Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial
Day 8: St Lucia
DAY 5 on the ship: ST LUCIA!!!
This was our first time here and once again, thanks to the many people on here that helped me pick the perfect place to go to. Many highly recommended using Spencer Ambrose Tours and to head to Joulsie Beach between the Pitons for the day. I couldn't have been more happier with this choice and it was definitely another highlight of the cruise. We had the perfect day here!! This is one of those "must do" places and I highly recommend going here! If you love snorkeling, and snorkeling right off the beach, this place is THE place. I would say it's right up there with my Coki, St Thomas experience!
So on with the review.
We were due in port by 8am so that meant my alarm was piercing my ears at 645am! I got everyone up and Sakari was dragging this morning.
We headed out the door and I look at her and get this...Does anyone see a problem here?
No, let me show you a closer look...
That's how tired she was. She was so tired that she actually said "I don't want to go to the beach today" GASP!! Never in my life have I heard this come out of her mouth.
I still can't believe that she didn't notice she had 2 different sandals on. One of them is completely thin and flat and the other is sorta a high-heel on it. Only my child.
Up to the buffet we went for breakfast.
This was Sakari's plate and after her little comment about not wanting to go to the beach today...I couldn't wait to see her bite into that grapefruit. That would surely wake her up and she would snap back to reality and come to her senses. It worked! The look on her face was priceless as she spit it out. LOL
I had my usual, but they did manage to throw a new item in the mix this morning. Some kind of stuffed breakfast something or other. I did not like it, so the regular food it was. The bacon police did not give me the crispy bacon I like this morning. Boo hiss.
We are here!!!
So far, it looked like a beautiful port. I was so excited to be here. It's a place I have always wanted to visit. When I was in my 20's and poor and busy creating munchkins, I worked with a friend who married into a "rich" family. She would always go here. She always talked about it. Just hearing the words "Lucia" roll off her mouth made mine water from her stories. I was envious of the pictures she showed me. It sounded like such an exotic place. Luuuucccciiiiaaa. Ahhh, the name gave me chill bumps. AND HERE I AM NOW!
"Brrushshhhppppeeekkk" went the loud noise on the pool deck and everyone jumped. That was my signal to head down to grab our things and get off the ship. No need for ice today for our coolers because all the drinks were on Spencer (I think, but I would take money just in case I misunderstood).
We were off the ship at 8am and the paparazzi was waiting like always.
We met the Spencer team right outside the port and waited for about 10 minutes while they collected our remaining balance for the tour and we walked over to the boat we would be taking to the beach.
There's one thing I have learned when taking a tour by boat, always sit in the back or facing forward and not on the sides. The boat raises up when moving and you'll feel like you are falling sideways the entire time if you sit on the sides. My legs will be hurting by the time we get to our destination and it makes for an uncomfortable ride. So, I headed to the back immediately. The boat was full. I'm not sure how many people, but the seats were taken, but it was not uncomfortable in any way.
Then off we went. Goodbye Fascination...see you later today.
We were having a good time. The boat was super fast and he wasn't afraid to open up the throttle.
A selfie just to prove I actually made it to St Lucia
I took pictures along the way of course.
They had 2 huge engines on the boat. It was getting a little cloudy and I was beginning to wonder what was in store for us that day.
The colorful houses sitting on the hill reminded me of houses in Bermuda.
We pulled up to "Bat Cave", which was a large vertical opening in the rocks.
They got the boat really close. You could hear the bats inside and Sakari swore she was able to see a few. I was looking at my camera screen, so I didn't really see any.
We could see the pitons. What the heck are pitons? I had read it was a "plug" or something. Plug of a volcano. So it's a volcano that has a plug in the top of it? It's plugged until it decides to erupt again? I wasn't sure but I was calling it a volcano and we let everyone know back home that we were headed to the volcano's. LOL This is not one of Sakari's "know-it-all" subjects, so I couldn't even ask her about it.
We were pulling up to this little village. I looked around and didn't see a beach. Could I have been wrong about where we are going or it was the place they drop you off at and you walk to the beach? Or maybe shuttle there? I noticed some smoke coming from there.
