JALOUSIE BEACH BY THE PITONS
SPENCER AMBROSE TOURS --->
This was our first time here and once again, thanks to the many people on the cruise forums 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!
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. We were having a good time. The boat was super fast and he wasn't afraid to open up the throttle.
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.
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.
There is another 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.
Then there 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.
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. Then we noticed how dark it was getting...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.
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.
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!!! The shore line is filled with all kinds of rocks that hurt your feet, so it takes a little bit of time to make it into 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.
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. I also spotted Blue head Wrasse, A bunch of blue striped baby grunts, red sea urchins, Feather duster worms, Ocean Surgeonfish, and REALLY HUGE CORAL...the type you can put your head down in it.
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.
Back to the amazing snorkeling!!!
Then all of a sudden....EEEKKKKK!!!! I spotted an eel. A black striped 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.
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.
We headed back to our chairs and I demanded that they both get out and rest for awhile. That was a lot of swimming and even though Sakari is half mermaid, she still needed to rest.
It was around 12:30 when everyone else started to arrive and since it had been raining earlier, they said they wasn't setting up the buffet for everyone to eat and instead, they would be bringing us our meals in containers and ask if that was ok. No problem with us. I was getting hungry though.
So, I'm trying to remember what all they told us we had on our plates.
Jerk chicken, tara root, banana salad, plankton, rice, noodles with cod, some kind of beans, salad with italian dressing but tasted a little different. I can't remember anything else.
For the most part, it was ok. There was a lot of things we didn't like and it was still fun tasting it.
Another big group arrived and it looked like they were doing some snuba. I have always wanted to try this. I did ask the Spencer guy about it and he said it's really cheap, like probably around $25 cheap. I knew there's no way it's that cheap, but I would still like to do it some time.
Sakari has been begging to learn to scuba dive. I'm honestly thinking about seeing how much it cost for her to have lessons. We do have a dive shop here and they give lessons in the pool there. I think it would be pretty cool. I'm not sure if I would do it or not though. I have issues with my ears feeling like they are going to explode when I just dive under more than 8 feet. So, I can't imagine how that would go over. I'm also honestly scared of going under the water into the deep. I don't know what it is about it. When the water starts to get colder, and you know that means it's getting deeper, I just start to freak a little. The hubby would love to scuba dive and he has been talking about it for years. Although I'm not sure how he would do either because of his ears and having a busted ear drum.
Then there was a huge crowd that showed up to snorkel as well.
I decided that I wanted to take a walk over to the other side by the resort, even if only to get pictures.
Before long I hear the words "MOM!" and I look back and here comes Kendra.
So since we were on the other beach area, we decided to hang out over here and see what it was like.
Kendra found her spot...on a permanent floatie in the water.
It wasn't too much longer that I hear a "Mamaw" and here come B and Sakari. They can't miss out on the fun either.
We decided to get in the water just to see if there was any chance of seeing anything interesting. There was some sea grass in the area, so I knew there was a possibility.
The water got deep (as in over our heads) fairly quickly and then there was a drop off. See this is what makes me nervous. Of course, Sakari doesn't care. She spotted something...then went for it. It was a sea urchin. Then I spotted a sea cucumber and before I could say anything, Sakari was already going down to get it. Now I have to admit, I have never seen one like this either. Most are pretty "solid" I guess for a lack of better words. This thing was mushy and felt like a rubber sponge or something. Super weird...like holding a glob of snot in your hands. I really don't know how else to describe it. You can see the white tentacle looking things on the bottom. They were weird and went along the entire underside of it. After everyone got a chance to hold it, Sakari returned it to its regular spot.
Then Kendra found a conch. Then I hear Kendra yell "Mom, Lobster!" I got a few pictures of everything and we moved on to explore some more. Who says you can't find neat things in a sea grass area?
We also found tons of these little guys up at the top of the water (which I believe are a needlenose gar). They are just so hard to get a picture of.
I got out and was walking in the sand. Kendra and the kids stayed in the water. She pops up and says "Oh my gosh, you should see this crab. I have never seen anything like this before. At least I think it's a crab"
So obviously in I went to check it out. When I look this up, it says that it is a flame box crab (shame face crab) and that they are common, BUT yet rarely seen.
We were told that we would be leaving this gorgeous place at 2pm. Well, it was about 5 minutes 'til 2 and I was busy trying to talk all the kids into getting out of the water. We drug ourselves back over to our chairs and starting packing things up quickly and heading to the boat that was waiting on us at the dock. I went over and bought my baby blue St Lucia tee and caught up with the fam.
The Spencer guy told us that we would be heading back to the dock by ourselves. I'm not sure why or what happened to the rest of the people that were on our boat with us that didn't arrive to the beach until 12:30pm, but that was ok with us.
Once we got on the boat, another couple arrived and said they were coming too. So then we pulled away and just sat there for a moment. I think they were trying to figure out if anyone else was going too and was on the phone talking back and forth with the guy on the deck.
I guess there wasn't anyone else that wanted on...so off we went.
They pumped us with more rum punch, beer and carbonated drinks. Then they started a "tour" and showed us around.
