Saint Lucia is surrounded by beautiful waters, facing the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast and the Caribbean Sea on the west. Our Editor celebrated her birthday with a boat ride but why wait for a special occasion? No vacation is complete without venturing out onto the waves so choose your vessel and set sail!
I love birthday celebrations, especially my own! This year was a significant one so my friends decided to “push the boat out”, literally, and whizz me up and down the west coast in their speedboat. Exhilarating!
We left IGY Rodney Bay Marina mid-morning with a full tank of gas and a cooler filled to the brim with wines and beers on ice. After observing the marina speed limit and cruising out into the waters of Rodney Bay, I was nearly propelled overboard as ‘Captain J’ unexpectedly ‘put his foot down’ and sped us over towards Pigeon Island. If only the vehicular traffic on the highway could travel as unimpeded and fast as that!
Rounding the southern tip of Pigeon Island the difference between the calm waters of the bay and the motion of the “high seas” was stark. I am sure that a sailboat would have crested the waves in a calmer fashion but in the speedboat it made for a bumpy ride so we waved goodbye to Martinique in the distant north and about-turned to head south towards Soufriere.
The bird’s-eye view of Saint Lucia from a plane is spectacular but it was interesting to observe the beaches and land from the sea and to identify known landmarks. Windjammer resort stood out with its pretty, white villas perched up on the hillside like sprinkles on a cup cake.
We motored past more resorts and Vigie peninsula with its lighthouse, marveled at the size of the cruise ships in Castries Harbour, and raced past the oil refinery. Next stop: Marigot Bay. Time to pause for an ice cream and some retail therapy!
Back on board we popped the cork on the first bottle, turned on the music, settled into our seats and enjoyed the scenery. It brought home to me how lush and green Saint Lucia is and how much of the country, especially south of the capital city, Castries, is undeveloped: peak after peak of verdant rainforest and vegetation, unspoiled by man.
We passed fellow water-borne travellers including fishermen in their brightly coloured boats who had set sail from the villages of Anse La Raye and Canaries. We bade a hearty ‘hello’ to the tourists on the catamaran, all clearly in party mode and having a whale of a time. As we overtook the sailboats we wondered how long it would take them to reach Soufriere and whether they would be there in time for lunch. No such worries for us!
I never tire of the majesty of the Pitons. As we rounded a headland and were confronted by the twin peaks I was reminded that they are one of the many reasons why I am proud to be Lucian and why I love this island. It is beautiful! Like nowhere else in the world.
We docked at Soufriere pier and took a short taxi-ride up to Ladera. The resort lies between the Pitons at an elevation of over 1,000 feet (300 meters) so the perspective is completely different. The view was phenomenal: the twin peaks were swathed in sunlight and the sea sparkled as if encrusted with diamonds. I pondered whether nature was laying on this display specially for me on my birthday, knowing full well that it is this awesome every day and for everyone.
We ate lunch in Ladera’s Dasheene restaurant. I opted for the catch of the day, Mahi Mahi, which was divine. I was just glad that I ate the fish before I went swimming otherwise I may not have had the heart to devour an underwater companion.
Back on the boat we commenced a leisurely ride north and stopped near Ti Kaye resort for some snorkeling. The waters were teeming with sea life including shoals of angel and sergeant major fish. I didn’t know the names of most species whose aquatic world I had invaded but I was enthralled by their colours and grace as they swam around the rocks and coral.
The afternoon was rapidly passing and, alas, it was time to head home. As I sat at the stern of the boat, glass of bubbly in hand and friends around me, I reflected how lucky I am to live in Saint Lucia. And then came the finale to a magical day: a stunning sunset with the sky exhibiting a technicolour palette of pinks, oranges, reds and purples. What a celebration!