Viking Ocean Cruises - From the Caribbean to the Amazon
January 5 - Castries, Saint Lucia
Weather high 82, low 73 with scattered showers. Map of St Lucia.
We docked at Castries at 8:00 amid lush green vegetation and
sparkling blue water. Ellen joined Ann and me at Star Theater at 8:30 and we followed our excursion group to the gangplank and out to a large catamaran which would take us on our St Lucia by Sea tour. The sky was getting dark so we tried to find a spot on deck where we would not get too wet when the showers began. Our seats were exposed to the elements, but the showers that occurred were light so we did not get very wet. Besides, it was warm and a little moisture felt good.
Our boat motored south close to the western coast. We had good views of the steep hills covered with dense tropical forests. Sailboats and beaches in small coves lined with palm trees tempted us.
As we approached our first stop in Soufrière, we could see the iconic Pitons covered in mist. After disembarking, our large group split into several smaller groups and were put into buses which drove us through the hills to the Morne Coubaril Estate for a tour and lunch. Paraphrasing from Viator's description of the tour, "This historic 18th-century Morne Coubaril Estate still features the original, now restored, plantation house along with a reproduction farm worker’s village that depicts the plantation’s centuries-long history of cotton, sugarcane, cocoa and coffee production. Crops like coconuts and manioc still grow on the estate in the traditional ways, and guided tours include demonstrations for husking coconuts, along with tastings of ripe cocoa and fresh-pressed cane juice. The on-site restaurant serves a creole lunch buffet of St. Lucian specialties". The estate grounds were beautiful and the lunch in a large covered patio with long tables featured a buffet offering local cuisine. We enjoyed the tour and our guide with her Caribbean accent.
Back at the catamaran, we set sail to go back to Castries. This time we were much closer to the coast. An eye-opener was our cruise through the beautiful Marigot Bay with its large yachts and upscale resorts. Farther up the coast, we anchored in a cove, changed into our swimming gear and climbed down a ladder in the boat's stern into the warm sea. Bobbing around for about a half hour, we got back into the boat and set sail for our home base. And it was a fun sail with rum, Caribbean music and dancing. We were sad to leave after having so much fun.