Cruisin’ to St. Lucia

For the whole time we have lived in Barbados (all 15 months), people have been raving about the Carnival Victory. This cruise ship leaves San Juan, Puerto Rico on Sundays, and arrives in Bridgetown Barbados, the following Wednesday. This is the only other spot you can embark and disembark the ship and Carnival reserves a small number of cabins. Since Ian and I wanted to see some of the other islands while we are living in the Caribbean, we thought this would be an easy way to do so.

It was very exciting to see the ship docked at the wharf in Bridgetown, and it looks soooo much bigger than I thought. And I think this is one of the small ones.  After checking in and dropping off our luggage, we went to the side to watch the ship cast off. 

 In the distance, you can see the Hilton hotel, this was where we stayed on our first trip to Barbados, while looking for a place to live. We used to be able to see the cruise ships from our balcony, never imagining we would be on one ourselves.

Another ship was docked beside us, and yes, it was even larger.

 

You can see the very busy port, like all the other islands, everything arrives in Barbados through here.

This little tugboat was making sure we got out ok.

Imagine my surprise, when the captain of the ship started backing up the ship into this channel on preparation for turning around. That is a very good driver!

We left Bridgetown at 5:00 so within an hour it was dark, and after dinner and all the various entertainments on the ship, sleep was calling my name. I could sleep all the way to our first destination, St. Lucia.

One of the nicest things about cruising was the easy on/easy off arriving at the other islands. No hours (at least that is what it feels like), waiting to go through immigration, just walk off the ship. While we were in St. Lucia, we were going to have lunch with a friend of mine. David Leeman is a gardener in Toronto, and he volunteers at the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens every winter.  He has come out to Barbados and visited us, we even went to the Barbados Garden Show earlier in the year, but this would be my first chance to visit him.

The cruise ship docked in Castries, which is the capital city of St. Lucia, and we were heading to Soufriere, so after finding a taxi, we began the 1 1/2 hour drive and got to see some sights on the way.

Look at our cruise ship in the port, another one  was entering as we were driving up the hill.

St Lucia is very hilly, and it takes a long time to drive along the coast. The road has a lot of “Z” curves, it reminded Ian and I of visiting Switzerland, lots of honking as you go around the corners, warning of your approach.

Marigot Bay was where the original Dr. Doolittle was filmed back in 1967. I remember seeing this when I was a child, and I loved it! Now I shall have to watch it again, to see how this bay looked back then.

The fishing villages are beautiful, the bright colours showing up from a distance.

Local art.

 

We drove through the rain forest on our way, and I was astonished to see tree ferns growing wild be the side of the road.

And at last, the Pitons rising majestically in the distance.

Since we had time, we went to Sulphur Springs, St. Lucias ‘drive in’ volcano. As soon as you get near it, you can smell the sulphur in the air.  According to our guide, the volcano acts as a safety valve, releasing small amounts of pressure, equalling, no major eruption. But watch out if all the animals flee, they are one of the predictors for an eruption.

 You can see the minerals in the water, they have hardened over the years.

 Although lots of people were partaking in the mud baths, we were on our way for lunch, maybe another time.

We finally arrived at the Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens to meet David.

The Old Mill

Such a beautiful place and lunch was yummy, including a green banana salad, I had never heard of it before.  We ate at the  Old Mill,  which was originally built to crush sugar cane back in 1765. 

The Waterwheel

After the collapse of the sugar cane industry in St Lucia, it was used to crush limes for the oil, and then later in its life, generate electricity for the town of Soufriere.

This aqua duct (over Ian and Davids head) was used to bring water from the river, and power the wheel for the electricity.

In another part of the garden are the baths that were originally built in 1784 for the troops of King Louis XVI.  The mineral baths which are fed by a hot spring, are full of minerals and are thought to be therapeutic. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to test that thought, and I was crushed when the battery went on my camera, so sorry, no photos. But Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens has their own website, so you can get a look at them there.

I just got a photo of the entrance to the private baths, look at the maidenhair ferns that have self seeded in the wall. You can also visit David Leemans blog, he has lots more info and photos of the lovely place he calls home in the winter.

