Cruise Day 7- St Lucia, November 7th

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Cruise Day 8, St. Lucia, November 7th

Today we arrived in St Lucia. This was our first time on this island and the only island we arranged a tour on this cruise. I had emailed Herod, the owner of Herod's Tours * to set up a Land & Sea Tour.

All photos can be clicked on to enlarge!
View of our ship from one of the many vantage points. You can see the damaged life boat hanging from here. 

We had to be up and ready earlier this morning as we were to meet Herod at 8:45 right outside the ship. There were about 10 other people from our cruise joining us on the tour, a few of them I knew from our roll call. My family got our own vehicle which was nice, in case the little ones got antsy, I didn't have to worry about them fussing around the others on the tour. Our van was nice, spacious and clean! We altered between having windows open when it wasn't raining to having the a/c on when it was. Also provided throughout this tour was water, soda, beer & homemade rum punch.

St Lucia isn’t like many of the Caribbean islands which are mostly flat and known for their beaches. St Lucia is mountainous with lots of rain forests as well as a volcano. This island's main attraction is the Pitons around the volcano in addition to the banana plantations, waterfalls, natural beauty, etc.

View out the window of the van during a brief rain shower.

We loaded into our van and shortly after we did, it started raining. He said this wasn't unusual and that it would clear up after a while. There are literally no straight roads in St Lucia! We were lucky if we saw one quarter of a mile of straight road. Because the island is so mountainous, the roads are full of twists and s-turns. One popular sign we saw all over the roads were “caution, hairpin turn ahead”!! In fact, as they go around these tight turns, they honk their horn to warn oncoming traffic. The roads would barely be wide enough for 1 vehicle in the US, but they get 2 vehicles on them somehow. Many times I thought for sure we'd clip a passing vehicle! They also drive on the opposite side of the road compared to us. I won't even mention that there really isn't much of a shoulder on these roads and you could easily see down the side of a mountain from the vehicle! We had a wonderful driver though who told us a lot about the island and also engaged us in conversation.

Our first stop was a banana plantation. Herod explained how bananas grow and the care that goes into them. It was quite interesting and educational! It takes almost 9 months for one of those bunches you see in the photo below to grow! They cover them with the plastic bag to protect them from insects & diseases. They are then harvested by hand with a machete!

Banana Plantation

 Then we were each given a freshly picked banana to eat. I gotta tell ya, they taste way better than the bananas we get shipped back home.

Marigot Bay St Lucia
Marigot Bay

From there, we were on the road again to an overlook point over Marigot Bay. This is a small inlet surrounded by mountains. Boats are brought here for shelter when a hurricane hits. While here, our driver bought the kids some coconut candy from a stand at this stop. Pieces of coconut were dipped in a nutmeg, ginger & brown sugar concoction. We loved it!

Throughout our time on the road, we’d occasionally pull over to take photos from many breathtaking vantage points on different places of the island.

A view of the Pitons in the distance

We were eventually making our way to Soufriere (pronounced So-Free) where the Pitons and volcano are located. On one of our photo stops, there were people selling their handmade wares as well as a lady cooking up fresh fried, salt fish. Our guide bought us a few pieces she had just cooked and we devoured it! He was insistent that we try out as many local foods as possible. There are many small fishing villages on St Lucia so fresh fish abounds!

We eventually reached the volcano and headed into the center of it. The last eruption was in 1776 so there was little chance we had to worry about seeing any lava today! Our guide stated that we would smell sulphur from the hot springs that leaked steam. Not long after he stated this, Olivia says loudly, “who farted?!” Yes the sulphur smells a bit like rotten eggs. HA!

Notice the steam coming up from the ground and how nothing grows here in the center of the volcano

We walked to the area that allowed us to see big piles of steam coming up from the ground. You could tell we were in the center of the volcano as nothing was growing there. One of the options we had on this stop of the tour was to take a mud bath. I decided to do it with just a few others from our group.