This is the place they filmed several of the Bachelors episodes. For those of you that watch the Bachelor: Juan Pablo stayed here at Cap Maison (and actually was at Jalousie Beach too) and also Jake Pavela as well. He said that Rihanna has also stayed there (and they don't like her), and Kendra Wilkinson's hubby has stayed there, and also some athlete (can't remember the name since I'm not really into sports) that came there after he lost in the Olympics.
Then we came to the "Fish on Rock"
We stopped at this little village area for awhile to talk too. But for the life of me, I can't remember what he said this area was...other than a little village.
We were getting to know the other couple that was on the boat with us. They were funny and the guy was drinking ALL of anything he could get his hands on. In the end, they just handed him the entire jug of rum punch to down. LOL
We were talking with them about jet skis and my hubby was telling him about his. They were laughing about some of the "water rules" and the hubby told him he can't even get out onto the water without getting pulled over for something.
Then...as they continued to laugh about some of the crazy things the hubby gets pulled over for...THIS HAPPENS...
The hubby turns around and says...they find me every where I go. Even when I'm not driving.
We sat there for awhile. They ask questions, they ask for paperwork, they ask for insurance. There was a lady on there too that couldn't speak their language and she was asking our driver information and he was answering in another language. She said "In ENGLISH!!" She got highly agitated. She ask his birthday and he said Jan 1989. She ask again...1989? (This would make him younger than Kendra). He kept changing it up and she was getting a little pissed. Finally he changed it to 1966. I have no idea what that was all about.
They finally let us go and we were on our way.
The Pirate ship. He said they had filmed Pirates of the Caribbean here and we would get to see where part of the movie was filmed later. I have never seen the movie, so he could tell me anything and I wouldn't know the difference.
More houses that represented something that I have no idea what they were for. Maybe it was just hotels because he did tell us about staying at a lot of hotels and the prices. For awhile there, it almost felt like he had a contract with some of them.
I just really liked the formation of these rocks that I think he said they were from the lava?
Then we were taken to Marigot Bay and resort area. We were told this is the area that they take the boats to during a hurricane because it stays pretty protected.
Like always, there's a lot of famous people with houses here. The person who owns this small 1 story (can't remember the name), but he said he owns all the stores and most of everything there. He said he was offered $1.5 million for that small house and he turned it down saying that it was "chump change" to him.
Up at the top of the hill you have Mick Jaggers house and his neighbor is Sophia Loren.
The only way you can get to these houses and this area is by boat. No motor traffic.
They did offer to stop here and let us off to use the restrooms if we needed. Everyone said they were good, so we didn't stop.
One of the hotels you see in the back...he said while it might have a good view, there is no beach here in this area. So, if you want to go to the beach, you had to do so by boat. He said they call it the check-in, check-out hotel because no one stays long.
We came across this guy that was in the smallest boat ever. It looked like he was sitting in a small bath tub.
Then we pulled out and back onto the expressway of the ocean and we came to the spot where they said the Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed with the skeltons hanging from the cliff. Like I said, I have never watched this movie, so I have no clue what they were talking about. When I try to look it up online, I get this picture:
Now you tell me if that looks anything like this:
To me, it doesn't look anything alike. Look at the bottom by the ocean water.
It kind of gradually goes out. There were tons of kids sitting on this area and they were all jumping off into the water when we passed by. In the picture above, it looks like a straight drop off to me. I'm pretty much convinced that these "boat tours" they give you in places like this are just made up to make it a good tour. I don't find anything online that states that Mick Jagger or Sophia Loren owns houses there either. But it does state they own places in the Caribbean, but not St Lucia. Of course there are many other places in the Caribbean that we have been to that they say famous people own places there, and they'll point to a house, but online, you can never find any of this information to confirm.
See the kids in the water? They were having a great time. The guy on our boat (from the other couple) was begging to do this. They would not allow him for insurance purposes.
Our boat driver yelled at the kids and started throwing them the remains of the water we still had left in the cooler. They swam out and got it from the area it hit in the water.
The driver starting talking about how everyone says Christopher Columbus discovered St Lucia when in fact, someone else had discovered their island long before him. He said "google it". LOL Then we told him we are from Columbus and the Santa Maria ship was located downtown on our riverfront.
We seen flying fish everywhere...from the kind we sometimes see while we are on the ship to some really big fish flying up out of the water. He told me what the other kinds were (which I swim with them often and see them often, but for the life of me don't remember what they were, but I had no clue they could jump up out of the water like that).
He showed us some places that had black sand beaches.
We had an AMAZING time on this excursion! The staff was professional and it was an added plus that they kept us filled up with all the drinks we could possibly want. Jalousie Beach had some amazing snorkeling! It was the place my daughter decided that she was going to become a scuba diver...because of this place. I think it's probably one of the best snorkeling spots we have been to and we managed to see some very neat coral and things. I would highly recommend this place and when I return to St Lucia, I plan on booking this again with Spencer Ambrose. This time I will make sure that we take the mud bath tour as well because it looks like a lot of fun.
As a follow-up, Spencer was impressed with some of my pictures taken at Jalousie that I was contacted to see if some of my pictures could be used on their website. I'm honored that he felt that they were good enough to use and excited to see Sakari was in one of them as well.
You can find these pictures on the Snorkeling Adventure Excursion page: