St. Lucia was not much of a stop for us. As a reminder, HERE is the post I did from the boat. These photos are essentially the same, or nearly the same, as the ones I did from the phone.
Here’s us (meaning Melisa, me, and the Royal Princess) getting into Port Castries. Rather, what we see as we get into port.
The entrance to the harbor is narrower than any of the other islands we visited. The photo above shows the view out the back of the boat. I should have gotten an actual shot of the entrance, but we passed just to the right of those rocks.
Here’s what the other side looks like . . .
Yes, that is their runway . . . It’s not their main airport, in case anyone is wondering. This one is the George F. L. Charles airport, the other being the International Airport. This one looks to be for small planes. That’s only a guess based on the fact I did not see any 747s land or take off.
Looking back toward the entrance, you can see the other shore. The photos are a bit washed out as it’s before dawn, and I’m shooting a higher ISO than I should have (shot on automatic as opposed to manual).
Those look like nice homes, but I would be worried about the day some Costa ship rams that point, slicing it off, and dumping the homes into the sea.
This is where we were heading . . . very, very slowly.
We would eventually dock behind and at an angle from the Silversea’s Silver Whisper. That ship holds a tad more than 1/10th the number of passengers carried by the Royal Princess . . . 382 passengers and a crew of 302.
The view on the other side . . .
Understand that it was dawn . . . lighting be bad, ISO be high, photos be grainy. BUT, you can see originals HERE, in the SmugMug St. Lucia Gallery. You can also click on the photos for a larger version (but less than original resolution).
The two photos above contain things I tend to focus in . . . boats:
. . . and ruins . . .
As far as I remember, every island had ruins . . . this one to me looks like the remnants of a prison, or maybe the compound of some religious cult. Regardless, they be all gone now.
Oh, look . . . more boats . . .
The first is the Chale . . . I searched the Internet, but found very little on this mystery ship.
Other than . . . THIS, and THIS, and THIS. Apparently, it’s a tug.
The other ship just sailed past the harbor . . . it’s the Europa 2, part of the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises stable of ships. Much like the Silversea line, these ships cater to people with more disposable income than people sailing on the Regal Princess.
Here’s another look at the other two ships . . .
That’s a panorama from two separate images . . . note the people playing soccer in the background. Very early in the morning . . . they must really like soccer.
There was another ship docked . . .
That’s the Insignia, part of Oceania Cruises . . . we did not know it while we were there, but that same day they had a fire on board, and three people died. HERE is the news story.
I’ll have other photos of the ship later on in the post.
So, here we are . . .
. . . ever-so-gently moving sideways to kiss the pier.
“What are them buildings?” you, oh gentle and most esteemed reader, ask . . .
Well, they are what greets all disembarking passengers at each port of call . . . a shopping center. Typically owned by the cruise lines, these places have an abundance of diamond and precious stones vendors . . . don’t believe me? Read the St Lucia Shopping guide.
Of course, you can leave the gated shopping area, and venture out on the island proper.
Here are the St Lucia Patter, the St Lucia Port write-up, and the St Lucia Excursions.
The thing with St. Lucia’s excursions is there were few that did not include either riding in an egg-beater, riding on a boat, or swimming, and those few were already booked, and not by us.
I snapped a few more photos as we formulated our plan to eat breakfast and head out for a 3-4 mile walk. We decided that because it looked like buildings and shorelines were within easy walking distance.
So, a few more shots of what could be seen from the deck of the ship . . .
. . . including the deadly Oceana ship . . .
. . . and I stepped away from the railing.
By the way, we did not even notice the singular lack of passengers on the Insignia . . . not surprising as I usually try to ignore people. I probably thought I was being particularly masterful at doing so.
I already wrote about our experience when we ventured out for our walk, but for new readers . . .
The pleasure of walking (something we really enjoy doing) is greatly diminished when about every twenty feet you are accosted with people who own taxis, or work for people who own taxis, or work for companies who hire people to drive their taxis.
Look, I get it . . . the big boat comes in full of fat bastards who obviously have some money since they are tooling around on a half-billion dollars boat. It would be nice for these fat bastards to hire some of the locals and thereby part with them precious dollars.
I kid, but I feel for the people . . . they are trying to make a living. Except . . .
. . . we were walking on a straight sidewalk next to a street literally lined with bumper-to-bumper taxis. That means that, conservatively, every twenty feet or so (that’s roughly seven steps) some guy, and sometimes multiple guys, accosted us explaining the many reasons why we need to hire a taxi, and specifically, their taxi.
Never mind they just saw me turn down a string of twenty people before them, the last seven of which were well within earshot of me saying “No, thank you; we just want to go for a walk”.
It gets worse . . . there is obviously a hierarchy to where taxis park. The farther we got from the ship, the . . . ahem . . . less reputable the solicitors became. Gone were the uniforms and cars with taxi signs and numbers. Instead, some guy would saddle up to us, walking along with us, pull the cigarette from his mouth (it looked like a cigarette, so I’ll be generous and assume so), point to a beat-up vehicle, and explained the many reasons why we need to hire someone to drive us around, and specifically, that we should hire him.
