St. Lucia

We first visited St. Lucia in 1991, so it wasn’t surprising that the island didn’t seem immediately familiar. After waking up a bit later than usual (our shore excursion was changed from morning to early afternoon), we ate breakfast out on the Terrace Deck. I spent some time writing a book review for TUAW.com before we headed out.

Our excursion was to an island that really isn’t an island anymore. Pigeon Island was a small island separated from the coast of St. Lucia that was used as a strategic naval point between the late 1700s and World War II. When work was done to build an airport, some of the extra fill material was used to create a connection between St. Lucia and the island. That’s now the location of a Sandals Resort, which our tour guide Leah referred to as “the place where many babies are conceived.”

We took a small tour bus to Pigeon Island, where we disembarked and visited a small museum at this National Park. Unfortunately the walk to some of the tour sites was on uneven surfaces and the distance was more than Barb’s right knee could really put up with.

We finally ended up at a beachside bar and grill called “Jambe Du Bois” (wooden leg), named after a pirate who had frequented the cove back in the 1700s.

Our shore excursion was a cooking lesson to learn how to make Planter’s Punch and Saltfish Accra. I volunteered to help make the punch; the proper formula is one sour, two sweet, three strong, four weak. The sour is usually lime juice, the sweet can be a sugar-water mix or coconut water, the strong is rum (usually 151 rum), and the weak is cranberry juice or grenadine, nutmeg, and some other ingredients including Angostura Bitters. I used less strong rum and more nutmeg, and thought my formula came out better than the instructor’s.

Saltfish Accra is made from a salt fish soaked in water, then finely flaked. Chopped onions and peppers are added, along with parsley and celery leaves. A dough made of flour is blended into the mixture and allowed to rise.

The resulting mixture is spooned into hot oil and fried until thoroughly cooked. These fish fritters were wonderful, and I’d like to make them with smoked salmon some day.

We spent some time just relaxing, then headed back to the ship. Fortunately the driver brought the bys near the restaurant so Barb’s knee didn’t get any more abuse.

Back at the ship, I spent time finishing and mailing my post, while Barb and I also checked out the other ships in port at Castries. The largest ship in the P&O fleet, the Ventura (number 25 in terms of size at the current time) was one, while a small, older ship called the Fairwinds was parked behind it.

A quick visit to the Internet showed that the latter is owned by the Scientologists, which means that it is probably the only cruise ship ever owned and operated by a cult.

After sailing at 6 PM, we took some sunset photos, then headed to the Terrace for some al fresco dining. After that it was off to the Horizons bar to get ready for the nightly Brainteasers Trivia!

That’s where we are now, and we’re waiting for the rest of our team to show up. Tomorrow, it’s the island of Dominica!

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