Monday, July 2, 2018

Friday, March 9, 2018 – Castries, St. Lucia – Partly Cloudy – 81F

A beautiful day in St. Lucia.

IMG_20180309_Approaching St Lucia

Approaching St. Lucia

Location of Saint Lucia

Port Information. The ship is docked at Point Seraphine (about a mile from the capital, Castries). Castries harbor is actually a volcanic caldera and is the second deepest harbor in the Caribbean (next to Jamaica). St. Lucia is a member of the British Commonwealth and is run by a Prime Minister (elected) and Governor General (appointed by the Queen). Cars drive on the left side of the road.  St. Lucia has a population of 178,000 with about 20,000 people living in the capital.

On tour today, “Breathtaking Sourfiere and Mineral Baths” – guided by Felixia and driven by Morgan. The tour left at 9:00 AM and returned at 2:20 PM so there was no lunch (except for snacks we brought).

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Eclipse at Port

The tour passed through Castries and stopped for the obligatory photo op overlooking the bay.

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The drive to the Diamond Botanic Gardens (our ultimate destination) was about 90 minutes and took us over the mountains to the island’s West coast and through the villages of Anse La Raye and Canaries.


The Fishing Village of Canaries

We stopped at Anse La Raye (Bay of Rays) for pictures and shopping (and a rest stop).  The streets were muddy but the beach area was nice.  The washrooms weren’t terrific (again, to get there you had to walk along muddy streets and ditches) but a rest stop is a rest stop.

IMG_20180309_095501IMG_20180309_Anse La Raye  1IMG_20180309_Anse La Raye beach 1IMG_20180309_Anse La Raye beach 3IMG_20180309_Anse La Raye beachIMG_20180309_Anse La Raye(1)IMG_20180309_Anse La Raye

Anse La Raye

IMG_20180309_panoramic Anse La Raye

Panoramic Anse La Raye

As we made our way along the West Coast of the Island, we stopped to get incredible views of the Pitons and Soufriere Volcano.  Le Pitons (“Peaks”) were formed by volcanic lava flow and pressurized explosions – erosion has smoothed the Pitons into the structures seen today. Gros Piton is 771 m (2,530 ft) high, and Petit Piton is 743 m (2,438 ft) high.  Near the Pitons is the Soufriere Volcano, still emitting volcanic gasses.

IMG_20180309_Le PitonsIMG_20180309_panoramic PitonsIMG_20180309_Pitons and village SoufriereIMG_20180309_Pitons

Le Pitons and the Town of Soufriere

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IMG_20180309_Volcano Soufriere

Volcano Soufriere Emitting Gasses

IMG_20180309_et And Pitons

IMG_20180309_Pitons and us 1

Our next stop was the Diamond Botanic Gardens.

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At the Botanic Garden, we walked among the plants (Felixia explained them) – one interesting thing about this garden is that scenes from “Jewel of the Nile” was filmed (at Diamond Falls, where Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner slid down the mountain) and where Superman went to pick a Bird of Paradise for Lois Lane, as she waited in the Fortress of Solitude in Superman II).  The Birds of Paradise are pretty wilted looking – the Man of Steel would have gone to a different island to get a flower.

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Sad Bird of Paradise

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Botanic Garden

After the garden, we had a brief photo op at Diamond Falls

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IMG_20180309_Diamond Falls

IMG_20180309_Diamond Falls river

Diamond Falls

before heading for the mineral baths. The facility had couples dressing rooms, outside hot showers (mandatory for using the baths), and three separate baths containing a slightly turbid, yellow, volcanic runoff (probably loaded with all sorts of minerals and salts). We stayed in the water for about 40 minutes, then showered off the mineral water, got dressed, and started the 90 minute ride home.

The traffic was light going home and Morgan is a pretty fast driver – we arrived right on time at 2:20 PM.

We spent the rest of the afternoon in the Solarium.

Dinner was in the Moonlight Sonata Dining Room and magic table 416. Eggplant Caviar (baba ghanoush), goat cheese and spinach pastry, wonderful Minestrone Soup, Cesar Salad, and tilapia in Putanesca (olives and tomatoes) sauce with pasta, capers, and kale (wonderful). CD Eddie Jenkins dropped by our table on his rounds and we had a nice conversation about the lectures and his background (he is not the co-founder of Spotify – his bios are an inside joke – he makes several of them up).

Sean O’Shea is the headliner tonight and did his usual crazy show. Funny and off the wall.

After the show, we took in Passion Due and Michael Redden in the Ensemble Lounge.

A great day in St. Lucia.

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