Thursday, January 24, 2013

Caribbean Cruise - St Lucia - Day 14 - 12/31/2012

We arrived at Castries, St Lucia at 8:00 am on New Years Eve.  Castries is the largest city on the islands.  St Lucia was originally discovered by the French but eventually came under the control of the British.  It became an independent country in 1979.  Being a volcanically formed island, it does have nice mountains with lush vegetation.

Just before arriving, we were greeted by a Water Spout that was dangling from the clouds but not reaching all the way to the water.  A Water Spout is like a tornado except it forms over water and rarely becomes as powerful as a tornado.  We don't miss much as we travel.

The island tour we took was described like this: "As a part of our island tour, we visited 30-minute drive through the quaint countryside of St Lucia leads to the Lushan Country Life attraction. This unique location offers you the chance to follow a forest walking trail amid lush, towering trees populated by colorful birds and butterflies for an excellent glimpse into the raw nature,
splendor and majesty of an island forest".  The photo below shows our group trekking through the forest.  We were all issued large walking sticks because of the rough terrain and the very wet trails which are was a good idea since the stick eventually saved me from going down and getting very muddy when I got off the trail to look at something.


There were lots of nice flowers and fruit trees but our hopes for seeing colorful tropical birds was dashed when we noticed that all the bird feeders were completely devoid of food.....there were no birds for us to photo.  Never saw a butterfly either.

During the tour, we were brought into a hut where a grandmotherly lady showed us some of the foods they collect in the jungle and talked about how they prepare them for meals.  She had samples for us to try.

At another way point on the tour, our guide had several of the commonly found fruits and prepared samples for our group to taste.


They do grow bananas for food and export on the island.

Ginger root.

The ship is decorated for New Years tonight.

Lots of rain in the distance.

The Amsterdam was also in port with us.  It is part of the Holland America fleet.  All the Holland America ships (ours is the Noordam) have "dam" as the last part of their names.  The like to collectively refer to the fleet as the "dam ships".  Holland uses dams extensively to help form the land that the cities are built upon and the dams are often named with the city that it helps create...i.e. Rotterdam (another HA ship name).  Noor is Dutch for "north".

It was crowded in port with three cruise ships.  The Amsterdam is backing its way out between us and another ship.

A Caribbean Air plane is getting ready for take-off.

You can see one of the islands most famous features of the island coming up in the distance.  The Pitons are the twin peaks in the photo.

Mt Gimie, the highest point on the island.

We had to stop in Soufriere Bay to pick up passengers who had taken an excursion that ended there. 

Local kids came close to our ship asking us to throw things to them (like money).  The Captain asked us not to throw anything because of safety concerns.  The kids could get caught in the ships propellers or thrusters since we were still moving.

Tomorrow is Barbados.

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