I believe they said this was the sulfer coming from the volcanos? Can anyone confirm it's located right there in that little village? I thought it was weird, but you could definitely smell it.
We pulled up to the dock and everyone was getting out. Everyone except us I guess. He told us we were going on to the beach. We were the ONLY ones that didn't take the tour everyone else was doing. At that point I had regrets. I had ask the hubby which tour he wanted to do. Just the beach or the tour to the volcanos and mud bath. I personally thought the mud bath would be so awesome to do and would make for some great pictures (and everyone knows when I go some place, I have taking pictures on my mind). But he said "no way" and I only booked the beach portion. Now I regretted listening to him. I mean he leaves things up to me and is always just along for the ride. He usually never knows what we are doing or where we are going. I should have just booked and not worried about it. He would have went anyhow. But I didn't. Had I known for sure that Kendra was coming on the cruise with us, I would have booked the mud bath tour for sure! We would have had so much fun with that! Next time!!!
Off we went on a boat with just the 5 of us.
We have arrived to our Jalousie beach. They pointed over to the side and said that was the snorkeling area and it ran up and down that side of the mountain. I looked over and it really didn't look like too big of an area to me. Long, yes. Wide, no. A bit of disappointment started to come over me, thinking this was not going to be what I expected, but I was going to have fun anyhow.
This is the other side of the beach where Jalousie Viceroy Sugar Beach Resort is located. This is a very luxurious resort where they have movie stars visit and have weddings. I looked it up once and the pricing was outrageous of course. Maybe some day when I decide to become a doctor...which would be never.
Now they did tell us that all the beaches in St Lucia belong to St Lucia...even if it's a resort or a private residence. Anyone is allowed there. They (St Lucia) own the first 100 feet of the beach property up and anyone is free to use it. The beach chairs (lusciously padded) there at the resort, you can rent, for $50. LOL I guess that's a way to keep others off of them and they made sure they are beyond the 100 feet limit. But they did have the floating water thingys in the water. Since that water belongs to St Lucia, that meant we were free to use them as well.
This is the "free" beach area and chairs. As you can see, we are the first one's here. We had our pick of where we wanted to sit.
It wasn't a very big area, but it was perfect to us.
Our boat at the dock.
At first we had picked one of the areas with the palapa over it. But, it was a little far away from the water for me and I like to be where I can actually see the water and my child. So, we ended up moving over to the side. There were 2 rows of seats that was located under the trees. The second row was up on an area that was raised and had steps leading up to it. I thought it was perfect and being raised up we could see the water.
Immediately Sakari wanted to explore. (Notice how dark it is...yikes)
She immediately brought me this as her first find of the day on the beach.
It started to pour!!! We had the trees above us, which was blocking a lot of it. But, we were still getting wet. Spencers team told us we could sit under the palapa's and move if we wanted. We declined and I said, we are here for the beach and will be getting wet anyhow. No big deal. We kinda hung out for awhile and the kids immediately hit the water after that. They were hanging around the edge where you entered and it seemed like they were really fascinated by something under there.
The heavy downpour lasted for maybe 5 minutes, the rain subsided within 10 minutes and all was good. I ask the Spencer team if our tour included drinks and they did confirm that it did...free of charge. They had some yummy (not) water, soda (both regular and diet), rum punch, and beer of course. We helped ourselves and the caffeine gave me the energy I was looking for to head off into the water to explore.
I geared up and headed for the water....OUCH!!!
This is what you have to walk over in order to get in the water.
I immediately noticed how pretty is was under there and what the kids had been staring at was more than just a few fish hanging out at the shore line.
See the hidden fish that blended in?
A bunch of blue striped baby grunts and Blue head Wrasse
I spotted some Christmas tree worms. These are the same as the feather dusters, just shaped like a Christmas tree and they come in all different colors. I just love them! They are so pretty.
A red sea urchin
Feather duster worm
This coral was HUGE
I could have put my head in there...if I had the guts of course. Maybe I'll tell Sakari...she'll do anything.
I don't think I have ever seen pink (light) coral before.
