Friday, May 9, 2014

Class Reunion Eastern Caribbean Cruise - St. Lucia

Just your average low-rent place.
Castries, St. Lucia
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We approached Castries, St. Lucia, under cloudy skies. As they say, “The weather is the weather.” There isn't anything you can do about it, and you must soldier on the best you can. That being said, even under such conditions, what a stupendously beautiful island! Gorgeous. Lush. Thick tropical vegetation. Dramatic scenery. This is what a tropical island should look like if it possibly can.

One of the things about cruising is that you spend only a brief bit of time in each place. The down side of that is that, well, you don't have the time to explore in depth. The upside is that you sample lots of places with an eye to perhaps returning to your favorite ones on a more extended basis. Kind of like the tasting menus in good restaurants. Oh, dear. Already I'm talking about food!

The weather looked like it was going
to clear. Castries, St. Lucia
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Back to the weather, which was mild and rainy. I rather imagine it would be quite hot and humid when the sun comes out in full force, but the dense plant life would seem to indicate that rain isn't unusual. Of course, just because it was drizzly for us doesn't mean it wasn't sunny elsewhere on the island. Tropical islands are like that.

Leaving on the snorkel excursion.
Castries, St. Lucia
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We had scheduled a snorkel trip in the afternoon, so our morning was, again, unrushed and relaxed. We had breakfast with Marsha and Kathi and Bob and Karen, and then we did some more of that dockside shopping.

Soufriere, St. Lucia
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
We prefer to use our own snorkel gear. I like to know where that thing has been, I like a mask that fits, and I prefer fins that don't have to be adjusted. It already takes me forever to get it all on! So, off we went on the snorkel boat, down the coast and past some stunning, excruciatingly expensive resorts to Soufrière, where we picked up some more passengers on our way to Pitons Bay, our snorkeling destination.

The Pitons on a rainy day. St. Lucia
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
If you've looked at photos of St. Lucia, you've seen the Pitons. My photos of the Pitons are somewhat reminiscent of the ones you may have seen, taking into consideration the cloudy skies. The nice thing about snorkeling is that it doesn't matter if it's raining, as you're going to get wet, anyway. Unfortunately, if it's been raining a lot, the runoff will make the water cloudy, which it was this day. I'm not really used to snorkeling with a crowd of people, so I tried to put some distance between myself and those crazy people flailing and bumping into each other right over there. And, sure enough, there were lots of fish to see, and many varieties. Bob was especially excited to see a whole school of tiny squid. He said it was the first time he'd seen that, and he's snorkeled a lot. I realized I was being followed by a school of very tiny fish, which was a thrilling thing for me. It was almost as though they were curious about me. I guess I can't blame them.

Just one of the beautiful secluded beaches we passed. Sigh.
St. Lucia
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
The snorkeling was soon over, and we had to get back on the boat. May I just say right here that there is a beautiful resort on the white sands of the beach at the foot of the Pitons, just on the other end of the area where we were docked? If any of you have a spare fortune and would like me to review the place for you, please let me know. I would be delighted to return and enjoy rum punches on a chaise under a palapa there.

Watch out for this guy. He wants
you to have a good time.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
Feeling happy. Which is how you
should feel on vacation.
Photo by Karen. All rights reserved.
And speaking of rum punches, there may or may not have been one too many consumed in a relatively empty stomach on the way back to the ship. By one or more persons on board. There was dancing. There may have been a pole involved. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Seriously, though, be very careful. You're going to be thirsty...very thirsty...after you've been out in all that salt water for any length of time. You need to stay hydrated. But not with rum punch. Well, not only with rum punch.

Our excursion guide. Loved his smile.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.
At dinner on the ship, we shared a table with Bob and Karen. Cathy, Fred, Alan, and other friends were at a table right next to us. And so, once again, we had the opportunity to annoy other passengers with our back-and-forth visits and banter. They didn't seem to mind. Much.

I had seafood risotto, butternut squash soup, apple-walnut salad, braised lamb shank, and chocolate soufflé. Harry had the same appetizer, soup, and salad. For his entrée, he had the turkey parmesan, and his dessert was crème brûlée. His dessert choice is becoming a no-brainer, yes?

Between dinner and the show, we had an opportunity to sit and chat with classmates, comparing notes for the day. If you vacation with a group, don't hesitate to “do your own thing” during the day. Chatting about your varied activities over dinner or coffee will add to your own enjoyment and theirs.

Pretty sure Bob would like
to go to St. Lucia again, too.
Photo by Chris. All rights reserved.,
There was a rather large group of us – all of our dinner mates, the Clayton clan, the Carters – who sat together for the show, “Sirens,” a very good, colorful, song-and-dance production.

It was a very good day. St. Lucia is one of the islands I'd like to see again!

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