Having left Brazil behind us we had a three day visit to some of the more southerly Caribbean islands.
Firstly Trinidad and Tobago – we visited Tobago which has suffered from prior hurricanes. It is not one of the more attractive islands in this part of the world but we enjoyed our glass bottomed boat trip and I liked the sun shining on the Ocean through the sargasso seaweed.
Then on to St Lucia – last time I visited was in the late 90s and I’ve always rather liked this island as it is very lush with an impressive rain forest area which has protected it from hurricane damage most of the time.
I took the 90 minute aerial tram ride above the forest and really enjoyed learning about the flora and fauna and trying to spot the local birds (pretty tiny!). And the views on the way down were excellent although I could have done without the zip liners squealing away nearby. Tram built by the Austrians in 2006 so felt safe.
A very pretty caterpillar that will apparently become a moth. The prettier the caterpillar the more likely it will be a moth and the more boring it is the more likely it will be a butterfly – so they say. Also managed to catch this hummingbird have feed.
Finally back to Barbados. Some friends from the ship – Peter, Richard and Lucinda and I drove (well Peter did) around the island so we could see the Atlantic and Caribbean sides as well as some of the interior. We ate lunch at The Tides in Holetown where I dined almost a year ago with my friend Beth – it’s still excellent. Thanks Peter and Richard for letting me gate crash your car rental.
Now embarking on a mega 7 day Atlantic crossing so lots of time to plan my forthcoming travels for the rest of the year and beyond …….
Last two days of the cruise included a stop in Barbados. We headed to Holetown about 15 minutes away and after a bit of retail therapy at Chattel Town which houses it’s shops in old style colourful buildings
we had a fantastic meal at Tides on the beach. Great views and food.
Final stop was Grenada – a new country to add to my list. We visited what’s considered to be one of the world’s best beaches – Grand Anse. It is spectacular.
Last day on the ship – including a 70s party with a spot of wild YMCA.
One day in Martinique. Another island fully owned by the French. In fact if you are French and fly there from Paris it is considered a domestic flight! This was by far the wealthiest island I’ve been to so far – it would appear this is helped by the inhabitants enjoying all aspects of the Fenech social system plus a hefty dose of EU funding for important things – like making rum.
First stop was the rum factory which was interesting as they use slightly different techniques from other makers (in case you’re interested – they use all the sugar from the cane not just the molasses). We were tasting different rums by 10am – well that’s the way the tour went!
After that we headed to the north of the island to the former capital St Pierre – former because in 1902 there was a volcanic blast that instantly killed all 30000 of its inhabitants – bar one man who was in the prison for drunk and disorderly behaviour. He was badly burned but went on to join Barnum and Bailey circus and made a good living out of being indestructible. There is a moral to that tale somewhere. Anyway you can see some of the remains – like a very minor Pompei and it is all rather a sad story (especially as it was the local politician who decided to delay the town’s evacuation by a couple of weeks so that people would be around to vote for him (he died too)
Then we headed inland to the Rain forest where it is wet and rainy most of the time but of course very lush. Some nice things to see and opportunities for serious hikers too. (Not me). Also a fifth size kind of replica of the Sacre Coueur in Paris – it was a bit of a sad imitation.
End of day cocktails with Beth back on the ship is a must
First two days at sea had two stops. The first to St Thomas was unexpected as we were meant to be in St Croix! High waves meant access to St Croix was not possible and hence the re-routing.
Sadly a lot of the islands were very badly damaged during Irma and in some case also Maria. Also cruise terminals in this part of the work tend to be very full of jewellery shops – and no I haven’t bought anything. You can have too much of a good thing.
I did find a synagogue in St Thomas which I think was the nicest building I saw. Note special parking for the rabbi below. And the impressive iguana near the docks who greeted us on arrival.
Next day we visited St Maarten/Martin part owned by the Dutch and part by the French. Most ships dock on the Dutch side but the French side (a 15 minutes taxi ride from the cruise terminal) is prettier although far more badly impacted by the hurricane with many shops and restaurants yet to re-open. I hope it picks up again as it has charm.