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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Beautiful places and beautiful people

So here we are still moored between the Pitons, St Lucia. It's so nice here that we found it hard to leave so we stayed another day. Next to us is a smart sixty foot yacht, this morning a ninty-ish foot yacht left the bay after spending the night here, and just up from us is Tenacious, the Jubilee Sailing Trust's three masted tall ship.

To prove that there's always someone with a bigger yacht, this morning a motor yacht arrived. It's biger than most warships, I guess 250 feet long, and is just sitting there, not anchored or moored. I got chatting to one of the crew. Yes, she's a private motor yacht, and yes, in calm weather they just hold her in position with computer controlled thrusters. There's a crew of 40-50 people. A door opens in the side to slide out and lower their dinghy - a forty foot motor boat. It's a different, and crazy world. As we came past this afternoon, someone on the aft deck was shooting baskets - had a basketball, hoop, and space to play without losing the ball overboard.

Meanwhile we enjoy sitting here on our somewhat more modest craft. Issie even asked to stay the extra day because she likes it here. The two Pitons tower over us like ancient sentinals and even the presence of a smart and expensive resort in the bay does little to detract from the splendour of this place.

It does detract from our wallet though - we made the mistake of ordering three ice creams without asking 'how much'. When they were bought to the beach it was $60EC, about £11 for three glasses of ice cream, which isn't bad back home in england but hurt a bit when we're used to paying a third of that.

I also re-learnt the boat boy lesson - I keep wanting to believe that these are nice guys just trying to make a buck or two and they keep just trying to prove me wrong. Today one comes by and offers us local carvings, no thanks. Anything else, he says? How about some nice fresh fish? Tuna? OK, now I could be tempted. How much? $20EC (£4 per pound) Well that's a nice try and not too over the top so I say how about two pounds for $30? OK he says, and promises to be back later. I know it won't be tuna but Skipjack, but that's OK, we're a long way from a fish market and a fiver for a couple of meals is fine.

When he gets back, he's toting a fairly large fish. Huh? I ask. Well, mon, it's all they had and I don' wan' leave you with nothing when you asked me to get fish, yeah? Hmm, I believe you. How much for that then. $90, mon. Cough splutter yeah right. Look, I asked for two pounds, we agree a price and now you bring me more than we can eat before it goes bad - what am I going to do with a fish that size. Well, mon, it's a five pound fish, that's a good price. Well, no it's still too much and more than I need. Look, I'll give you $50. Oh, no mon, it's a nice big fish. It might be, but I don't want that much fish. OK, mon, how 'bout $60 then. Alright, alright, lets do that.

So another £11 gets us a nice amount of fish, and actually it's more fresh than I'd feared so we'll get three decent meals out of it but it does mean we're eating tuna for lunch and dinner! More to the point, I don't like being taken advantage of - I'm sure he could've got us a couple of nice steaks exactly as we wanted and we'd have been happy but now I feel like I've been taken for a ride and won't do business with them again.

This afternoon we went for a lovely walk in the woods above the bay. It's an old plantation (The Jalousie - Ja Louzy - Plantation) and there are still groves of coconut trees amid the encroaching forest and we dragged the kids up the very steep road and into the forest.

After that, we went snorkeling yet again, and I can't resist adding another picture of our little mermaid as she dives on the reef. There are two great snorkeling spots just here, and even Max now uses his mask and snorkel. We've seen big parrot fish, small squid or cuttlefish, and many others. We've also seen a barracuda, cruising the reef for his dinner and looking very mean. One of the reefs has a big wall of rock, teeming with life and going down about twenty metres. Its at times like this that I wish we dived, we'll have to do our training once the kids get into their teens.

Tomorrow we'll move a half mile to the other side of Petit Piton and get nearer to Soufiere village where we can get supplies and walk up to some of the interesting things inland, like the plantations, sulphur springs, waterfalls and hot pools. I suspect that we may struggle to better this spot for a long time, this may be one of the most beautiful places on the planet. More when we next get wifi.


Blogger Richard Waite said...

How wonderful. I am having a wonderful time reading your account: Being a Journal of oure Adventeures in the Caribbean, and of the Excitements so thoroughie enjoied by Max and Issie.

2:57 am  

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