Monday, January 2, 2017

October 2016: Part VI - St Lucia

On Day 5 of our cruise we woke up early and weren't falling back asleep quickly, so we decided to get up and watch the sunrise. Oscar spent nearly an hour getting a timelapse video only to be disappointed in its quality because he didn't have a tripod to hold it steady. We also decided to cancel our rental car reservation after the difficulty and stress of driving from the previous day. I'd originally planned way more things to do when we planned on getting a rental, but driving to those things on the south end of the island would have been around 2 hours each way with left side driving on winding roads. I couldn't put Oscar through that again, so we decided to just take a Taxi up and back to Pigeon Island.

The views got more and more lovely as we arrived in port
The roads started out okay, then gradually got worse. We were happy to have picked a cab over a rental, and Oscar talked him down to a reasonable rate he'd found online.

From the website Lonely Planet - "Pigeon Island has a fascinating range of historic sites scattered across the bucolic former 'island'. Its spicy history dates back to the 1550s, when St Lucia’s first French settler, Jambe de Bois (Wooden Leg), used the island as a base for raiding passing Spanish ships. Two centuries later, British admiral George Rodney fortified Pigeon Island, using it to monitor the French fleet on Martinique."

I'd wanted to come here because of the pictures I'd seen online, but I hadn't realized we'd have to do a decent amount of hiking to get to those views. Even if we had rented a car, we wouldn't have had the time to do the hike based on our original itinerary. It was a beautiful hike with incredible views, so I was pretty happy with our choice. And the cab there and back cost much less than a rental would have been.
The island was joined to the mainland in 1970 when a sandy causeway was constructed. It was neat to look at the endless ocean on one side of the causeway and the beautiful bay on the other side.

We even found a pigeon on pigeon island!

We kept climbing and found some cannons and a beautiful view of the bay from here.
You can see from the hill on the left that we still had a lot more climbing ahead of us.
But we made it to the top for a great panorama of the causeway. The pictures are comparable to our other pictures from down below, but it was definitely worth the extra climb. The view with our eyes was significantly better.

It was very windy at the top, and we could see some storm clouds rolling in, so we came down as quick as as we could without falling off any cliffs. The wind was very refreshing on that sunny 88 degree day!

Fortunately the clouds had turned away from the bay by the time we got down to the bottom, so I took a dip in the warm Caribbean waters. I figured I might as well use up the rest of my waterproof camera while I was there since we hadn't been able to swim in the Animal Flower Cave the previous day.
I met several other people from the cruise there, and one nice lady took a picture of me. Some were from a points of interest excursion and others were on a Kayak to pigeon island excursion. I even met a guy from Woods Cross, UT who was there on his honeymoon.

As we were catching our cab, a local made some fun trinkets for us out of plants. The one in my hair is a flower, and he also made a really impressive bird in a nest.
We got back on the ship with hours to spare, but anything else I'd wanted to see was going to take 4 hours roundtrip and would have required an expensive taxi. Instead we showered and rested before going up to the top of the ship to take a few more pictures. That's another advantage of a cruise - you get beautiful panorama views of the islands that you wouldn't get otherwise.

You can see the fancy Sandals resort from here, the big white building on the far right. All the little buildings are private lodges that belong to it as well. It's all inclusive, like a cruise, so maybe we'll do that if we ever come back to St Lucia. The only thing that puts me off about all inclusive resorts is that they include alcohol, and I'm a big believer that if you don't drink alcohol, your cost should be much lower. I decided against a catamaran cruise in Hawaii for that very reason. It cost $30 less before it included alcohol, then when they added it in, they only subtracted $5. Even if I can afford it, it's the principle that bothers me.

We actually kicked back and relaxed for a couple hours before the ship left port, something we never used to do on vacation. Before we had kids we always felt relaxing on vacation was a waste of time and money. We could always take time off work and just relax at home if we needed to. If we'd spent money to go to a far off destination, we wanted to be out adventuring and not waste a minute of it. On our Hawaii cruise, we took advantage of every minute we had off the boat. Now that we have kids and can't just take a day off at home whenever we want do, we can actually enjoy relaxing on vacation.
That evening Oscar got to be a part of the big Hasbro game. His team won, but he didn't win the ultimate prize. The members of the winning team picked a card with a random number on it, and whoever's was the biggest got a huge prize. Oscar got a little card game. Amber, one of the girls we'd shared a cab ride with, won the big one with a number that far exceeded any the others had picked.

And when we got back to our room we found chocolate covered strawberries at our door. I'd gone to Guest Services the previous day and spoken with an Italian crew member. She was delighted to speak a little Italian with me, saying she never meets Italian speakers on the Puerto Rico cruises, and she sent the strawberries up the next day as a sweet gesture. The card says "an affectionate hello from your Italian friend." They were tasty, but I'd stuffed myself full of desserts at dinner, so I couldn't enjoy them as much as I would have liked to.

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