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St. Lucia, Day 5

Day 5

Today was mostly dedicated to the full-day sea and land tour aboard the Brig Unicorn – a 140 ft replica of a 19th century Brig with 6,000 sq ft of sail. It has played a role in several films, most recently Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean”. After eating a light breakfast in our room, we met the shuttle which took us to Rodney Bay Marina. There were probably about 40-50 people on board, almost all non-American, something we’ve noticed through this whole vacation.

We boarded the Brig and headed out of Rodney Bay. We got to see a great view of Pigeon Island and the peaks we climbed yesterday. The day was quite beautiful with very few clouds so we got some great views of the island. We sailed south, passing Castries harbor with a cruise ship in port. Apparently Castries harbor can hold up to five cruise ships at once, but it must get really tight there, especially with the airport right by the harbor. We continued along and passed some of the larger and nicer resorts like Almond Morgan Bay and Windjammers Landing. There were several small fishing villages down the coast, and finally we reached Soufriere. As we were approaching, we had a great view of the Pitons, two volcanic spires rising side by side 2,500 feet from the sea. They were quite an awesome sight looking straight up from the harbor, and are St. Lucia’s main landmark.

We disembarked from the Brig Unicorn and took buses to Sulphur Springs, the world’s only drive-in volcano. As we approached the park, we could already smell whiffs of the sulphur coming from the springs. This volcano is constantly venting sulphur gas and the smell once we got close was awful, like rotten eggs, and very strong. The area had several pools of violently boiling black water. Our guide warned that the steam venting from the pools was super-heated, and was over 270 degrees F. The water is black due to sulphur and iron mixing together. It’s definitely something neat to see, but probably not someplace you want to spend more than 20 minutes. By the time we left, we were really looking forward to being able to breath normally again and get away from the stink.

After Sulphur Springs, we headed to a nearby waterfall and small botanical garden. Several of the group swam in the water but we decided to wait to go swimming in the sea. The botanical garden was quite pretty with lots of lush flowers and plants. Greenery sure grows big in the Caribbean with all the rainfall. After the waterfall, we headed back to the ship for lunch. They provided some rice, lamb, chicken, potato salad, mac & cheese, etc. The food was pretty good and the drinks they provided were also quite good (rum punch, fruit juice, soda). After lunch, we anchored a few hundred feet off a nearby beach where we got to jump off the boat and go swimming in the very refreshing, very blue sea. The water felt great, but we couldn’t avoid the pushy vendors even here. Several locals were lying in wait in kayaks and paddled over to our boat to sell conch shells, wooden small boats, and more necklaces. The local vendors were most annoying during this entire vacation.

Our only disappointment in the trip was that even though the ship had sails unfurled all day, we were actually being driven by diesel engines, not the wind, which wasn’t what we expected. It appears that’s the norm, and the sails are just for show. In any case, we arrived back in Rodney Bay around 4:30pm and the bus took us back to our hotel. After a shower, we headed down to Reduit Beach area to get dinner at The Lime. Many tourists recommended the Lime as a good place for local food and cheap prices. Kathie did not like her seafood fettucini at all – they used krab (fake crab) and the rest of the seafood was tough! Mike liked his ribs, but the prices weren’t particularly cheap and the Lime didn’t seem to have much local food for dinner. To make up for Kathie’s disappointing meal, we stopped at Elenia’s ice cream shop again for dessert. Yum!

We have to pack up tomorrow morning and head out to the airport at noon. Since we’re leaving out of Hewanorra Airport in the south, it will be at least an hour and a half taxi ride to get there.


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