I’m an old guy, but I’m reasonably athletic, I work out, and I specifically carried my monopod with me. It’s aluminum, and it’s topped with a camera head that weighs over a pound. I was constantly shifting from one side of Melisa to the other to intercept oncoming would-be drivers. It was less than relaxing because these guys would consistently come well within my comfort zone for strangers approaching me.
However, about a mile from the pier, the assault abated, and we just walked along the road and water.
One thing about tropical islands . . . they are warm, and they are humid.
Still, I shot some photos, bravely ignoring my progressively uncomfortable clothes, the heat, and the stickiness. We now live in Colorado . . . we have forgotten (and worked hard to do so) the evils of combined heat and humidity. They. Suck!!
We walked a little farther, entering a nice little park, and then we heard it . . . softly at first, but then progressively louder. And not one thing, but multiple things . . . the A/C, the shower, the International Cafè, doughnuts, iced tea, panini, ice cream . . . they were all calling us.
We tried to shut them out, but eventually succumbed, and headed back. By now my leg was bothering me, so the decision to forego further exploration was a pretty easy one to make.
This time we took a shortcut through the St. Lucia Fisheries Development. I wanted to snap a photo of the murals, and in the process found out the Project for Fisheries Development was donated by the Government of Japan (you can’t read it here as it is too small, but that’s what the plaque on the wall says) . . . I guess Japanese people like fish; who knew?!
I was particularly pleased that I could name all the fish . . . Alfred, Jim, Brian, Dipesh, Ali, Dave, John, and Mike. I think the shrimp’s name is Bob, but I can’t be sure . . . they all look alike to me.
I also wanted to take closeups of the boats I had seen from the ship.
Even got me one of them there composed and artistic shots people like.
This is where I solidified my opinion of the island of St. Lucia and, if not all the people, at least the ones we came in contact with.
The island is not one I’m keen on visiting again, and the locals I interacted with are assholes. Let me explain.
The sidewalk is wide enough for two people to pass shoulder to shoulder, and on the side next to the road there is additional room to step off into nicely manicured grass. On the other side there is a six inch drop-off into muddy and unkempt dirt.
Mud and dirt we had to step onto because said assholes purposefully blocked the sidewalk and the manicured grass. Hence, not impressed with the island or the locals, and when I become a multimillionaire (my lotto numbers are bound to hit soon), see if I build an obscenely expensive compound on St. Lucia. (hint: not happening)
Safely back on the ship, we took turns showering as the other person went for snack runs.
These are typical snacks . . .
We could have opted for these . . .
. . . but usually gravitated to these . . .
I just don’t trust fruit in foreign lands . . . they look . . . unsafe.
Then we went to eat lunch. And then we grabbed more snacks and some coffees for the room so that I could sit on the balcony with my 400mm lens and snap away at anything that struck my fancy.
Mainly, we were waiting for the reservations we had for dinner, and it’s not good to let one’s stomach shrink in between meals. Besides, if you go to dinner hungry, you end up eating more.
Anyway, I took photos of ruins (or buildings on their way to becoming ruins) . . .
. . . of a few birds (egrets) . . .
. . . of boats (of course) . . .
. . . of the panorama unfolding before me . . .
The first photo shows the entrance to the harbor . . . it looks wide, but this is a big ship.
Here’s a closeup of what was likely a post guarding the entrance to the harbor.
Can you spot the cow?
Occasionally I would capture a boatload of people returning from their excursions . . .
. . . looks like fun; now I’m sorry we missed . . . I can’t say it with a straight face; nevermind.
Here’s a couple of panoramas of the two sides of the harbor entrance . . .
. . . and of the Egret tree. I always thought they hatched from eggs, but apparently I was mistaken . . . they grow on trees.
This house looked like a very nice house . . . although it would not bother me, I was surprised to see it that close to the lighthouse.
This was odd . . . I could not figure out if it was a working gym, or something abandoned by the natives as they opted to pursue a life of taxi driving.
Here’s a few more panorama shots . . .
. . . a few more ships . . .
Notice the soccer players are gone . . . I guess I too would opt to play in the cool morning air as opposed in full sun.
Despite his poor choice when it comes to matter of trust, I like the old man in the front of this boat. That is exactly where I would want to sit.
I captured a few random houses . . .
. . . a near-empty Insignia . . .
. . . Santa Claus . . .
. . . more houses . . .
. . . a helicopter doing touch-and-go runs . . .
. . . more boats . . .
. . . another house . . .
. . . and more tourists returning from excursions . . .
That was the last photo I took with the Nikon. The original post has a few more phone-photos, but nothing of worth. Some might argue there is little of worth here. Well, excu-u-u-u-se me! I’m new at this cruising thing.
We went to eat, and had us a wonderful meal, ordering what we ordered whenever we went to a sit-down meal.
I really should do a cruise-food post . . .
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