Hello again, welcome back to this blog, where I’m going to write about Part III of Katie and my St. Lucia trip. Last time, I talked about the stuff we did on the resort. This time, I want to talk about the stuff we did off resort. We didn’t do much because we spent so much on the all-inclusive package, but we did some!
First, I’ll freely admit that we would have done more off resort, but I cancelled one of our “excursions”. Since I handled booking the trip, Katie handled booking the other stuff. One of the things she booked was something called “Hike The Pitons”. The Pitons are two of the big mountains in St. Lucia, and while I love hiking, I didn’t relish doing so in 90 F heat and 100% humidity, especially given that I was already chafing from the constant sweat and walking around. So, we cancelled that one. Maybe next time we’ll Hike The Pitons. However, since we’d already prepaid for the tour, Sandals let us take the value and apply it to a different tour and to a private car back to the airport! After our less-than-optimal van ride, we jumped right on that offer. We also booked a spot on JJ’s Speedboat tour, a tour that’s clearly the “see almost all the things in 4 hours” tour, and is advertised as such. But, come on, you got to go on a speedboat, and you got to drink on it. Honestly I would have paid just for that.
The JJ’s boat picked up around 9:00 am at the resort, and we climbed aboard with about 20 other people. The first part of the tour consisted of a visual tour of the coastline, speeding along at a pretty good clip, winds in our faces. I took as many photos as I could since it was so beautiful. We arrived fairly quickly at our first destination, a marine preserve where we were set to snorkel. We learned the the resort next door is the one that Matt Damon rented out for $300,000 (or $700,000, can’t remember) to renew his vows or whatever. Movie stars, they’re just like us! Did I mention that St. Lucia is apparently the Rich People island in the Caribbean? Anyway, we hopped off the boat, and started snorkeling.
In case you were wondering (you were, right? Just kind of left you hanging there with the snorkeling?), it was really cool and beautiful. I’d been snorkeling just two other times, and I have a love/hate relationship with it. One the one hand, I love swimming, and I love looking at cool stuff. On the other, the pressure in my sinuses gives me a massive headache. I held out for about 20 minutes or so and got to see some amazing coral, schools of fish, and listen to the various whooshings and cracklings under the water as the fish fed. It was excellent. After my sinuses finally gave up, I made my way back to shore, and waited another 20 minutes for Katie to finish (she really loves snorkeling, she went a second time later in the trip). While waiting, I watched some guy make fruit salad from fresh local fruit for people, and made conversation with a couple other guests, while taking in the beauty of the inlet we had moored in, right next to the Pitons.
After about 40 minutes, we clambered back into the boat, where the crew began to get us drunk. They started serving small (but strong and delicious!) pours of some rum punch they had on board. Holy cow was that stuff good after a long boat ride and some snorkeling. The crew had a rotating soundtrack of modern pop and hip hop, with some classics thrown in to please the older crowd. Our next stop was the volcano (long since extinct) which had some sulfur mud baths we were going to bathe in, followed by a dip in a waterfall pool. We continued drinking along the way, until we arrived in the old St. Lucian capital of Soufrière. Once there, we clambered aboard another van-cab, and drove through the old city up to the volcano.
There are a few sulfur hot springs around St. Lucia, and you know they’re sulfur, because you smell them before you see them. After just a few minutes, we climbed out of the vans, and waited for all of the others to arrive. We got to hang out with a few cars, and some chickens! It was just a short walk up the hill to the mud baths, where we were ordered to strip everything off except our bathing suits, and climb on it to the grey goop. I’ll admit, I am not a fan of hot water or hot tubs, so I made some pretty terrible faces as I got into the goopy hot spring, but Katie loved it. After submerging, we then climbed out, where we were ordered to cover each other in the thick grey mud, and then had silly designs painted on us in a darker black mud. After some obligatory photos, we descended again into the hot spring to clean off most of the mud (except our faces, which we were told to leave on). An unpleasant realization was that the white on our bathing suits was now stained orange. Oh well! Should have read the fine print, I guess.
After getting back into the vans, the next stop was the waterfall, where thankfully there were bathrooms! The waterfall itself was very pretty, and we swam in a small pool at the base of the waterfall, finally cleaning off the last of the sulphur mud. After swimming for a few minutes, and taking some pictures of the scenery, we got back in the van, where I watched one of the other guests buy what some random St. Lucian told him was weed, but totally wasn’t. Hilarious. On the drive back to Soufriere, our driver pointed out the cocoa and banana that were growing on trees along the road, two of St. Lucia’s primary exports. It was super cool to see in person! We then got back on the boat, where the crew immediately started giving us more liquor. Good job, JJ’s boat tour crew.
The last stop on our trip was the JJ’s complex, their home base so to speak, where we were to eat lunch. I didn’t know lunch was included, but hadn’t eaten in 4 hours, so I was super pumped. The food was really good! There was rice, noodles, fish, chicken, salad, all with some delicious sauce. We ate it all, and also hung out with the many, many stray cats who crowded around looking for handouts. They certainly weren’t the friendliest cats, but we gave them some snacks nonetheless. We clambered back on the boat for some more rum punch, and headed back to the resort! While super touristy, we really enjoyed the brief sojourn off resort, and decided to take another one, to Pigeon Island, the next day.