This red rope sponge was beautiful
I really was amazed at the snorkeling there. It just went on forever. I just kept going further and further out (and I thought I was alone).
I will say that for the most part, in the beginning, you can go up and down the wall to the edge and it's not very deep. Of course the further you get out, along the wall, the deeper it would get.
However, if you went even a few feet away from the wall, it got deep quickly (as in the area between the wall and where the dock/boats were)...which is not a very big area to begin with. It's just a sorta-fast decline into the deep.
GASP!! There's some squid!! Sakari corrects me and says "mom, they're cuddlefish". Cuddlefish, squid, whatever...all the same thing aren't they??
There were quite a few and it was at this point that I noticed Kendra was behind me and discovered them also. I didn't even know she was in the water, let alone following me out while snorkeling.
More Christmas tree worms and black sea urchins
Rainbow wrasse and White feather duster worm
Sometimes I can't believe just how close to the surface some of these things are
I still can't understand how I can be underwater taking pictures and still get water spots???
Spotted trunkfish (boxfish)...so cute!
Parrot fish that was eating lunch and you could hear him chomping
Can you see this guy?
It was a trumpet fish. I find these in various places when we snorkel. There's usually one when I find them. However, this place was loaded with so many of them.
I found an empty sea urchin. I would stick it in my top (of my bathing suit) for safe keeping so that I could show it to Sakari when I came back from snorkeling.
This place had some of the biggest trumpet fish I had ever seen before. There were quite a few big ones that were probably at least 2 feet long. (This is not one of the big ones. The big ones kept darting into the rocks and coming out on the other side).
We see the blue head wrasse every where we go. They are very easy to spot and easy to identify of course. But this would be the first time I seen a yellow head wrasse before.
Then all of a sudden....EEEKKKKK!!!! I spotted an eel. A chained moray eel! I was super excited! He was super quick and darted under a rock really fast. I took multiple pictures, but only ended up with one that showed him. We would act like we were leaving and turn around and he would be out again. He knew he was being stalked and would scurry back under the rocks again.
Then all of a sudden I found a YELLOW trumpet fish!!! Wow!!! How cool is that? I have never seen one that is yellow.
There was a couple of them.
One was really big too! If you look at the size of the rocks and I was floating on the surface of the water about a good 7-8 feet up, you can tell this one was pretty big. I wish I could have dove down and got a close up picture. But he was fine until we moved and he'd dart away and come back.
More trumpet fish...
We had gotten pretty far out and were too the point that if you needed to stop, there wouldn't be any rocks to stand on to help you. This was the last chance to defog our mask and make any adjustments.
This was the wall that after you went around it, there was a drop off and things got really deep. We didn't go out too much after that and we were pretty far out (not all the way to the ropes yet) and the waves were a little more "wavy" out that way. So we would end up turning around and heading back shortly after this.
Lots of cheerios. I'm hungry now ;) They are called Orange Cup Coral. They are so beautiful. They are usually closed up during the day because they don't like sunlight (like they are in these pictures) and come out at night and extend their tentacles to feed.
I would find this brown sea cucumber on the way back. I have never seen any other than the dark brown ones before.
It looks like a feather duster worm made his home in this sponge
Another spotted trunk fish
A couple of banded butterfly fish and a parrot fish
Yellowtail damselfish and a school of fish
Another very pretty white stripped feather duster took up residence in this sponge. I honestly don't think I have ever seen a feather duster that is striped like this
Another smooth trunkfish
This time they would end up letting me get really close to them. Look at the colors and the big eyeballs. It's funny to watch them swim backwards.
I was super tired and needed a break (and by break, we all know it means about a good 10 minutes). Along the way, we pass the kids in the water and Sakari yells out "Mommy, this is the best snorkeling in the world!!! I love this place!" (And to think she didn't even want to go to the beach today).
Kendra and I headed back to the chairs and I would be told by the hubby that Sakari had decided to pick up a pokey sea urchin (the black spiny ones that sting). And they had put her hand in ice cold water, but the stinger was still in there. I guess I had missed all the drama when I was snorkeling and she was back out in the water already. I still can't believe she would do that. She knows they are "bad" and pokey and has never tried that before. She is just getting more and more daring these days.