It consisted of us walking down to this area where hot, ash water pooled up in section that was 4 feet deep. This water comes from the hot springs that bubble up from underground. Granted we were quite a distance away from where it originated so by the time it hit the area we were at, it was “only” about 100 degrees. The water is black from the ash so we were instructed to get wet in here then we climbed out to where they gathered buckets of grey mud that comes from the volcano. You rub it all over your exposed skin & face. It has a gritty feel and a bit of a sulphurous smell. Then you were to let it dry and then go back into the hot, black ash water and rinse it off. It really exfoliated your skin and we were told the mud has many health benefits to it. My skin felt amazingly soft when I got out! That was a really fun experience!

Me (center, all black) covered in mud

Once we left the volcano, we drove nearby to the tour guides mothers house for lunch. They have a huge open air porch with a gorgeous view of the Pitons.

Our view during lunch. You can see one of the Pitons in the background.

 She had a buffet style of all sorts of creole food. I can't remember what each dish was but my favorite was the creole marlin fish. She also served us fresh passion fruit juice.  Because bananas are a huge food there, they make tons of things from bananas. Banana hot sauce, banana ketchup and banana bbq sauce are a few that come to mind. I dipped some of the fried plantain in banana ketchup and it was actually really good!

A view of our delicious buffet!

My plate! YUM!

After lunch, we headed to some waterfalls where you could get in the water to swim under them. The water was a bit cooler so only Kevin went in but we snapped some neat photos. It was surrounded by rainforest.
The waterfall

The next part of our tour consisted of us boarding a speed boat for our sea portion of the tour. Our guide took us to a bat cave that was a huge crevice in the side of a mountain where the bats stayed during the day. We could hear them as we approached the cave and see thousands just looking inside it. It was raining at this point so none of us dug out our cameras, so no pictures of the bat cave.

Our next stop was to Sugar beach where we were given 45 minutes to swim or snorkel. It started raining so we pretty much just hung out under a big umbrella hut.

While there, I heard another gal talking and she mentioned she was from Schaefferstown! (a town not far from us at home) So I introduced myself and said we where we are from. She said she has found many on our ship that live local to us. The kids wandered around the beach for a little while the littles & I chilled out under the hut.

Our view of Sugar Beach

We finally boarded the boat for our ride back to the ship. It wasn't until after being back, that Kevin mentioned how the boats gages & dials weren't working, yikes! Once or twice he hit a wake that sent us clinging while he slowed down.  It rained off and on on the ride back but we managed to snap a few photos along the way.

A gorgeous view of the Pitons from the boat ride. Finally one of the moments the clouds & rain let up.

Along the way, he pointed out different sites on the island. We saw where an episode of The Bachelor was filmed as well as the rock tunnel that was in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

The rock tunnel from Pirates of the Caribbean movie. There were a bunch of guys jumping from above the tunnel into the water.

A view of the tunnel after the boat drove through it.

Our guide also pulled into Marigot Bay and pointed out homes situated on the top of the mountain of the bay, owned by Oprah, George Foreman, Sophia Lorenza & Mick Jagger, all within a stones throw of each other. It was neat being able to see the bay from down below after we had viewed it from up on the mountain earlier in the day.

The house with the pointed roof belongs to Oprah.

 Also, the original Dr Doolittle was filmed here and the one restaurant was renamed Doolittle restaurant.
The Doolittle restaurant on the water. The resort behind it can only be accessed via a boat ride across the inlet as there are no roads to get to it. Talk about secluded!

 Our sea tour went around a good part of the island and we finally arrived back near the ship around 3:45 (the last leg of the boat ride was about an hour long). Unfortunately it rained off & on during our boat ride which meant we didn't get to take as many photos as I had hoped for. I was admittedly thankful to feel land under my feet after that boat ride. I think I was a bit paranoid not having a life jacket and seeing them locked in the cabinet in front of us, a lot of good THAT would do if something happened!

Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed Herod's Tours and would highly recommend him!

The view of our ship as we came back to port from our sea tour.

We got back to the ship and cleaned up for dinner. It was a pretty quiet evening since we were all tired from our long day of touring. Tomorrow is a beach day in Barbados!

Here's another view of our dinner table. You can see how we are surrounded by windows which gave us amazing views during dinner time!

My 2 clowns being silly after dinner!
All photos can be clicked on to enlarge. The photos I am sharing are a combination of ones I took as well as my kids and husband on a variety of cameras and iPhones, hence the varying quality.



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