Archive for April, 2010

My visit to St. Lucia (by Graydon)

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

To help us get caught up on our backlog of missing blog entries, we invited Graydon Flatt (our nephew/cousin) to contribute a blog entry for our visit to St. Lucia. Here it is. Pictures to follow shortly.

Cheers,
Colin

My Visit to Bojangles IV in St Lucia.
By Graydon Flatt (Age 12)

We (the Bermuda Kilgours) stayed in a villa on Rodney Bay, while the Caribbean Kilgours stayed on Bojangles at the other end of the bay, a three minute dinghy ride away. Every morning, we would wake up and go downstairs, where various combinations of the family would arrive shortly, if they weren’t already there. Here I am going to describe some memorable things from our trip to St Lucia.

People:
We met many different people. Our primary cab drivers were Donald and his father-in-law (on the Soufriere trip we had a driver called Gabriel). Our housekeeper was Ester, who was very nice. We met many children, ranging from “boat boys” to children at the playground (see below). We met Jacob/John at Windjammer. Our guide to zip lining was called Annie (our driver here was Rufus). We also had a guide at the Union Nature Trail/Mini Zoo who was excellent at making animal calls. Always save the best for last: Warren “Renegade” and Stanley were our guides for our Soufriere trip in the Renegade… Power!

Fauna:
We saw many species of wild animals. My favourite was probably the mongoose on Pigeon Island (which, incidentally, no one else saw). My other favourites were two boa constrictors in the rainforest, trumpet fish and even a spotted moray eel which was first spotted by my mum while snorkeling. We also saw many species of birds such as the bananaquit, tropical mockingbird, lesser Antillean bullfinch and hummingbird. The other wild animals we saw were rats. As for domestic animals, we saw goats, cows (and babies), horses, sheep, dogs (and babies) and cats. Our condo was right next door to four Rottweilers who barked every time we drove past. (On our other side was a Burger King in a shopping mall)

Pigeon Island:
Not an island at all- anymore. Uncle Colin, Mitchell, Clare, Gilly and I hiked to the top, Signal Peak (while the others waited behind), in search of a geocache. It was Uncle Colin who finally found it under a rock. We exchanged some sunscreen for other trinkets, such as a fire breathing nun! After this, we snorkeled off the “island”. The mega yacht A was moored off Pigeon Island, too. Before we went home, we played a bit at Reduit Beach.

Zip lining:
We went zip lining one day in the rainforest. It was a bit scary at first, but awesomely fun! We saw two boas and rainbow eucalyptus trees which were both very cool.

Pizza! Pizza! Playground!:
An awesome playground off Rodney Bay which we kids visited a few times before we got kicked out! Anyway, it was a lot of fun with a roundabout, bouncy castle and two trampolines!

Soufriere trip:
First, we boarded the Renegade Power and travelled down the coast, admiring three caves (“Goldenrock”, “Bat” and “Dragon”) on the way. We had our first view of the Pitons also. When we arrived in the town of Soufriere, we left Renegade with the boat and went with Stanley to a sulfuric volcano, which was very cool. Then, he took us to the Toraille waterfall which we got to swim in…………too much pressure! Then we had lunch and headed back, briefly stopping to snorkel.

Sailing:
One day, the admiral and skipper took us sailing, which was really fun (until I got a bit seasick much later. We sailed all the way to Marigot Bay, where we stopped to eat lunch and play on the beach, where we spotted the Renegade Power once again.

Windjammer Resort:

This is where we went on my twelfth birthday. We played giant chess and ping pong on the beach, swum out to a floating trampoline and played in the pool where we met Jacob/John, another child who we somewhat played with, using false identities.

Union Nature Trail/ Mini Zoo:

Just my mum and us kids went, but it was a fun hike and in the mini zoo, there were only 10 animals, but they were good animals, like agoutis, boas, parrots, iguanas, monkeys and tortoises (for the girls). Clare even figured out how to train the agoutis.

All in all, it was a very fun and memorable trip. The only bad thing (besides me being minorly electrocuted in the marina pool) was that it was very hot! (ed note: there was some stray current in the pool emanating from one of the lights.)

Martinique – First Whale Sighting and Carnival!

Monday, April 12th, 2010

We sailed from Portsmouth at the northern end of Dominica toward Martinique with our friends on Shining Time, who were about 5-10 miles ahead of us. We’d been sailing about an hour when they called us on the VHF to alert us that they had spotted a pod of whales of the coast of Dominica and that we ought to keep a close watch. We did just that and shortly thereafter we were rewarded with our first (and hopefully not last) whale sighting of this trip.

At first, we saw just the one whale in the distance – about a quarter mile away off our starboard bow. It really wasn’t doing anything exciting; it seemed to be just lying on the surface relaxing, looking very much like a massive floating 40 foot tree in the water. Then, as we got closer it swam away, allowing us to view him (gender remains uncertain – thankfully) surfacing and diving a few times before finally diving deep out of our view.

We then saw a few other, smaller whales do the same thing a couple of hundred yards away. While we were watching them, a similar one surfaced about 20 feet in front of Bojangles causing the admiral – once she calmed down – to seriously rebuke the captain concerning his cavalier attitude regarding what constitutes a ‘safe’ distance from these great mammals (As if I knew the bugger was going to come up right in front of the boat)

After a short while, we all calmed down and the whales proceeded on their northward path while we continued south to Martinique.

In Martinique, we first anchored in the resort community of Anse Mitan across the bay from the capital Fort de France – which, at about 100,000 people, is also the largest city we’ve seen since we were in DC back in October. Feeling a bit out of place amongst the pasty Parisian holidaymakers crowding the beach, we moved to a quieter anchorage nearby called Trois Ilets where we were joined by Shining Time.

Trois Ilets is in a little bay within the larger Fort de France Bay and is situated in such a way that you feel like you’re in a small lake, rather than the Caribbean Sea. So, we proceeded to pretend we were at the cottage back home and broke out all the water toys for tubing, Opti sailing, and general playing around in the water.

We also used Trois Ilets as our base for participating in Martinique’s pre-Lenten Carnival. For several days, we attended the parades, concerts, and exhibitions that make up Carnival. We were also coerced to join in one of the parades, dancing along with countless others behind a float that was blasting loud dance music. We also took in a performance by Le Ballet Pomme Cannelle de Martinique – which cannot be adequately described by my words, but suffice to say it was very entertaining and both Kathleen and I acquitted ourselves quite well in the ‘audience participation’ portion where we were each paired off with a member of the troupe. (And since none of you were there, you can’t dispute this)

We did the Carnival thing for three days then decided that we’d exit Martinique before the crazy Mardi Gras festivities. The three preceding days had provided a huge sensory overload – and as each day became increasingly bawdy, we felt that we should get out of there before the Mardi Gras parade put us in an awkward position as parents answering questions that we ourselves don’t know the answer to. (“No darling, I don’t know why that man is dressed like that. Perhaps he’s allergic to all clothing but fishnets, high heels, and G-strings.”)

So, on Mardi Gras we checked out of customs (well we would have had it not been closed for Mardi Gras) and set sail for Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.

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One sad note regarding our stay in Martinique was that we had to say goodbye to our friends the Van Alstines on Stolen Hour. We had traveled with them since the Chesapeake and our families had become great friends. However, their plans were taking them north and west to the Bahamas while ours were taking us further south to the Grenadines and Grenada. We had a fun last night out with them, and then had an emotional departure from the harbour as they saluted Bojangles by blowing the conch as we sailed away. We’ll miss them, but look forward to re-connecting in the future.

Sante