Eventually she got out of the water and came up to my chair to tell me about what happened. You could tell she was afraid to tell me. She started out saying that she got too close to it, but I knew better and said "Are you sure you didn't try to pick it up?" She hung her head down and said "Yea, I did". She got the whole "How could you not know that it wouldn't hurt you? You see the needles on it? Do they look friendly?" ...and so on. She showed me her finger and yep, you could still see the black needle in it. The guy from Spencer said not to worry about it. It would eventually work itself out and fall out. It must have not been hurting too bad because after showing me and getting a drink, she ran back out to the water and started snorkeling again.
I was busy loading up on more caffeine and figured I probably needed to find the restrooms.
They are located right behind the area with the chairs we were first going to sit in.
They also had a little area that they sold things at. I would later buy my St Lucia tee shirt there so that I didn't have to look for one in port when we returned.
Right beside the restroom was a shower...it didn't work and just dribbled.
After returning from the restroom, I look out and see Sakari and B out in the water. They are about 10' away from the wall or so and I said to the hubby "Are you not watching them" He said "What? They aren't out far". I informed him that even though it appeared that they were not far out, it was very deep there and way way over their heads. Sigh.
Now Sakari is a pretty good swimmer these days. She amazes me at just how much better she gets each cruise. However, I would not really know just how good she is until this day, when she was out in the very deep water. It suddenly dawned on me just how good she is.
I hurried out to the water, ouchie owie across the rocks in the water to get to an area that I could put my flippers on and race out to where they were at. She was having a good old time. Swimming, snorkeling and diving down. I immediately started with the "Sakari, you know you are not to be out this deep unless we are with you". Of course I got the "Mom, I'm ok. I can swim". Sigh.
So we would spend a little bit of time out in the water and I would kind of sit back and watch her and reflect on what exactly was going on. I watched her dive down and explore. I watched her swim all over the place. I watched her tread water and talk to B above the water. I watched her go out over the REALLY deep end...and then fear took over me again and I motioned her back. She said she was watching the scuba divers.
I can't believe this parrot fish didn't even run with her going down beside it. It just kept on eating like she didn't exist. Maybe she is a mermaid and they know it.
During our discussion with the Spencer guy about Sakari's needle in her finger, I did remember to show Sakari the empty sea urchin I had found. It would not be until this very moment that I realized that this round smooth urchin is the same as the prickly looking white urchins you see all over the water. Why has this not dawned on me until now?? Then the Spencer guy tells us that it's ok to pick those white ones up. They wont hurt you. So of course that was one of Sakari's goals now. One that she could pick up and actually hold.
It's funny that after you pick them up, their needles start to curl instead of poking out. He looks like he's having a bad hair day now.
Kendra spotted a yellowtail damselfish and couldn't get over the brilliant colors of it. I guess she has never seen one before while snorkeling. I see them all the time.
B was trying his best to dive down. Practice, practice, practice. He was getting the hang of it, but has not learn to hold his breath like Sakari does.
And then going out in the very deep area...and still scaring me some, but I have to admit, damn she's good.
She even managed to get close to a trumpet fish. Are these fish crazy? Don't they know she wants to touch everything?
Now I want you to take a look at this trumpet fish. Look at the face. His snout was bluish/purple/greenish. I have never seen one like this before. They are always all the brownish color. Is this a different type? He even let me get close to him.
I ended up taking both Sakari and B out and down the wall. They wanted to snorkel out further and explore. Even though they were both in areas that I would rather them not be in alone, they were still in an area fairly close by. They push the limit, but not that much. So, I figured why not. I will not bore you with all the pictures I took that time around (I have combined a lot in with my others already posted). There's just way too many pictures from this day.
I did manage to find one lonely purple coral or sponge and it would be the only purple one I found all day. I love the purple ones.
Snorkeling went well and the kids did great. B is improving, but still a little sketchy for my taste. He seems to wear out easily. I had to keep telling him to swim over to the side to rest or he'd grab on to me for awhile.