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Dolphins and Soufriere

Despite leaving town early last night to avoid traffic, it didn't occur to me that there would be so much morning traffic. I had left what I thought was plenty of time to get from Gros Islet to Vigie Marina, but it ended up taking about an hour. I was late for the whale-watching boat. Fortunately for me, there were a few other people who were late due to traffic and the boat had not yet arrived across the bay at the cruise port to pick up the passengers from the cruise ship. One of the guys from the boat company was nice enough to drive us over there to catch the tour from that point. The boat left the bay and went out to find some whales. Obviously since this is looking for animals in the wild, there are no guarantees you'll see anything, but the brochure advertises that they see whales 85% of the time. I figured that even if we didn't it's still a nice boat ride. It was. The weather was gorgeous and the boat had beverages to keep us happy. We didn't end up seeing any whales, but we did end up finding some dolphins. The pod was swimming alongside the boat, jumping out of the water like they do at sea world, and just generally playing around by us. It was very cool to watch, and I even caught some video of them. It made the tour worth the money. Afterwards, I set off towards Soufriere (yes, there is also one here) to see the “world's only drive in volcano.” On the way, I passed signs for various sites, so I stopped at those. The first was Pink Plantation, which houses a fancy-looking restaurant and Wild Orchid art. The plantation house itself was very interesting and had nice gardens. The art at Wild Orchid was so beautiful I even bought a plate. I think if I had a home, I would have bought more and asked them to ship, but I didn't and didn't have room in my luggage. The next was Eudovic art studio, which was highly recommended in my Lonely Planet book. I can see why. The carvings themselves are amazing. Some look like items I've seen in the Hirshorn. The owner himself was on-site and was happy to show people how to care or their pieces.Further on the way, I saw a sign for a Rum factory tour. The guard at the gate let me in and told me where to go for the tour, but they weren't running tours that day. They basically just got me into a shop that has walls full of various kinds of rum. The drive didn't look that long, but because the roads went up and down the mountains and the ridges went in and out of the island, I really couldn't drive that fast. Also, the roads all have great gutters that I'm sure are fabulous in the rain, bt if you were to go over the edge of the road just a bit, you'd be majorly stuck. Keep in mind, I've been driving on the left side of the road in St. Kitts for so long that I got taken for a Brit twice by people who saw me drive. It took hours to get to Soufriere, and the volcano is a bit farther still. However, I was so starving by the time I got to Soufriere that I ate at the first place I saw. The Hummingbird Hotel has a nice restaurant with a great view of the Pitons, but the service was a bit slow. The town was a cute little town with a pretty-looking church and good prices on souvenirs. What wasn't attractive though was that there were a lot of townsfolk who would offer directions and then ask for payment. Usually, people in the caribbean are super-friendly and wouldn't really think of asking for money like that. Also, there is one area of town where the road out is poorly marked, so it's almost like they planned on doing this. I was a bit disenchanted with that whole situation. I made it out of town and continued to the sulfur springs and volcano. There isn't an entry fee, but you're supposed to get a guide and pay him, so I did. The site and guide were pretty worthless. Basically, the side of the volcano collapsed and so you can see right in where the steam still rises and you can smell the sulfur in the air. It's similar to Yellowstone or New Zealand, but much smaller in area. The only addition is that here there is a sulfur pool that you can go sit in (which I didn't as I've been in enough hot springs recently). The guide didn't really have much to say and the tour took less than 10 minutes. This is not worth the drive. If you wouldn't enjoy the drive for the drive itself, I can't recommend coming just for this. Fortunately, on the way back I saw a sign for Morne Coubaril Estate, an old plantation that is apparently still running in some manners. This was a much better and more fun thing to see than the volcano. The tour of the plantation goes through various areas and buildings where you get to see how various items are made. For example, they have a still-working mill that squeezes sugar cane and collects the juice. You can “play mule” and push the wheel to make yourself a cup of sugar cane juice. The guide showed me every step to making chocolate from what a raw cacao pod looks like, to how they dry the beans, to grinding them. At most of the steps, I got to sample what the product tasted like. There were also samples at the coconut station where we saw how they get the milk and meat and then use the husks for fuel. For anybody interested in history, food, or botany, this tour was a good one. However, as it had taken so long to get out that way, I headed back right after the tour as I didn't exactly want to miss my flight. Again, the view was gorgeous and the drive was long, made even longer because it was raining and the roads were getting a little slick. I had dinner at The Wharf, which is a nice restaurant a bit north of Castries. It has a great view of the ocean and it was very calming to sit there and listen to the sounds of the waves. I was also impressed with their banana ketchup. I flew to St. Vincent and was picked up at the airport by a guy from the hotel. I really don't know why I got the deal I got on the hotel, but this is easily the fanciest place I've stayed all trip.

Dolphin

Dolphin


Pink Plantation

Pink Plantation


Eudovic Art

Eudovic Art


Volcano

Volcano


working sugar mill

working sugar mill

Posted by spsadventures 16:00 Archived in Saint Lucia

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