was a mystery as far as what to do for the longest time. I kicked a lot of ideas around for stuff to do. I read I one person’s excellent review of her Valor cruise and became a little obsessed on doing something related to the Pitons. She had booked an independant tour to climb one of the Pitons and it looked really enticing to me. I wasn’t too intimidated by the thought of climbing in the heat. I spent most of my summer turning wrenches in a hot/humid shop with no AC. I’m also a good runner and can climb fairly well. I was so set on climbing the mountain. I was going to show it what’s up. BUT… Mom was having a pretty tough time deciding on finding something fun and safe that she could do herself. Knowing that I didn’t want her doing something she was uncertain of by herself, I had to decide against climbing the Pitons. We looked for things that we could do together and a day-tour became the best option. Mom ultimately contacted a person on a roll call group who was looking to organize a Cosol tour with others.
The morning began earlier again. We had breakfast in Rosie’s. They’re eggs benedict with salmon was gross, so I swapped the fish for a slice of ham. After breakfast, it was back to the balconies and secret decks for docking (We had been entering the channel as we ate). What a gorgeous place Castries was appearing to be in the morning. There was this cool fog lifting off some of the buildings in the morning sunlight. There were quite a lot of sea containers next to where we made port. Not too far behind us was Royal’s Adventure of the Seas, which had left San Juan the same night as us.
We finished getting ready and made our way off the ship. We walked though the pier duty free shops and out to the street where we were to meet with the group for the Cosol tour. It was jam packed! So many people! We met up with Mary and the others (I’m sorry again, I’m really bad with remembering names). Once we had everyone we split into two vans and the tour began. Ultimately Mom probably could have gone with the group on her own and I could have climbed the Piton. I felt better though, knowing I’d be there if she had any issues.
The first part of the tour was a couple scenic stops. One was a beautiful overlook of Castries with the ships. I stopped and took a couple photos. One of the whole area and another with my mom. Look at how happy she is to be there.
Afterwards, we made another scenic stop. This one was one of the smaller coastal towns (can’t remember the name). There was a guy pretending to be Bob Marley singing Jammin and a couple other songs. He was so bad though, and being a fan of Marley, I was not impressed. I wasn’t the only one who noticed. The guy seemed kind of pissed as we left because barely anybody left him a tip. I think he expressed it to one of the tour drivers.
We continued on our tour with a couple of stops and some information here and there. One van stopped so some could have a photo op with a snake and goats. We passed on the snake (supposedly, a “mellow” boa constrictor). We made our way to our first food stop for a brunch. Cosol pretty much had his entire armada of Toyota passenger vans there all at once which made things crowded, but it wasn’t too hectic. The food provided was a mix of local fruits, pastries and desserts. Sweet sop is delicious. One thing that struck me was how big they were on recycling. As people threw things away, they said “please, let me take that for recycling” often. I started taking notice that many parts of the island were fairly free of loose trash. At least more than many others I’ve been to. Thumbs up, St. Lucia.
I also got to sample the local beer
After brunch we continued towards Soufriere. We had one big scenic stop that was just stunning. The locals knew this and set up shops there as well. One view of the coast, the other of the lush hillsides.
We got back in the Vans and continued to the town. It was a rather busy town that was undergoing road construction. Once in town, they elected to take us to the beach before touring the volcano/waterfall. We all got on the boat (mom had some difficultly) and headed over. The boat ride itself was fun. It was fairly fast and the view of the Pitons and the landscape from the water was amazing! We arrived on the beach and there was a little dismay about the area we were able to use. I had read about it being small and the very small selection of folding chairs. I was a little surprised though. There were a number of chairs, but many of them were in tatters and useless. The beach area was indeed small, but not that bad. You did have to mind the area near the dock in case of boats. There was a small area for snorkeling and some of the locals would throw in bait to get the fish going. Speaking of the locals. A little while into the beach stay a funny smell began to linger… Somebody was smoking weed! haha! I suspect one of the locals had gone into the woods behind the beach to “take a smoke break” but didn’t go quite far enough. A couple others in our group noticed it too and we joked about having munchies.
Here is the beach we share with the resort. *NOTE* You can’t use any of the chairs or structures on the resort side. Nicely situated between the Pitons. Note the black sand beaches. This was a result of the island being volcanic.
Our stay at the beach was only an hour and a half (booooo), but we had a lot more to see though (yesssss), so our guides had to get us to hustle to get as much in as possible. We got back on the boat and headed back over to Soufriere. When we got there, they had a booze bus waiting for us. I had another Piton Lager and most of the ladies had the mixer which was supposedly pretty good and was also “supposed to make us guys good in bed.” Seeing as how I had no girlfriend this cruise, I was happy with the beer.
Heres a shot of a couple cars in Soufriere. [cargeek]I love the re-badging… Front to back, we have a re-badged Toyota Camry, Lexus IS300, and Toyota Corolla. All of which are slightly different looking for the Caribbean market.[/cargeek]
We piled back into the vans and were taken to the currently inactive volcano. The closer we came to the volcano and caldera the power of the sulfur smell increased. Rotten eggs or egg fart smell as I call it. They had us walk with another guide for a little bit and take some photos. Because nobody wanted to smell like an egg fart, everyone declined on the mud bath. Immediately after the volcano we rushed into the van and were taken to the waterfall. It wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped, but it was still a very nice place regardless. People had the ability to bath in the pool at the base of the waterfall.
After the waterfall we hurried back into the vans because we had to grab our lunch. Our driver picked up his pace a little and man, did he need to. All that sight seeing we did on the way over, I didn’t realize just how far we had come and how long it was going to take to head back. We were running so far behind that they pulled the vans over and brought the food to us in the vans. They gave us each a freshly baked roll (literally seconds out of an oven) and some delicious local cheese to put inside so it could melt. The roll was in the shape of a turkey leg. They also brought around more drinks including beer (which I had, again), the “sex” mixer, and water. We got back on the road and our driver hurried us back to port. Once back we, had roughly 45 mins before we had to be back on the ship and a little over an hour for sail-away. I took the time to get a magnet for my tool box. Whilst doing so had some great conversation with a local girl. Wish I remembered her name, she was pretty nice (and easy on the eyes). She worked in one of the stores with her grandma. After buying my magnet from her, I headed right back on the ship after no success from getting my passport stamped.
We had dinner in Rosie’s that night. It was elegant night again, but neither of us felt up to dressing nice. We wanted to keep it simple for the rest of the night. My mom was particularly tired and headed back to her cabin and relax. I stayed up to watch the 80’s show in the Ivanhoe Theater. It was actually pretty good and I think it might be missed when Valor gets Playlist Productions. Afterwards, I called it a night.