P.S. David just e-mailed me some photos that he took during our visit in St. Lucia, a couple more photos of that amazing wall,

the waterfall,

 I believe these are garden areas that he designed himself, very talented,

 

Next stop, St. Kitts…

 

 

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24 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    wonderful, Deborah. I’ve been to St. Lucia twice but never saw any of the sites you have seen – it was a resort vacation and we didn’t leave the resort either time. What a waste not to have seen these gardens.

    Enjoy St. Kitts!

  2. 3

    This is gorgeous. I have never been there but it is definitely a place not to be missed…where to start…the bay and fishing village were so quaint and lovely and then the drive and gardens…I think the waterfall with the mineral deposits was my favorite…

  3. 5

    Now THAT’s the kind of cruise I’d like to go on! I’ve always thought it would be dreadful to spend day after day in a floating pleasure palace, but taking off like you did seems like a great way to enjoy the luxury of cruising whilst still getting to experience something that is “all yours”.

    Here in Copenhagen the cruise season will not begin for another month or so; we get a fair share of cruise ships, cruising the Baltic, and when you have 4-5 cruise ships docked in the harbour at the same time there’s suddenly 10.000 tourists that all have to visit the pedestrian area of the city, making it quite unbearable. If only some of them would do what you did and take a taxi out to some of the wonderful places nearby and experience something more than the main shopping street…

    • 6

      In some ways it was perfect, get up early, have breakfast, off the boat at 8:00, and back on board at 5:00. Have coctails, dinner and a show, bed and start all over the next day. I find the same thing in Barbados when the cruise ships stop, just try to avoid town on those days.

  4. 7

    Kelly O said,

    Looks amazing Deb. I love how the gardens incorporate the jungle so much….it really looks quite natural and lush.
    Oh maiden hair – they just look so happy on that wall (as opposed to in our dry Canadian condos!)

  5. 9

    PJ Girl said,

    Really lovely! As for Dr Dolittle, I can almost imagine the giant sea snail cruising around the bay!

  6. 11

    I realize I had no idea of the beauty (those mountains!) of St. Lucia and I am absolutely amazed at the size of the cruise ships. Often you see pictures of them out in the ocean and it’s hard to get a sense of their size. You really captured it with your photos.

  7. 13

    Anna said,

    What a beautiful spot. My sister has a holiday home in St. Lucia ~ I wonder if she would like to take me with her on her next trip 🙂

  8. 15

    Sitting here on a dreary, and very soggy afternoon, I can’t help but feel a little envious of your lush, and warm environs at the moment. Although my mind always boggles at the sheer immense size of those cruise ships! How do you not get lost on board?! 😉

  9. 17

    These are such wonderful images Deborah. I will be getting to St. Lucia in the near future I am hoping because I have a cousin that lives there. Her sister asked me to go, and although I am not fond of flying, I will not turn it down. Their brother owns a jet and would be our pilot. You really made me not want to turn this trip down because it is so darn beautiful. None of my cousins can take photographs, and seeing their photos, never knew it was so pretty there.

    • 18

      Do go, you will love it, and remember it is only a 40 minute flight to Barbados (if he will take you there as well). It is sooo gorgeous, I wish my battery had not died.

  10. 19

    Stunning scenery and a fantastic garden that you found. Those Maidenhair ferns are so luscious, maybe I should move my one little one in the woodland to a more moist spot! Looking forward to the rest of your trip!

  11. 21

    Mario said,

    I know cruise ships have gotten a bad rap lately, but I still love the idea of boarding one for a magical voyage. Your photos really capture the unique vantage points from the ship- views that are rarely seen by many.

  12. 23

    Wendy said,

    Amazing. Have I mentioned that I’m freaking jealous of your life?! I got married in St Lucia. We stayed (and married) at Ladera – right between the two pitons. We visited many of the same places and I remember all that honking as you go around a turn!. At marigot Bay, we decided to go to the bar just across the way and a local was trying to tag along to make/sell us something, but the boat guy refused him passage, so instead he swam across, got out, wrung his shirt out, and approached his tourists. That was really great. We also went to the rainforest and tried to see the St. Lucian Parrot, which I think is endangered, but the locals said the gov sprays the mountaintops to kill the marijuana and since, the parrots have been extremely hard to find. Sad. Did you see any?

    • 24

      Wow, what an amazing place to get married, and it sounds like you had quite a few adventures while on the island. I have never heard of the St. Lucian parrot, off now to Google it.


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